Pet Shop Boys (formed 1981)
Pet Shop Boys is the name of an English electronic pop duo who rose to fame in the 1980s and whose career has spanned three decades. The personnel of the band is: Chris Lowe: keyboards and occasional backing vocals and Neil Tennant, vocals and keyboards.
Formation: Neil Tennant met Chris Lowe in 1981, in a shop on Kings Road, London. They shared a mutual love of electronic dance music and starting working on their own material together. Initially, they worked from Tennant's Chelsea flat and eventually moved into a small studio in Camden Town. It was around this time that some of their early hits were written, including 'It's A Sin', 'Jealousy' and 'West End Girls'.
In 1983, Neil Tennant was commissioned to interview Sting's old band, The Police, for Smash Hits magazine, in New York. He used his time in the US city to have a meeting with Bobby O, the New York record producer. Bobby Orlando (as he was also known) liked the demo tape that Neil had taken with him and agreed to produce 'West End Girls'. The track became a hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Music Career: Pet Shop Boys cut their ties with Bobby O in 1985, though Bobby O departed with and agreement allowing him significant royalties from Pet Shop Boys' future sales. They went on to hire Tom Watkins as their manager and soon signed a record deal with Parlophone Records. Following the signing, Pet Shop Boys released 'Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)'. The B-side to the track, 'In the Night' was later famously used as the soundtrack to the popular TV series, The Clothes Show. Releasing a new version of 'West End Girls' turned out to be a good move for the band, as it slowly climbed to number one on the UK chart.
The debut album from Pet Shop Boys was entitled Please and was released in 1986. Later that year, they released a remix version of their tracks, named Disco. Their second number one single came in 1987 with the release of 'It's A Sin'. The single caused a great deal of drama in the lives of Tennant and Howe, when the DJ Jonathan King accused them of plagiarizing Cat Stevens' 'Wild World'. King was ordered to pay damages when Pet Shop Boys decided to sue him and donated their winnings to charity.
Pet Shop Boys' next single featured Dusty Springfield on vocals. 'What Have I Done to Deserve This?' went to number two and was included on the band's second album, Actually. Pet Shop boys were included in a TV programme commemorating the death of Elvis Presley, performing 'Always on my Mind' and 'Baby Let's Play House'.
In 1988, Pet Shop Boys released Introspective, their next studio album. That same year, the band released a video, directed by Jack Bond and starring Barbara Windsor, Joss Ackland and Gareth Hunt, entitled It Couldn't Happen Here. The film received a mixed response but Pet Shop Boys used clips from the film in the video for 'Always on My Mind', which famously kept The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York from the Christmas Number One spot. The video for 'Hurt', also directed by Jack Bond, starred Ian McKellen as a vampire. The Introspective era also saw them working with record producer Trevor Horn and film director Derek Jarman.
The fourth studio album from Pet Shop Boys was Behaviour and included such tracks as 'Being Boring' and 'So Hard'. In 1991, Pet Shop Boys released a cover of U2's 'Where the Streets Have No Name', as a medley with 'Can't Take My Eyes off You', originally performed by Frankie Valli / The Four Seasons.
During a brief break from recording, Pet Shop Boys worked on a soundtrack for the film Scandal, starring John Hurt and Bridget Fonda. They also worked with Liza Minnelli and Electronic (Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr's band).
In 1991, Pet Shop Boys set up their Spaghetti Records label, on which they released the soundtrack to The Crying Game, starring Stephen Rea, Miranda Richardson and Tony Slattery.
Pet Shop Boys then changed their image, employed the use of computer imagery and released a cover of Village People's 'Go West', which many consider to be their signature tune. Their fifth album, Very, was partly produced by Stephen Hague, renowned for his work with OMD, Erasure and New Order.
In 1994, Pet Shop Boys remixed Blur's single 'Girls & Boys' and the track became a hit around Europe. They also released a Comic Relief single, sampling Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous.
At David Bowie's request, Pet Shop Boys remixed a version of 'Hallo Spaceboy', which they performed with the Thin White Duke on Top of the Pops. In 1996, the released their sixth studio album, Bilingual. Two years later, they teamed up with the likes of Elton John, Divine Comedy, Suede, Robbie Williams and Marianne Faithfull to create a charity album of Noel Coward covers.
