|Pet Shop Boys, taken from the album Actually|
This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band Pet Shop Boys, and the song "West End Girls."
The Pet Shop Boys were an electronic dance music duo from the UK, featuring Neil Tennant on vocals, keyboards and guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards. They are one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 100 million records worldwide. They are also listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records. The Pet Shop Boys have been recognized with numerous awards. They are three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees. Since 1986 they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, which include four number one hits: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind" and "Heart".
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in August of 1981 in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea. They immediately recognized that they shared a mutual interest in dance music and began to work on material together. It was during those early sessions that several future hit songs were created, including "It's a Sin", "West End Girls", "Rent" and "Jealousy".
They orignially called themselves West End because of their love of London's West End, but later they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, which came from friends of theirs who worked in a pet shop in Ealing. They received their big break in August of 1983, when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits to interview The Police in New York. During their trip to New York, the duo managed to have lunch with their idol, Hi-NRG records producer Bobby Orlando. They got Orlando to listen to their demo tape, and Orlando then invited them to make a record with him.
In April 1984, the Orlando-produced "West End Girls" was released, which became an instant club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was merely a minor dance hit in Belgium, and France, and ironically was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12" import.
I love the song "West End Girls." This song reminds me of being at one of those awkward high school dances where the boys are standing on one side of the room, and the girls are standing on the other side of the room, and no one wants to make the first move! I am so very glad I am past those days!
And here it is, for your listening pleasure ... "West End Girls."
And as a bonus track, here is "It's a Sin. " In June of 1987 the Pet Shop Boys released what would go on to become their second number one single, "It's a Sin". Despite it's overwhelming success, the single caused some controversy in the UK. Tennant's school, St. Cuthbert's Grammar School, in Newcastle upon Tyne, criticized him in the press, and Jonathan King accused them of plagiarising the Cat Stevens song "Wild World". Pet Shop Boys went on to sue King and won damages, which they donated to charity. Here is "It's a Sin" for your listening pleasure!