Dead or Alive band were a British new wave group from Liverpool, England. The Dead or Alive found success in the 1980s and had seven Top 40 UK singles and three Top 30 UK albums. They were the first group to have a number one single under the production team of Stock Aitken Waterman. Dead or Alive, which has variously included Pete Burns (vocalist), Wayne Hussey (guitarist and songwriter), Mike Percy (bass guitarist), Steve Coy (drummer), Timothy Lever (various instruments), have released seven studio albums and five compilation albums.
Dead or Alive was formed in 1980 in Liverpool by Burns, who was encouraged by local music promoters to gather a band together based on his outrageous appearance. The band went through several different line-up changes over the next three years while recording a series of independent singles. Burns’ appearance began attracting attention, often leading to comparisons with Culture Club and its leader Boy George.
Dead or Alive’s singles started charting on the UK Indie Chart, beginning with 1982’s “The Stranger” reaching No. 7 on that chart. This prompted Epic Records to sign the band in 1983. Their first release for Epic was the single “Misty Circles”, which appeared at No. 100 on the major UK Singles Chart in 1983. At this point, the band was a five-piece consisting of Burns, Mike Percy (bass), Tim Lever (keyboards/sax), Steve Coy (drums), and Wayne Hussey (guitar). Two more singles, “What I Want” and “I’d Do Anything”, attracted club play, but mainstream success continued to elude the band.
Dead Or Alive’s debut album, Sophisticated Boom Boom, was released in May 1984 and featured their first Top 40 UK single, “That’s the Way (I Like It)”, a remake of hit by KC and the Sunshine Band. Hussey departed Dead or Alive just before the album’s release, despite having had a hand in writing much of the material that appears on it.
in May 1985 Dead or Alive band released second album Youthquake, produced by Stock Aitken Waterman production team. The single You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) went to number one on the UK singles chart after having lingered outside the Top 40 for over two months. The song also hit No. 11 in the US and No. 1 in Canada.Other album tracks released as singles included “Lover Come Back To Me”, “In Too Deep”, and “My Heart Goes Bang”.
In 1987, Dead or Alive band released their third album, “Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know” , also produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. The single “Brand New Lover” became a modest UK hit, but was more successful in the US where it reached number one on the US Billboard dance chart. Three more singles from the album were released, although none saw any notable US success on the pop charts. The most successful in the UK was “Something in My House” (UK No. 12), the ‘Mortevicar Mix’, featured sampling of dialogue from the soundtrack of The Exorcist and other 80’s horror films. A third single, “Hooked on Love”, failed to make the UK Top 40 and had a “Gothic” overtone that had been added in a post-production remix. The picture sleeve to the fourth single, “I’ll Save You All My Kisses”, originally featured Pete Burns with a metal “Sex” belt buckle in front of his lips, but it was covered with a sticker that said “Kiss”. The video was banned by MTV because of its homosexual content.
In 1989, Dead or Alive, now pared down to just a duo of Burns and Coy, released the album “Nude”, that featured the single “Turn Around and Count 2 Ten”. The year 1990 saw the release of Fan the Flame (Part 1); an album released only in Japan.The band had planned to release Fan the Flame (Part 2) in 1992, but with the modest sales of Part 1, Part 2 was never released. The year 1995 saw new work from Dead or Alive with a new keyboardist Jason Alburey, joining Burns and Coy for the album Nukleopatra. The album featured a some previously released material. In 2000, Dead or Alive released Fragile, a compilation of remixes with several new tracks and covers. A second remix album, Unbreakable, was released in 2001. This was followed by a greatest hits album “Evolution: the Hits” in 2003.
1984 Sophisticated Boom Boom
1987 Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know
1990 Fan the Flame (Part 1)