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

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Being boring - Pet Shop Boys

'Being boring' was the second single taken from the Pet Shop Boys' 1990 album 'Behaviour'. The song is concerned with the idea of growing up and how people's perceptions and values change as they grow older. The title apparently materialised after someone in Japan accused the duo of being boring. The title is also derived from a Zelda Fitzgerald quotation, 'she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring'.

The track was originally pieced together in a studio in West Glasgow, where the music for 'My October symphony', 'The end of the world' and the unreleased track 'Love and war' were also done. 'Being boring' was not the duo's biggest chart success: it didn't chart in the Netherlands and only reached number 20 in the UK singles chart (whereas previous singles made the top 10 with ease).

My collection: 7" single no. 1503
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, August 6, 1991
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Being boring' / 'We all feel better in the dark'

Thursday, 15 October 2009

So hard - Pet Shop Boys

'So hard' was the first single taken from the Pet Shop Boys' 1990 album 'Behaviour'. According to Neil Tennant, the song is about 'two people living together; they are totally unfaithful to each other but they both pretend they are faithful and then catch each other out'. The single reached number 4 in the UK singles chart and number 15 in the Dutch Top 40.

The B-side of this single is 'It must be obvious'. Tennant commented about this track that it 'rather horrifyingly features my first ever guitar solo'.

My collection: 7" single no. 1434
Found: April 26, 1991
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'So hard' / 'It must be obvious'

Friday, 9 October 2009

It's alright - Pet Shop Boys

'It's alright' was originally recorded by Sterling Void in 1988. The Pet Shop Boys released their cover version of the song a year later on the album 'Introspective'. They heard the original on a house compilation album. While the original verion had only two verses, Neil Tennant wrote a third verse (sung as the second verse in their cover version) to expand the song's political concerns towards environmental issues.

The nine minute album version was edited for the single, which became half the length. The single reached number 5 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 1925
Found: Record fair, June 5, 1993
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'It's alright' / 'One of the crowd', 'Your funny uncle'

Monday, 28 September 2009

Left to my own devices - Pet Shop Boys

Produced by Trevor Horn, it's no surprise that 'Left to my devices', taken from the Pet Shop Boys' 1987 album 'Introspective', is quite a bombastic tune. As for the lyrics, Neil Tennant explains: 'I liked the idea of writing a really up pop song about being left alone. This song is a day in the life of someone, so it starts off with getting out of bed and being on the phone and drinking tea and all the rest of it, and it ends up with coming home. By this time I was making the words very exaggerated and camp, though writing a book and going on stage were both things I had wanted to do when I was young.'

The single peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart and number 19 in the Dutch Top 40. It did much worse in America, where it stalled at number 84. The Pet Shop Boys failed to regain their popularity there ever since.

My collection: 7" single no. 707
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, December 17, 1988
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Left to my own devices' / 'The sound of the atom splitting'

Friday, 18 September 2009

Domino dancing - Pet Shop Boys

'Domino dancing' was written by Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, and influenced by Latin pop. The song was recorded in Miami with a considerably large number of studio musicians for a Pet Shop Boys song. Public reception to the duo's new Latin sound proved disappointing. Tennant remembers: 'It entered the charts at number nine and I thought, 'that's that, then - it's all over'. I knew then that our imperial phase of number one hits was over.'

The single reached number 18 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 7 in both the UK singles chart and the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 1981
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, October 17, 1993
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Domino dancing' / 'Don Juan'

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Always on my mind - Pet Shop Boys

'Always on my mind' was written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson and originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972. That same year, Elvis Presley also recorded the song, and this is the version that became the most famous one through the years.

In 1987, Pet Shop Boys performed a version of 'Always on my mind' on 'Love me tender', an ITV network television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Presley's death, in which various popular contemporary acts performed cover versions of his hits. Their performance was so well-received that the group decided to record the song and release it as a single. This version became that year's UK Christmas number one.

My collection: 7" single no. 1963
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 25, 1993
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Always on my mind' / 'Do I have to?'

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Rent - Pet Shop Boys

The lyric of 'Rent' concerns a financialy one-sided relationship, i.e. that of a kept man. It was the third single from the Pet Shop Boys' album 'Actually'. The B-side 'I want a dog' was inspired by their friend Peter Andreas who said one day 'I want a dog, a chihuahua. I've only got a small flat'. This inspired Neil Tennant, who wrote the lyric for the song.

The single peaked at number 8 in the UK singles chart and number 28 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" snigle no. 1042
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 17, 1989
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Rent' / 'I want a dog'

Saturday, 29 August 2009

What have I done to deserve this? - Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield

The Pet Shop Boys recorded a duet with Dusty Springfield in 1987. It was released as the second single from their 1987 album 'Actually'. The single reached number 2 in the UK singles chart, the US Billboard Hot 100 and the Dutch Top 40. (What a coincidence!)

