Showing posts with label Pet Shop Boys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pet Shop Boys. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Before - Pet Shop Boys

During the bleak Nineties, the 7" single format was given up by record companies in favour of cd-singles. We all know what happened next: the music industry collapse under the pressure of cd copying and illegal downloading and reinvented itself with the even more worthless digital single, so that most singles aren't even released on a physical format anymore.

So all hail the 7" single. It seems there was a lively industry of so-called 'jukebox singles', so that this single by the Pet Shop Boys, 'Before', released in 1993 as the first single from their album 'Bilingual', was only available as one of those, and not with a pretty picture sleeve. I actually have a few of these 'jukebox singles' by the Pet Shop Boys, and only one is now missing: their cover version of 'Somewhere'. I'm sure it will turn up somewhere.

My collection: 7" single no. 6261
Found:, received February 27, 2020
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Before' / 'The truck driver and his mate'

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Dreamland - Pet Shop Boys

The world would be a better place if there were more magazines like the German Musikexpress, which regularly offers a free 7" single with their monthly issues. After having bought their recent issue featuring the amazing single 'My computer' by Prince and Kate Bush, they managed to improve on that by including a Pet Shop Boys single with their current issue.

'Dreamland' was the first single from their album 'Hotspot', which is released this week. Since then we've had the single 'Burning the heather', which was released on 7" vinyl, but 'Dreamland' wasn't, until now. This exclusive 7" single features a live track on the B-side; a medley of 'Always on my mind' and 'The pop kids'. And it's pressed on blue vinyl, too! Even if you can't read German, you will buy this magazine if you collect Pet Shop Boys singles. Which probably is the point of all this, I guess.

My collection: 7" single no. 6235
Found: Musikexpress (Germany), received January 18, 2020
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Dreamland' / 'Always on my mind/The pop kids (live)'

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Burning the heather - Pet Shop Boys

The second single off the Pet Shop Boys' forthcoming album 'Hotspot' is 'Burning the heather', a ballad with Bernard Butler on guitar. Curiously, the Boys didn't release this single as a cd-single (like the first one, 'Dreamworld') but on 7" vinyl. That would have been great if they had released previous singles on this format, but this is the first 7" vinyl release since 'Leaving' in 2012. It's a nightmare for completists.

As far as the song is concerned, I don't think this will be a huge hit. But I'm not sure the Boys are really bothered about that: the new album is bound to be a great seller, and more importantly, there's a live tour coming in 2020. That's where the real revenue comes from these days. Personally, I prefer records though. And cd-singles.

My collection: 7" single no. 6221
Found:, received December 16, 2019
Cost: 8 pounds
Tracks: 'Burning the heather' / 'Decide'

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Se a vida é - Pet Shop Boys

When the Pet Shop Boys released 'Bilingual' in 1996, there were suspicions that their holidays in Spanish speaking countries had gotten the best of them. There were quite a few Spanish expressions on the album, most visibly on the song 'Se a vida é', which was released as the album's second single. It reached number 8 in the UK singles chart.

On the B-side of this jukebox-only 7" single there's the single mix of the previous single, 'Before'. Released on April 22, 1996 it reached number 7 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 6163
Found:, received September 17, 2109
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Se a vida é' / 'Before (single mix)'

Paninaro '95 - Pet Shop Boys

For a long time, I believed the Pet Shop Boys didn't release a vinyl single in the 1990's after Liberation, but it turns out I was wrong. A recent discovery on Discogs was the release of a handful 7" singles from that era, although they were only produced for the apparently lively jukebox circuit.

'Paninaro '95' was released to promote the B-side compilation 'Alternative'. It was a re-recording of a song that originally appeared on the B-side of the single Suburbia. The new recording included a rap in the middle of the song, newly written by Chris Lowe; it laments the loss of the "lover" referred to in the pre-existing lyrics. The written lyrics in the final are also changed to "were" rather than "are" in referring to the lost love.

