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Pete Burns (1959 – 2016)

by Kirk Fox

Pete Burns, lead singer for the new wave band Dead or Alive, has died at the age of 57 after a cardiac arrest.

Pete Burns, lead singer for the new wave band Dead or Alive, has died at the age of 57 after a cardiac arrest, according to multiple news sources.

A joint statement released by his partner, Michael Simpson, his ex-wife, Lynn, and his manager, Steve Coy, read: “All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star. He was a true visionary, a beautiful, talented soul and will be missed by all those who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with.”


Burns founded the band Dead or Alive in 1980. The band had a mega hit in 1985 with “You Spin Me Round.” The new wave dance song was a number one hit in England. The song reached number 11 on the Billboard charts in the United States. Their song “Brand New Lover” reached number 15 on the Billboard charts in 1986.

Burns described how the song came to life in his 2007 autobiography “Freak Unique.”

“I listened to Luther Vandross’s ‘I Wanted Your Love’. It’s not the same chord structure, but then that’s the way I make music – I hear something and I sing another tune over it. I didn’t sit and study the Luther Vandross album – I heard the song and it locked…. I’m trying to structure the music and I know what I want… It’s like do this, do this, do this – and suddenly it hits. I don’t want to do Luther Vandross’s song, but I can still sing the same pattern over it. And there was another record, by Little Nell, called “See You ‘Round Like a Record”.  So I had those two, Van Dross [sic] and Little Nell and – bingo! – done deal.”

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Burns appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in England in 2006 and finished fifth on that show.

He became well known for his androgynous look and admitted to undergoing extensive plastic surgery.

Burns went on to a solo career after Dead or Alive and released a single in 2010 called “Never Marry an Icon.”

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