The song's success helped revive Springfield's career and led to a resurgence of interest in her music. Following this duet, the Pet Shop Boys wrote and produced the singles 'Nothing has been proved' and 'In private' for Springfield.

My collection: 7" single no. 1641
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, May 3, 1992
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'What have I done to deserve this?' / 'A new life'

Saturday, 22 August 2009

It's a sin - Pet Shop Boys

In the summer of 1987, MTV Europe started broadcasting. I was there when it happened and I think I saw about 70% of everything they broadcasted during the first few weeks. I quickly concluded that MTV wasn't going to make me happy: they had a very limited stock of music videos and they kept playing the same titles over and over again. I think I saw the video for 'It's a sin' eight times every single day.

Which is why to this day I'm a bit bored by this song. It is a good track, I simply heard it too damn much. The single was a massive hit, topping the charts in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. In the UK, the single peaked at number 3.

My collection: 7" single no. 551
Found: Tower Records, London, 1987
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'It's a sin' / 'You know where you went wrong'

Friday, 14 August 2009

Opportunities (let's make lots of money) - Pet Shop Boys

After the original version of 'Opportunities' did not become a hit, Pet Shop Boys changed record companies and released the song once again, in a new version. It became their third hit single, after 'West end girls' (also a re-recorded version) and 'Love comes quickly'.

Accoring to Neil Tennant, the lyric of the song is about 'two losers'. The song is written from the perspective of a man who describes himself as being intellectual and educated. The lyrics are addressed towards another character, who is invited to join the song's protagonist in a scheme to 'make lots of money'. Tennant has made it clear, however, that the schemes are doomed to failure. The band have attributed the cynicism of the song, in part, to the punk rock attitudes of the period.

A notable change between the original and re-recorded versions of 'Opportunities' is the omission of the spoken outro 'All the love that we had / And the love that we hide / Who will bury us / When we die?' According to Tennant, the lyrics were removed from the second version of the song as the duo feared the passage would be construed as being 'too pretentious'.

My collection: 7" single no. 456
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, September 13, 1986
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Opportunities (Let's make lots of money)' / 'Was that what it was?'

Monday, 3 August 2009

Love comes quickly - Pet Shop Boys

'Love comes quickly' was released as the third single from the Pet Shop Boys' debut album 'Please'. Although it was a top 20 hit in the UK, its chart performance was disappointing, given that it followed the worldwide number one, 'West end girls'. The song is about the inevitability of falling in love, even for those who deliberately shun the idea.

The B-side, 'That's my impression' was written in a basement in Camden Town (London) where the duo wrote all their early songs. Neil Tennant commented: 'When we'd written the music, I took the words of a song I'd written in the Seventies and just changed them to fit the tune. Rather enigmatic words.'

My collection: 7" single no. 420
Found: V&D, Den Haag, June 28, 1986
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Love comes quickly' / 'That's my impression'

Thursday, 30 July 2009

West end girls - Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys released a version of 'West end girls' produced by Bobby Orlando in 1984, but after signing a deal with Parlophone records, they released a new recording of that song in 1985. This time around, it was produced by Stephen Hague and it became their breakthrough single. It was a number 1 hit in the UK, peaked at number 3 in the Dutch Top 40 and it was often incorrectly referred to as the duo's debut single.

Neil Tennant started to write the song when he was staying at his cousin's house in Nottingham while watching a gangster film. Just when he was going to sleep, he came up with the lines: 'Sometimes you're better off dead, there's a gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head'.

My collection: 7" single no. 363
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1986
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'West end girls' / 'A man could get arrested'

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Did you see me coming - Pet Shop Boys

A very recent release for a change. 'Did you see me coming?' was released on June 1, 2009 as the second single from the Pet Shop Boys' tenth studio album 'Yes'. It entered the UK singles chart at number 21 a week later - only the third Pet Shop Boys single ever to miss the top 20 in Britain.

The single was released on two different cd-singles and this 12" single, which featured two remixes not on the cd-singles.

My collection: 12" single no. 498
Found: Recordstore.co.uk, received June 16, 2009
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Did you see me coming? (PSB Possibly more mix)', 'Did you see me coming? (Unicorn Kid mix)' / 'The way it used to be (Richard X mix)'

Saturday, 6 June 2009

One more chance (new remix 86) - Pet Shop Boys

I can't imagine that the Pet Shop Boys were very happy with this single release. ZYX Records released this 1986 remix of 'One more chance' after they switched record labels, moved to Parlophone Records and released a couple of successful albums. This remix was based on the original version of 'One more chance', which the Pet Shop Boys recorded with New York producer Bobby Orlando in 1984.

