Sep 09

DEAD OR ALIVE – “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”

FT + Popular61 comments • 5,452 views

#546, 9th March 1985, video

If “Relax” – as Mark Sinker put it during the subsequent discussion – was a non-DJs idea of a club record, “You Spin Me Round” is a DJ’s idea of a Frankie track. In fact, it sounds like Stock, Aitken and Waterman have broken into Trevor Horn’s studio at night, nicked a load of his gear, done a bag of speed and started pressing buttons at close to random. Marvellous, in other words. The hidden force driving the record’s mania is that hyperfast sequenced keyboard run, its chattering bleeps like a player piano installed on the bridge of the Enterprise, adding a note of derangement to a track already lacking in restraint.

Without Pete Burns, of course, “You Spin Me Round” would be considerably shyer. It’s a fine example of a limited performer finding the one perfect record for him: he gets to play the Lion Queen, prowling and roaring his way around the song-stage in his finest panto predator style while the drum machines bang out a strutter’s rhythm. “I WANT YOUR LOVE!”

“You Spin”‘s crude machine-rush wouldn’t be matched on a number one for years but its chassis was already well-travelled: hi-NRG club beats and keyboards in debt to Patrick Cowley, Bobby “O”, and other NYC and European post-disco music. SAW always knew their stuff (and could be somewhat sniffy about the fact when their credentials were mocked). But this is trashier, buzzier, more immediate even than that: there’s a Dionysian kick to it which feels more like a rebuke to New Pop than its barbarous fag-end. Sadly it’s a staging post on its producers’ journey to the centre of the cheap, and without Pete Burns to frame they never achieved this wildness again.



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  1. 51
    Kevin's Cousin on 11 Jun 2011 #

    It’s a very dull record, it just goes round and round and round… hang on, don’t they all?

  2. 52
    hectorthebat on 23 Dec 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1-1001
    Blender (USA) – Top 500 Songs of the 80s-00s (2005) 289
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    VH-1 (USA) – Nominations for the 100 Greatest 80s Songs (2006)
    Woxy.com (USA) – Modern Rock 500 Songs of All Time (combined rank 1989-2009) 897
    Gary Mulholland (UK) – This Is Uncool: The 500 Best Singles Since Punk Rock (2002)
    NME (UK) – The 100 Best Songs of the 1980s (2012) 98
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 981
    Vox (UK) – 100 Records That Shook the World (1991)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)

  3. 53
    Lazarus on 21 Apr 2015 #

    The sad tale continues, hard to know what to make of it all really – just seems to me that he should have seen a good therapist before he started consulting plastic surgeons …


  4. 54
    Phil on 21 Apr 2015 #

    The hidden force driving the record’s mania is that hyperfast sequenced keyboard run

    On “The Reunion” on Sunday, Pete Waterman revealed that this was a mistake – they stayed up all night mixing the thing, and only at 10 o’clock the next morning did they realise that they’d left the arpeggiator running on track 32 (or whatever). Presumably it would have taken a lot of work to take that track out (perhaps they’d mixed it down onto one track with some other stuff) so they left it in and hoped nobody would notice. Pete B however did notice, and loved it (and rightly so) – so they never told him it was a happy accident. All of which might help explain why they never hit that peak again.

  5. 55
    BT on 22 Apr 2015 #

    Moz & PB can be heard performing together here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx51PsNBe8E, although IMO the track really takes off after they’ve left the stage and the band reveal their jazz-funk chops

  6. 56
    Lazarus on 24 Oct 2016 #

    Another busy day in 2016 for the Reaper … following on from the news of Bobby Vee earlier, Pete Burns succumbs to a heart attack aged 57. RIP.

  7. 57
    AMZ1981 on 24 Oct 2016 #

    Bobby Vee and Pete Burns were both brief superstars from different eras and while neither ever quite sunk into obscurity, once the spotlight moved on they were never to regain it. Their deaths announced on the same day are a reminder that success peaks so quickly, youth is only passing and nobody is immortal.

  8. 58
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Oct 2016 #

    #57 – Apparently Captain Scarlet was.

  9. 59
    Paulito on 27 Oct 2016 #

    @57 Burns did briefly regain the spotlight much later on, albeit in a desperately tawdry, end-of-the-pier freakshow capacity. Sad.

  10. 60
    Martin F. on 13 Nov 2016 #

    Bill Drummond on Burns (and more): http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/entertainment/remembrance-sunday-by-bill-drummond

  11. 61
    Mark M on 14 Nov 2016 #

    Re60: Still puzzling over the Pete Frame quote that the Eric’s scene was ‘the first unforced geographical rock boom since San Francisco mushroomed in 1967.’

    Anyway, that’s an enjoyable read, but as often/usual with Drummond it’s both very self-centred – it tells you almost nothing about Pete Burns – and full of connections that would fall apart if you tugged too hard. (I’m very sceptical that Townsend and Waterman actually visited him the same day, rather than the same… month?)

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