1954 - July
Neil Francis Tennant was
born on July 10th in North Shields,
Christopher Sean Lowe was born on October
4th in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Neil plays in a group in Newcastle called
Dust: Their most popular song is a preposterous affair he has
written called "Can you hear the dawn break?". They are
heavily influenced by The Incredible String Band. "We were
convinced we would become terribly famous. It was a very kind
of stoned seventies but we used to think it was absolutely
brilliant at the time".
After completing a degree in history at the
Polytechnic of North London, Neil took a job at Marvel Comics,
anglicizing spellings and indicating where over-risque woman
needed to be redrawn decently. While there he interviewed
comic fan Marc Bolan, who politely pointed out that his tape
recorder wasn't working. In 1977 he worked at Macdonald
Educational Publishing, later moving to ITV Books. In June
1982, he joined Smash Hits.
Chris played trombone in a seven piece dance
band wittily named One Under The Eight, who played old-time
popular favourites like "Hello Dolly", "La Bamba", and "Moon
to Liverpool University to study architecture. During 1981
-1982 he spent a year gaining practical experience in a London
architectural practice, designing a staircase in an industrial
development in Milton Keynes. "It's not a remarkable
staircase", he commented when he visited it in 1988, "It's
just a functional staircase".
On August 19th, Neil and Chris met by
chance in an electronics shop on the Kings Road. Realizing
they had a common interest in dance music, they began to write
together. To begin with they called themselves West End; later
they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, a name derived from
some friends who worked in a pet shop in Ealing. "We thought
it sounded like an English rap group".
1983 - August
Neil is sent to New York
by Smash Hits to interview The Police. By this time the Pet
Shop Boys were obsessed by a stream of hi energy records made
by New York producer Bobby Orlando, known as Bobby O'. "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 August 19th (two years to the day since Neil and Chris
had met) and Bobby O', flattered by Neil's compliments,
suggests making a record with the Pet Shop Boys.
1984 - April
The first version of
'West End Girls' is released. It is a club hit in Los Angeles
and San Francisco and a small hit in France and
They made their first ever stage appearance
at the Fridge Nightclub in Brixton, singing and playing over
1985 - March
signed to Parlophone Records after long negotiations with
Bobby O', who relinquished his contractual rights over them in
return for a substantial royalty on future record
1985 - April
April 5th, Neil leaves Smash hits. In the next issue an
'obituary' is written, bidding him a sad adieu and predicting
that in a matter of weeks Neil's pop duo, the Pet Shop Boys
will be down the dumper and he'll come crawling back on bended
knees, ha ha ha. "I spoke to my mum on the telephone and said
how we'd signed with EMI and she said "But you're not going to
give up your job, are you?" and I said actually I did last
1985 - July
July 1st, the first version of 'Opportunities' is released. It
reached #116 in the UK.
They play a short set as part of the ICA Rock
Week in London, Chris showing off his skills on the trombone.
Neil and Chris are interviewed on stage by Max Headroom. They
re-recorded 'West End Girls' with producer Stephen Hague the
'West End Girls' is released on October 28th
and goes to #1 in the UK in January. It was subsequently #1 in
USA, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand
and Norway, selling 1.5 million copies. "People endlessly ask
us what it's like having a #1" said Neil at the time. "But
what it feels like is vaguely nothing. It feels like having a
cup of tea".
On February 24th, 'Love Comes Quickly',
still one of their favourite songs, was released, reaching a
disappointing #19 in the UK.
On March 24th, their first LP 'Please' is
released. "It's so people can go into the record shop and say
can I have the Pet Shop Boys album, please?".
1986 - April
'West End Girls' reaches
#1 in USA.
1986 - May
May 19th a new version of 'Opportunities' is released. "The
point of that song is that the humour is black, it's like a
joke. The impression is that the people in it are not going to
make any money".
The Pet Shop Boys announce, then cancel, a tour
of Europe and America; the cost of using a theatre designe and
playing fairly small venues proves prohibitive.
1986 - September
On September 22nd, a
re-recorded version of 'Suburbia', a song inspired by the
Penelope Spheeris film of the same name about a group of
disenchanted rebellious youths in suburban Los Angeles, is
released. "It's about a riot happening in some decaying
suburb. It's just the description of the riot happening and
then the aftermath". On the B-side was the first version of
'Paninaro', named after an Italian youth cult and featuring a
quote they both liked that Chris had said on a TV show: "I
don't like country and western, I don't like rock music, I
don't like rockabilly... I don't like much really, do I? But
what I do like, I love passionately".
1986 - November
On November 17th
'Disco', an LP of disco remixes, is released.
1987 - February
The Pet Shop Boys
receive the Best Single award for 'West End Girls' at the BPI
Awards. "It's a bit like the school prize giving day, isn't
it?", muttered Neil who turned up to receive the award from
Boy George. Chris stayed at home and watched it on TV.
Meanwhile, they had been working on the next LP and
considering, once more, whether to tour. "I can't see the
point really", said Neil at the time. "I quite like the idea
of being on the coach, having the meal beforehand, the party
in the room afterwards, going in the swimming pool, signing
the autographs in the lobby, and wrecking the mini-bar. The
only thing I don't like the idea of is being on the stage and
having to sing for rather a long time". He now dismisses this
comment as flippant; it had been inspired by his happy
memories of going on tour with Depeche Mode for Smash Hits in
Autumn of 1984.
The Pet Shop Boys receive the Best International
Hit award for 'West End Girls' at the Ivor Novello Awards.
Vera Lynn performed at the lunch.
1987 - June
On June 15th, 'It's a
Sin', a song that originally appeared on the demo Neil had in
his pocket when he took Bobby O' out to lunch, was released.
"It's about being brought up as a Catholic. When I went to
school you were taught that everything was a sin". It reached
#1 and caused several notable rumpuses. Jonathan King accused
them of plagiarism (he later apologized and paid damages to a
charity at their request). A teacher at Neil's old school, St.
Cuthbert's Grammar School, Newcastle, got very steamed up
about the picture Neil painted of his education and castigated
Neil in the press. The Salvation Army magazine, War Cry, put
the Pet Shop Boys on the front page and noted, approvingly,
"It's interesting that someone's raised the concept of sin in
our modern life again". Neil was also asked to appear with
Cardinal Hume in a press advert for CAFOD; he politely
declined the offer, explaining that he wasn't a practising
Catholic. The song's video, a sombre tale of guilt and
punishment featuring the seven deadly sins, was the first time
the Pet Shop Boys worked with Derek Jarman.
1987 - August
On August 10th, 'What
Have I Done To Deserve This?', a duet with Dusty Springfield,
is released. They had actually wanted to record the song with
Dusty - Neil's favourite female singer - for 'Please' but had
not been able to arrange it in time. "She sounds right because
her voice has got that world-weary quality". On August 16th,
the Pet Shop Boys appeared on a Granada TV special, Love Me
Tender, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley's
death. They were asked to perform an old song he had made
famous so they sifted through some Elvis cassettes and decided
to do both a house version of 'Baby Let's Play House' and
'Always On My Mind'. In the end, they only did the latter. At
the time they had no plans whatsoever to release
1987 - September
September 7th, the 'Actually' LP is released. The title was
simply a word they say an awful lot. "We were thinking of
calling it Jollysight, actually", said Chris at the time
"which was the name of a hotel we saw in Italy - so that, when
people asked why, we could say because it's a jolly sight
better than the last one..."
On October 12th, 'Rent', a mercenary love
song, is released.
The Pet Shop Boys spend three weeks in
Clacton and South London shooting 'It Couldn't Happen Here'.
What had originally been conceived as an hour-long video based
around the 'Actually' LP, turned into a full-scale feature
film to be released cinematically, directed by Jack Bond and
co-starring Barbra Windsor, Joss Ackland and Gareth Hunt. "We
just do what we normally do in videos", explained Chris, "walk
around, me a few paces behind Neil...". On November 30th,
'Always On My Mind' is released as a single; it becomes the
'I'm Not Scared', a song the Pet Shop Boys
have written and produced for Patsy Kensit, is released as a
single by her group Eighth Wonder, and is their first
1988 - February
the BPI Awards, the Pet Shop Boys win the Best Group award.
