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Pete Burns

Pete Burns

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Pete Burns is an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

, author and television personality who founded the band Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive (band)
Dead or Alive were a British New Wave band from Wirral, England, United Kingdom, Europe. The band rose to fame in the 1980s with their number one single on the UK Singles Chart, "You Spin Me Round ". They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team Stock Aitken Waterman...

 in 1980, for which he acted as the vocalist and songwriter, and which rose to mainstream success with their 1985 single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
"You Spin Me Round " is a song by British band Dead or Alive on their 1985 album Youthquake. The song was the first UK number-one hit by the Stock Aitken Waterman production trio. Released in November 1984, the record reached number one in March 1985, taking seventeen weeks to get there...

". He later rose to further celebrity
Celebrity
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

 status in the British media following his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother 2006 and his own television show, Pete's PA
Pete's PA
Pete's PA was a British reality television series broadcast on LIVINGtv. The show, which began on October 8 2007, followed musician and Dead or Alive frontman Pete Burns as he hunted for a new personal assistant . He was aided by celebrity PA Donna Coulling and psychologist Dr Rob Yeung...

in 2007.

Early life


Peter Burns was born in Port Sunlight
Port Sunlight
Port Sunlight is a model village, suburb and electoral ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. It is located between Lower Bebington and New Ferry, on the Wirral Peninsula. Between 1894 and 1974 it formed part of Bebington urban district within the county of Cheshire...

, Bebington
Bebington
Bebington is a small town and electoral ward within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England. It lies south of Liverpool and west southwest of Manchester, along the River Mersey on the eastern side of the Wirral Peninsula...

, Wirral, to an English father and a German mother. His mother Eva was Jewish and born in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, Germany. She had fled to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 to escape the anti-Semitic
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 laws of the Nazis. It was in Vienna that she met Burns' father, then a British soldier, at a soldiers' tea dance.

When talking about his late mother in an interview for television programme Psychic Therapy, he said "as far as parental skills go in the conventional, normal world, she certainly wasn't a mother, but she's the best human being that I've ever had the privilege of being in the company of, and I know that she had a special plan for me. She called me Star Baby and she knew that there was something special in me. Just an incredible German woman; tiny, five-foot-one, but she could move a fucking wardrobe, she could lift a wardrobe." Burns also told that for the first five years of his life, he and his mother spoke to one another in German. "I grew up until I was five speaking German and a bit of French. There was no English spoken in my house. My father spoke to my mother in French, she spoke to me in German."

Dead or Alive


Burns first became famous with the success of Dead or Alive's number one dance hit "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
"You Spin Me Round " is a song by British band Dead or Alive on their 1985 album Youthquake. The song was the first UK number-one hit by the Stock Aitken Waterman production trio. Released in November 1984, the record reached number one in March 1985, taking seventeen weeks to get there...

", along with his strikingly individual, androgynous image. Originally labeled as gay, due to his gender atypical appearance and sexual relations with men, Burns is reportedly bisexual and was married to Lynne Corlett. While building his career, Burns worked at a Liverpool record shop, Probe Records
Probe Records (shop)
Probe Records is a small independent record shop, founded in 1971, that was once, most famously, on the corner of Button Street in Liverpool, Before this it had "branches" in the basement of Silly Billies clothes shop and on Clarence Street , off Brownlow Hill. There was also a daily visit at...

, which became a meeting-place for local musicians. Burns first performed as a member of the short-lived Mystery Girls, and then Nightmares in Wax, a proto-Goth
Gothic rock
Gothic rock is a musical subgenre of post-punk and alternative rock that formed during the late 1970s. Gothic rock bands grew from the strong ties they had to the English punk rock and emerging post-punk scenes...

 group that formed in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 in 1979. Nightmares in Wax released a 12" single, "Black Leather", and a 7" single, "Birth of a Nation", each containing the same three songs, but never produced an album. In 1980, after replacing several members, Burns changed their name to Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive (band)
Dead or Alive were a British New Wave band from Wirral, England, United Kingdom, Europe. The band rose to fame in the 1980s with their number one single on the UK Singles Chart, "You Spin Me Round ". They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team Stock Aitken Waterman...