My collection: 7" single no. 6162
Found:, received September 17, 2019
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Paninaro '95' / 'In the night'

Saturday, 14 September 2019

West end girls '86 - Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys became famous with their 1985 single 'West end girls', but the song was actually recorded before the version that made them famous. That version was produced by Bobby Orlando, and released in 1984. And of course I have that single, I bought it back in 1986.

But this single is a different beast: while the Pet Shop Boys were riding high in the charts with their first handful of singles and their debut album, ZYX Records decided to release a 'remix' of the original version of 'West end girls'. The track was remixed by Tess at Hurricane Studio Munich, and that probably tells you all you need to know. It's the sound of a record company trying to make money off a product that probably shouldn't have been made at all. Although I have to say that I do like this version.... actually.

My collection: 7" single no. 6161
Found:, received September 13, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'West end girls (remix '86)' / 'Theme for the Pet Shop Boys'

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Free 4 track solid EP - Various artists

British magazine Record Mirror would give away 7" vinyl singles with their issues from time to time, sometimes containing exclusive content. These singles are being sold on the second hand market these days, for varying amounts. This copy was not too expensive, and since it contains two of my favourite artists, I quite liked to buy it.

The Pet Shop Boys offer their early track 'In the night', whereas Depeche Mode make an appearance with the album track 'Dressed in black'. Unfortunately the B-side of this EP contains nothing more than some random rapping over boring beats. You can't win them all.

My collection: 7" single no. 6011

Found:, received March 12, 2019
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Dressed in black' (Depeche Mode), 'In the night' (Pet Shop Boys) / 'Slow and low' (Beastie Boys), 'Dangerous' (LL Cool J)

Friday, 1 March 2013

You only tell me you love me when you're drunk - Pet Shop Boys

I don't have many Pet Shop Boys 12" singles, even though I really like their music. Most of their remixes have been released on cd - I think - so whenever I see a 12" single by them I cross off my list: 'Do I have all the tracks?'. If not, I go to the next question: 'Is it cheap'? If not, I have no trouble leaving it be.

So this double 12" set ended up in my collection because it contained one remix I didn't have yet and because it was dirt cheap. When I finally received it today I concluded that it was a good buy: the outer sleeve looks a bit boring (see the picture) but the two inner sleeve are actually quite attractive, featuring a photograph on one side each (picturing one member of the duo each) and the same dark brown colour on the other side. Well designed. But then, all of the Pet Shop Boys sleeves have been well designed.

My collection: 12" single no. 641
Found:, received March 1, 2013
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk (Brother Brown's newt mix)' / 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk (Attaboy still love you when we're sober mix)' // 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk (The T-Total mix)' / 'You only tell me you love me when you're drunk (Brother Brown's newt dub)'

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Leaving - Pet Shop Boys

Released last month, the Pet Shop Boys’ latest album Elysium is a very consistent set of songs. The duo tried to maintain a mood for a whole album and they were pretty successful, even if one or two songs are very different from the others. The second single from the album was released last week and is entitled 'Leaving'. Even in this era where single releases are becoming quite scarce, the Pet Shop Boys have chosen to release two cd-singles, a 12" single and even a 7" single. Much to my delight, of course, because 7" singles are still the best format. It comes with an inner and outer sleeve, with Chris Lowe on the outer sleeve and Neil Tennant on the label of the A-side. The inner sleeve features a beautiful laminated photograph of clouds in a dark sky, befitting the mood of the song. The demo version, featured on the B-side, is slightly different from the finished recording and can be considered quite a treat for fans and casual listeners alike. One of the best tracks on the album as far as I'm concerned.

My collection: 7" single no. 5296
Found: Rough Trade website, received October 18, 2012
6 pounds
Tracks: 'Leaving' / 'Leaving (demo version)'

Friday, 23 December 2011

I'm not scared - Eighth wonder

The Pet Shop Boys produced 'I'm not scared' for Eighth Wonder, the group with frontwoman Patsy Kensit. She appeared in the BBC programme 'Saturday kitchen' earlier this month, with some people commenting that she looked like she'd had some cosmetic surgery done. Shame, because she always looked so great in the past and cosmetic surgery rarely does anything to enhance looks. Just ask Pete Burns.