The seventh album from Pet Shop Boys was 1999's Nightlife. The album included a duet with Kylie Minogue, entitled 'In Denial'. The follow-up was 2002's Release, with its more stripped down acoustic sound. Launching two new record labels in 003, Pet Shop Boys released albums by Rammstein, Yoko Ono and Pete Burns.
The next album from Pet Shop Boys was Fundamental, featuring Elton John and Richard X.
2009 saw the release of Yes, produced by Xenomania.
This year's Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled casting doubt on whether other festivals will be able to go ahead.
"With great regret, we must announce that this year's Glastonbury Festival will not take place," came the not altogether unexpected announcement from the Glastonbury organisers. For the second year in a row the biggest festival in the UK, and one of the biggest in the world, will now not take place. Michael and Emily Eavis communicated their decision to pull the plug on this years event via a Twitter post on Thursday 21st January.
With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily pic.twitter.com/SlNdwA2tHd— Glastonbury Festival (@glastonbury) January 21, 2021
What we've been listening to this month.
The first month of 2020 is finally over after what feels like forever, and Brexit is finally happening after what feels like even longer, so you'd be forgiven for having a few mixed emotions. But there's nothing like this month's album haul to reflect the feelings of the current political and social hive mind. Here's a few of our favourites...
Poppy - I Disagree
You just don't expect this kind of album to come out of a pop act, but then Poppy is all about breaking the rules. I Disagree marks her third album, her first release on Sumerian Records and her final collaboration with creative partner Titanic Sinclair. With elements of metal and industrial infused into her electropop sound, this is the kind of genre-bending pluckiness we love.
They're back with a new album entitled 'Super'.
Pet Shop Boys are set to return this Spring with their thirteenth studio album 'Super', followed by some exciting one-off residency shows at the Royal Opera House. The album will follow up their acclaimed 2013 album 'Electric', which reached number three in the UK Album Chart.
Pet Shop Boys return with a brand new album
The London synthpop duo reteamed for their new project alongside Grammy-winning producer Stuart Price in Los Angeles, who worked on their previous album as well as Madonna's 'Confessions on a Dance Floor', Seal's 'System' and The Killers' 'Day & Age'. The album is expected to drop in April.
Continue reading: Pet Shop Boys Invite Fans Into Their 'Inner Sanctum'
A BBC-conducted poll puts their cover of 'Always On My Mind' ahead of all the usual suspects.
Veteran British pop duo Pet Shop Boys have topped a new list of the greatest cover versions of all time. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s take on ‘Always On My Mind’, released in 1987, emerged victorious in a poll conducted by the BBC.
Pet Shop Boys' version of 'Always On My Mind' is the best cover of all time, according to a new poll
The song was originally written by American songwriting trio Wayne Carson, Mark James and Johnny Christopher and published in 1972, and has been recorded on countless occasions. Music encyclopaedia website Allmusic lists over 300 separate recordings of the song, but it most famously sung by Elvis Presley in 1972 and Willie Nelson in 1982. Nelson even scooped a Grammy Award for his version.
Continue reading: Pet Shop Boys Named Best Cover Version Ever
Moogfest begins in just a few short hours; here's what you have to look forward to.
Named after America's main pioneer in the world of electronic music, Robert Moog, Moogfest is finally back after a brief sabbatical which saw them miss 2013 - to much disappointment from electronic lovers everywhere.
The much-adored Moog synthesizer is an incredible piece of equipment invented by a man who changed music for the better, so the fact that there's a weekend event named sharing the name is a thrilling prospect for musicians and fans alike. It began in 2004 and was eventually brought to Asheville, North Carolina in 2008 where it has stayed ever since. Not only have festival goers got a first-class music line-up to look forward to, Moogfest 2014 will also be hosting presentations during the day from both veteran music boffins to newcomers still experimenting with developing their sound. For all you synth-lovers out there, you will also be treated to various workshops which will no doubt give you an immersive experience into the heart of electronic music.
Queens of the Stone Age, The Replacements, Beck and The Knife are also among the top-billed performers
Coachella 2014 will be returning to Indio, California, this spring for a two-weekend spectacular that will see some of the world's biggest performers gather in one polo field in the middle of the desert. This week the full line-up for the latest incarnation of the ever-popular festival was announced, with the bill yet another feast for the eyes (and eventually the ears too).
