Obituary: Pete Burns, singer who enjoyed a string of hits as Dead Or Alive frontman

Pete Burns has died at the age of 57. Picture: Yui Mok/PA WirePete Burns has died at the age of 57. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Pete Burns has died at the age of 57. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Pete Burns, pop singer. Born August 5, 1959 in Chesire. Died 23 October, 2016, aged 57

Known for his non-conformist style, Pete Burns was considered a pop icon.

He was born in Cheshire on August 5 1959 to a Liverpudlian father and a German mother, who was a survivor of the Holocaust.

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Burns said he had an unusual and solitary childhood, but that he was very close to his mother.

When discussing their relationship on television programme Psychic Therapy, he said: “She called me Star Baby and she knew that there was something special in me.”

He left school at 14 and later started working in a record shop, which led to him joining his first band, The Mystery Girls.

They recorded music but did not manage to make a real impact on the scene until they changed their name to Dead Or Alive in 1980.

The band had hits with singles including You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – which went to number one in the UK – Lover Come Back To Me and Something In My House.

They enjoyed three Top 30 UK albums – Sophisticated Boom Boom, Youthquake and Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know.

You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) was re-released in 2006 after Burns appeared on Celebrity Big Brother but he admitted he felt uncomfortable with it being revived.

“It’s like still wearing school uniform when you’re 50,” he told Big Brother host Davina McCall after leaving the house.

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Burns later launched a solo career but did not achieve the same sort of mainstream success he had enjoyed with the band. His last solo single, Never Marry An Icon, was released in 2010.

In more recent years he appeared on several reality television shows including the Celebrity Big Brother stint in 2006, Celebrity Wife Swap and The Body Shocking Show.

He was known for undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures and changing his image, and during an appearance on Celebrity Botched Up Bodies just last month he said he had had over 300 procedures on his face.

He was always unapologetic about his stance on plastic surgery, saying in an interview in 2011: “It’s something I’ll always do.” He added: “People redecorate their homes every few years and I see this as no different. Changing my face is like buying a new sofa.” He was known for his androgynous style and said in 2007: “Everyone’s in drag of some sorts, I don’t give a f*** about gender and drag. I’m not trying to be a girl by putting on a dress -–gender is separated by fabric.

“I was brought up with an incredible amount of freedom and creativity. Society has put certain constraints on things.”

Burns was married to Lynne Corlett in Liverpool in 1980 and they stayed together for more than 20 years.

The pair remained close after they split and Corlett has been quoted as saying they were “soul mates”.

Burns went on to get engaged to Michael Simpson and they tied the knot in 2007, with the singer dressed as a geisha.