. Burns has accused fellow pop star Boy George
Boy George
Boy George is a British singer-songwriter who was part of the English New Romantic movement which emerged in the early 1980s. He helped give androgyny an international stage with the success of Culture Club during the 1980s. His music is often classified as blue-eyed soul, which is influenced by...

 of appropriating his unique image.

Expressing an overtly sexual and flamboyant style, Burns shocked audiences in the late 1970s with his androgynous clothing and hair styles, make-up, high heels, long fingernails and trademark black eyepatch
Eyepatch
An eyepatch or eye pad is a small patch that is worn in front of one eye. It may be a cloth patch attached around the head by an elastic band or by a string, or an adhesive bandage. It is often worn by people to cover a lost or injured eye, but it also has a therapeutic use in children for the...

. Almost as much as his career with Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive (band)
Dead or Alive were a British New Wave band from Wirral, England, United Kingdom, Europe. The band rose to fame in the 1980s with their number one single on the UK Singles Chart, "You Spin Me Round ". They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team Stock Aitken Waterman...

, Burns is known for his ever-changing appearance, which he freely admits has been greatly modified by cosmetic surgery.

Celebrity Big Brother and aftermath


In December 2003, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 apologised to its viewers after Burns swore repeatedly on its pre-9pm watershed
Watershed (television)
In television, the term watershed denotes the time period in a television schedule during which programs with adult content can air....

 Liquid News
Liquid News
Liquid News was the daily round up of entertainment news for BBC Three running from 30th May 2000 to 1st April 2004. It was originally a vehicle for presenter Christopher Price...

show when asked about his views on the Michael Jackson trial.

In January 2006, Burns appeared on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's Celebrity Big Brother 2006, eventually reaching fifth on the show's final episode. The show featured Burns' scathing verbal attacks on other housemates, most notably former page three girl Jodie Marsh
Jodie Marsh
Jodie Marsh is an English media personality, former glamour model and bodybuilder. She has appeared topless in many tabloid newspapers and has appeared in her own reality show, Totally Jodie Marsh.-Early life:...

 and former Baywatch
Baywatch
Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999, sans the 1990-1991 season, of which it was not in production...

star Traci Bingham
Traci Bingham
Traci Bingham is an American actress, model and television personality who is best known for playing Jordan Tate on the television series Baywatch between 1996 and 1998.-Personal life:...

. It was also on this show that he declared that one of his coats was made out of gorilla
Gorilla
Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

 fur – this caused outrage amongst animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

' activists because unlicensed gorilla fur is illegal in the United Kingdom. Police subsequently confiscated the coat and tests were performed on it that revealed that it was not in fact gorilla, but was made out of the fur of colobus monkeys. Colobus monkeys are also an endangered species whose fur requires a licence, although experts believed that the fur had in fact been imported in the 1930s or 40s, before it became illegal to import colobus fur in 1975.

Burns has had extensive polyacrylamide
Polyacrylamide
Polyacrylamide is a polymer formed from acrylamide subunits. It can be synthesized as a simple linear-chain structure or cross-linked, typically using N,N-methylenebisacrylamide. Polyacrylamide is not toxic...

 injections into his lips, cheek implants, several rhinoplasties and many tattoos. In early 2006 he revealed in an interview that he had spent most of his life savings on eighteen months of reconstructive surgery after a procedure on his lips went horribly wrong.

Burns' autobiography, Freak Unique, was released in May 2006. In it he writes about his life and reveals that he was raped at a young age by a man who was never prosecuted. He also writes about chronic depression and several suicide attempts.

After his stint on Celebrity Big Brother he appeared as a guest presenter for the Big Brother spin off show, Big Brother's Big Mouth, on four shows, in August 2007.