The single 'I'm not scared' was produced by the Pet Shop Boys and Phil Harding. This 12" single features an extended 'disco mix'. I looked for the cd-single for ages, but it's very hard to find a copy for a reasonable price. So in the mean time, this disc will have to do.

My collection: 12" single no. 433
Found: House of Rhythm, London, 2003
Cost: 1,4 pounds
Tracks: 'I'm not scared (disco mix)' / 'I'm not scared', 'J'ai pas peur'

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The crying game - Boy George

'The crying game' was written by Geoff Stephens and first recorded by Dave Berry in July 1964. Then-unknown session guitarist Jimmy Page played rhythm guitar in this song while Big Jim Sullivan played the solo.

In 1965, Brenda Lee recorded a cover version of the song. Boy George followed suit in 1992. His version was produced by the Pet Shop Boys. Both the Brenda Lee and Boy George versions were used in the Neil Jordan movie, 'The crying game' (1992). The single turned out to be Boy George's last major hit single, peaking at number 22 in the UK singles chart and number 15 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It topped the singles chart in Canada.

My collection: 7" single no. 4756
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, April 5, 2010
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'The crying game'

Friday, 26 February 2010

Before - Pet Shop Boys

Although the single 'Before' by the Pet Shop Boys was not released on 7" vinyl, the record company had not abandoned the vinyl format altogether: 12" singles by the Pet Shop Boys continued to be released all through their career. And 'Before' was released in a plethora of different 12" singles. The promotional 12" singles with penises on the front cover were perhaps the most notorious ones, but this box set was the best item overall.

Comprising nine remixes on three discs, it is an hour's worth of music. And I'm using the term 'music' loosely here: only the last remix actually features verses and chorus of the song - other remixes are just collections of sounds and beats that sometimes seem to have nothing in common with the track itself. Still, it is a great collector's item for Pet Shop Boys fans, and finding this box set for so little money was a great bargain.

My collection: 12" single no. 533
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, February 26, 2010
Cost: 2,5 euro
Tracks: 'Before (Underground mix)', 'Before (Bonus dub)' / 'Before (Underground instrumental)', 'Before (Bonus beats)' // 'Before (Classic Paradise mix)' / 'Before (Aphrodisiac mix)' // 'Before (Hed Boys mix)', 'Before (Hed Boys dub)' / 'Before (Joey Negro extended mix)'

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Where the streets have no name (Can't take my eyes off you) - Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys have always been known for their many remixes, even releasing remix compilations called 'Disco' in between albums. Back in 1991, they had several releases of their double A-side single 'Where the streets have no name (Can't take my eyes off you)'/'How can you expect to be taken seriously'.

I found this 12" single for 1 pound in London. While missing the picture sleeve and housed in a standard 'Our Price' sleeve, the disc was interesting enough to warrant me buying it. The three remixes were created by David Morales, one of the better known DJ's circa 1991, when the single was released.

My collection: 12" single no. 212
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 1993
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Where the streets have no name (Can't take my eyes off you) (David Morales remix) / 'How can you expect to be taken seriously? (Mo Mo Remix)', 'How can you expect to be taken seriously? (Ragga Zone remix)'

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Numb - Pet Shop Boys

'Numb' is one of the few songs recorded by the Pet Shop Boys that wasn't written by themselves. The song was composed by Los Angeles songwriter Diane Warren and originally meant to be a new song on the Pet Shop Boys' 2003 compilation 'PopArt'. The track was finally included on their 2006 album 'Fundamental'.

'Numb' was subsequently released as the third single from the album in a drastically edited, nay, butchered version. The single peaked at number 23 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 3448
Found: HMV, London, 2006
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Numb' / 'Party song'

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Minimal - Pet Shop Boys

'Minimal' was originally planned to be the first single from the Pet Shop Boys' 2006 album 'Fundamental', but was held back in favour of 'I'm with stupid'. The single finally was released in July 2006. The lyrics are an abstract description of expressions of minimalism, such as 'more is less' and 'an empty box, an open space'. The upbeat, busy instrumentation and production is quite in contrast with minimalism.

