My Legends of Pop Music – Part Forty-Nine–Pet Shop Boys

If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.

This week it is Pet Shop Boys.  As ghey as they come and very professional musicians, with a knack of the dramatic tune.

Courtesy of Wiki: Pet Shop Boys

English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys have released 14 studio albums, five live albums, seven compilation albums, four remix albums, five soundtrack albums, three extended plays and over seventy singles. The duo’s debut single, “West End Girls“, was first released in 1984 but failed to chart in most regions. However, the song was entirely re-recorded in late 1985, and this newly recorded version became their first number-one single, topping the UK Singles Chart, Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Singles Chart. Parlophone released the duo’s debut album, Please, in the United Kingdom in March 1986. The album peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It also peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 in the United States and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The following summer they released “It’s a Sin“, the lead single from their second album, Actually. The single became another UK number one and also reached number nine in the US. This was followed by “What Have I Done to Deserve This?“, with Dusty Springfield, which peaked at number two in both the UK and US. In the summer of 1987, the Pet Shop Boys recorded a cover of Brenda Lee‘s song “Always on My Mind“, which became their third UK number-one single over Christmas 1987. This was followed by another UK number one, “Heart“, in spring 1988. The album Actually was released in September 1987, peaked at number two in the UK and was certified three-times platinum by the BPI.

The duo’s third album, Introspective, was released in October 1988 and peaked at number two in the UK and Germany and was certified two-times platinum by the BPI. Next album Behaviour, came in 1990 and became their third album in a row to debut and peak at number two in the UK. The duo then released their first hits compilation, Discography, which included all of their single releases as well as two new tracks. In 1993 they released a cover of the Village People single “Go West“, which reached number two in the UK. The duo’s fifth album, Very, followed and is the only Pet Shop Boys album, so far, to reach number one in the UK. In 1994 they recorded the Comic Relief charity single, “Absolutely Fabulous“, under the pseudonym of Absolutely Fabulous. The duo do not consider it as a Pet Shop Boys single release and it was not included on any of their “best-of” albums. The duo then released a B-side collection album, Alternative in 1995. “Se a vida é (That’s the Way Life Is)“, was released in the summer of 1996, a Latin American music-inspired track, featuring a drum sample, which preceded the sixth Pet Shop Boys album, Bilingual.

Nightlife, the duo’s seventh album came in 1999, followed by the modestly successful album Release in 2002. In November 2003, Pet Shop Boys released a second greatest hits albumPopArt: The Hits. The ninth Pet Shop Boys studio album, Fundamental, came in May 2006, reaching number five in the UK. Also in 2006, Concrete was released, a live album recorded at the Mermaid Theatre, London. Released in UK in March 2009, Yes, was a critical success and hit number four, their highest album chart peak in more than a decade. The Pet Shop Boys also received the BPI’s award for “Outstanding Contribution to British Music”, at the 2009 Brit Awards ceremony. In December 2009, they released an EP of covers, remixes, and new material, titled Christmas.

Ultimate, the one-disc compilation, was released on 1 November 2010 to celebrate 25 years since the band’s first single release. The special version included a DVD with over three hours of BBC TV performances of 27 singles by Pet Shop Boys, released by arrangement with BBC Music. As well as the complete Glastonbury Festival performance from June 2010. Ultimate peaked at 27 on the UK charts. The second B-side compilation album, Format, was released on 6 February 2012, reaching number 26 in the UK. The duo released their eleventh studio album, Elysium, in late 2012, reaching number 9 in the UK. Elysium spawned the singles “Winner”, “Leaving” and “Memory of the Future”.

In March 2013, the Pet Shop Boys started a new chapter in their career when they left their long-term label, Parlophone, and signed with Kobalt Label Services. A new album, Electric, was released in July 2013, reaching number 3 in the UK and number 26 in the United States, their highest-peaking album for nearly 20 years in both countries. The singles from this album were “Axis”, “Vocal”, “Love is a Bourgeois Construct”, “Thursday” (featuring Example) and “Fluorescent”. The duo undertook a worldwide tour to support the album. In November 2014, they returned to the studio to begin working on their next album. With Stuart Price returning as producer, Super was announced on 21 January 2016 for release on 1 April. “Inner Sanctum” was released as a teaser track. The first single proper was “The Pop Kids”, released on 26 February 2016.

Just recently released, alongside Soft Cell a single Purple Zone.

Discography: Pet Shop Boys

West End Girls (Live at the O2 Arena 2009, their first hit, so iconic.

Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) on The Old Grey Whistle Test 1986

Love Comes Quickly – Live in London (Royal Opera House), 2019

Suburbia on Top Of The Pops 1986 – Iconic again.

It’s A Sin (Glastonbury 2010)

Dusty Springfield and Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This (Live at The BRITs 1988)

Rent (Peters Pop-Show, 1987)

Heart (Hyde Park 2019)

Left To My Own Devices/Rhythm Of The Night (Live in Rio 1994)

Jealousy (live) 2009 – lovely song

Se a Vida E (live) 1997

New York City Boy on Top of the Pops 1999

Soft Cell & Pet Shop Boys – Purple Zone (Official Video)

I cannot put all their back catalogue in, but hopefully you like my choices as well.  I have always enjoyed this song, recorded by Brenda Lee, Elvis and several others.  My favourite version was by Willie Nelson (as you all know, I am a big Willie lover) and I think PSB do a superb version:

Always On My Mind on Top Of The Pops 1987

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to previous Legend articles:

1-Buddy Holly 2-Elvis Presley 3-Everly brothers 4-Cliff Richard 5-Joe Brown
6-Gerry and the Pacemakers 7-Roy Orbison 8-The Seekers 9-The Hollies 10-The Rolling Stones
11-Beach Boys 12-The Monkees 13-Rod Stewart 14-T-Rex 15-Slade
16-10CC 17-Pussycat 18-The Kinks 19-Blondie 20-Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music
21-David Bowie 22-Meatloaf 23-The Temptations 24-Dusty Springfield 25-Fleetwood Mac
26-Gilbert O’Sullivan 27-The Four Tops 28-Chas ‘n’ Dave 29-Diana Ross and The Supremes 30-Status Quo
31-Jim Reeves 32-The Small Faces 33-The Doobie Brothers 34-Manfred Mann 35-Creedence Clearwater Revival
36-Otis Redding 37-Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons 38-Squeeze 39-Duran Duran 40-Dire Straits
41-Chuck Berry 42-Thin Lizzy 43-ABBA 44-Carole King 45-Queen
46-Rod Stewart 47-Madness 48-Showaddywaddy 49-Pet Shop Boys

Featured Image: “Pet Shop Boys” by Maltesen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

© Phil the ex test manager 2022