Pete Burns, frontman of Dead or Alive, dies aged 57
From Top of the Pops to Celebrity Big Brother via lots of plastic surgery, Pete Burns was one of British pop’s larger-than-life personalities. Pete Burns, the flamboyant singer who has died at the age of 57, shot to fame with his band Dead Or Alive in the 1980s. Their single You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) went to number one in the UK in 1984.
Burns formed the band in Liverpool in 1980 and went through a number of musical styles before embracing the sound and style of new romantic pop. The group had five more top 40 singles after You Spin Me Round. Even after they had disappeared from the charts, Burns’s colourful image and larger-than-life persona ensured he remained in the limelight. He is pictured here on the BBC’s Pop Quiz in 1994.
He first turned to plastic surgery, he said, because of a crooked nose that was the result of being headbutted in Liverpool. He went on to get four nose jobs, cheekbone implants and numerous procedures on his lips. But he said most of the 300 procedures he had were to fix previous botched operations. Those procedures led to other health complications and depression, which he detailed in his autobiography, published in 2006, titled Freak Unique.
The autobiography followed his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, in which viewers saw housemates including George Galloway, Jodie Marsh and Michael Barrymore feel the force of his outspoken personality, and which gave him a new level of celebrity. He came fifth in the show.
Burns entered into a civil partnership with his boyfriend Michael Simpson at a ceremony at the Royal Society of Arts in London in 2006. Burns remained a regular on TV chat shows and reality shows and was recently promoting a box set of Dead Or Alive’s LPs. A statement said he died after suffering a “massive cardiac arrest” on Sunday.