The single reached number 19 in the UK singles chart and number 7 in Denmark, but was not successful in other European countries. The B-side 'In private' is a new version of a song originally written for Dusty Springfield. This time the track is recorded as a duet between Neil Tennant and Elton John.

My collection: 7" single no. 3447
Found: HMV, London, 2006
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Minimal (radio edit)' / 'In private (7 inch mix)'

Friday, 11 December 2009

I'm with stupid - Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys released 'I'm with stupid' in May 2006 as the first single from their Trevor Horn-produced album 'Fundamental'. Though it could be considered a lovesong about a man perceived by the public as a 'moron', the song has been acknowledged as being, on another level, about Tony Blair's relationship with George W. Bush.

The single was released on cd, dvd, various download formats and this 7" single. Although it was released in a 'normal' picture sleeve, it actually contains a picture disc. The single peaked at number 8 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 3446
Found: Record fair, 2006
Cost: 6 euro
Tracks: 'I'm with stupid' / 'Girls don't cry'

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Young offender / Liberation - Pet Shop Boys

Throughout their career, the Pet Shop Boys have always been keen on remixing their songs. In the beginning, they made most of their extended remixes themselves, but when the Nineties started, they utilised more and more 'outsiders' for their remixes. This double 12" single set displays both the merits and the disadvantages of that approach.

The two Jam & Spoon remixes of 'Young offender' are great trance experiences, using most of the original song but in a very different musical setting. 'Liberation' was remixed by Murk, Oscar G and E Smoove, but none of them have been able to come up with something even remotely sounding like the original track. Some of them use one word from the track, namely its title, but the whole experience of disc 2 has become unlistenable dross. Remixing? Not everyone is good at it, you know.

My collection: 12" single no. 228
Found: Record fair, 1993
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Young offender (Jam & Spoon's Trip-o-matic fairy tale mix)' / 'Young offender (Remix no. 2)' // 'Liberation (E Smoove 7" mix)' / 'Liberation (Murk Deepstrumental mix)', 'Liberation (Oscar G's dopeassdub mix)', 'Liberation (Murk Dirty Club mix)'

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Liberation - Pet Shop Boys

'Liberation' was released as the fourth single from the Pet Shop Boys' 1993 album 'Very'. The single reached number 14 in the UK singles chart and was the lowest charting single from the album. The single was released on several formats, including two cd-singles, a double 12" single set and this 7" single.

The music video was full of computer generated graphics, which is true for all the videos from the album 'Very'. The wonderful B-side 'Decadence' features Johnny Marr from the Smiths on guitar.

My collection: 7" single no. 2099
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, April 16, 1994
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Liberation' / 'Decadence'

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing - Pet Shop Boys

'I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing' is a track on the Pet Shop Boys' fifth studio album 'Very'. The track was remixed and released as the third single from the album in November 1993. It reached number 13 in the UK singles chart. The single was remixed for the 12" and cd-single formats by six different remixers.

In 1998, Robbie Williams recorded a cover version of this track as a bonus track on his single 'Let me entertain you'.

My collection: 7" single no. 2063
Found: Wreckastow, Rotterdam, December 24, 1993
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing' / 'Too many people'

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Go west - Pet Shop Boys

In 1992, when Pet Shop Boys were asked by Derek Jarman to perform at an AIDS charity event at The Haçienda nightclub in Manchester, Chris Lowe of the duo selected 'Go west' (originally released by the Village People) as the song they would perform. Though singer Neil Tennant was unable to remember the lyrics during that performance, the two decided to record it as a single.

The original single version of the song, set for an earlier release in 1992 as a non-album single, was never used. When the single was released as the second single from their album 'Very' in 1993, it reached number 2 in the UK singles chart, number 1 in Germany and number 3 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 1988
Found: HMV, London, October 18, 1993
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Go west' / 'Shameless'

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