Julia's Club Eighties
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Over the wall...
The band’s early cult status quickly turned into mainstream success in the mid-1980s, as they scored a UK Top 10 hit with “The Cutter”, and their Porcupine (1983) album reached #2 (see 1983 in music). The next album, Ocean Rain (1984), again spawned hit singles to match their critical acclaim, and the band’s success continued. The departure of frontman Ian McCulloch in 1988, followed by the death of their drummer Pete de Freitas the following year, culminated with a complete split in 1990.
In 1997, however, the Bunnymen returned with the UK Top 10 hit "Nothing Lasts Forever" (see 1997 in music), and both press and fans were delighted by their heroes' return. Since then, both their artistic and commercial successes have been in something of a decline, their original post-punk sound gradually being replaced by a more retro '60s sound. Echo and the Bunnymen continue to perform regularly.
Ian McCulloch began his career in the summer of 1977, as one third of the legendary Crucial Three, a bedroom band which also featured future Liverpool stars Julian Cope (later of The Teardrop Explodes) and nowadays a successful author/musician/occultist, and singer/guitarist Pete Wylie (later of Wah!). After the demise of this punk band, McCulloch and Cope formed the short-lived A Shallow Madness with drummer Dave Pickett and organist Paul Simpson, during which time such seminal Liverpool tunes as "Read It In Books","Robert Mitchum", "You Think It's Love" and "Spacehopper" were written by the pair (though Cope infuriated McCulloch by taking sole writing credit for "Spacehopper" on his 1987 Island Records album 'Saint Julian'). When Cope sacked McCulloch from the band for alleged lateness to rehearsals, A Shallow Madness changed their name to The Teardrop Explodes, and McCulloch joined forces with guitarist Will Sergeant to form Echo and the Bunnymen. In November 1978, Echo and the Bunnymen made their debut at Liverpool's famous Eric's club, playing as support to McCulloch's old cohorts, now performing as The Teardrop Explodes and with Julian Cope installed as lead singer.
Echo & the Bunnymen’s critically-acclaimed debut single “Pictures on My Wall”, was released on Bill Drummond's Zoo in May 1979, the B-side being the McCulloch/Cope collaboration “Read It in Books” (also recorded by The Teardrop Explodes approximately six months later as the B-side of their final Zoo Records single “Treason”). In two Echo and the Bunnymen biographies Never Stop (1987) and Turquoise Days (2002), McCulloch has denied that Cope had any involvement with the writing of this song. There is no evidence to support McCulloch's claims, however, as the singer has made his entire Bunnymen career from collaborative songwriting (and even his two solo albums "Candleland" (1989) and "Mysterio" (1992) contain only collaborative works). Julian Cope, on the other hand, has written hundreds of songs on his own, released across over 20 solo albums, and has always insisted that McCulloch's notion of songwriting is a false one, attempting to claim a full writing credit when the singer has merely sung his own melody over another's music. As it's now over twenty years after the event, this case will most likely never be proved one way or another, but the "Read It In Books" saga does provide a fascinating insight into the depth of the dysfunctional McCulloch/Cope relationship.
By the time of their debut album, 1980’s Crocodiles, the drum machine had been replaced by Trinidad-born Pete de Freitas, and a single, “Rescue”, climbed to UK #62 and following critical acclaim, the album broke into the Top 20 at #17.
Their next album, Heaven Up Here (1981), was an even bigger critical and commercial success, reaching the UK Top Ten (#10). However, a single lifted from the album, “A Promise”, could only reach UK #49.
In June 1982, the Bunnymen achieved their first significant UK hit single with “The Back of Love” (#19). This was followed in early 1983 with their first Top 10, the more radio-friendly “The Cutter," which climbed to #8. The parent album, Porcupine, hit #2 in the album chart. Now firmly established as a chart act, further hits followed with a one-off single, “Never Stop” (#15) and “The Killing Moon”, a preview from the new album featuring a dramatic McCulloch vocal, which became the band’s second UK Top 10 single at #9.
Following an overblown but masterful PR campaign which proclaimed it “the greatest album ever made”, 1984’s Ocean Rain reached #4, and today is widely regarded as the band’s masterpiece. Single extracts “Silver” (UK #30) and “Seven Seas” (UK #16) consolidated the album’s continued commercial success. In the same year, McCulloch had a minor solo hit with his cover version of “September Song”.
Unfortunately for the band, Ocean Rain proved to be an impossible album to follow up, and they could only re-emerge in 1985 with a single, “Bring On the Dancing Horses” (UK #21), and a compilation album, Songs to Learn and Sing, which duly made #6 in the UK album chart. However, all was not well in the Bunnymen camp, and Pete de Freitas left the band. The next (self-titled) studio album was recorded with ex–Haircut 100 drummer Mark Fox, but when de Freitas returned in 1986, it was largely re-recorded. Eventually released in mid-1987, it was for many long-term fans an artistic disappointment, after the glory of "Ocean Rain". Nevertheless, the record sold well (UK #4), and was a small American hit, their only LP to have significant sales there.
