Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

Profile:
Formation and early years: 1981–84

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 those early years that several future hit songs were created, including "It's a Sin", "West End Girls", "Rent" and "Jealousy".

Initially Tennant and Lowe performed as 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, after hearing a demo tape that Tennant had brought along with him, Orlando suggested making a record with the Pet Shop Boys.

From 1983-84, Orlando recorded eleven tracks with Tennant and Lowe including; "West End Girls", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money"), "It's A Sin", "I Want A Lover", "I Get Excited", "Two Divided By Zero", "Rent", "Later Tonite", "Pet Shop Boys", "A Man Could Get Arrested" and "One More Chance". 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.

The most successful pop duo in British chart history. In the early 90s they ran Spaghetti Recordings and more recently, Olde English and Lucky Kunst labels. From April 2013 their releases are put out on their own new label x2 (2).
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Pet Shop Boys Discography

Albums

none Pet Shop Boys Pet Shop Boys(Cass, Promo) Massive Management none UK 1983 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Please (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone US 1986 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Actually (Album, Maxi, Single, Comp) Parlophone South Korea 1987 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Introspective (Album, Single) Parlophone, Parlophone Ecuador 1988 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Behaviour (Album, Comp) Parlophone, Parlophone Indonesia 1990 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Relentless (Album) Parlophone UK 1993 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Very (Album, Comp) Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone South Africa 1993 Sell This Version
none Pet Shop Boys Album Snippets(Cass, Smplr, Promo) Parlophone none UK 1993 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Disco 2 (Comp) Parlophone, Parlophone US 1994 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Bilingual (Album, Comp) Parlophone, Parlophone Poland 1996 Sell This Version
PSBFC01 Pet Shop Boys About(2xCD) Pet Shop Boys Partnership Ltd. PSBFC01 UK 1997 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Nightlife (Album) Parlophone Poland 1999 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Closer To Heaven (Original Cast Recording) (Album) Epic UK 2000 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Release (Album, Comp) Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone Taiwan 2001 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Disco 3 (Album, Single) Parlophone Brazil 2002 Sell This Version
PopArt02 Pet Shop Boys PopArt (The Interview)(CD, Promo) Parlophone PopArt02 UK 2003 Sell This Version
00946 335033 2 8 Pet Shop Boys Battleship Potemkin(CD, Promo, Album, Copy Prot., Wit) Parlophone 00946 335033 2 8 Europe 2005 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Concrete (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone Europe 2006 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Fundamental (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone Philippines 2006 Sell This Version
none Pet Shop Boys Fundamental (Limited Edition Bonus Disc)(CDr, Promo) Rhino Records (2) none US 2006 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Yes (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone Indonesia 2009 Sell This Version
5099968645212 Pet Shop Boys Yes, Pet Shop Boys, Dub Mixes.(LP, Ltd, Num, Promo) Astralwerks 5099968645212 US 2009 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Pandemonium (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone, Parlophone USA & Canada 2010 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Elysium (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone Russia 2012 Sell This Version
Pet Shop Boys Electric (Album) x2 (2), x2 (2), x2 (2) UK & Europe 2013 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 25 Reviews

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dneaeade

dneaeade

September 28, 2016
edited 2 months ago
I think a lot of old fans are very hard on the Pet Shop Boys. YES "Please", "Disco", "Actually" and even "Introspective" were flawless, then came "Behavio(u)r" : I had a hard time with this one, I must admit, but still, some hits and very good songs were still there, remember "So Hard", "The End Of The World" and "...Seriously" : album version of course, I'll never forgive Brothers In Rhythms for their suicidal single remix. Do you know how to kill a powerful hit ? Ask BIR, they have the recipe for sure.

After "Behavio(u)r" and the "Discography" singles compilation, I thought they were done. "Was It Worth It" was just a pale Stock/Aitken/Waterman soundalike. It was the end of Phase One.

Then came "Very" and they proved for the first time that they were capable of geniously re-invent themselves. It was so dance, so joyful again, I really thought they were like reborn. Even the United States who seemed to bury them after the so-called so gay music video of "Domino Dancing" couldn't escape the wave of the massive hit single "Go West" : their masterful cover of the Village People song.

