Last week the world lost yet another star, Chanel Kadir pays tribute to the flamboyant and eccentric Pete Burns
Outlandish 80s pop star Pete Burns tragically passed away at the age of 57. With his death, we lose yet another icon that fore-fronted LGBT issues and became a role model to those who didn’t quite know where to place themselves within society.
Burns praises his mother for the incredible amount of freedom and creativity he grew up with. She suffered severely with depression and developed addictions to alcohol and tranquillisers; he would always refer to her as the greatest person in his life. Upon the birth of Burns, his mother would always refer to him as ‘star baby’ – as though she knew of the icon her son would become.
Age 14, the singer-songwriter dropped out of his Liverpool boys school after his harmony-red dyed hair and huge earring provoked official outrage and went on to work at record store, Probe Records.
It was here that Burns met various local musicians and kick-started his music career. The flamboyant singer’s first music endeavour came when he joined punk band Mystery Girls, alongside Julian Cope and Peter Wylie. The Mystery Girls only lasted one gig before Burns moved on to the Goth-influenced Nightmares in Wax in the late 70s.
It was from here that Dead or Alive was born, around the same time the ‘new pop’ era was happening with the Culture Club, Wham!, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Boy George.
Burns’ dreadlocked, make-up sporting androgyny look wasn’t shy of commercial success – originally claiming that Boy George stole his look.
With this, he later became an icon for those that didn’t want to categorize themselves as male or female, feminine or masculine. With his style and progressive approach to gender, he pushed the boundaries and the meaning of style, infamously saying, ‘Everyone’s in drag of some sorts. I don’t give a f**k about gender or drag. I’m not trying to be a girl by putting on a dress – gender isn’t separated by fabric.’
In 2006, Burns made a notorious appearance on Celebrity Big Brother where he memorably preformed a dance with the former MP George Galloway, both dressed in Lycra leotards.
His larger than life character shone throughout his time in the house. Infectious and forever authentic, this captivated the hearts of most across the country.
Whilst the conclusion of his life was grey, Burns will always be remembered for his colourful personality and eccentric style.
Rest in peace, Star Baby.