In the United States, the band’s best-known songs were “The Killing Moon” (from Ocean Rain) and “Lips Like Sugar” (from Echo and the Bunnymen), although “Bring On the Dancing Horses” is well-known as one of the songs on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink.
McCulloch quit the band in 1988, and de Freitas was killed tragically in a motorcycle accident in the summer of 1989. After former Colenso Parade singer Oscar turned down an offer to take over from McCulloch, Pattinson and Sergeant recruited ex-St Vitus Dance vocalist Noel Burke and drummer Damon Reece. Keyboardist Jake Brockman (a touring member of the band for several years previously, and a contributor to the 1987 album) was promoted to full member, and the five-piece recorded Reverberation in 1990. This did not generate much excitement among fans or critics, and the group was abandoned shortly afterwards. McCulloch, meanwhile, had continued his solo career, with the albums Candleland in 1989 and Mysterio in 1992.
In 1994 McCulloch and Sergeant began working together again under the name Electrafixion; in 1997 Pattinson rejoined the duo, meaning the three surviving members of the original Bunnymen lineup were now working together again. Rather than continue as Electrafixion, the trio resurrected the Echo and the Bunnymen name and released the album Evergreen (1997), which reached the UK Top 10. Immediately prior to the release of the band’s next album, What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999), Les Pattinson quit to take care of his mother. McCulloch and Sergeant have continued to tour and record as Echo and the Bunnymen, touring repeatedly and releasing the albums Flowers (2001) and Siberia (2005). The group’s current touring incarnation comprises McCulloch and Sergeant along with Stephen Brennan (bass), Gordy Goudie (guitar), Nicholas Kilroe (drums) and Ceri James (keyboards).
On September 11, 2006, Echo and the Bunnymen released an updated version of their 1985 Songs to Learn and Sing compilation. Now re-titled More Songs to Learn and Sing, this new compilation was issued in two versions, a 17-track single CD and a 20‑track version with a DVD featuring 8 videos from their career.
In March 2007, the Bunnymen announced that they had re-signed to their original record label, Warner, and were also working on a new album. The band were also said to be planning a live DVD, entitled "Dancing Horses", which also contained interviews with the band. This was released in May 2007, on Snapper/SPV. Unfortunately, due to a re-structuring of the record company, the reunion with Warner Brothers proved to be short-lived, and the band was dropped once again before any new material had been released.
Here's one of the best gigs recorded live @ Nakano Sun-Plaza Mall, Japan (Jan 18, 1984).
* over the wall
* back of l ove
* stars a star
* killing moon
* all that jazz
* the cutter
* never stop
* zimbo (all my colours)
* do it clean
DOWNLOAD LINK: eatb-nakano
it's sunday morning...
DOWNLOAD: remixes, b-sides and live recordings
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Control the 24 hour party people...
* 24 hour party people - HAPPY MONDAYS
* 2hb - ROXY MUSIC
* anarchy in the uk - SEX PISTOLS
* atmosphere - JOY DIVISION
* atmosphere - JOY DIVISON
* autobahn - KRAFTWERK
* blue monday - NEW MONDAY
* boredom (live at the roxy) - THE BUZZCOCKS
* dead souls - JOY DIVISION
* drive in saturday - DAVID BOWIE
* ever fallen in love - BUZZCOCKS
* evidently chicken town (live) - JOHN COOPER CLARKE
* exit - NEW ORDER
* get out - NEW ORDER
* halleujah - HAPPY MONDAYS
* here to stay - NEW ORDER
* hypnosis - NEW ORDER
* janie jones - THE CLASH
* loose fit - HAPPY MONDAYS
* love will tear us apart - JOY DIVISION
* move your body - MARSHALL JEFFERSON
* new dawn fades - NEW ORDER FEAT. MOBY
* otis - THE DURUTTI COLUMN
* pacific state - 800 STATE
* problems (live) - SEX PISTOLS
* shadowplay - THE KILLERS
* she was naked - SUPERSISTER
* she's lost control - JOY DIVISION
* sister midnight - IGGY POP
* temptation - NEW ORDER
* transmission (cast version) - JOY DIVISION
* transmission - JOY DIVISIONs
* voodoo ray - A GUY CALLED GERARD
* warszawa - DAVID BOWIE
* what goes on - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
DOWNLOAD LINKS: control1, control2
Soft Cell emerged from the New Romantic and New Wave era, but were part of the futurist scene, alongside the likes of Depeche Mode, OMD, The Human League and Gary Numan. The darker nature of their music also made Soft Cell popular in the emerging Goth scene.
