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Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys are an electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasional guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards.

One of the world’s best-selling music artists, Pet Shop Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records. Three-time BRIT Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, since 1986 they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four Number Ones: “West End Girls”, “It’s a Sin”, “Always on My Mind” and “Heart”.

At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The duo’s latest studio album, Yes (continuing their tradition of single word titles) was released on 23 March 2009.

Formation and early years (1981–1984)

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London in August 1981. Recognising a mutual interest in dance music they began to work on material together, first in Tennant’s flat in Chelsea and from 1982, in a small studio in Camden Town. It was during these early years that several future hit songs were created, including “It’s a Sin”, “West End Girls”, “Rent” and “Jealousy”.

Starting out the two called themselves West End, because of their love of London’s West End, but later they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, derived from friends of theirs who worked in a pet shop in Ealing. Their big break came in August 1983, when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits to interview The Police in New York. The duo were obsessed with a stream of Hi-NRG records, made by New York producer Bobby Orlando, simply known as Bobby ‘O’. According to Tennant: “I thought: well, if I’ve got to go and see The Police play, then I’m also going to have lunch with Bobby ‘O’.” They shared a cheeseburger and carrot cake, at a restaurant called the Apple Jack, on 19 August (two years to the day since Tennant and Lowe had met) and Orlando suggested making a record with the Pet Shop Boys, after hearing a demo tape that Tennant had taken with him.

In April 1984, the Orlando-produced “West End Girls” was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco. On 2 November it was voted “Screamer of the Week” by listeners of Long Island, New York radio station WLIR. It was a minor dance hit in Belgium, and France, but was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12″ import.

Please and remix album Disco: 1984–86

In March 1985, after long negotiations, Pet Shop Boys cut their contractual ties with Bobby ‘O’, with a settlement giving Bobby ‘O’ significant royalties for future sales. Hiring manager Tom Watkins, they signed with the London-based Parlophone label. In April, Tennant left Smash Hits (where he had progressed to the position of deputy editor) and in July, a new single, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”, was released, reaching number 116 in the UK. The B-side to this single, “In the Night”, later resurfaced, in a longer remixed version, as the opening track to the duo’s first remix album, Disco, in 1986. This version was also used as the theme for the UK television series The Clothes Show.

Unperturbed by the low chart position, the band returned to the studio in August to re-record “West End Girls” with producer Stephen Hague. Released in October 1985, this new version initially entered the charts at a similarly low position, but began a slow rise so that, by January 1986, it achieved the top spot. It was subsequently number one in the United States, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Israel, New Zealand and Norway and sold an estimated 1.5 million copies worldwide. It remains the most-heard Pet Shop Boys song to date.

After the success of “West End Girls”, Pet Shop Boys released a follow-up single, “Love Comes Quickly”, on 24 February 1986. The single reached number 19 in the UK Singles Chart and was followed by their debut album, Please, on 24 March. In June 1986, the band announced a European tour; however, their plans for a theatrical extravaganza proved to be too expensive and the tour was cancelled. Please started Pet Shop Boys’ penchant for choosing one-word album titles, which Neil Tennant has since stated is now a Pet Shop Boys “signature thing”, akin to e.e. cummings’ use of exclusively lower case letters. New versions of second single “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” and album track “Suburbia” were also released in 1986, followed by a remix album, Disco. In September 1986, Pet Shop Boys performed “Love Comes Quickly” and “West End Girls” at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Discography

Studio Albums

1986 Please – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-please/

1987 Actually – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-actually/

1988 Introspective – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-introspective/

1990 Behaviour – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-behaviour/

1993 Very – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys-very/

1996 Billingual – Coming soon 02/10/2016

Compilations

Discography – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-discography/

Back To Mine – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-back-to-mine/

Alternative – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/pet-shop-boys/pet-shop-boys-alternate/

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