They also mime to 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' on stage
with Dusty Springfield. Afterwards Neil comments, "It's kind
of macho nowadays to prove you can cut it live, I quite like
proving that we can't cut it live. We're a pop group, not a
rock 'n' roll group".
A different mix of 'Heart' is released as a
single on March 21st and reaches #1 in the UK. "It's a real
disco song - the idea of 'heartbeat' the beat of the record
and the beat of your heart. It's actually pretty corny, to be
honest, but I think the words are quite sweet and sincere".
The video, shot in Yugoslavia, was a resetting of the Dracula
story with Ian McKellen in the title role.
1988 - May
For the second year
running, the Pet Shop Boys win the Best International Hit
award at the Ivor Novello Awards, this time for 'It's a
1988 - June
McKellen persuades the Pet Shop Boys to play live at an
anti-Clause 28 benefit, Before The Act, at London's Piccadilly
Theatre, performing 'It's a Sin' and 'One More Chance'. "A
brilliant event", they said afterwards.
1988 - July
'It Couldn't Happen Here'
is released on July 8th to mixed reviews: it wins an award at
the Houston film festival.
The Pet Shop Boys win the Berolina award in
Germany for 'Group of the Year'. The award is presented to
them by Miss Venezuela.
On September 12th, 'Domino Dancing' is
released, a song they recorded that February in Miami with
Expose producer, Lewis Martinee. They shot a video in Puerto
Rico and appeared with a full Latin band on Wogan and Top Of
On October 10th, their new album
'Introspective' is released. So called because "all the songs,
although it's a dance album, are introspective". The title was
chosen after considering and dismissing 'f', 'Dogmatic',
'Bounce' and 'Hello'. They reckon 'Introspective' sounds
serious, like an art exhibition: "Nick Rhodes", said Chris at
the time, "will be so jealous".
1988 - November
On November 14th,
'Left To My Own Devices' is released, "an exaggerated
autobiography". The second verse refers to a time when Neil's
mother would worry about him because he'd wait in a corner of
the back garden pretending to be a Roundhead
On February 13th, 'Nothing Has Been Proved'
is released as a single for Dusty Springfield, written by the
Pet Shop Boys, produced by them and Julian Mendelsohn and
taken from the film Scandal. They actually wrote two songs for
Dusty for the film - the other which the film-makers passed on
because they thought it sounded too contemporary, was 'In
Private'. Meanwhile, they are busy producing - with Julian
Mendelsohn - an album for Liza Minnelli.
1989 - June
On June 26th, 'It's
Alright' is released. They originally heard this song - by
Chicago House artist Sterling Void - when one of them popped
out during the recording of 'I Get Excited' (The B-side of
'Heart') and bought 'Acid Tracks: The House Sound Of Chicago
Vol. 3' on CD and were both immediately impressed by this
song. For a single they re-recorded it in a more poppy style
and Neil added a verse about the threat facing the world
environment. "It's about the power of music. It's a bit cosmic
really - it's saying that if people still make music then
there's always going to be a good side to what people do so
mankind is never going to be totally destructive. It's very
sincere and there's something about the song that makes
perfect sense. It has this beautiful line: 'I can hear it on a
timeless wavelength, never dissipating and giving us
strength'. I think that's true. Music is an inspiration to
people and always has been an inspiration to people. Music
represents the good side of mankind; music tends to be a good
force rather than a bad force".
1989 - June
On June 29th, the Pet Shop
Boys begin their first tour, visiting Hong Kong, Japan and
Britain, playing 14 dates in all. The tour, a lavish
theatrical spectacle is directed by film-maker Derek Jarman.
He has specially shot several films to be back-projected,
there are extravagant costumes and the cast includes six
dancers (Casper, Cooley, Hugo Huizar, Tracey Langran, Jill
Robertson and Robia LaMorte), four singers (Mike Henry, Jay
Henry, Carroll Thompson and Juliet Roberts), an extra keyboard
player (Dominic Clarke) and a percussionist (Danny Cummings).
"They asked for a theatrical concert and that's what we're
doing", said Derek Jarman. "I suppose some people think pop
music and theatre shouldn't mix but I think pop music is
theatre and I don't see why it shouldn't be so. To my mind,
there's two ways of doing it - you either just sit there and
sing on a stool and do it the simple way or you go for
1989 - August
first single from the Pet Shop Boys' collaboration with Liza
Minnelli, a hi-energy version of Stephen Sondheim's 'Losing My
Mind', is released. It is her first hit single. The
collaboration was the idea of an executive in the American
branch of Epic Records. Together they recorded an entire LP
'Results' (released in October). "I just put it completely in
their hands, the ultimate trust", said Liza. "It's weird,
because I've been working for 30 years and to find somebody
who you like enough and trust enough and respect enough to say
forget it, I'll do whatever you want is quite
The Dusty Springfield single 'In Private'
is released on November 20th. Written and co-produced by the
Pet Shop Boys, it was originally also intended for the film
Scandal but was adjudged it to sound too contemporary. "It's
about someone having an affair with a politician and being
found out", Neil explained, "the politician is saying
different things in public and in private".
1989 - December
'Getting Away With
It', the first single by Electronic, the group formed by New
Order's Bernard Sumner and The Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr,
is released on December 4th. The words are co-written by Neil
who also sings on the record and appears in the video. The
collaboration had come about after Neil had sent a message
through a mutual friend earlier in the year saying that he'd
like to be involved. Both Neil and Chris also travel to
Manchester to collaborate on another song called 'Patience Of
The Pet Shop boys begin recording their new LP
in Munich with producer Harold Faltermeyer.
1990 - July
Dusty Springfield's first
LP since the Pet Shop Boys recorded 'What Have I Done To
Deserve This?' with her is released. It is called 'Reputation'
and one half of the LP is a collaboration with the Pet Shop
Boys. "She's very much a pop singer", said Neil, "and her
voice instinctively goes very well with our music". He
explained they also admired her melodramatic determination,
"She looks at making records as like climbing a mountain, you
have to grind yourself up, it's going to be quite a long
On August 4th, the Pet Shop Boys make their
first public live appearance in America, guesting on two songs
with Electronic at the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium. Electronic
have been invited to play by the headline act Depeche Mode.
They repeat the same performance the following
On September 24th 'So Hard' is released.
It 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 black and white
video is shot in Newcastle and co-stars Paul Gascoigne's
sister, Anna. A second twelve-inch mix is released featuring a
virtual re-recording of both 'So Hard and the B-side 'It Must
Be Obvious' by the KLF.
'Behaviour', the Pet Shop Boys fifth LP, is
released on October 22nd. It is recorded in Munich and
co-produced by Harold Faltermeyer who they originally chose
because they were interested in using old analog synthesizers.
On two songs, 'This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave'
and 'My October Symphony', Johnny Marr plays guitar. Though at
the time of release they didn't consider it to reflect a
substantial shift in mood, later they conceded it had been.
"It was more reflective and more musical-sounding, and also it
probably didn't have irritatingly crass ideas in it, like our
songs often do".
In Los Angeles, at the Mayan Theatre on the
night of November 6th, the Pet Shop Boys play their first
American concert using a collection of performers (Casper and
Hugo Huizar dancing, Dominic Clarke playing keyboards and
operating the computer equipment, and two backing singers)
with whom they had appeared the previous day on the Arsenio
The second single taken off 'Behaviour' is
'Being Boring' released on November 12th. The song is inspired
by a party invitation from Neil's Newcastle days which quoted
Zelda Fitzgerald's line "She was never bored, mainly because
she was never boring". Its video was the first to be made by
photographer and film-maker Bruce Weber, "I loved the lyrics",
he explained "and really felt it was something I wanted to be
part of... in it there's the feeling that times are different
today, and the feeling of abandoness we can't have today
because of the way the world is". It was shot in one day at a
house in Long Island, near New york, with a cast that included
a selection of Weber's beautiful friends, a horse and a
chimpanzee on roller-skates. Though MTV in America, and
several British TV shows refused to show it because of the
nudity included, it won Music Week's Best Video Of The Year
Award. On the same day, a book about the Pet Shop Boys, 'Pet
Shop Boys Literally', written with their consent and based
around their 1989 concerts is published. At a London bookshop
on November 23rd they sign over 800 copies before the police
had to break up the waiting crowd.