Both Marc Almond and David Ball grew up in seaside towns (Southport and Blackpool respectively), and later met while students at the Leeds Polytechnic Fine Arts University (now Leeds Metropolitan University). Almond, a performance artist, collaborated with Ball on a few avant-garde multi-media performances at the university. Ball, a gifted multi-instrumentalist, decided to experiment widely with analogue synth sounds and technique, and this, coupled with Almond's performance art and kitchen sink lyrics, led the two to create Soft Cell.
Early Soft Cell
Their initial efforts at recording resulted in an EP called Mutant Moments, funded by Ball, made with a simple 2-track recorder. This was released independently with only 2000 vinyl copies pressed and has since become a highly valued collector's item among Soft Cell fans. Their early shows and EP caught the interest of certain record labels, such as Mute Records and Some Bizarre Records, both of which pioneered the new wave of synthesizer bands. Soft Cell's next recording, "The Girl with the Patent Leather Face," appeared as a contribution to the Some Bizarre compilation album, which featured other (then unknown) bands such as Depeche Mode, The The, and Blancmange. Their first single, "A Man Can Get Lost" 7"/"Memorabilia" 12" was produced by Daniel Miller, the founder of Mute Records. While the single was a club hit, Soft Cell remained essentially unknown.
Showing impatience in the wake of the chart failure of "Memorabilia", Mute Records allowed Soft Cell to record a second and final single in an attempt to score a chart hit. The band opted to record a radically reworked cover version of "Tainted Love", a 1964 northern soul classic originally sung by Gloria Jones (the wife of Marc Bolan) and written by Ed Cobb of The Four Preps.
Released in 1981, Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" was a number-one hit in seventeen countries, including the United Kingdom, as well as a number eight single in the United States during 1982, and went on to set a then-Guinness World Record for the longest consecutive stay on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (43 weeks). The A-side of the 12 inch single of "Tainted Love" actually featured a two-song medley, with "Tainted Love" blending into the classic Motown hit "Where Did Our Love Go?" by The Supremes. At the peak of the song's popularity, many radio stations opted to play the full medley, utilizing their own edits to shorten the 9-minute track.
According to Marc Almond's book, "Tainted Life," Soft Cell exited the "Tainted Love" recording sessions with only modest expectations that the track might dent the UK Top 50. Further, Almond wrote that his only significant contribution to the song's instrumentation (besides the vocals) was the suggestion that the song begin with a characteristic "bink bink" sound which would repeat periodically throughout. Almond also wrote that he dedicated this song to his on-off partner Christian Andrews. While "Tainted Love" was Soft Cell's only Top 40 hit in the United States, the band had approximately eight Top 40 hits in the UK, including "Bedsitter", "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye", "Torch", and "What!", each of which broke the UK Top 5.
Usually an artist releasing a cover version as a single would write the song that appears on the B-side, as this would still entitle the artist to some songwriting royalties stemming from sales of that single. However, as Soft Cell wrote neither "Tainted Love" nor "Where Did Our Love Go" (the 7" B-side track), they lost the opportunity to make a greater sum of money from songwriting royalties stemming from one of the most popular songs of the '80s. Almond expressed regret for this in his book, and chalked the error up to naivete.
Covers and Sampling
Due to its enduring popularity, Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" along with other songs from Non-stop Erotic Cabaret have been covered and sampled a number of times, including:
* A version from argentinian DJ and show host Clotta Lanzetta, now translated as Falso Amor.
* 1984 Coil covered Tainted Love as one half of the double A-Side Panic/Tainted Love this record was the first ever AIDS benefit record and Marc Almond appeared in the video as "Death". Marc would also provide vocals on the group's next release Horse Rotorvator.
* 1992 Inspiral Carpets covered Tainted Love in the NME's Ruby Trax 3CD Box
* 1995 The Alternative Rock group Shades Apart from New Jersey covered Tainted Love in the CD single of 1995 (Revelation 40 PR1)
* 1999 Australian punk/rockabilly band The Living End covered the song as a B-side for their single "All Torn Down".
* 2000 German techno band Scooter covered "Sex Dwarf" on their Sheffield album.
* 2001 Glam/hard rock band Marilyn Manson covered the song on the album Not Another Teen Movie O.S.T. and Lest We Forget: The Best Of Marilyn Manson. Also as a bonus track on The Golden Age of Grotesque.
* 2004 German techno producer Thomas Schumacher samples "Tainted Love" on his single Tainted Schall.
* Industrial band Nine Inch Nails covered the song "Memorabilia" in 1994 which appeared the Closer to God single and on their 10th anniversary re-release of The Downward Spiral in 2004. They also covered "Sex Dwarf" live during the 1989 Pretty Hate Machine tour.
* 2005 Pussycat Dolls covered the Soft Cell version with Tainted Love and Where Did Our Love Go? combined as one song for their debut album, PCD.
