DEAD OR ALIVE

80S SONGS AND ALBUMS

I was shocked to hear the news today (24th October 2016) that Peter Burns was no longer with us. This year has been immensely sad, with the loss of so many big stars from my childhood. In more recent times, the focus has been on Pete's reconstructive plastic surgery and his appearance on reality shows. However, this page is not going to focus on that. Instead, it is a celebration of the music of Dead Or Alive, and I hope you will enjoy reading it and listening to the video playlist of the band's hits from the 1980s.


R.I.P. Pete Burns (Aug 5th 1959 - 23rd Oct 2016).

Pete Burns was certainly a controversial and outspoken character, but if I had to choose three things to remember him for, then it would be the following;

1. Being the eccentric lead singer of the 80s New Wave, dance-pop band Dead Or Alive. 

2. The iconic hit single You Spin Me Round.

3. His outrageous antics on Celebrity Big Brother in January 2006 - that robotic dancing scene with George Galloway still haunts me to this day!

Of course, there is so much more to remember him for, and on this page I well delve further into the musical career of Pete Burns and his band during the 1980s.

Our video playlist above features all of Dead Or Alive's biggest hits from the 1980s;

  1. That's The Way I Like It
  2. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
  3. Lover Come Back To Me
  4. In Too Deep
  5. My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor)
  6. Brand New Lover
  7. Something In My House
  8. Turn Around And Count 2 Ten
  9. You Spin Me Round (reissue)
  10. Pete Burns and George Galloway on Big Brother - look away now!

Dead Or Alive's first studio album, Sophisticated Boom Boom, was released in 1983. Five singles were released from the album, but only one managed to hit the British Top 30 - a cover of That's The Way I Like It - which reached No.22 in the UK charts and No.28 in the U.S. Dance Charts.

Producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman worked their magic on the follow-up album, Youthquake. Subsequently, it proved to be more successful, with the first single, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), reaching No.1 in the UK, No.2 in Germany and No.2 in the U.S. Dance Charts.

You Spin Me Round has since been released another three times.  There was a 1996 remix, a 2003 version which reached No.23 in the UK, and a 2006 re-release which reached No.5 in the UK Charts following lead-singer Pete Burn's memorable appearance on UK reality show, Big Brother featuring the aformentioned robotic dancing with MP George Galloway.

Three more singles were released from the Youthquake album; Lover Come Back To Me (No.3 - UK), In Too Deep (No.14 - UK) and My Heart Goes Bang (Get The Doctor) which reached No.23 in the UK Charts.

Released in February 1987, Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know (also produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman) spawned two Top 40 UK singles Brand New Lover (No.31 in 1986) and Something In My House (No.12 in 1987), the latter sounding like a recycled version of You Spin Me Round.

Peter Burns and Steve Coy produced the next album, Nude, and it was not very successful, although the single Turn Around And Count To Ten did reach No.1 in Japan and No.6 in Germany in 1988. Unfortunately, the single only crawled to No.70 in the UK and the album failed to chart.

Album Discography

1984 Sophisticated Boom Boom (#29 UK)

1985 Youthquake (#9 UK)

1987 Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know (#27 UK)

1989 Nude

1990 Fan The Flame (Part 1)

1995 Nukleopatra

2000 Fragile

80s album sleeves

BEFORE DEAD OR ALIVE

Pete Burns, Julian Cope, Pete Wylie and Phil Hurst formed The Mystery Girl in 1977, but played just one gig in November of the same year before dissolving. In the spring of 1979, Burns formed a new band Nightmares in Wax with Martin Healy (keyboards), Mick Reid (guitar), Paul Hornby (drums) and Walter Odgen (bass). They were signed to Eric's Records after performing their first gig at Eric's music club in Liverpool in June 1979.

However, the band was short-lived and Burns went on start a new project which eventually became Dead Or Alive in 1980, after being encouraged to do so by music promoters in Liverpool. The line-up of the band changed many times before eventually being signed to Eric's Records in 1983, with the line-up of Mike Percy (bass), Tim Lever (keyboards/sax), Steve Coy (drums), Wayne Hussey (guitar) and, of course, Pete Burns as lead vocalist.

