One Hit Wonderland: Dead or Alive
After seventeen arduous weeks, Dead or Alive would finally get the payoff of all their hard work. Five months after its initial release, ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ would top the charts for just one week and – to the delight of most people – would finally get rid of ‘I Know Him So Well’ by Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson.
The flip side is that the song allowed Pete Burns to hang in the spotlight for the following few decades, going out of his way to hate everyone and everything yet still somehow find work for being outright abhorrent.
It’s not the way he looks, nor the song itself – just the way he carries himself. While it does look like he takes a bike pump to his own face every morning just to have some semblance of facial features, and given that he pairs that with a whining Scouse accent and a coat made from colobus monkeys, you do wonder how one song could fuel such a personality. Sure, he can be pretty funny at times, but isn’t it a bit weird to watch a man court the media yet be the first person to speak out against them?
Nonetheless, you can’t take this hit away from Dead or Alive. The fact it took a whopping 17 weeks to get to number one following its release in November 1984 is, on reflection, remarkably surprising.
The most amazing fact about the song, however, is that it was the first number one written by the Stock Aitken Waterman trio, who would go on to create such hits as ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ by Kylie Minogue, ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’ by Jason Donovan and fellow one-hit wonder ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley, which will ultimately be covered here (I mean, it has to be, right?).
So, well, yeah. Say what you like about Pete Burns (and I have), but this is a good song – especially when he hits the high notes following the chorus. He’s not got a bad voice on him, really – well, when he’s singing. You won’t recognise him here, though – he’s actually quite an attractive bloke back then.
By Matt Gardner