* 2006 Lil Scrappy's song's "Money In The Bank" main riff took samples from part of the beat of Tainted Love
* 2006 Rihanna extensively samples "Tainted Love" on the single "SOS" from her album A Girl Like Me.
* 2006 Psytrance producer Bulletproof samples "Tainted Love" on the vinyl EP Tainted Love.
* 2007 DJ Richard Grey samples "Tainted Love" on "Warped Base". Drum-and-Bass-style single, the vocal version still features Mark Almond's vocals.
* 2007 Chicago electronic duo Microfilm do not cover Soft Cell, but name-check their album NonStop Erotic Cabaret (as well as NonStop Ecstatic Dancing) in the lyrics of their track 'Non-Stop Dreaming'; Soft Cell were an influence on the original sound of Microfilm's early tracks.
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Their first album, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, further explored the trademark Soft Cell themes of squalor and sleaze. "Seedy Films" talks of long nights in porno cinemas, while "Frustration" and "Secret Life" deal with the boredom and hypocrisy associated with suburban life. A companion video entitled Non-Stop Exotic Video Show was released alongside the album and featured videos directed by Tim Pope, who later found fame as director of music videos by The Cure. The video generated some controversy in Britain, mainly due to the scandal involved with the "Sex Dwarf" promotional film. The original version of the music video featured Almond and Ball in a bloody butcher shop surrounded by chainsaws, nude actors, and dwarves. However, the film was confiscated by police and censored before it was even released. As a tongue-in-cheek substitute, a re-filmed "Sex Dwarf" appeared in Non-Stop Exotic Video Show featuring Almond dressed in a tuxedo, directing a symphony orchestra of dwarves.
In 1982, the duo spent most of their time recording and relaxing in New York City, where they met a woman named Cindy Ecstasy. It was Cindy Ecstasy who introduced them to the new club drug of the same name. By their own admission, most of Non-stop Ecstatic Dancing was recorded and mixed under the influence of ecstasy.
By now, the shadow of "Tainted Love" was beginning to haunt the band, and the pressures of stardom, not to mention the constant drug use, were taking their toll. Marc Almond also formed the group Marc and the Mambas, featuring collaborations with The The's Matt Johnson and future Almond collaborator Annie Hogan, as an offshoot in order to experiment out of the glare of the Soft Cell spotlight. Soft Cell followed their remix album with a full length album appropriately titled The Art of Falling Apart. The singles were modest successes in Britain. Again, Soft Cell courted some controversy when their second single from the album, "Numbers," was banned from the BBC due to references in the song to the drug speed.
By 1983, they had decided amicably to dissolve the band and released one final album called This Last Night in Sodom, a critical success but a commercial failure. The album departed from its predecessors by having a much grittier feel, featuring more live drums and guitars than previous albums. However, the controversial subject matter still remained true to the Soft Cell ethos, with songs such as "L'Esqualita" that glamourized transvestite culture in Manhattan.
During Almond's solo years, he and Ball continued to keep in touch. Dave Ball's wife played cello in Marc Almond's solo band. Almond and David Ball did not work again together until the nineties, when Ball arranged some music for Almond's "Tenement Symphony." David Ball formed The Grid in 1990. The Grid split up in 1996, but reformed in 2003.
Almond and Ball's reunion as Soft Cell became official with well-received initial concerts - they performed at the opening of the Ocean nightclub in London in March 2001 to strong reviews, and a mini tour followed later in the year. The album Cruelty Without Beauty was released in late 2002, followed by a European tour in early 2003. The new album featured their first new songs together in almost twenty years. One of those songs was their 2003 single "The Night" (UK #39). Interestingly, Soft Cell had considered recording "The Night" back in 1981 in place of "Tainted Love" as their last-ditch attempt to score a chart hit. In a 2003 interview with BBC's Top of the Pops, keyboardist David Ball asserted, "I think history has kind of shown that we did make the right choice [in 1981]."