Burns was involved in Pete's PA
Pete's PA
Pete's PA was a British reality television series broadcast on LIVINGtv. The show, which began on October 8 2007, followed musician and Dead or Alive frontman Pete Burns as he hunted for a new personal assistant . He was aided by celebrity PA Donna Coulling and psychologist Dr Rob Yeung...

, a UK Reality TV series on Living TV in which contestants competed to become his personal assistant
Personal assistant
A personal assistant or personal aide is someone who assists in daily business or personal tasks. It is common in design to have a PDA, or personal design assistant....

 (PA). The series takes place over ten weeks as potential PAs were pitted against each other in a series of challenges. Pete's PA began airing on 8 October 2007. Burns was assisted by Donna Coulling (described as a "celebrity personal assistant"), and business psychologist Dr. Rob Yeung
Rob Yeung
Rob Yeung is a British psychologist, business speaker, and management author. He has published research studies on personality in academic journals, particularly Personality and Individual Differences. He writes a column on confidence for UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph and contributes to...

. The winner of the contest was former criminal psychologist Nicky.

In 2010, Burns appeared in the special Davina's Big Send Off before the end of Ultimate Big Brother, where he performed "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)".

Solo career


After much delay, Burns' solo single "Never Marry an Icon" was released to the iTunes Store
ITunes Store
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple. Opening as the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, with over 200,000 items to purchase, it is, as of April 2008, the number-one music vendor in the United States...

 on 7 September 2010. The single was produced and co-written by The Dirty Disco. The single was released by fellow Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive (band)
Dead or Alive were a British New Wave band from Wirral, England, United Kingdom, Europe. The band rose to fame in the 1980s with their number one single on the UK Singles Chart, "You Spin Me Round ". They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team Stock Aitken Waterman...

 member Steve Coy's label, Bristar Records.

On 13 September 2010, Steve Coy of Bristar Records posted a statement on the Dead or Alive Official Network, announcing the cancellation of all future digital releases by Pete Burns due to postings of Burns's single "Never Marry an Icon" on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

. Days later, he reconsidered his decision.

Personal life


In 1978 Burns married hairdresser Lynne Corlett, with whom he remained married for 28 years, until 2006. That year, on 9 February, he announced his engagement to his partner, Michael Simpson, on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's daytime television show Richard & Judy
Richard & Judy
Richard & Judy was a British magazine/chat show which was presented by married couple Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. It originally aired on Channel 4 from 2001 to 2008 but later moved to digital channel Watch in October 2008. It featured the world's most famous stars, along with their Book Club...

, where he displayed their matching engagement rings designed by Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE, RDI is a British fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.-Early life:...

. The following day, Simpson called off the engagement citing that he was finding it difficult to deal with the newfound fame, although their engagement was soon back on and their civil partnership took place on 6 July. Burns appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, which aired on 30 September 2007, where he lived with Neil Ruddock
Neil Ruddock
Neil "Razor" Ruddock is a retired English footballer, who played as a central defender.He made his debut at Millwall , and he had a long career playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Liverpool, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and finally a short-lived spell as a player/coach at Swindon Town Neil...

 for five days. Simpson also took part in the programme. The couple separated in May 2008. Burns made a statement saying that gay marriage does not work and that it is better to be married to a woman.

In November 2006, Burns recounted his and others' experiences with complications of cosmetic surgery in a TV special entitled Pete Burns' Cosmetic Surgery Nightmares for the UK ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 network. Paparazzi
Paparazzi
Paparazzi is an Italian term used to refer to photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people...

 followed Burns around following his arrest, and his attempts to revive his career, in the documentary Pete Burns Unspun on Living TV. In January 2007 Burns announced that he was planning to sue the cosmetic surgeon, Dr Maurizio Viel, who performed his lip surgery, for £1 million. In September 2009 Burns reached an out-of-court settlement for £450,000.

In March 2009, Burns was admitted to a London hospital after collapsing, due to kidney failure. He was diagnosed with seven large kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s, which were removed with laser surgery.

Singles

Year Single Peak positions Album
UK
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...


2004 "Jack and Jill Party" 75 Non-album song
2010 "Never Marry an Icon"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

External links