Pete Burns, Lead Vocalist for New Wave Band Dead or Alive

“You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”–Watch on YouTube

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 Billboardby “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.

“Brand New Lover” on Spotify

Jim Diamond, Singer of “I Should Have Known Better”

“I Should Have Known Better”

Jim Diamond was a Scottish musician, who was a kind of Zelig of British rock and pop, performing with disparate groups and in a variety of genres–with the art rock band Gully Foyle, Alexis Korner (the “Godfather of British Blues”),  PhD (which he formed in the early 1980s), as a chart-topping pop artist and finally with The Blue Shoes, a duo he formed with saxophonist Snake Davis.

“I Won’t Let You Down” with Ph.D., 1982

His solo single “I Should Have Known Better” was a worldwide #1 and earned him an Ivor Novello Best Single Award. According to FirstFoot.com, he generously leveraged the song’s popularity to draw attention to the release of the Band-Aid charity CD: “I’m delighted to be Number 1, but next week, I don’t want people to buy my record, I want them to buy Band-Aid.”

“Hi Ho Silver” (Boon Theme Song)

Diamond (September 28, 1951-October 8, 2015) also wrote the theme to the popular British detective TV series Boon. Diamond’s recording of the theme reached #5 on the UK charts.