1990 - December
'Highlights', a video
of eight songs from the 1991 tour, is finally released. An
earlier plan to release footage of the entire show had to be
cancelled because Neil and Chris thought the footage
The plan is to release 'How Can You Expect To
Be Taken Seriously?', a sharp dig at "the aspirations and
pomposities of pop stars" as the first Pet Shop Boys single of
1991. They drastically remix it in conjunction with British
dance duo Brothers In Rhythm and film a video in which they
parody a number of stars. Meanwhile they have recorded another
track, initially to release much later in the year: a
hi-energy version of U2's 'Where The Streets Have No Name'
segued with the Frankie Valli standard 'Can't Take My Eyes Off
You'. Eventually they resolve to release both songs as a
double A-side on March 11th, and make a complementary video
for 'Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off
You)'. "It worked as a concept: one song is about rock stars
so to have a U2 song with it serves as a further comment".
(Pressed for comment on this new cover version, U2 issued the
wry statement "What have we done to deserve this?"). The Pet
Shop Boys second tour, 'Performance', also begins on March
11th in Tokyo. After Japan it visits the USA, Canada, France,
Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Czechoslovakia,
Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain,
Holland and the United Kingdom and Eire. It is put together in
conjunction with director David Alden and designer David
Fielding, best known for their avant garde opera productions.
"It's going to be more theatrical than the last tour", Neil
announced. "We felt that with the last tour there were still
elements of a rock concert that we'd like to get rid of".
There are no musicians on stage, (though two, guitarists J.J.
Belle and keyboard player Scott Davidson, do skulk in the
wings), just three singers (Pamela Sheyne, Derek Green and
Sylvia Mason-James) and ten dancers (Petee Aloysius, Trevor
Henry, Craig Maguire, Catherine Malone, Mark Martin, leon
Maurice Jones, Suki Miles, Katie Puckrick, Sarah Toner and
Noal Wallace) choreographed by Jacob Marley.
1991 - May
The first album by
Electronic, 'Electronic' including the collaboration with Neil
and Chris, 'The Patience Of A Saint', is finally released on
'Jealousy', remodelled to include a real
orchestra, is released on May 28th. It is a song that they had
actually written nine years ago, in the spring of 1982, and
is, quite simply about jealousy. "There's some good lines in
there", observes Chris, "like 'you didn't phone when you said
you would'. You know when you stay in and they say they're
going to phone at eight o'clock and they don't all night and
you go absolutely bonkers?" The twelve inch version contains a
quote from Shakespeare's tragic study of jealousy, Othello. In
the video, shot in a west London car showroom, the Pet Shop
Boys stand by as a roomful of dining villains move from
jealousy to violence.
The third collection of Pet Shop Boys
promotional videos, aptly titled 'Promotion', is released on
June 3rd and includes videos for all their singles from 'Left
To My Own Devices' to 'Jealousy'.
1991 - June
In Dublin on June 17th the
Pet Shop Boys play the final date of their tour.
1991 - August
Neil and Chris are
invited to take over Simon Bates' mid-morning show on Radio
One, Britain's national pop radio station, for a week. They
choose all the records, principally dance music. Chris only
swears on air once, and they are invited back to fill the same
role in July 1992.
The Pet Shop Boys launch their own record
label Spaghetti with a single 'Heaven Must Have Sent You Back
To Me', by a 21 year old Scottish singer, synthesizer player
and songwriter called Cicero. They first met him when he came
backstage at the Pet Shop Boys' Glasgow concert in
1991 - October
single, 'DJ Culture', co-produced by British dance music duo
Brothers In Rhythm, is released on October 14th. "It is about
how facile and pretentious modern life is", Neil explains,
"just as in DJ records everything is sampled to sound
authentic, so in a lot of aspects of modern life - for
instance in politics - it is almost as though attitudes are
sampled. People pretend to sound concerned; everyone pretends
that the Gulf War was a real war, and that President Bush or
John Major are successful war leaders. In fact they sample the
past - the Second World War, or a war movie - and the public
also samples their response from wars in the past. The whole
thing is sort of fake". In the video Neil and Chris appear in
appropriate costumes: as soldiers and doctors; as a referee
and a soccer player; as Oscar Wilde and his trial
1991 - October
Pet Shop Boys play a one off concert at the London Nightclub,
Heaven, at a party after the Premiere of Derek Jarman's latest
film, 'Edward II' on October 15th. It is a deliberately
untheatrical, straight-forward concert, for which they are
backed by the three singers from this year's tour, J.J. Belle
on guitar and Lawrence Cedar on keyboards. They are introduced
by Derek Jarman, and supported by Cicero.
1991 - November
collection of the Pet Shop Boys' hit singles from 'West End
Girls' to the forthcoming 'Was It Worth It?', is released on
November 4th. Only six of the eighteen songs have previously
appeared on an album in their single versions. At the same
time a video compilation, 'Videography', is also
'Was It Worth It?' is released as a single
on December 8th. "It's a reaffirmation of the worth of love"
remarks Neil, "an 'I am what I am' sort of song". The video
mixes footage from the heaven concert with the Pet Shop Boys
amongst a clubland crowd mostly recruited from the London
event Kinky Gerlinky.
On February 16th an hour-long film about
the Pet Shop Boys is broadcast by the TV arts programme The
South Bank Show.
The Pet Shop Boys play a concert at the Hacienda
Nightclub in Manchester on May 13th to coincide with an
exhibition of Derek Jarman's paintings at Manchester City Art
Gallery and with the Hacienda's tenth anniversary. They
perform with J.J. Belle and Sylvia Mason-James. In rehearsals
they decide they want to play a suitable cover version and -
after tinkering with, then discarding The Beatles' 'Fool On
The Hill' - choose the Village People's 1979 hit 'Go West'.
The following month, on June 8th, the Pet Shop Boys performed
with the same line-up at Roseland in New York, a benefit for
Lifebeat, an organization for people in the music business
Neil co-writes and sings on a new Electronic
single 'Disappointed'. The title came to him when Johnny Marr
and Bernard Sumner's backing track reminded him of
'Disenchantee', a song liked by French singer Mylene Farmer.
"'Disappointed' is", he says, "sort of a love song, about not
Eric Watson's film of the 1991 Performance
tour - also titled 'Performance' - is released on video on
September 28th. It has been delayed after a copyright wrangle
with one of the owners of 'I Can't Take My Eyes Off You', and
all traces of that song have been ruthlessly
On October 26th, the soundtrack to the Neil
Jordan film 'The Crying Game' is released on Spaghetti
Records. Earlier in 1992 the Pet Shop Boys had been asked
whether they would be interested in helping with songs for the
film, at that time titled 'The Soldier's Wife'. After seeing,
and loving, a rough edit, they agreed to release the
soundtrack on their Spaghetti label, and to contribute songs
produced by them and performed by Cicero and Carroll Thompson.
At the last moment, it was suggested that they also produce a
new version of Dave Berry's 1964 single, 'The Crying Game',
with Boy George singing. They had lunch with him, and a week
later it was recorded. 'The Crying Game' subsequently became
the film's theme tune. It is a British hit single in September
1992 and then, in the Spring of 1993, it became an American
hit in the wake of the film's immense American success. "I'm
as happy as a sandboy", Boy George will comment, and plans
will be hatched for he and the Pet Shop Boys to work together
again on his next LP.
