Pete Burns, born on 5 August 1959. A musician from Liverpool who came to prominence as front man and principle songwriter for 1980’s synth-pop band Dead or Alive.
Born in Port Sunlight, Wirral to a German mother and English father Burns’ mother Eva had fled Nazi Germany after Adolf Hitler’s government imposed their anti-Semitic laws upon the country. She met Burns’ father in Vienna, Austria, the country Eva escaped to, with Burns’ father a soldier in the British armed forces.
His early life was a little different to most young boys living on the Wirral as until the age of 5, the infant Burns communicated with his mother entirely in German. Burns’ German was supplemented by some French as this was the language that his father chose to speak to Eva Burns in.
This alternative upbringing would manifest itself and shape the rest of Burns’ life to this day as he transformed into one of the most colourful and eccentric popular music characters of all time.
Pete worked at the legendary Liverpool record store Probe Records and as a result was exposed to a cacophony of musicians and sounds as the record shop became a hub of the Liverpool music scene.
Burns certainly made an impact on the Liverpool scene as he displayed an overly loud, lurid and ostentatious style of dressing taking in make-up, high heels, punk inspired hair styles and even an eye patch as Burns toyed with the concept of sexuality in full public view.
In 1978 Pete married hairdresser Lynne Corlett before forming the Mystery Girls in 1979 but this was a relatively short lived affair with Nightmares in Wax formed soon after the demise of the Mystery Girls.
Two singles were released by Nightmares in Wax, Black Leather and Birth of a Nation however the two singles featured the same three songs with the only difference between the two records (names notwithstanding) was that they were a 12” and a 7” release respectively. He then enforced some line-up changes before changing the name of the band to Dead or Alive.