“You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – The Story of Dead or Alive’s Most Iconic Single

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“You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – The Story of Dead or Alive’s Most Iconic Single

There’s nothing quite so distinctive as an ’80s music video. The hair, the color, and the audacious attitude, always come together to create extraordinary.
You Spin Me Round

In short, you always know when you’re watching an ’80s music video, and if you want an example, then look no further than Dead or Alive’s 1984 hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”

If that song didn’t start playing in your heard the moment you read the title, you’ve heard it before. If so, then you should go and listen to it right now because this is the kind of music you need in your life. It’s loud, expressive, imaginative, overflowing with style, and incredibly catchy.

But who was the band behind the song?
The story of Dead or Alive begins in Liverpool in 1977 when vocalist Pete Burns formed his first band, a short-lived group called The Mystery Girls. Although Mystery Girls only ever played one gig, it was the beginning of a long career for Burns.

Two years later, he and some friends formed a new band called Nightmares in Wax. Over time, as the line-up shifted and the band went through a couple of name changes, Nightmares in Wax morphed into the band we know and love today: Dead or Alive.

Their first real chart success was 1982’s “The Stranger”–a dark post-punk with New Wave influences–but the band took off in ’85 when they put out their second album Youthquake, from which the big hit was the unforgettable “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”

Composition
The song, according to Burns, was inspired by Luther Vandross’ “I Wanted Your Love” and “See You’ Round Like A Record” by Little Nell–famous for her appearance as Colombia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although the song does not sample from either, the inspiration is quite apparent. There are stylistic similarities, particularly with Vandross’ “I Wanted Your Love,” but at the same time, you’d be hard pushed to claim that there was even a hint of plagiarism at work.

An Unexpected Chart Topper
In case you couldn’t guess, “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)” was the band’s first song to the UK singles chart and hit No.1 in Canada and No.11 in the US.
While the song’s success might seem evident, it wasn’t so apparent to the record label or the production team in 1984. In fact, according to Burns, the record label had next to no faith in the single, and the song only got recorded because he took out a £2500 loan. Even after it was finished, the label still didn’t think much of the song, and the band ultimately funded the music video themselves.

As for the producers, we had several arguments with the band over the direction the song should take throughout its development. Although the song’s success ought to have settled some of these disputes, the friction between the band and their producers only continued to grow while their popularity slowly declined. Although their future was spotted with modest successes and became prevalent in Japan, “You Spin Me Right Round” remains their most significant chart success.
The song, however, really left the public ear, and in 2003 a was released alongside the band’s greatest hits album. Then, in 2006, the original was re-released. Both releases reached the charts, with the 2003 remix hitting no.23 and the 2006 release hitting no.5, and to this day, thousands of people still keep going back to this classic ’80s hit.

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