A CROWDFUNDING campaign has been launched to help publish a book of never-before-seen photographs of Wirral-born pop star Pete Burns.

Total Stranger will feature previously unseen images of Dead or Alive’s iconic front taken by photographer Francesco Mellina between 1978 and 1983.

In his role as rock photographer, Francesco was well known in musical circles during the heady days of late 70s and early 80s Liverpool. He was a regular at Mathew Street’s famous Eric’s club with his camera, which is where he met Pete. The two became friends and Francesco would set up impromptu photo sessions to capture Pete’s creatively unique appearance. 

Pete, who was from Port Sunlight changed his band’s name from Nightmares in Wax to Dead or Alive in 1981 and asked Francesco to manage the band.

After several years of playing venues around England, Dead or Alive found success with their world-wide hit, You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). The track hit number one in the UK in 1985. It charted again in 2006 following Pete’s appearance on the reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother and again when it was featured in Stranger Things, Season 4. 

With his flamboyant dress style, eyepatch, and androgynous look, Pete became recognised as a gay icon.

He died in October 2016, at the age of 57, prompting tributes from the likes of Boy George, who described Pete as "one of our great true eccentrics" and Marc Almond who said he was " a one off creation, a fabulous, fantastic, brilliant creature".

(Image: Michael March)

"You’re going to get an incredible documentary of an outstanding personality," said Francesco about the new book which will feature 144 pages of photographs and comment laid out in the order that they were taken during the late 70s and early 80s. 

"Pete wasn’t outrageous to me but to other people he probably was. I just thought he looked fantastic which was why I was so keen to photograph him."

"We're looking to raise enough money through the music, fashion and photographic community on Kickstarter to enable us to pay for the scanning and cleaning of the photographs, the printing costs, plus the postage and packing.

"The negatives have been there in storage in my house for over 40 years," added Francesco.

"It has brought a lot of memories back for me and loads of surprises."

To support the new book click here