A single, 'Can You Forgive Her?', is released
on June 1st. The song, which takes its title from a novel by
Anthony Trollope, "is a sort of a short story. It starts with
a man being awake in the night, and he can't get to sleep
because he's been made a fool of by his girlfriend, who thinks
he's not masculine enough. In the first verse he's embarrassed
and annoyed at his girlfriend. In the second one he reveals
that the girlfriend thinks he's a complete wimp, even in bed.
Then in the third verse he goes back in time to his first
sexual experience at school, and you realize that he's gay but
can't face up to the fact". For the accompanying photographs
and video, the Pet Shop Boys appear in orange body suits and
dunces caps designed by David Fielding, who designed the 1991
Performance Tour. "We wanted to do something that is the
opposite of what everyone else is doing", Neil explains,
"Everyone else is being real", so we're being
The Pet Shop Boys travel to Moscow for the
opening of MTV Russia, "We had to cut a log in half", explains
Neil, "live on Russian television to officially open
1993 - September
West' is released as a single on September 6th. It is the song
they originally chose to cover at their Hacienda concert the
previous year. "I was at home in my flat", recalls Chris,
"playing, as I often do, The Village People's Greatest Hits
album and I though 'Go West' would be a good song to play at a
Derek Jarman event, a song about an idealistic, gay utopia.
And I knew that the way Neil would sing it would make it sound
hopeless; you've got these inspiring lyrics but it sounds like
it's never going to be achieved". The video, which combines
footage filmed in Moscow's Red Square with an oblique tribute
to A Matter of Life And Death, finds them in a new set of
costumes: Neil in blue, Chris in yellow, and both of them
wearing blue-and-yellow domes on their heads.
1993 - September
A new Pet Shop Boys
album, 'Very', is released on September 27th. It is produced
by the Pet Shop Boys, with additional production by Stephen
Hague, and is mixed by Stephen Hague and Mike 'Spike' Drake.
"It is called Very", says Neil, "because it is Very Pet Shop
Boys: It's very up, it's very hi-energy, it's very romantic,
it's very sad, it's very pop, it's very danceable, and some of
it is very funny...". At the same time as they recorded
'Very', the Pet Shop Boys also recorded six further songs
which they describe as "non structured" and which appear as a
limited edition accompanying 'Very'. This second album is
titled 'Relentless', "because", Neil explains, "it
1993 - October
October 24th the Pet Shop Boys appear at the London Palladium
as part of The Equality Show, a benefit as part of Stonewall's
campaign to equalize the age of consent for gay and
heterosexual people in Britain. They are introduced on stage
by Boy George and Janet Street-Porter, and perform four songs:
'Can You Forgive Her?', 'To Speak Is A Sin', 'One In A
Million' (incorporating Culture Beat's 'Mr. Vain') and 'Go
West'. For the final song they are joined by the London Gay
On November 4th, 'Pet Shop Boys versus
America', a book detailing their 1991 tour, written by Chris
Heath with photographs by Pennie Smith, is
'I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing'
is released as a single on November 15th. The single version,
remixed by the Beatmasters, is radically different to the
album version: longer, more epic and more upbeat. In the
accompanying videos they wear new costumes (pink and white for
Chris, pink and black for Neil) and sixties wigs, and they do
things they wouldn't normally do. "The song itself", says
Neil, "is about a reserved Englishman falling in love and
going bonkers. He decides he couldn't care less anymore, and
throws caution to the wind. It's a funny song, but it's
sincere. I'm so bored with people seeing us as ironic that I'm
quite keen on being sincere at the moment".
1993 - December
A video is released of
all the films Derek Jarman has made as backdrops to live Pet
Shop Boys performances, both for their 1989 tour and their
1993 Hacienda performance. It is called
On February 14th the Pet Shop Boys appear
at the Brit Awards, performing 'Go West' dressed as miners,
backed by a Welsh choir, an idea which they had originally
conceived for the 1992 Royal Variety Show as a protest against
a wave of coal pit closures.
On April 4th 'Liberation' is released as a
single. "The song", says Neil, "is trying to reconcile the
idea in a relationship that you are liberated, because you
feel fabulous because of the love, with the idea that you also
feel constricted and obligated. It's one of my 'live for
today' songs". In the video, the fourth of their computer
enhanced collaborations with director Howard Greenhaugh, the
Pet Shop Boys appear almost entirely as computer generated
entities. During April a virtual reality ride based around the
video tours Britain's major cities.
1994 - May
On May 31st, a single
'Absolutely Fabulous' (the artist's name, too, is nominally
Absolutely Fabulous) is released. It features snippets of
dialogue spoken by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, from
the TV series Absolutely Fabulous, set to a Pet Shop Boys
euro-disco backing track (Jennifer Saunders also went into the
studio to add some further irreverent chatter, such as
"techno, techno bloody techno" and "it's the bloody Pet Shop
Boys sweetie"). "We had the idea because we liked the
programme so much", says Neil. "We thought it would make a
funny record, and we quite fancied meeting them". The record's
profits are donated to the British Charity Comic Relief. "I
know some people are horrified that we did a charity record",
says Neil, "but it just seemed a way of dealing with it. It
made it simple, because we did the record for fun, not as a
major artistic statement".
The first ever mix the Pet Shop Boys have done
of another artist's record - Blur's 'Girls and Boys' - is
released. (In Britain it appears on Blur's 'To The End'
single; in some other countries it is released in it's own
right). They did it because they thought it would be fun.
"And", says Chris, "we thought it could be more of a dance
'Yesterday When I Was Mad' is released as a
single on August 29th, in a new version remixed by the Pet
Shop Boys and Julian Mendelsohn. "I started the words on the
last tour", remembers Neil, "on the tour bus when I was in a
bad mood, and it was just about the kind of things people say
to you after the show. On tour it's very difficult to believe
in anyone's sincerity. You get quite a lot of damning with
faint praise, and it struck me it would be quite a funny idea
for a song just to have lots of bitchy remarks which drive you
mad. I don't think anyone's actually ever said to us 'you've
made such a little go a very long way', but we do tend to get
patronizing reviews. As for the competition winners, hotel
rooms and arguing about dinner, see 'Pet Shop Boys versus
On September 12th, the Pet Shop Boys
released 'Disco 2', a mid-priced sequel to their 1986 dance
album 'Disco'. Edited together by London DJ Danny Rampling, it
is a continuous mix of dance versions of their six most recent
singles (including 'Absolutely Fabulous') and also
incorporates 'So Hard' and the celebrated B-side of 'Being
Boring', 'We All Feel Better In The Dark'. "It's really good
for driving to, and getting ready to go out to", says
1994 - October
October 26th the Pet Shop Boys begin their 1994 tour,
'Discovery', in Singapore. Over the next six weeks they play
concerts in Australia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Columbia, Chile,
Argentina and Brazil. The tour is inspired by a trip Chris
made to Brazil in the summer, and by a July visit the Pet Shop
Boys made to the Sound Factory in New York where they saw
go-go dancers cavorting to the music, covered only by flimsy
American flags, whilst live percussionists played along to the
records. The performers include four dancers (Flavio
Cecchetto, Mirelle Diax, Paulo Henrique and Nicole Nisiotis),
two percussionists (Liliana Chachian and Oli Saville), an
additional singer (Katie Kissoon) and their regular in-studio
programmer, Pete Gleadall, who also plays guitar on
'Suburbia'. As well as a selection of Pet Shop Boys songs from
throughout their career, they play Blur's 'Girls and Boys'. By
the end of the tour there are four medleys: as well as 'Where
The Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)', 'One
In A Million' incorporates 'Mr. Vain', 'It's a Sin' merges
with Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' and 'Left To My Own
Devices' contains an extract of the song which becomes the
tour's unofficial theme: Corona's 'The Rhythm Of The Night'.
"We're much more free spirited on this tour", Chris announces
beforehand. "We do what we want. We party on down. It's not a
totally choreographed, staged and rehearsed show. I suppose it
is more rock 'n' roll in its attitude. You get to express
yourself. And take your clothes off". The final date is in Sao
Paulo, Brazil, on December 12th.
