Dead or Alive Singer Pete Burns Dies at 57

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Pete Burns in a promo photo on his Wikipedia page

Pete Burns in a promo photo on his Wikipedia page

Pete Burns, the lead singer of the Liverpool-based dance-pop band Dead or Alive, best known for its 1985 #11 hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” died October 23. The cause of death was cardiac arrest. Burns was 57. (The place of death was not divulged.)

“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,” Burns’ management said in a statement. “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 he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories the has left is with.”

Peter Jozzeppi Burns was born on August 5, 1959, in Bebbington, Wirral, England. While working in a Liverpool record shop, he sang with a couple of groups, including Nightmares in Wax, which changed its name to Dead or Alive in 1980. The other members of the band were Tim Lever (keyboards), Mike Percy (bass) and Steve Coy (drums).

Like many of their records, “You Spin Me Round” was produced by the hugely successful British production team of Stock Aitken Waterman. The song was released on the Epic label in the United States, and became the group’s highest charting record here. They followed it up with four further chart singles and four charting albums (all released on Epic), including Youthquake, their U.S. debut, which went to #31 in Billboard in 1985. Burns released a solo single “Never Marry an Icon,” in 2010, which was released by fellow Dead or Alive member Steve Coy’s label, Bristar Records.Burns later appeared as a contestant in the U.K. on Celebrity Big Brother 2006, where he finished in fifth place. He also appeared on the British programs Celebrity Wife Swap and The Body Shocking Show.

Related: Fellow Stock Aitken Waterman act, Rick Astley, performs AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell”

Burns was known for his ever-changing, androgynous look. In 2006 he claimed that he’d spent all of his savings on cosmetic surgery; he announced the following year that he was suing the surgeon. He declared bankruptcy in 2014.

Burns’ death comes five days before the release of Dead or Alive’s his compilation album, Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI, was due to be released.

Watch the video for “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”

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