Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pete Burns [1959-2016]

Artist: Dead or Alive
LP: 7" single
Song: "Hooked On Love" 
[ listen ]

*** We interrupt our special coverage of Alex's Upstate New York Road Trip Record Store Bonanza for this important news bulletin: Dead or Alive frontman Pete Burns is dead; he is no longer alive. ***

This makes me sad. I can recall exactly where I was the very first time I heard Pete Burns' wonderful, booming voice. Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" suddenly stabbed its way through my little cassette/radio boom box speakers at the dining room table in our farmhouse in Tampico, Washington one afternoon. Even the horses stopped grazing so they could hear. I was 16 years old and I thought it was absolutely the greatest song that had ever been played on Yakima's Hit Music Station, 107.3 KFFM. In fact, it's still probably the best song they've ever played. Dead or Alive became my new favorite band.

I bought a copy of their followup single, "Lover Come Back to Me," at a record store in Munich when I was there with my mom for a Shaklee convention in the summer of 1985. "Brand New Lover," which was nearly as big a hit in the USA in 1986 as the by-this-time-overplayed 'record-spinning' song had been a few years before, is still one of my favorite hits of the '80s.

It's been a long time since I've purchased a Dead or Alive record. But strangely, I just found this Australian copy of the group's 1987 "Hooked On Love" single, and also the Australian release of "That's the Way (I Like It)" with a picture sleeve, at Vortex Records in Kirkland this past Saturday. And then boom. Dead. There's a nice Pete Burns obituary in The Guardian here, you can read about him on Wikipedia here, and find the Dead or Alive discography and chart history here. "Hooked On Love" went to #33 in Australia in 1987. 

I admit I'm not a huge fan of some of the looks Pete has created for himself over the years, like this one or this one or this one (wait, is that Kate Winslet?) But I do quite like this one from 2006 that they've included in The Guardian article. It brings to mind a lovely mixture of Faye Dunaway and Sandy Dennis

Pete Burns
[ August 5, 1959 — October 23, 2016 ]
We will miss you, Pete.

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