Pete Burns (August 5, 1959-October 23, 2016) was the frontman for British New Wave band Dead or Alive. Their most-popular single, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” has received over 44 million views on YouTube and over 36 million streams on Spotify. Not bad for a record that was released 20 years before either service began.
The single reached #1 on the UK charts and #11 in the US. It was produced by the hit-making team of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman, known collectively as S/A/W. It was an example of a New Wave subgenre known as Hi-NRG, a post-disco dance style characterized, according to Billboard, by “clattering percussion, octave-skipping basslines, uptempo BPMs, and sexually charged lyrics.”
Burns’ androgynous style fit well in an MTV era with artists like Boy George of Culture Club and Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics. But according to Burns, getting a video produced was not a given. Epic, DoA’s label, hated “Spin” so much that the band had to pay for the video themselves. It appears to have been a good investment.