Written By: Mandi Lauren Nowitz
Dead or Alive came head to head in the eighties with Boy George and Culture Club with lead singer, Pete Burns, androgynous look. Was this a male? Was this a female? No one knew, much like when they first heard Boy George belt out “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” With a mix of Burns, Mike Percy, Steve Coy, and Tim Lever, the Liverpool based band came together to create one of the most well-known songs of all-time, in my opinion: “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record).” The song reached popularity in 1985 and then saw a resurgence in 2003 and 2006 after Burns made some reality television appearances. It did not hurt that this was the opening song to the hit Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film “The Wedding Singer” or that it had been sampled by Flo Rida. Pete Burns had no problem with who he was and did not identify with being gay, a woman nor being a man: “[People] always want to know – am I gay, bi, trans or what? I say, forget all that. There’s got to be a completely different terminology and I’m not aware if it’s been invented yet. I’m just Pete.” And despite openly undergoing many plastic surgeries that altered him from androgynous chic to awkward female, Burns always identified as a man: “It freaks me that someone could think I was a woman. Don’t get me wrong – I love women; I love men, too, and I’m very proud to be a man.”
Sadly, Burns passed away in 2016, which officially ended Dead or Alive as a band but what will live on is their music. Boy George even released a statement after the news of Burns death broke, saying he was “one of our great true eccentrics.” Could not have put it better myself. Here are the top three tracks from Dead or Alive, as a way to honor Pete and all that the band contributed to the music world. “Brand New Lover” was one of my favorite songs and took the band slightly away from the sound that they were known for. Plus, the lyrics have always been extremely relatable. “When you wake up tomorrow. You’ll be all alone. All the love that we had. I have quickly outgrown.” Basically, if someone is not there for you one hundred percent, do not waste any of you energy when you can find a brand new lover!
My next favorite track has to be their cover of the KC and the Sunshine Band classic “That’s the Way (I Like It).” They put a new spin on the song and bring it into the modern age; less disco, more pop!
Finally, and I do not think that I am alone in this one, the best Dead or Alive track has to be “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” because it is just a fun song that is genuinely timeless. All occasions, weddings, parties, etc., they will be playing this song to get the crowd going. No wonder Flo Rida sampled it! “I set my sights on you (and no one else will do). And I, I’ve got to have my way now, baby.” I hope that they get their way after having to find a brand new lover! Sadly, there is no more Dead or Alive but again, the music and Burns’ iconic looks in his videos will always be ingrained in our minds. Rest in Peace.