In August 2007 the band announced they were working on a remix album, "Heat - The Remixes". The remix album is expected to be released in late October 2007 and will include classic Soft Cell tracks remixed by such acts as Manhattan Clique, Cicada, Richard X, Ladytron, MHC, Mark Moore, Kinky Roland, Spektrum, George Demure, Yer Man and many more
SOFT CELL - 12" SINGLES
- 007 theme - SOFT CELL, 3m36s
- barriers - SOFT CELL, 7m6s
- bedsitter - SOFT CELL, 7m53s
- born to lose - SOFT CELL, 2m56s
- disease and desire - SOFT CELL, 4m5s
- down in the subway - SOFT CELL, 7m52s
- facility girls - SOFT CELL, 7m19s
- fun city - SOFT CELL, 7m31s
- her imagination - SOFT CELL, 5m22s
- insecure me - SOFT CELL, 8m18s
- it's a mugs game - SOFT CELL, 8m12s
- loving you - hating me - SOFT CELL, 6m38s
- memorabilia - SOFT CELL, 7m40s
- memorabilia 91 (extended grid remix) - SOFT CELL, 6m52s
- numbers - SOFT CELL, 10m27s
- persuasion - SOFT CELL, 7m36s
- say hello wave goodbye 91 (the long goodbye - extended mendelson remix) - SOFT CELL, 5m3s
- say hello, wave goodbye - SOFT CELL, 8m56s
- soul inside - SOFT CELL, 12m1s
- tainted dub - SOFT CELL, 9m15s
- tainted love 91 - SOFT CELL, 5m53s
- tainted love,where did our love go - SOFT CELL, 8m58s
- torch - SOFT CELL, 8m30s
- what! - SOFT CELL, 6m10s
- where the heart is - SOFT CELL, 9m46s
- where the heart is 91 - SOFT CELL, 8m44s
- you only live twice - SOFT CELL, 6m59s
DOWNLOAD LINK: sc1, sc2, sc3
In 1983, Heiko Maile, Marcus Meyn, Martin Kahling and Oliver Kreyssig, four friends from Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany, founded the band "Licenced Technology." In 1984, Martin Kahling left the band. Soon after, the group renamed itself "Camouflage," inspired by a "Yellow Magic Orchestra" song of the same name. The three young musicians set up their first studio in the basement of Heiko's parents' house, calling it "Boy's Factory." Their first live gigs at local music clubs soon followed. That next year, Camouflage recorded two demo tapes at their studio, and in 1986, the group won a local radio music contest - after a friend of theirs handed one of the demos in. A small Frankfurt music label, "Westside," showed interest in taking Camouflage on. There, the song "The Great Commandment" was recorded to be presented to bigger music companies. After considering offers from several record companies, Camouflage decided to sign a contract with Metronome.
Working with Axel Henninger, Camouflage re-recorded "The Great Commandment" in Axel's studio in 1987. The single was released in September of that year and rose to number 14 in the German charts. Their follow-up single "Stranger Thoughts" was released in February 1988, rising to number 20. In March, "Voices & Images," Camouflage's debut album, was released. The album topped the US Billboard Dance Charts twice having been played often by small independent radio stations. In New York, Heiko, Oli and Marcus signed a contract with the US label Atlantic that same year, releasing "Voices & Images" and the single "That Smiling Face" for the US market in the fall of 1988. In an old factory loft near their hometown, Heiko, Oli and Marcus set up "Boy's Factory 2," their new studio.
With producer Dan Lacksman of Telex, the band recorded a new album "Methods of Silence" at Synsound Studio in Brussels that following year. Now left to experiment more freely after the commercial success of their first album, Dan's recording work revealed an interesting mix of digital high-tech and out-dated studio equipment. Single "Love is a Shield" (position 9 in German charts) stayed in the charts for over six months, and the album reached 13. After follow-up single "One Fine Day," the band embarked on their first live concert tour to great financial success.
More recently Polydor released "Archive#1 (Rare Tracks)", a new Camouflage compilation. Expected in the shops by November 20th 2007 the release brings together a host of rare tracks and remixes spread over two discs
CAMOUFLAGE - REMIX COLLECTION
- handsome (mosaic remix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 6m13s.mp3
- handsome (psycho-ray-mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 6m31s.mp3
- heaven i want you (club too mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 5m6s.mp3
- love is a shield (12inch mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 5m20s.mp3
- love is a shield (12inch us orbit mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 8m8s.mp3
- neighbours (extended long mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 6m18s.mp3
- strangers thoughts (longer mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 5m58s.mp3
- suspicious love (g.r.d. mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 5m31s.mp3
- the great commandment (12inch mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 6m10s.mp3
- the great commandment (dub mix edit) - CAMOUFLAGE, 6m53s.mp3
- the great commandment (extended radio mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 5m57s.mp3
- the great commandment (justin strauss remix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 7m20s.mp3
- they catch more secrets (edit) - CAMOUFLAGE, 4m32s.mp3
- x-ray (transformer single mix) - CAMOUFLAGE, 3m35s.mp3
DOWNLOAD LINK: camou
C.C.C.P. was a German high-energy techno and rock band, led by Rasputin Stoy. They were best known for their 1986 instrumental American-Soviets, released by Clockwork Germany. This six-minute song themed on the Cold War became a major hit at dance clubs. Their 1990 song "Don't Kill The Rainforest" was also a minor alternative radio hit. C.C.C.P. recorded a couple of albums through 1996 but never found much commercial success.