1995 - March
On March 6th, 'Various',
a collection of the Pet Shop Boys' most recent videos, is
1995 - July
July 31st, the Pet Shop Boys release 'Paninaro '95', a new
version of the song they first recorded in 1986. It is based
upon the new arrangement Chris performed on the 'Discovery'
tour, and Chris' new, updated lyrics.
1995 - August
On August 7th an album
of Pet Shop Boys B-sides is released. It is called
'Alternative' (a last minute change from the title which had
always been saved for this record: 'Besides'). It contains
thirty songs in chronological order from 'In The Night' to
'Some Speculation', and the first copies of the CD and album
have a hologram on the cover which shifts between two
photographs, one of Neil, one of Chris, both in fencing masks.
"They're some of our favourite songs", Neil explains, "and it
just seemed like a nice idea to have them in one place". On
the same day, 'Discovery', a video of the Pet Shop Boys
performing live in Rio de Janeiro, is released.
1995 - December
On December 19th the
Pet Shop Boys record a two hour radio programme, Merry Pet
Shop Boys, for Radio One to broadcast on Christmas Eve. They
play their favourite records from the previous year, beginning
with Livin' Joy's 'Dreamer' and ending with the Sleaze Sisters
with Vicki's 'Let's Whip It Up', and including songs by Edwyn
Collins, Grace, The Original, The Passengers, Dubstar, Gusto,
Billie Ray Martin, and two by Oasis. During the recording they
drink champagne, and eat twiglets and crisps. Neil leaves the
band once, and Chris explains to a Radio One producer why he
likes the records that he likes: "It's like art. You like it
because you like it. You don't know why. I I like any song
with the word 'love' in it. I like any record with love in it
because, as far as I'm concerned, right, love's the only thing
'Hallo Spaceboy', a David Bowie song
produced by the Pet Shop Boys, is released on February 19th.
The previous November Neil saw David Bowie perform at Wembley
Arena and, backstage, met him for the first time: "He was very
friendly, and we were talking about his album 'Outside' and I
said that the track I liked best was 'Hallo Spaceboy'. I asked
him why it hadn't been released as a single and he said -
jokingly I thought - "oh, you guys should remix it for a
single". And then a week later he phoned me at home". The Pet
Shop Boys effectively re-recorded the song, slowing it down,
restructuring it to create a chorus, and using only a Brian
Eno synthesizer line and some of David Bowie's vocals. There
weren't enough words for a second verse so Neil made one up by
cutting up the lyrics to David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'. "Then
we phoned him up and told him we'd done that", Neil recalls,
"and I think he thought it was a bit cheeky, but then he came
into the studio and he really liked it. When he hears the song
he seems to smile. What I liked about it is that it restates
his major themes of a) space and b) sexual confusion. They
seem somehow appropriate again". On the day the single is
released the Pet Shop Boys perform the song with David Bowie
at the Brit Awards.
Tina Turner's new album, 'Wildest Dreams' -
released on April 2nd - contains a song, 'Confidential',
written and co-produced by the Pet Shop Boys. On April 22nd
'Before' is released as a single. "It's a love song", says
Neil. "It's about someone I know. It's a song of
'Se a Vida É (That's The Way Life Is)' is
released as a single on August 12th. On December 12th, 1994,
during the 'Discovery' tour, Neil bought some Brazilian CD's
at a record shop in Sao Paulo. Playing one of them - 'Filhos
Do Sol' by Olodum - back in London, he was struck by the part
of the song 'Estrada Da Paixao' which went 'Se a Vida É...'
That became the basis of a new Pet Shop Boys song. "Having
mistranslated the phrase as 'that's the way life is' it means
something like 'if life is' in Brazilian Portuguese dialect -
I was thinking what the lyric was going to be about", says
Neil, "and a friend of mine at the time of writing this was
very depressed about various things in his life, sitting
around being miserable about the fact that his life is taking
the wrong direction, and the lyric was trying to cheer him up.
And it did, in fact. I thought about the line 'life is much
more simple when you're young', a lot. Chris, of course
maintains that life is more complicated when you're young, and
I sort of agreed with him for a while and I thought of
changing it, but what I meant is that you see life as either
black or white, you don't see the shading so much, so things
appear totally depressing or totally wonderful". A video for
the song was filmed much earlier in the year; a wet, sensual
romp shot at Wet 'n' Wild theme park in Orlando, Florida, on
January 21st. It is directed by Bruce Weber, only the second
pop video he has ever made.
On September 2nd, the Pet Shop Boys
release their new album, 'Bilingual'. Written and recorded
over the previous two years, it was initially planned as some
kind of Latin record. Although there are many Latin moments on
the finished album (rhythmically, linguistically and
emotionally), as time passed this idea provided more an
attitude and an orientation than a strict musical blueprint.
"Another reason for doing the album like this", says Neil,
"was as a reaction against Britpop. We like being part of
Europe; we are a very international group and we like that
1996 - November
November 11th, 'Single-Bilingual' is released as a single. (It
has a different title to the album version because Everything
But The Girl have just released a single called 'Single').
"The narrator is a very glib Euro businessman, a glib Eurocrat
who flies business class and likes all his privileges", says
Neil. "He tries to pick up chicks at meet 'n' greets. Bet he's
not really communicating, and he knows it. In actual fact he's
a hopeless wreck. That's why it ends with a reprise of
'Discoteca'. He could be literally going to a club, but it's
also saying he's a lost and frightened person". These themes
are played out in superficially comic video filmed at Stansted
airport. "That is", comments Chris, "what Neil is really like.
It brings out Neil's true humour. He's not acting. Behind that
sombre facade, that's what's there. Personality." To promote
the single, the Pet Shop Boys make a rare semi-live TV
appearance, performing two songs and being interviewed by
Chris Evans on TFI Friday. During the interview Chris is given
a straw donkey.
A two-part radio documentary, About The Pet
Shop Boys, is broadcast on BBC Radio One on December 8th &
15th. Made with their co-operation, it features them at home,
in the recording studio, watching TV, eating meals, discussing
business and so on. It also includes interviews with many of
their collaborators over the years, and snatches of music from
their first demos to new, unreleased songs. "I was having
dinner round my brother's house when that was on", says Chris,
"and I slid off the chair and ended up listening to it under
the table in Michael Jackson fashion, I was so embarrassed by
it". Neil also appeared onstage with Suede at the Roundhouse
on December 15th. He sang 'Saturday Night' as a duet with
Brett Anderson, and then sang 'Rent' alone backed by the rest
of Suede. Chris was in the audience. The tracks would later be
released on the CD2 of Suede's 'Filmstar' single in July of
1997 - March
March 17th, 'A Red Letter Day' is released as a single. It was
a song which began when the Pet Shop Boys were experimenting
with taking the chord changes from famous pieces of classical
music (in this case Beethoven's Song Of Joy) and putting them
to a 4/4 beat, and it features the choir of the Choral Academy
of Moscow. "It's about waiting for someone to tell you they
love you", says Neil. The seven-inch version is a new mix,
using elements from a Motiv 8 remix of the song, and the Pet
Shop Boys are also particularly taken with the hypnotic
'Trouser Enthusiasts Autoerotic Decapitation
1997 - June
4th, the Pet Shop Boys begin a residency, 'Somewhere', at
London's Savoy Theatre, staged in collaboration with the
artist Sam Taylor-Wood. On June 23rd they release a new
single, a version of 'Somewhere' from West Side Story.
"Because we like it", Neil explains. It reached #9 in the UK
1997 - June
June 27 the Pet Shop Boys play their first ever festival show,
headlining the Roskilde festival in Denmark. "We're playing
fifteen hit singles and one obscure song." Neil tells the
press beforehand. "We're not taking any chances," Chris
explains. After a fairly triumphant reception, Chris says, "We
didn't look too keen, did we? It's easy to get carried away at
moments like that and do things you regret later." Two days
later they play at another festival in Turku, Finland. During
"Go West" a preposterously large ship comes up the river,
alongside the stage, as though choreographed.
1997 - July
The Pet Shop Boys agree to
headline Gay Pride, an all-day celebration on Clapham Common
in London on July 5th. They perform 'Somewhere', 'It's A Sin',
and 'Go West' to a sea of people, as far as you can see, their
arms in the air.