Personally I think there are good songs on each and every one of their albums, it's just a matter of taste. Yes even on "Bilingual" that a lot of fans hate, I still loved "Up Against It" or "A Red Letter Day".

But I agree that their darkest hour has been 1996-2006 with "Bilingual" : meh, "Nightlife" : too cluby even though I still love tracks there "For Your Own Good", "Happiness Is An Option", "Vampires" and of course "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give it Anymore" : which I love very much even though this one has probably the longest single title in music's history along with Bonnie Tyler's "Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody's Got To Do It) lol. And the dreadful "Release" was well, released : it's the one album where they thought they were like "The Beatles" : I only like "Home And Dry" there. I'm not much of a Lennon fan, so...

As for "Fundamental", it's a very very dark release, very political, controversial. "Minimal" is very nice but the only very good song there "Integral" has been ruined by an awful single remix vocodered to death (a powerful hit ruined by a truly horrid single remix, it's "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously" all over again !).

But with "Yes" they were back in good shape again (it was almost like "Very" volume 2, cheerful songs all over again (finally!), then came "Elysium" and then again I thought they were done, even though I loved "Leaving" and "Memory Of The Future" but this release was bleak, bleak, bleak...

And with "Electric" and "Super" they proved us once again that they were still a dance music force to be reckoned with : "Thursday" was back from where "West End Girls" came from, "Love Is A Bourgeois Construct" reminded us of "Left To My Own Devices" : classical music to a disco beat again, yeah !, "Axis" and "Burn" brought back their techno roots...

...and finally "Twenty-Something" is the best song they have ever made since their Imperial Phase (1985-1988). Even my sister who buried them since "Being Boring" yelled "Yeah the Pet Shop Boys are finally back !" when she heard this one !

They are today as good as they were before, the thing is, I think, they don't want to be successful again (for a reason that eludes me).

Because to be fair, one must admit that since "Fundamental" some very good songs are buried inside the albums or as b-sides, it's sad and uncanny really "Fugitive" : their best song since "Domino Dancing" was buried in "Fundamental"'s disc 2, "The Ressurectionist" was a b-side, "After The Event"/"A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi" : again b-sides or extra-tracks, "A Face Like That" is buried along "Elysium"'s moody tracks, and even "Twenty-Something" was not properly promoted (probably because of the moving but very dark and depressing black and white music video).

And to tell the truth their own label x2 can't compete with the commercial strengh of EMI/Parlophone (I wasn't even able to buy the "Vocal" CD single when I wanted to because it was already out of print only a few weeks after its original release, so come on guys, what's up with that !

But to me the Pet Shop Boys albums will always be more relevant and interresting than some of the latest Depeche Mode albums. Pity, really, because in the 80's I loved both bands equally.

PaRRa_DoXX

PaRRa_DoXX

September 19, 2016
"It's A Sin" has always been one of my favourite 80's songs (regardless of genres/styles)! And this may sound silly to some, but I hear a lot of PSB in VNV Nation (even their early stuff). I've always thought that Ronan & VNV should do a cover of "It's A Sin"! I can clearly hear it in my head... does anyone else?
KyotoPurpleSanga

KyotoPurpleSanga

May 26, 2016
edited 4 months ago
Naturally one of the best eletronic/pop acts ever. Classic and timeless.
laurenb252

laurenb252

March 11, 2016
Love the Pet Shop Boys! Excellent music and I'm very excited for the new album Super!
TIM

TIM

March 6, 2015
I have followed pet shop boys from 1985 on. And very hardcore until about 1999. And yes like most long time fans will agree, they lost the magic by the end of the Very album. There have been about 2-3 good songs on each album and Yes had me the most excited for their album in over. A decade when that came out. The melody on Leaving was played the most times in a row for a psb in almost 2 decades as well. I chalk it up to a few things. First analog versus digital. My biggest gripe. When they turned to mostly digital around the turn of the century a lot of charm was taken from them. Then the tempos on some tracks were questionable. Neil ' voice got older. Trying to stay relevant to new dance trends will alienate older fans. Heard that Cher auto tone version of home and dry?? Or whatever song that was. Eeks. With all the pet shop boys stood for paving their own way, they should know that the old is the new new. It's been like that for over a decade now. Analog sounds are in. How could a band who had their roots in acid house, new York club scene and disco miss this? Chris...got get your Fairlight and Emulator 2 and get back to the roots of your sound. Listening to Please has passion, beauty and futuristic upscale sound. These days it's more like commercial hair product music. With Neil usually not in tune. And the outfits they wear in stage follows the decline of the music. The more outrageous the more sterile. Maybe it's monly and old age. Maybe success. Maybe they haven't been inspired by any music lately. Still thinking their over digital in your face Electronica is still the thing. Well its not boys'
forever 1984-1994...
Argenberg

