Pete Burns, frontman of the new wave act Dead or Alive, passed away on Sunday (October 23) from cardiac arrest. He was 57.
“It is with the greatest sadness that we have to break the tragic news that out beloved Pete Burns of (Dead Or Alive), died suddenly yesterday of a massive cardiac arrest. All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star,” a post in the official Facebook group devoted to Burns said. “He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul, and he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories the has left is with.”
Burns’ came to fame in the early 1980s when his band’s darkened take on ‘synth-pop (and his own unique look) garnered the interest of a worldwide audience. Burns — who began cross-dressing at an early age — made quite an impression when his androgynous style splashed onto television screens in his native United Kingdom and beyond. Dead or Alive scored their first sizable hit in 1984 with a re-working of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way (I Like It).”
However, the track that people most remember both Dead or Alive and Burns for came in 1985. “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” hit the top of the UK charts and made it all the way to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its colorful video and incessantly catchy chorus have never really left the public imagination since. The track is still a party-starting staple 31 years after its release at theme nights and otherwise. And a good bit of its staying power can be attributed directly to Burns’ vocal performance and unique eye-patched look in the music video.
Such is the staying power of “You Spin Me Round” that Flo Rida and Kesha were able to make a record-smashing hit out of it in 2009.
In the Facebook post announcing his death, the family of friends of Burns say that “he will live forever in our memories.” Given the unique endurance of Dead or Alive’s greatest hit, that’s almost certainly true.