Monday, October 24, 2016

Peter Burns Is (More) Dead (Than Alive) at 57

Just got back from a weekend in D.C. where my brother is holding his own -- great lunch with him, Terence, Jacqueline and Damian -- and we attended an engagement party for my friends Jean and Brian (so happy for them!). Was planning to be away from the blog most of today, but was stunned and saddened by the death of Peter Burns, so felt compelled to log on. Burns scandalized the music scene in the early '80s with an androgynous persona that was the polar opposite of Boy George (and even sexy-tart-next-door Marilyn). While the Culture Club leader told Joan Rivers he preferred a cup of tea to sex with a woman or a man, Pete Burns had an aggressive voice and pranced around in tight leather that flaunted his curvy body, acting in a way that even the butchest heterosexual might feel sexually threatened. I'd never seen anything like it when the band's video for the KC and the Sunshine Band cover "That's the Way (I Like It)" hit MTV in '84 -- the album was called "Sophisticated Boom Boom," which was long overdue, indeed. (It made ONJ's twist-ending "Physical" video look like family fare!) And by the following year their collaboration with Stock Aitken and Waterman turned them into international chart sensations, with "You Spin Me (Round Like a Record)" still ranking as one of the greatest singles of all time. Burns was just 57 and reportedly suffered a massive heart attack. (I guess his poor health isn't completely unknown. He nearly died following a kidney operation in 2009,) I never followed his legendary post-music career, where his drastic plastic surgery and appearances on "Celebrity Big Brother" introduced him to a whole new generation. But his impact on pop music was real, and what I hope he will be best remembered for. RIP.

Fellow gender-bender Marilyn tweeted after the news. The two had recently buried the hatchet after a yearslong feud that I'm guessing was substantive in nature. 

Boy George weighs in  as well ...

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