A new version of 'Bilingual' is released on
July 7th titled 'Bilingual Special Edition'. It features a
bonus CD containing 7 remixed tracks, including the extended
version of 'Somewhere' and a previously unavailable mix of
'The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On'.
1997 - August
On August 16 the Pet
Shop Boys headline the final night of the Stockholm Water
Festival in Sweden. The stage is on a man-made island floating
on water, which sways noticeable as they perform.
1997 - September
On September 14 the
Pet Shop Boys appear on the TV programme 'An Audience With
Elton John' performing with Elton John an arrangement of
theirs which melds together two of his songs, "Believe" and
"Song For Guy".
On October 26 the Pet Shop Boys headline
Stonewall's Equality Show at London's Royal Albert Hall,
having agreed to do so at the last minute. Before finishing
with a hastily arranged version of Tom Jones' "It's Not
Unusual", they played a medly which included "Sixteen Gon On
Seventeen" (from The Sound Of Music), "Being Boring", "Climb
Every Mountain" (also from The Sound Of Music) and "Go West",
"It was our greatest moment," Chris declares. "Our finest
1997 - November
November 24 a longform video, Somewhere: Pet Shop Boys in
Concert, is released. Directed by Annie Griffin, it comprises
of a half-hour documentary about the staging of the Somewhere
show followed by a film of most of the show
For their Fan Club, the Pet Shop Boys
record a Christmas song, "It doesn't often snow at Christmas"
and send it in silver bubble-wrap casing as their Christmas
card. "Originally I was trying to do this pretentious
Christmas-y music thing," Neil says, "but then I said, 'maybe
we should do something really corny…" Though not released it
is played several times on Radio One before
On February 28 the Pet Shop Boys begin a
short, four-concert Russian tour, visiting Moscow and St.
Petersburg, inspired by their visit to St. Petersburg to see
Brian Eno the previous summer. In Moscow they perform twice in
one night, once in a large arena then later in the middle of
an over-crowded nightclub. The local media ask them whether
they speak Russian, "We're very good at saying 'nyet'," they
1998 - March
On March 31st, at the request of EMI Records in the USA the Pet Shop Boys agreed to
release a compilation of
early Pet Shop Boys songs recorded between 1985 - 1990, 'The Essential Pet Shop Boys', in a
limited edition run of only 6 months. Very few initial promo
copies of the CD are titled 'Early', making it a highly
1998 - April
On April 13, Twentieth Century Blues: The
Songs of Noel Coward is released. It is an album of Noel
Coward songs covered by contemporary musicians, co-compiled by
Neil, who has been working on it for the past eighteen months.
He has loved Noel Coward's music since he first heard it in
about 1970. "I think as a songwriter he's slightly
underrated," Neil says, "simply because his plays are so
famous, and people forget." The Pet Shop Boys do a version of
"Sail Away", and amongst the other interpreters are Elton
John, Paul McCartney, Suede, Robbie Williams and the Divine
Comedy. "We tried to choose artists," Neil explains, "who
somehow seem to be in the Noel Coward tradition of wit,
theatrically and style." To promote the album, Neil appeared
along on TFI Friday where he sang along with a busker playing
Pet Shop Boys songs on an acoustic guitar.
1998 - November
At the behest of director Gus Van Sant, the
Pet Shop Boys wrote a new song, with Tom Stephan, at extremely
short notice for the soundtrack of Van Sant's remake of
'Psycho'. It is called "Screaming". "It's about an obsessive
fan, written from the obsessive fan's point of view," Neil
says. "Or actually just by someone obsessed with someone who
doesn't love them."
1999 - June
In June, the Pet Shop Boys announce the initial
stages of their world tour in eight years. After a one-off
show headlining the dance festival Creamfields on August 28,
the tour will begin in America in the second half of October
and will visit the US, Germany, the Czech Republic, Britain
and Eire before Christmas. The set and show will be designed
by the celebrated architect Zaha Hadid, who they have asked to
design a show with modular structure which could fit in venues
of different sizes. "She came up with the idea of having a
structure that actually changes during the course of the show
itself, and the backing singers we have actually are involved
in making the set changes.
1999 - July
On July 19, the Pet Shop Boys release a new
single, "I don't know what you want but I can't give it
anymore", recorded in New York that March and co-produced by
David Morales. "It's about the end of a relationship between
two people," says Neil, "Where they are no longer
communicating. They don't understand each other." Chris offers
his own, perhaps not entirely accurate, interpretation. "It's
about someone being a bit demanding," he suggests. "Not doing
the washing up and stuff." In its video they are seen being
transformed into their new look, developed with the theatre
designer Ian McNeil, whose work they have admired on
productions of An Inspector Calls and Machinale. They have
decided that as the songs on their new album were less
personal - "the lyrics are not necessarily reflections of me,
Neil Tennant," Neil says - they will now appear less
naturalistic. This new appearance is partly inspired by a
picture they saw in a magazine of Japanese men wearing samurai
trousers. "We didn't want the look to be just fashion, we
wanted something that had an element of ritual in it," they
explain. "We just talked through ideas and we came up with a
slightly samurai based look. I like the way it has a slightly
ceremonial look about it. It makes you feel very different
when you're wearing it, and sometimes when you're performing
its good to feel bigger, or different, then yourself. And,
also, it makes people look at you."
1999 - August
Pet Shop Boys appeared in the "Radio 1´s Eclipse Show" on the 11. August. On the occasion of an eclipse of the sun P.S.B. composed a song called "Casting a Shadow".
Pet Shop Boys appeared at the "Creamfields festival" on the 28. August.
1999 - September
A new single "New York City Boy" was brought out on the 27. September.
1999 - October
On October 11, the Pet
Shop Boys release their new album, Nightlife, which includes
twelve new songs. The songs are variously produced by Craig
Armstrong, Rollo, David Morales and the Pet Shop Boys
themselves. On one song, "In denial", Neil duets with Kylie
Minogue. "In terms of its theme, the album reminds me in some
ways of one of those Frank Sinatra albums from the Fifties
like In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning." Neil says. "It's
sort of modern pop-dance version of one of those, really,
where a lot of the songs are about relationships, or waiting
for your lover to come and see you, or wondering why something
went wrong and a lot of it seems to happen at night, when
people's perceptions of life are different. In the middle of
the night things seem more exaggerated - something bad seems
worse, something good seems better. The album begins with 'For
your own good', and in that song, it's not really Neil Tennant
singing it but a woman whose lover is out getting wrecked
every night. She's at home, waiting for her loved one to come
and see her. On the final song, 'Footsteps', the lover hasn't
returned. He obviously did go clubbing. Again. The woman is at
home, waiting, and the guy is in the club. And the record is
on both sides. It understands both points of
1999 - December
Pet Shop Boys won a court with an English philosopher Roger Scruton. He blamed them, that they took a minimal part in composing their songs, which were work of sound engineers.
2000 - January
A single called "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk" was brought out on the 3. January.
2000 - May
Pet Shop Boys got prestigious musical award "Ivory Novello Award" on the 25. May. The price was given for an excellent contribution to the English music. The award passed them Elton John. Among formerly honoured musicians belong for example Pink Floyd, Queen, The Rolling Stones or Morrissey.
2000 - June
Pet Shop Boys started a summer tour in Jerusalem on the 1. June. They also performed at several European festivals during this tour.
A single "Jerusalem" by "Fat Les" was remixed by the Pet Shop Boys on the 5. June.
Pet Shop Boys performed at the festival at Glastonbury on the 24. June.
A tragic accident occurred on the 30. June during the musical festival in Danish Roskilde, where also Pet Shop Boys performed. There was a crush during the Pearl Jam performance and nine people died. Pet Shop Boys should have played at the same stage as Pearl Jam. Festival went on, but Pet Shop Boys (as well as Oasis and The Cure) its appearance cancelled as an act of respect to victims and their families.
