This week at Slacker we’re celebrating all things 80’s & New Wave while our Slacker countdown, the 101 Greatest New Wave Songs cranks in the background. What can we say, we’re New Wave fans! Some folks here would even argue it was the greatest period ever in the storied history of Rock music. The hair, the synthesizers, the androgynous edge, the elevation of punk ethos and pop excess straight into outer space- what’s not to love?!
So in the spirit of celebration, we’re taking a rewind/fast forward look at some stand out New Wave artists to get a sense of what exactly they’ve been up to since their New Wave peak and where they are now. Today– Dead Or Alive!
Holy moly let’s just get this part out of the way- Pete Burns, founder and lead singer of British New Wave band Dead Or Alive, looks pretty wild. Pretty much always has.
Burns is often considered the poster child of New Wave androgyny and has pushed the boundaries of style, sex and art throughout his career. In fact, Dead or Alive was the product of two previous bands founded by Burns; The Mystery Girls and Nightmares In Wax, which both positioned Burns’ appearance as the primary “Wow Factor” it seems. Rumor has it the catalyst for Burns deciding to morph Nightmares In Wax into Dead Or Alive was pressure from local British music promoters to really “commit” to his outrageous appearance. Thanks British music promoters.
The result was a band that found loads of success on the British charts in the 1980’s- seven Top 40 UK singles and three Top 30 UK albums. Their biggest hit, “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” went to #1 on the UK singles chart, #1 in Canada and crossed the pond to peak at #11 in the US, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. What followed was a string of additional singles and albums that flirted with success on the charts, but drove the band further into controversy- videos banned from MTV, retailers complaining about album covers and gothic/horror movie overtones seeping into the mix.
So fast forward- Dead Or Alive never really broke up, but was pared down to Pete Burns and drummer Steve Coy throughout most of the 2000’s and the band continued to release albums comprised of new material, remixes and covers. Pete Burns also managed to solidify himself as a fixture of British reality television, appearing in Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Wife Swap & Pete’s PA as well as several TV specials where he recounted his experiences with plastic surgery and of course… he had his arm twisted into performing “You Spin Me Round” on just about all of them.
We’re glad Pete Burns is still with us and we’re glad Dead Or Alive happened; besides the fact that we love the music, he sure makes the folks chasing youth and vanity in Hollywood look like a bunch of cowards!
Need some additional 80’s eye candy to jog the ‘ol memory? Here ya go, just remember to put Slacker’s, 101 Greatest New Wave Songs on in the background to round out the whole thing!
1. Ecto Cooler
2. Glo Worm
3. Tee-Shirt Clips
4. Super Mario Bros.
5. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
6. Pogo Ball
8. Reebok Pumps
9. Belle And Sebastian
10. Double Dare
12. Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego
13. Bubble Necklaces
15. Small Wonder
16. A Balanced Breakfast