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Pete Burns

Pete Burns in concert
Background information
Birth name Peter Burns
Born 5 August 1959 (1959-08-05) (age 50)
Origin Port Sunlight, Bebington, Wirral, England
Genres Pop, Dance, New wave, Hi-NRG
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1977-present
Labels Epic Records
Sony Japan
Cleopatra Records
Associated acts Dead or Alive
Website The Right Stuff: Official Dead or Alive website

Peter "Pete" Burns (born 5 August 1959 in Port Sunlight, Bebington, Wirral) is an English singer-songwriter, known for his work as frontman of dance band Dead or Alive, who achieved mainstream success in 1985 with their hit single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)".



His father, Burns, is English and his Jewish mother, Eva, was from Heidelberg in Germany.[1] Pete, when talking about his late mother, said in an interview for the television programme 'Psychic Therapy'
" 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."
Pete 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."
Pete's mother was Jewish and born in Heidelberg, Germany but during the Nazi occupations of the second world war, went on the run with her mother to Austria where she met Pete's father, a British soldier, at a soldiers' tea dance in Vienna.
She told people in England that she was Austrian, due to the her disgust of what Germany was doing at the time. Pete only found out that she was German after seeing her passport.

Pete Burns' strikingly individual dress style and appearance brought him to the attention of the world via the disco song "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)". Though originally labelled as gay due to his 'gender-bending' appearance, Burns is bisexual, and was married to Lynne Corlett, whom he met while they worked together in a hairdressing salon. While building his career, Burns worked at a Liverpool city centre record shop, Probe Records, that became a meeting-place for musical hopefuls of the time. Before forming Dead or Alive, he was a member of the short-lived Mystery Girls, and then Nightmares in Wax, an early proto-Goth, semi-punk group that formed in Liverpool around 1974. Nightmares on Wax put out a 12" single, "Black Leather", and a 7" single, "Birth of a Nation", each containing the same three songs, but never produced an album. Burns has also accused fellow pop star Boy George of copying his style and mainstreaming his unique image.[1]


Categorized as expressing an overt sexuality and flamboyant style, Burns shocked audiences in the late 1970s with his pre-Boy George androgynous clothing choices, exotic hairstyles, high heel shoes, long fingernails, trademark black eyepatch, and heavy make-up. Almost as much as his career with Dead or Alive, Burns is known for his ever-changing appearance, which he freely admits has been greatly modified by cosmetic surgery.[1]

Burns has had extensive polyacrylamide injections into his lips, along with cheek implants, several nose re-shapings and many tattoos. He revealed in early 2006 in a pre-Big Brother interview that he had spent almost all of his life savings on eighteen months of reconstructive surgery after a procedure on his lips went horribly wrong.[1]

Burns's 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. Burns also writes about his depression and his suicide attempts.

In December 2003, the BBC apologised[2] to its viewers after Burns swore repeatedly on its pre-9pm watershed Liquid News show when asked about his views on the Michael Jackson trial.

Personal life

Burns and his wife, Lynne Corlett, divorced in 2006 after more than twenty-five years of marriage, though they remain friends. On 9 February 2006, in an interview with Channel 4's Richard and Judy, Burns and his boyfriend, Michael Simpson, publicly announced their engagement, displaying matching rings made for them by the designer Vivienne Westwood. However, only a day after the announcement, Burns said that the engagement was off, as Simpson was finding it hard to deal with his new recognition by the public.

In January 2007 Burns announced that he was planning to sue for £1 million the cosmetic surgeon who carried out the botched lip surgery[3].

Burns was arrested in March 2006 after a fight with Simpson. The couple separated in May of 2008, after a 10 month marriage. [4]

In November 2006, Burns recounted his and others' similar experiences of botched operations in a TV special entitled Pete Burns' Cosmetic Surgery Nightmares for the UK ITV network. Cameras followed Burns around through his recent arrest, and his attempts to get his career back on track in the documentary, Pete Burns Unspun on Living TV. On 6 July 2007 Pete Burns formed a civil partnership with his long-term partner, Michael Simpson, at a ceremony held in Central London; friends and family of both were present at the ceremony.

In March 2009, Pete Burns was admitted to a London hospital after collapsing following kidney failure. Burns discovered he had seven kidney stones that were so large they would have to be removed via laser surgery.[5].

He lives in Notting Hill, London, with his husband Michael Simpson. He appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, which aired on 30 September 2007, where he lived with Neil Ruddock for five days. Simpson also took part in this program.

Celebrity Big Brother UK 2006

Burns appeared on Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother 2006 in the UK, eventually coming fifth on the show's final episode. After he claimed that his coat was made from gorilla skin, police removed the coat from the house, without Burns' knowledge or consent, for testing. Ownership of products made from gorilla is illegal in the UK without a licence. Tests found the coat was in fact made of Colobus monkeys, another endangered species. As a result the case was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who determined that the pelts used to make the coat were imported before 1975, when it became illegal to import Colobus fur, and as such will not be pressing charges [6]. This greatly upset animal rights campaigners [7].

The show featured Burns' scathing verbal attacks on other housemates, most notably former page three girl Jodie Marsh and former Baywatch star Traci Bingham. [8] [9]

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

Pete's PA

Burns was involved in Pete's PA, a UK Reality TV series on Living TV in which contestants competed to become his personal 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. The winner of the contest was former criminal psychologist Nicky.



  1. ^ a b c d Burns, Pete; Cranna, Ian (2007). Freak Unique (Paperback ed.). John Blake Publishing Ltd.. ISBN 1-84454-438-9. 
  2. ^ "BBC News". BBC apology for Liquid swearing. Retrieved 2 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "Pete Burns Sues Doctor Over Faulty Lip Surgery". Chart. 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  4. ^ "Pete Burns gay marriage_breaks-up". Pete Burns Gay Marriage Breaks-Up. May 2008. 
  5. ^ "kidneyfailure". PETE BURNS - COLLAPSES WITH KIDNEY FAILURE. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "BBC News". No action over Burns' monkey coat. Retrieved 2 April 2007. 
  7. ^ "bbcnewsfur". Police take Brother 'gorilla' fur. March 2007. 
  8. ^ Celebrity Big Brother 2006, Show 11 clip: Burns vs. Bingham (the beginning). Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  9. ^ Celebrity Big Brother 2006, Show 11 clip: Burns vs. Bingham (at 3:30-7:30). Retrieved 3 January 2010.

External links

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