'One more chance' was based on an unused backing track Bobby Orlando had recorded for the actor/singer Divine, provisionally titled 'Rock me'. Neil Tennant then wrote a lyric for the song while in Broadway, exploring themes of masochism and 'romantic paranoia'. This remix single did not become a hit but I presume it's quite rare.

My collection: 7" single no. 2641
Found: May 12, 1996
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'One more chance (Hurricane remix by Tess)' / 'Theme for the Pet Shop Boys (part 2)'

Saturday, 30 May 2009

West end girls - Pet Shop Boys

In 1984, the Pet Shop Boys recorded three songs with producer Bobby Orlando, at Unique Studios in New York. 'West end girls' was one of them. Tennant and Chris Lowe devised an arrangement involving what Tennant calls 'Barry White chords' and a drum part lifted from Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean'. Orlando was thrilled by the song's production; his idea was to make a rap record in a British accent.

In April 1984, this original version of 'West end girls' was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a minor dance hit in Belgium and France, but was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12" import. The song would be a worldwide hit a year later, when the Pet Shop Boys signed to EMI records and re-recorded the track.

My collection: 7" single no. 502
Found: Den Haag, 1986
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'West end girls' / 'Pet shop boys'

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Suburbia - Pet Shop Boys

'Suburbia' was released as the fourth single from the Pet Shop Boys' debut album 'Please' (1986). The song's primary inspiration is the 1984 Penelope Spheeris film 'Suburbia'. In addition to this the tension of the Brixton riots of 1981 and 1985 led Neil Tennant of the duo to writing about the boredom of suburbia and the underlying tension among disaffected youth.

The single was released as a limited edition double single featuring three extra tracks on disc two, including a 'part two' of Suburbia, which was never released on cd in this form.

My collection: 7" single no. 2225
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, December 17, 1994
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Suburbia' / 'Paninaro' // 'Love comes quickly (Shep Pettibone mix)' / 'Jack the lad', 'Suburbia part two'

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Heart - Pet Shop Boys

'Heart' was released as the fourth single from the Pet Shop Boys' second album 'Actually' (1987). The track was remixed for the single and the single itself was released in two different sleeves in the UK: one picturing Neil Tennant (above) and one with Chris Lowe (below).

The track 'Heart' was originally offered to Hi-NRG singer Hazell Dean and Madonna, but in the end the Pet Shop Boys recorded the track themselves. Originally recorded for the 1986 album 'Plase' with Shep Pettibone, the duo re-recorded it in 1987 with producer Andy Richards. The single became the band's fourth number one hit in the UK, topping the chart for three weeks in the summer of 1988. In the Netherlands, the single peaked at number 11.

My collection: 7" single no. 2677 / no. 2678
Found: Record exchange, London, July 2, 1996
Cost: 1 pound / 1 pound
Tracks: 'Heart' / 'I get excited (you get excited too)'


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Opportunities (Let's make lots of money) - Pet Shop Boys

The first version of 'Opportunities' was recorded already in 1983, produced by Bobby Orlando. However, this version wasn't released. When the Pet Shop Boys signed to Parlophone records in 1985, they re-recorded the song with J.J. Jeczalik (from Art of Noise) and Nicholas Froome producing.

This single charted lowly at number 116 in the UK. Their second single on Parlophone would be 'West End Girls' in a new version. This would become what many people thought to be their debut single - and a worldwide hit.

My collection: 7" single no. 2642
Found: Record fair, May 12, 1996
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Opportunities (Let's make lots of money)' / 'In the night'

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

One more chance - Pet Shop Boys

In August 1983, music journalist Neil Tennant is sent to New York to interview The Police for his employer, Smash Hits magazine. While he is there, he decides to also have lunch with producer Bobby Orlando. Flattered by Neil's compliments about his hi energy music productions, Bobby O agrees to make a record with the Pet Shop Boys, the duo Neil has formed two years earlier with Chris Lowe. The first single they release together is an early version of 'West end girls'. This single is the follow-up: an early version of 'One more chance'. This version sounds a lot more mechanic and tinny than the version that would appear on their 1987 album 'Actually'.

I found this single, which is made in Sweden, in Denmark. It was very cheap for an item that can be considered a collector's item among Pet Shop Boys fans.

My collection: 7" single no. 3429
Found: Esbjerg, Denmark, June 17, 2006
Cost: 10 Danish crowns
Tracks: 'One more chance' / 'One more chance (remix)'
Download: here
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