Singles "Mope" and "The Ballad Of Chasey Lainby" by "Bloodhound gang was out during June and August and contained remixes of the song "Mope" by the Pet Shop Boys ."
On Monday 4. June afternoon in the day of publication of the re-edition albums, also in the day, when had been brought out first Pet Shop Boys album "Please" 10 years ago, there was an gala to an introduction of a long-awaited musical "Closer to heaven". Everything happened in the building of Tower Records on Piccadilly Circus.
The official internet page of musical "Closer to heaven" were opened. You could find there all the details about the musical.
For July - August The summer tour around the USA called "Wotapalava" was organised by P.S.B. Lot's of big names (like Refus Wainwright, Shinead O'Connor, Soft Cell or Magnetic Fieldshad) should have participated. There should have been a party after each of concert with many celebrities known from P.S.B. remixes. For example DJ's Junior Vasques, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Tenaglia. Also some special guests as Village People or Gloria Gaynor should have appeared at several concerts. It was a nice idea but everything was cancelled for Shinead O'Connor renounce.
2001 - November
A record titled "Montage" from "Nightlife" tour was out on the 12. November. It was published in VHS and DVD formats with catalog numbers VHS: UK (EMI) 7243 492616 3 1 DVD: UK (EMI) 7243 492616 9 3. The record consisted of 22 videos took at different stops of the tour.
Three singles made to video-clips were on DVD´s as a bonus.
2002 - February
Series of appearances took place at a few English colleges on February. 14. February The flashpoint was a concert on the occasion of 50. anniversary NME Brat in London Astoria. Two guitar players and a drummer joined the band on tour.
2002 - March
A single from a new P.S.B. album "HOME AND DRY" was out on the 18. MArch 2002.
The video was taken and directed by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, which won last year's Turner Prize. Due to an unusual theme -mouse life in London underground- there was a little chance to see it on commercial stations.
2002 - May
A new album "Release" went out on the 1. May. Johnny Maar was involved in recording as a guitarist. 14 new songs were mixed with help of Michael Brauer (he worked with Bob Dylan or Rolling Stones in former times) in London. 10 songs were chosen to appear on a new album. Besides standard release got out four limited editions and a vinyl with white marble texture This special edition set out both in Europe and USA (label Sanctuary/BMG this time), but in USA were realised as 2xCD with disc containing compositions from a promo "Closer to heaven" and with B´s songs for a single "Home and dry". A composition "Nightlife" originally determined for album "Nightlife", in which production took part David Morales, waited to see a commercial publication.
Concert tour dedicated to "Release" album was happening in half of May. It started in USA and continued in Europe and in Asia. Together with Neil and Chris played a drummer Dawne Adams and two guitarist Bic Hayes and Mark Refoy. An arrangement of compositions was much more lively and due to guitars more various. In music manner we were dealing with very interesting enterprise of a duo notoriously addicted to samples.
French electro band "Telepopmusic" (recently known for its song "Breathe") take part in four concerts in Germany after the appearance on tour for ARTE TV.
2002 - July
15th July was out a second single from album "Release" called "I get along." As B´s were published songs composed in a period of creating album "Release." These were "Between two islands" and "Searching for the face of Jesus"
2002 - September
'London', the Pet Shop Boys third single from 'Release', was released only in Germany on 14 October.
Othervise almost all tracks (Positive role model, London WestBam mix, London Thee Radikal Blaklite mixes) was released later on remix album Disco 3.
2002 - October
Pet Shop Boys have recorded their first-ever session for the John Peel programme and have decided to go back to the very early days of their
song-writing partnership and revisit some songs which were originally written at the same time as "It's a sin".
For the session, Pet Shop Boys have recorded two songs from 1983 which they have never previously recorded, plus a Bobby 'O' song from the same
year and "London", which will be their next single.
John Peel invited Pet Shop Boys when they headlined the Sonar festival in Barcelona earlier this year, and realised that they had
never recorded a session for his show. This prompted the duo to do something completely different for the show.
The tracks they have recorded for Peel are:A powerful friend, If looks could kill, Try it (I'm in love with a married man), London
All songs are by Tennant/Lowe, except 'Try it (I'm in love with a married man)', which is by Bobby 'O'.
The session was broadcast on the John Peel show on Radio One on October 10.
2003 - early
In 2003, Pet Shop Boys launched two new labels, Olde English Vinyl and Lucky Kunst, their Spaghetti label being defunct. The first release on Olde English Vinyl was Atomizer's "Hooked on Radiation", followed by Pete Burns' "Jack and Jill Party" in 2004. The only Lucky Kunst release to date is Kiki Kokova's version of "Love to love you baby". They also remixed Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice" in 2003 and Rammstein's "Mein Teil" in 2004. Another new manager, David Dorrell, was brought on board to replace Clark.
2003 - November
Pet Shop Boys released a second greatest hits album PopArt with two new singles "Miracles" and "Flamboyant".
2004 - September
Pet Shop Boys appeared at a free concert in Trafalgar Square in London where they performed with the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra a new soundtrack to accompany the seminal 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin. There were four further live performances of the work with the Dresdner Sinfoniker in Germany in September 2005, and the Battleship Potemkin soundtrack was released on September 5, 2005.
2004 - November
PSB played at the Prince's Trust concert called "Produced by Trevor Horn", a festival with artists who worked with famous British producer Trevor Horn. Other artists included Grace Jones, ABC, Seal and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Pet Shop Boys was selected as the headline act for the Moscow Live 8 concert in Red Square. They were received extremely well by the crowd in Moscow. Also in 2005, Pet Shop Boys was asked to put together the twentieth release to the Back to Mine series, an ongoing anthology showcasing artists' favourite music selections, with an emphasis on afterhours chill out music. As a condition, Tennant and Lowe were given one disc each, whereas all previous and releases in the series consisted of only a single disc per group. (See Back to Mine: Pet Shop Boys.)
Pet Shop Boys began 2006 remixing Madonna's single, "Sorry", for release in February. The single reached number one in the UK and Pet Shop Boys' remix included new back-up vocals performed by Tennant. Madonna subsequently used the Pet Shop Boys' remix, including Tennant's vocals, in her 2006 world tour production.
2006 - April
In April, Pet Shop Boys released a new single, "I'm with Stupid", a commentary on the relationship between George W. Bush and Tony Blair. The promo video featured Matt Lucas and David Walliams, better known as the team behind Little Britain. Lucas and Walliams portray Tennant and Lowe, parodying two of the duo's previous videos, "Go West" and "Can you forgive her?". The ninth Pet Shop Boys studio album, Fundamental, followed in May. The album was produced by Trevor Horn, who Pet Shop Boys had previously worked with on "Left to my own devices" in 1988. The album was also released with a limited edition remix album called Fundamentalism, which included a version of "In private", a song originally written and produced by Pet Shop Boys for Dusty Springfield, as a duet with Elton John and "Fugitive", a new track produced by Richard X.
2006 - May
The week that 'Fundamental' was a released, a documentary Pet Shop Boys - A Life In Pop was broadcast on Channel 4 and directed by George Scott and produced by Nick de Grunwald. The original broadcast was an hour long. In October 2006, a significantly expanded version lasting 140 minutes was released on DVD. The liner notes explain, 'From their trailblazing first single 'West End girls' to their current position as Britains foremost pop duo, A Life In Pop traces every ground-breaking step in the 20-year career of the Pet Shop Boys. Starting in the respective home towns in the north of England, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe retrace their remarkable journey in their own words. The film features some previously unseen live performances, rare television appearances (including their first ever from Belgium in 1984), and interviews with famous fans, collaborators and colleagues including Robbie Williams, Brandon Flowers, Tim Rice-Oxley, Jake Shears and Bruce Weber. A Life In Pop is a fascinating in-depth documentary film chronicling the Pet Shop Boys' enduring success.'