Nightmares In wax 1980
Nightmares In Wax performing in 1980. Photo by Mathew Street (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Fall Out with BOY GEORGE

In May 1983, Dead Or Alive released their first single, "Misty Circles", on the Epic Records Label. It was also the band's first single to chart, although only reaching a lowly #100 on the UK singles chart. The song was later used as the B-side to "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" in 1984.
The band performed "Misty Circles" live on the children's music show Razzmatazz, and it was Peter Burns' appearance that caused disharmony with Boy George, albeit only temporarily. Pete sported caused controversy (nothing new there!) by wearing a Vivienne Westwood outfit which included a large hat worn over his dreadlocks. The look bore many similarities to Boy George's style, caused the pair to exchange insults over who created the look first!

Singles released from Youthquake

1983  Misty Circles  #100

1983  What I Want  #88

1984  I'd Do Anything  #79

1984  That's The Way I Like It  #22

1984  What I Want (re-issue)  #87

(Chart positions shown are for the UK)

Dead Or Alive - What I Want (1983 single)

 

Dead Or Alive - I'd Do Anything vinyl single (1984)

DeadOrAliveEpic.jpg
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39196185

This photo features the band in 1985. Wayne Hussey left the band in 1984, just before the band released the album Sophisticated Boom Boom and started having chart hits - the fool!

Moderate mainstream success came in 1984 with the release of the aformentioned album (which reached #29 in the UK album charts) and a cover of KC & The Sunshine Band's hit song That's The Way (I Like It) which peaked at #22 in the UK singles chart.

Pete Burns 1980s Newspaper Clipping

 

LOVER COME BACK TO ME (1985)

If you're a fan of 80s electro pop then I challenge you not to enjoy this one. Released in April 1985, Lover Come Back To Me was the follow-up to You Spin Me Round and the second single to be lifted from Youthquake - the single sounds a little different to the album version. The song reached #11 in the UK and #75 in the USA, although it performed quite well in the dance chart.


In Too Deep (1985)

The tempo was reduced slightly for the third single release from Youthquake, which was released in June 1985, reaching #14 in the UK. As with the previous single, it was remixed from the album version to make it more radio-friendly, and more commercially successful, no doubt.  As with the previous two singles, frontman Pete Burns had a hand in writing the song. The video clip is from Top Of The Pops as no official video is available.


MY HEART GOES BANG (GET ME TO THE DOCTOR)

Back to the Hi-NRG "You Spin Me Round" style for this final single from Youthquake which was released in September 1985, reaching #23 in the UK. The lyrics are pretty nonsensical and this really isn't one of Dead Or Alive's finer moments it has to be said.
Dear Or Alive

7" vinyl single 

Dead Or Alive

12 inch vinyl single 

My Heart Goes Boom - Dead Or Alive - 12

12" Vinyl Maxi Single 

Pete Burns on the cover of Smash Hits magazine 28th March-10th April 1985

Pete Burns on the cover of Smash Hits (28th Mar - 10th Apr 1985) 

SOMETHING IN MY HOUSE (1987)

This was the second single from Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know, and reached #12 in the UK and also #3 on the U.S. Dance Charts. This was the last new single by the band to enter the UK Top 20. The song features stuttering effects in a similar style to Paul Hardcastle's "Nineteen" single in 1985. Such effects became popular for a time during the 80s.
In the video (see the playlist at the top of the page) we see Pete and his band in a gothic style mansion, with the Hammer horror style scenery featuring wolves, bare trees and lightning flashes.
Dead Or Alive

 


TURN AROUND AND COUNT 2 TEN (1988)

Released in September 1988 as the lead single from Dead Or Alive's fourth studio album, Nude, this Hi-NRG synthpop tune could only manage #70 here in the UK, but reached No.1 in Japan and #2 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs Chart. The official video features the full-length version of the song.
Now that's what I call disturbing!

 

Star Box is a rare 1993 Japanese-only 14-track compilation CD album which comes with a 44-page picture sleeve booklet.

 

 

 

Chilled Electronic 80s