C.C.C.P - COLLECTION
- all she wants - CCCP, 4m30s
- american - soviets - CCCP, 4m16s
- american sovietes - CCCP, 5m26s
- american soviets (cameron paul remix) - CCCP, 5m45s
- american soviets (remix) - CCCP, 6m25s
- american-soviets (single edit) - CCCP, 4m18s
- caravan - CCCP, 6m6s
- digital musicland - CCCP, 5m56s
- don't kill the rainforest - CCCP, 3m44s
- heaven closed - CCCP, 4m7s
- intro - CCCP, 1m0s
- liquit sky (mix 2) - CCCP, 3m25s
- made in russia - CCCP, 3m27s
- orient express - CCCP, 4m20s
- sound innovator - CCCP, 3m45s
- twighlight - CCCP, 4m48s
- united states of europe - CCCP, 3m47s
- united states of europe 1 - CCCP, 6m44s
- united states of europe 2 - CCCP, 6m40s
- william - CCCP, 4m12s
DOWNLOAD LINK: cccp1, cccp2
Dead or Alive...
The band members have included the following musicians.
* Pete Burns (1981-present): Vocalist of the band and chief songwriter. Burns did not play any instruments but mimed with an electric guitar in some music videos.
* Wayne Hussey (1982-1984): An early member of the band who wrote most songs in 1982-1983, plus the Epic singles Misty Circles and What I Want. Hussey departed in early 1984 to join The Sisters of Mercy for one year, and then formed The Mission in late 1985.
* Mike Percy (1982-1990): Bass player. Percy was noted for his mullet hairstyle and, along with Lever, wrote most of Dead or Alive's songs from 1984 until 1990. Percy wrote and performed the backing track for the hit song "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)".
* Steve Coy (1982-Present): Drummer for the band. The youngest member of the band, Coy wrote music for the band but did not delve into the world of lyrics. As of 1996, Coy took over the job of producing Dead or Alive's videos starting with the David Bowie cover "Rebel Rebel" from the album Nukleopatra.
* Timothy Lever (1983-1990): keyboards, saxophone, guitars. Lever and guitarist Mike Percy were responsible for most of the songwriting for the band.
* Jason Alburey (1996-Present): Eventually replaced Percy and Lever in the musical department, Alburey was instrumental in the formation of Dead or Alive's modernising sound. Alburey appears in the 2006 video for the re-release of "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" despite having nothing to do with the song itself.
Early career of band
Dead or Alive (DOA for short, not to be confused with punk band D.O.A.), was founded in 1980 in Liverpool by Pete Burns, who was encouraged by local music promoters to gather a band together based on his outrageous appearance alone. It was only after rehearsing in 1978 with some friends that Burns realized he really did have a powerful singing voice, and his first band was an outfit he formed with friends Julian Cope and Pete Wylie. Dubbing themselves The Mystery Girls, they played only one gig before disintegrating. Burns returned in 1979 with a new band, Nightmares in Wax, featuring a gothic post-punk sound. Nightmares in Wax released their only recording, a three-track 7" EP titled Birth of a Nation in 1979/1980.
In 1980, just before they were to record a radio session for John Peel, Burns changed the name of the band to the more marketable Dead or Alive. The band went through several different lineup changes over the next three years while recording a series of independent singles. Burns' eccentric appearance began attracting attention, often leading to comparisons with Boy George, lead singer of the band Culture Club, who hit the music scene just a few years after Dead Or Alive.
When Dead or Alive's singles started placing high in the Indie charts, Epic Records took notice and signed the band in 1983. Their first release for Epic was the single "Misty Circles", which failed to chart. 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", were club hits but mainstream success continued to elude the band.
The debut album, Sophisticated Boom Boom, was released in May 1984 and featured Dead or Alive's first Top 40 UK single, a remake of the 1975 hit by KC and the Sunshine Band "That's the Way (I Like It)". 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. The single peaked at #22 in the UK and the album at #29.
Now a stable four-piece, in 1985 they released the album Youthquake, produced by the then-fledgling songwriting/production team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW). The single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" went to #1 on the UK singles chart after having lingered outside the Top 40 for over two months after release; the song was SAW's first chart-topping single and remains a club favourite two decades later. It reached #11 in the US, #3 in Australia and experienced Top 10 status in numerous countries. Several other tracks from the album were released as singles: "Lover Come Back to Me", "In Too Deep" and "My Heart Goes Bang", all becoming huge dance hits.
In 1986, Dead or Alive released their third album, Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, also produced by SAW. The album included one of the band's best-known songs, "Brand New Lover", which was more successful in the US (#15) than in the band's native UK (#31). Three additional singles from the album were released, all of them meeting some sort of controversy. The most successful of these singles in the UK (a #12 hit) was "Something in My House", tonally very Gothic and with a sleeve depicting Burns in front of what appears to be a Satanic altar, featuring an inverted crucifix. A 12" version of the song, the 'Mortevicar Mix', featured sampling of dialogue from the soundtrack of The Exorcist. A third single, "Hooked on Love", suffered from very little promotion due to what the record company felt was a "Gothic" overtone that had been added to the song in a post-production remix, and barely managed to scrape into the UK top 70. The picture sleeve to the fourth single, "I'll Save You All My Kisses", originally featured Burns with a metal "Sex" belt buckle in front of his lips, but Epic covered up the word "Sex" with a sticker that said "Kiss" after retailers objected. The video was banned by MTV because of its overtly gay content, which depicted Burns in black tights and a leather jacket singing the song from a baseball diamond while a number of men, some of them shirtless, clung to a fence and ogled him. However, despite these setbacks, the band continued to have chart success in Australia, Europe and (particularly) Japan, where they had reached superstar status with nine #1 singles up to 1988.