Big Boi and Andre 3000 will reunited for the headline performance
Eight years since their last album and eventual hiatus, Outkast will reform to headline the first day of the festival, which will kick start on the weekend of 11-13 April. The Grammy-winning hip-hop duo will be joined on the first day by fellow returnees The Knife, who released their first album in seven years - the acclaimed Shaking the Habitual - in 2013 and The Replacements, who reformed in 2012. Ellie Goulding, Chromeo, Haim, A$AP Ferg, Bryan Ferry, DJ Falcon and many others will also appear on the first day.
Continue reading: OutKast, Muse And Arcade Fire To Headline Coachella 2014
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe AKA Pet Shop Boys have marked their return with 12th album 'Electric' which is flirting with the top of the UK charts.
After its release on 12th July, Pet Shop Boys' new album Electric climbed the charts due to rave reviews and fan excitement. Since their formation in 1981, the Boys have earned notoriety with their weird stage appearances involving robot and animal masks as well as entertaining with spectacular light shows to accompany their distinctive electropop with hits such as 'West End Girls' being performed at the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony.
Pet Shop Boys' Electric Is Doing Well In The UK Album Charts.
If Electric gets to No.1, it will be the first time Pet Shop Boys have conquered the UK charts since 1993 with their Very LP. The album is the first not to be produced by record label Parlophone, having entered into a new management agreement with Kobalt Label Services in a move that the band described as "exciting." Tracks for Electric were recorded with producer Stuart Price, with the band's aim to make a clear "dance record" in response to the reflective mood of 11th album Elysium.
Continue reading: Pet Shop Boys New Album 'Electric' Taking On Jay-Z & Robin Thicke
British popsters reveal new album and label news
Pet Shop Boys have announced a release date for a new album and have also revealed that it will be released on a new label that they have embarked upon, in association with Kobalt Label Services. The duo’s new album will be entitled Electric and will be released on the new label x2 on July 15 2013. Electric will feature eight new tracks (including one with Example on guest vocals) and – perhaps an unexpected choice - a cover of Bruce Springsteen’ The Last To Die. They’ll be touring South America in May to promote the album, before returning to the UK in July.
Produced by Stuart Price, the first track form the album, ‘Axis’ is available to stream already on YouTube, Music Week report. In a statement, the band said “Electric is very much set on the dance floor. Our latest album often evolves as a response to our previous album and, whereas Elysium had a reflective mood, Electric is pretty banging! And working with Stuart Price on a studio album is something we have wanted to do for a very long time.”
Continue reading: New Label, New Album, New Tour - Productive Times For Pet Shop Boys
The Pet Shop Boys are joining forces with Willard Ahdritz at music publisher Kobalt to benefit from a new way of recording and releasing music.
Pet Shop Boys have ended their long association with mainstream label Parlophone, choosing to release their new album 'Electric' through the independent music publisher Kobalt. The duo - David Tennant and Chris Lowe - announced the news on Thursday, saying further details on their 12th studio album would be released soon.
It's a surprising news from the Brighton electronic outfit, whose 1980's hits include West End Girls and It's A Sin. They sold 50 million records worldwide on Parlophone during a 28 year career. The record label was one of EMI's prized assets, though it was sold last year to satisfy European regulators over its Vivendi's Universal Music Group's $1.8 billion purchase of EMI's recorded music business.
The Pet Shop Boys said they had enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Parlophone, "However it is also exciting now to commence a new phase working with a new team in a new business structure and we look forward to a creative and equally fulfilling relationship with Kobalt," Neil Tennant and Lowe added in a statement.
Continue reading: It's A Sin: Pet Shop Boys Leave Parlophone After 28 Years
The quality of The Pet Shop Boys' best moments in unquestionable. Having cottoned on to the potential of dance music fairly early, they reinvigorated British pop with a string of flamboyant singles which counter-intuitively combined gaudy keyboard riffs with pained, sometimes maudlin vocals and lyrics. What can be called into question, however, is the necessity of yet another compilation of their better moments, especially one as lacklustre as Ultimate Pet Shop Boys.
Continue reading: Pet Shop Boys, Ultimate Pet Shop Boys Album Review