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Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

I've had this planned for a while, but given current events I wanted to find a way to say without ambiguity, "Nazis are bad," within the context of the cover presented. I didn't actually expect my research for this week to lead anywhere that would allow that. This Third Sunday Throwback to the 20th century is dedicated to the memory of a HI-NRG synthpop icon who passed away last October and would have celebrated his 58th birthday earlier this month. It turns out, that birthday is owed in a very literal way to the defeat of Nazis in World War II:

Dead or Alive - That's the Way I Like It (KC and the Sunshine Band)

Pete Burns was cross dressing as early as 1965 when he was only six years old. His Jewish mother, who had survived a Nazi concentration camp, was supportive of his creative expression, even though his father (an English soldier from Liverpool) wasn't so much. Burns was working as a hair stylist around 1975 when KC and the Sunshine Band released their power hit That's the Way I Like It, the second single from their self titled debut album. The track became ever-present in our culture and has been featured on over 40 television shows and film soundtracks (including, for instance, the 1999 film, Mystery Men) over the past 42 years. As the band's second number one hit, Burns was doubtless exposed to the track but it was still a few years before he would perform music himself.

According to Burns, he was frequenting a club called Eric's when, after an extended period of access, he was suddenly banned from entry by the owner until he "formed a band and started to sing." That led to his single performance with The Mystery Girls featuring Julian Cope. Soon after he unambitiously developed his next project, Rainbows Over Nagasaki, which became the goth/post-punk band Nightmares in Wax, a name inspired by his friendship with The Cramps. It was on their 1979 three-track EP Birth of a Nation that Burns first paid tribute to the KC and the Sunshine Band song by using its chorus as a part of his homo-erotically charged single, Black Leather.

The name Dead or Alive was originally inspired by Burns' idea to name the band after a book titled, Those Who Died Young. His guitarist at the time, Avery Mitchell, refused to work under that name and insisted on Dead or Alive instead. Burns agreed and the name stuck even though Mitchell left the band before its debut album, the 1984 Sophisticated Boom Boom. Their cover of That's the Way I Like It was the fourth single released from the album and their first major success. It was the first recorded cover of the track since the original, updating it with the new-wave synthpop sound that was modern at the time. Interestingly, Burns seemed to want to maintain some connection to the message he laid as the foundation of Black Leather by embedding some of its "tall, strong" "heavy muscle boy" imagery into the song through the additional lyric, "keep that, keep that body strong!" In fact, the b-side of the single release is basically an extended remix reprise of the cover with its core lyric being the title, Keep That Body Strong (That's The Way).

Such lyrics as those found in Black Leather, his dress, and his relationships raised many invasive questions on his sexuality. In his 2007 autobiography, Freak Unique, he addressed the question, "– am I gay, bi, trans or what? I say, forget all that. There’s got to be a completely different terminology and I’m not aware if it’s been invented yet. I’m just Pete."
His most memorable and recognized song may have been You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), but it seems likely we may never have have heard it if not for the fight against Nazis and KC and the Sunshine Band inspiring this cover:

The Cover:



The Original:


Next week:
Three other options have been foiled by powers beyond my control... but I have found a "shocking" industrial darkwave version of yet another song that often gets attributed wrongly to another artist who also covered it! Just in time for a rare astrological event, it also happens to deal with a planetary body, of sorts!

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!
(You do NOT need a Dreamwidth account to comment, but all comments are screened for spam prevention.)

I'll spin next in western Mass on this Friday, with a couple more dates coming up in September. You can find details on my schedule if you'd like to join those events. ^_^

Explore the darkness,
-Xero

Previous DisCOVERies

Aug 13 - Beseech - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! [A Man After Midnight] (ABBA)
Aug 06 - Solar Fake - One Step Closer (Linkin Park)
Jul 30 - Black Nail Cabaret - Shouldn't Have Done That (Depeche Mode)
Jul 23 - 4X4: HEALTH/Orkestra Obsolete/The Stitchlings/Bela Goosy - Blue Monday (New Order)
Jul 16 - Renegade Soundwave - Biting My Nails (Geneviève Waïte)

Directory of All Previous DisCOVERies

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seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

October 2017

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