Argenberg

October 11, 2014
Pet Shop Boys has always balanced wry, quintessentially English lyrics with unforgettable melodies and danceable electronic rhythms, and in the process have become one of the greatest current examples of a successful marriage of art and commerce - their songs nearly always feature all of the hallmarks of classic pop music.
LaHengstRules

LaHengstRules

November 11, 2013
Hi, I'd first like to say that the world wouldn't be nearly as awesome if "Saint Etienne" weren't in it! (my favorite band) Their huge fans of The Pet shop boys bytheway! Secondly, I just discovered how great The Pet shop boy's album "Yes" is! Thirdly, great brief review of the Duo! I've actually not been that much into their music but after hearing their albums "Release, Nightlife and now Yes; I'm quickly becoming a fan now!
serra.baysal

serra.baysal

October 1, 2013
Fantastic band, fantastic career. Yes up to 1993's Very, they were untouchable and the quality has slipped a little bit afterwards but who could maintain that supreme level more? Even in their worst, they have had some occasional brilliant flashes that continue to mesmerize me. Hit and Miss and Discoteca, to Step Inside from Bilingual; Radiophonic and the first three songs from Nightlife, Love is a Catastroph from Release, and magnificient Minimal from Fundamental.

Yes is their great comeback. But Electric is their supremacy again. The Last to Die, a cover that Bruce would be proud.

Their crowning achievement, IMHO, is the first three albums. Simply the best pop songs around and discography is the best string of singles in music history. The best song is surprisingly a cover. Always On My Mind. Who would think that two synth lads from UK would cover a Elvis song better than him?

Thank God some of us grew with Pet Shop Boys. If they were not around the world would be dull, grey and boring.

Buy their latest Electric and see how Overhyped Daft Punk album pales against it.

Mrmilano

Mrmilano

August 11, 2013
edited over 3 years ago
They are back!
I have been a fan since early 1985, when West End Girls was playing a lot in the Radio. Then Suburbia, then the Actually songs, Introspective, Behaviour, which I think is their masterpiece. Then Very, when I got to see them Live, during their tour around South America.
I continued to listen to their albums, Bilingual, Nightlife, loving them all. Then, their dark ages started, with the Release album, which was not at all Pet Shop Boys, as I knew them. Saw them live too, in San Diego. What a dissapointment, even depressing. After that show, I stopped listening to them, until 2006 when I gave them another chance, with Fundamental... that was a weird album, and I believed that they were done, never to have another new song play on the radio, and no chances to be on the charts.

Yes, the album was an amazing comeback, then Elysium, another Release-esque album that is very hardcore PSB fan.
Electric has brought back that amazing magic heard from their 3 first albums, and fine times ahead, hopefully.

They have been awarded a lifetime achievement award, but the way I see it, they didn't produce anything worth after Nightlife, and until Yes, they made a comeback.

olivgrau

olivgrau

July 31, 2013
This is my most underestimated bands of the 80s! I listened to them on the radio in the 80s, put on the 12"es on the dj setup of a friend of mine, but never really digged them!

In 2001 I discovered their reissues with the further listening series. I was surprised they made albums in the 80s, I was only aware of their 12"es and compilations! So I got PLEASE first and was pleased! The best reissue I've seen! Fine bonus material with 12" mixes and b-sides or alikes! And on top, the PSB are talking about each and every track in this release! And man do they tell insides of their own history!

As I am into producing electronic myself, I was very pleased with these insides! I then went for the other albums and I am an admirer ever since!

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