2006 - June
Pet Shop Boys began a world tour in June 2006 in Norway. The show was designed and directed by Es Devlin the award-winning British theatre designer and choreographed by Hakeem Onibudo. Between June 15 and September 10, 2006, Pet Shop Boys played a series of concert dates across Europe mainly at assorted festivals and outdoor venues. These included two dates at The Tower of London on 28 and 29 June and a single show at Thetford Forest, supported by Lorraine. These dates also included performances of Battleship Potemkin in Germany and Spain. On May 1, 2006, "Potemkin" was also performed at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with Pet Shop Boys accompanied by the Northern Sinfonia orchestra.
2006 - July
The second single to be taken from the album was "Minimal". The duo filmed the video to the single in Paris with Dan Cameron. The single was the first of theirs to be playlisted by London's biggest radio station Capital Radio in a decade.
2006 - October
On October 3, 2006, the long-delayed U.S. release of their PopArt hits package was issued by Capitol Records.
During 2006, Pet Shop Boys worked with Robbie Williams on his new album Rudebox, producing two tracks: a cover version of "We're the Pet Shop Boys" written by My Robot Friend (which they have also recorded themselves, and released as a B-side to "Miracles" in 2003) and "She's Madonna", a duet with Tennant allegedly about Guy Ritchie's affair with Tania Strecker prior to his relationship with Madonna.
2006 - October
Pet Shop Boys embarked in Montreal on the North and Central American leg of their world tour which took them through Canada, the USA and Mexico concluding on November 16th. A DVD of the show in Mexico City was released on May 21st, 2007, entitled "Cubism". It was recorded on November 14th 2006 in the Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City and the film was directed by David Barnard (who has in the past directed similar films for Björk and Gorillaz).
On October 16, Catalogue from Thames & Hudson, a 336-page hardcover book written by Philip Hoare and Chris Heath, detailing their entire visual output (photography, as well as the design of record, video, tour, book and fan club magazine) from 1984 to 2004 was released. Neil Tennant comments in the book, "In the beginning we made a decision - and it was in our EMI contract - that that we would have control over how everything worked; that obviously the songs mattered hugely, but the way they were presented was going to matter hugely as well; and that we were never going to give up on that." Pet Shop Boys supported the publication of the book with signings in London, New York City and Berlin.
Also on October 16, the third single from Fundamental, "Numb", was released. It was written by Diane Warren, and is the only song on the album not written by Tennant and Lowe.
On October 23, 2006, Concrete (originally titled "Concert" but changed at the last minute to the originally-planned title) was released. It is a double-CD of the complete Mermaid Theatre concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra, featuring guests Rufus Wainwright, Frances Barber and Robbie Williams. A 90 minute "director's cut" of the concert aired on BBC 6 Music on August 28, 2006.
A small exhibition of portraits of Pet Shop Boys opened in the Bookshop Gallery of London's National Portrait Gallery on October 30, 2006 and ran to February 28, 2007.
2006 - December
On December 7, 2006, Pet Shop Boys were nominated for two 2007 Grammy Awards. These were Best Dance Recording for "I'm with Stupid" and Best Electronic/Dance Album for Fundamental.
Pet Shop Boys were supposed to conclude 2006 and commence 2007 by performing at the Concert in the Gardens at Edinburgh's Hogmanay party but the event was cancelled at short notice due to bad weather conditions.
In February 2007, their 'Stars Are Blazing' remix of The Killers' "Read My Mind" was released. During this period, the Pet Shop Boys said that they were in the studio writing and recording new material.
During the latter part of 2006 and early 2007, Neil Tennant served as executive producer on Rufus Wainwright's new album Release the Stars, recorded in Berlin. He also sang backing vocals on a number of tracks, most notably on "Do I Disappoint You" and "Tiergarten".
Pet Shop Boys continued their world tour, albeit with a slightly different production and set-list, on March 14th 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and then played concerts in Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia (as co-headliners of the V Festival 2007), Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Singapore.
2007 - May
Pet Shop Boys released a live DVD, Cubism, in May 2007 via Warner Vision. The DVD features a live show recorded at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City in November 2006.. Pet Shop Boys "played" at a free festival in the online virtual world Second Life on June 30.
2007 - October
On October 8th, 2007, Pet Shop Boys released Disco 4, the latest in their series of remix albums. Previous sets have focussed on remixes of recent tracks (or including new songs, in the case of "Disco 3"), but the fourth in the set differed in that it was largely made up of remixes completed by Pet Shop Boys of other artists' work, over the past decade. These include The Killers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Madonna, Atomizer and Rammstein. Only two tracks by the Boys, remixed versions of "Fundamental" tracks "Integral" and "I'm with Stupid", were included. The official Parlophone press release stated "Integral will have a limited service to club and selected radio DJ’s, whilst a politically-inspired video for the track will be made available through You Tube and the Pet Shop Boys’ website".
Dainton Connell was killed in a car accident in Moscow in the early hours of this morning. He was in Moscow accompanying Chris Lowe who was planning to DJ at a friend's nightclub there tonight. The friend driving him lost control of the car. There was no one else in the car.
2007 - November
Pet Shop Boys performed, as requested, a 20-minute set at the War Child concert organised by Keane at Brixton Academy last night. The set list was: "Rent" (Barfly version), "West End girls" (extended version), "Integral" (based on Perfect Immaculate mix) and "Being boring". On the last three songs Neil and Chris were joined by Bic Hayes and Mark Refoy on guitar and Dawne Adams on percussion. Tom Chaplin of Keane gave Pet Shop Boys a very warm introduction before they took to the stage. Other artists performing included Guillemots, the Magic Numbers, Teddy Thompson, Lilly Allen (with Keane) and Keane.
2008 - May
Pet Shop Boys played at Heaven in London at midnight last night as part of the "Can you bear it?" benefit night for the family of Dainton Connell, Pet Shop Boys' friend and former assistant who was tragically killed in a car accident last year. They were joined on stage by Dawne Adams (percussion) and Bic Hayes and Mark Refoy (guitars).
Suggs and Carl from Madness (who first got to know Dainton when he was only 12 years old) came on stage for a chaotic performance of the Madness classic, "My girl", in a new arrangement by Pet Shop Boys. "Being boring" was accompanied by a montage of film clips of Dainton.
2008 - October
"I'm in love with a German film star" by Sam Taylor-Wood, produced by Pet Shop Boys, is released on CD and vinyl on October 27th with digital release on October 29th.
2009 - February
Pet Shop Boys received the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the Brit Awards 2009 at Earl's Court. They ended the show with a medley of PSB classics, produced by Stuart Price, including performances by two guest: Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers.
2009 - March
A unique CD, "Pet Shop Boys Story", is being given away in the UK, Sunday, March 8th, with the Mail on Sunday newspaper. The 11-track career retrospective starts with the rare 10-inch mix of "West End girls" and concludes with a preview of "Did you see me coming?" from the forthcoming new album, "Yes".
Pet Shop Boys' new single, "Love etc." is now on sale.
The "Love etc." two-track CD single (including a new track, "Gin and Jag") and a five-track CD of mixes are on sale in shops and from online retailers.
2009 - May
"Did you see me coming?", the second single from Pet Shop Boys "Yes" album, is now available on iTunes and other digital sites in three different bundles.
2009 - June
Pet Shop Boys Pandemonium tour started in Russia this week with shows in St Petersburg on Wednesday and Moscow on Thursday. The spectacular production features Chris on keyboards and drums, Neil on vocals and four singing dancers and was conceived by Es Devlin (who created the 2006 Cubism show) with musical arrangements by Stuart Price and Pet Shop Boys. Pete Gleadall is musical director.
2009 - October
On October 2nd, “Beautiful people”, was released in Germany as a single on CD and digital download.
2009 - November
The Brazil-only CD release, "Pet Shop Boys Party", is released in Brazil on November 4th through TV Globo´s record label, Som Livre, with a TV campaign on TV Globo, the biggest network in Brazil.
"Party" is a hits compilation and also includes songs that were heavily featured in the following TV Globo soap operas.
2009 - December
Pet Shop Boys' new five-track "Christmas" EP is released in the UK, Europe and around the world.
taken from PetShopBoys.co.uk + wikipedia + PSB Technology