In 1988, they parted ways with Stock, Aitken and Waterman and in 1989 released the self-produced Nude, which featured the hit "Turn Around and Count 2 Ten", a single that spent seventeen weeks at #1 on the Japanese charts. It was followed-up by "Come Home with Me Baby", which hit #1 in Brazil. Elsewhere, the single was a club hit, but it failed to generate significant radio play, partially due to a reactionary attitude toward the song's seemingly casual attitude toward sex at a time when AIDS awareness was coming into the public consciousness.
1990 saw the release of Fan the Flame (Part 1); however, the album was only released in Japan. The album was a radical departure in style. Instead of high energy dance beats, the album had more of a 1970s disco style crossed with lounge-style vocals. The album had three singles, "Your Sweetness (Is Your Weakness)", "Gone Too Long", and "Unhappy Birthday". Fan the Flame (Part 1) also is notable because it contains the very first ballad that Dead or Alive ever recorded, a seasonal track called "Blue Christmas" (an original composition and not a cover of the song popularized by Elvis Presley).
For several years, Dead or Alive was mostly inactive in the recording studio, until Pete Burns resurfaced in 1993 as vocalist on a single for the Italian techno outfit Glam. Burns helped write the single, "Sex Drive", which was a major return to the dancefloor. Burns and Coy flirted with the idea of recording under the name International Chrysis, and released a single as such in 1994, a cover version of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel".
1995 saw a resurrection of the Dead or Alive moniker for the album Nukleopatra, which was eagerly anticipated by the band's large fan base. The album featured a smattering of previously released material, including "Rebel Rebel", "Sex Drive", and two tracks that originally appeared on Fan the Flame (Part 1), "Gone Too Long" and "Unhappy Birthday". The album also featured a cover of Blondie's "Picture This". Initially released in Japan only, Nukleopatra, unlike its predecessor, was also released in Australia, Singapore, South Africa, France and the U.S., and each release sported different cover art, tracklistings and song versions; many releases of Nukleopatra also included one or more remixes of "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)".
In 2000 Dead or Alive released Fragile, a compilation of remixes with several new tracks and covers including U2's "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and Nick Kamen's "I Promised Myself". A second remix album, Unbreakable, was released in 2001. This was followed by a greatest hits album called Evolution: the Hits, released in 2003 which featured yet another remix of "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"; both of them enjoyed, for the first time since Nude, a UK release, with "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" re-entering the top forty.
In 2004, Burns enjoyed solo success with the Pet Shop Boys-produced track "Jack and Jill Party". Although only released through the Pet Shop Boys website, the track reached number 75 in the UK singles chart and was an underground club hit.
DEAD OR ALIVE IN CONCERT
In 1987 the band embarked on their world tour which consisted of dates in Europe, Japan and the USA. The dates in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) were filmed and released on VHS. For the tour, the band remixed several of their songs including 1984's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" and "My Heart Goes Bang".
It was widely believed that the concert was entirely mimed; however, parts of the show were live, while others were pre-recorded or mimed. Whereas Burns mimed to a vocal track, the band (Coy, Lever and Percy) played the backing track live while two dancers mimed the guitar solos.
The tour was re-released in 2003 on the Evolution DVD. It was also released as a Laserdisc and as a CD (though the CD version was not a live recording).
Although the 1984 song "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" may have been the band's biggest success in North America and at home, their biggest hit in Japan, the 1989 track "Turn Around and Count 2 Ten" topped the Japanese charts for seventeen weeks.
The band's other major UK hits were the 1986 track "Something in My House", 1985's "Lover Come Back to Me" and "In Too Deep" (of the same year).
You Spin Me Round
The single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" has been released and re-released by the band on a number of occasions.
* The original 1984 release.
* With the 1996 pressings of the european-Version of Nukleopatra.
* Also 1997 for the pressings of the US-Version of Nukleopatra.
* On the 2000 released album Fragile.
* On the 2001 released remix-album Unbreakable
* A remix of the song, in conjunction with a 2003 greatest hits set.
* In 2006, after Burns' appearance on the UK television show Celebrity Big Brother.
Turn Around and Count 2 Ten
The band's biggest hit outside of Europe and America, this single topped the Japanese charts for 17 weeks in 1989. The track was the first single from the album Nude and marked the departure of former band members Tim Lever and Mike Percy.
* After their height of success during the 1980s, the original band parted in 1990 when songwriters and musicians Tim Lever and Mike Percy left to form careers as mixers and producers. The pair currently own and operate Steelworks Studios in Sheffield, UK . As recordists, Lever and Percy have had more chart success than they ever did with Dead or Alive, writing and mixing number-one tracks from bands like S Club 7, Blue and Robbie Williams.
* Pete Burns and Steve Coy joined keyboard player Jason Alburey in 1996 and have continued to record and play venues ever since. Though they have never replicated the success of 1985, Dead or Alive still command a large international following.
* Dead or Alive (and sometimes Burns as a solo artist) have played international Gay Pride concerts since the mid 1990s. During the 1990s, Pete Burns was still married and had not publicly acknowledged his sexuality.
CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER
In 2006, Pete Burns took part in the TV show Celebrity Big Brother in the UK. His eccentric appearance, surprising behaviour and explosive attitude made him a staple character in the show, which received huge audiences. Burns became known for openly insulting actress Traci Bingham and performing modern dance with socialist politician George Galloway. Following the end of the show (Burns finished in fourth place), the Youthquake version of "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" was re-released and reached the top five in the UK singles chart. Burns himself expressed distaste for the re-release, he is quoted as saying "it's like wearing a school uniform at the age of 46".
* Due to Pete Burns' slight resemblance to the more well-known gender-bending pop star Boy George during the mid-1980s, many outside of the UK assumed Dead or Alive was a response to, or a copy of, the band Culture Club. However Dead or Alive was formed a year before the formation of Culture Club.
* Pete was married to his wife Lynne for about 25 years before they divorced.
* According to Steve Coy, the album name "Nukleopatra" had several meanings. It is intended to be pronounced "New Cleopatra", symbolising Pete Burns' ancient Egyptian theme in the mid 1990s.
* During the 1987 Rip It Up! Live tour, other artists including Michael Jackson cancelled dates in order to avoid clashing with the hugely popular Dead or Alive in Japan.
* Band member Tim Lever often wore hats and head coverings in videos and live appearances. This was due to his increasing loss of hair throughout the 1980s. Lever is absent from some videos including "I'll Save You All My Kisses" and "Turn Around & Count 2 Ten".
* Burns references homosexuality in some of his lyrics. The most obvious example of this is in the 1984 song "I Wanna Be a Toy".
* Pete Burns once turned down an offer for Dead or Alive to tour with Madonna, because his mother had taken ill and was on the verge of dying.
* The music video for "Something in My House" ran into censorship problems due to a shot of Burns peeling a banana. Pete Burns jokes about this in the inlay text for the 2003 DVD release of Evolution.
* Around 1986, an independent club single called "Pistol in My Pocket" appeared by an artist called Lanah Pellay (a transexual, who later was to change sex once more & become Alan Pellay and feature in Comic Strip films). Due to the single's Hi-NRG sound, the gender-bending image of the singer on the cover, and most specifically the vocal styling (which emulated Pete Burns with uncanny accuracy), "Lanah Pellay" was rumored by many to actually be Pete Burns recording under another name. It wasn't, but the rumor still exists today, which is a little odd given that Lanah performed the song on Top of the Pops.
* Similarly, a 12" single exists recorded by a band called "The Mystery Girls", which many mistakenly believe to be a recording by the original early band featuring Pete Burns, Pete Wylie, and Julian Cope.
Here's something for all DOA fans - julia
DEAR OR ALIVE - REMIX COLLECTION
* baby don't say goodbye (club mix usa only) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 8m33s
* baby don't say goodbye (edited house version) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 4m4s
* baby don't say goodbye (extended mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m42s
* brand new lover (up ducky mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m30s
* come home with me baby (deadhouse dub 12 inch) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m25s
* come home with me baby (hot pants mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m36s
* hooked on love (remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 4m27s
* international thing (nu-nrg 7 inch remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 4m22s
* lover come back to me (extended remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 5m45s
* my heart goes bang (us wipeout mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m42s
* rebel rebel (safe hands remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 5m16s
* rebel rebel (the hole mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m34s
* rebel rebel (unreleased promo ext 12 inch mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m28s
* sex drive (dj ricci hard mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 4m19s
* sex drive (glam drivin' mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 5m12s
* something in my house (naughty xxx mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m59s
* stop kicking my heart around (hot tracks remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 7m19s
* stop kicking my heart around (razormaid remix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 7m0s
* turn around & count 2 ten (pearl & deam i love bpm mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 8m36s
* turn around & count 2 ten (razormaid mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 7m14s
* what i want (dance mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 5m54s
* you spin me round '97 (hot tracks dj service) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 6m40s
* your sweetness is your weakness (silver bullet mix) - DEAD OR ALIVE, 8m4s
DOWNLOAD LINKS: doa1, doa2, doa3, doa4