Those who are quick to dismiss Pet Shop Boys have got it all wrong. I reckon they’re about as great a singles act as has ever been, and not just in my lifetime, and they have confounded just about everyone with the truly groundbreaking and breathtaking live tours over the years.

And let’s not forget that some of the lyrics penned by Neil Tennant are as poetical and beautiful as anything that the great singer/songwriters armed with an acoustic guitar have ever produced.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Rent

One of my favourite singles of theirs dates from 1993.  It was their 13th Top Ten hit in the UK and took the storyline of a man refusing to accept his gay tendencies and thus finding himself trapped inside a loveless, useless and cruel relationship where he is continually being mocked by his wife or girlfriend….a plot that has been used every now and again by soap operas the world over.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boy – Can You Forgive Her?

It also has a very lovely b-side….with a lyric Morrissey himself might have penned, or at the very least inspired:-

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?
Why you always so serious? Why so blue?
All the kids in the school have seen you
being patient with the boys who fool you
when you used to hit them with your ruler
so independent too

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?

There’s a crisis rumoured in the school
The boys have cut their hair short to look cool
Examination time is drawing near
Disintegration of the football team
No one seems to want to play for real
in classroom, club or pool

Hey, headmaster, what you gonna do?

There’s an invitation in the post
to a reading party on the coast
Pack your bags up, you old bibliophile
Get together with your friends
who will give you time to think and time to kill
with independent hosts

Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?
Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Hey, Headmaster



  1. I couldn’t agree more. It’s no accident either that they’ve had a couple of B-side compilations released. Some quality stuff on those flip sides, going right back to 1985’s In The Night.

  2. It’s rather impressing to deliver such a string of excellent songs for more than 30 years. Saw them live just a month ago, they still put up great shows!

  3. The 2 b-side compilations are really worth getting. Alternative and Format give all the b-sides of their Parlophone years – an amazing bunch of songs, some of which could have / should have been singles in their own right.

  4. I don’t own any PSB albums, but I do own these two singles, and a few more besides. They definitely knew what worked well on a seven incher.

  5. I can only add that PSB are among the finest ever bands for providing quality B-side material. I can’t think off hand of any others I liked who were as imaginative or consistent.

  6. PSB will always deserve more kudos than they will ever receive. They never have and never will play by anyone’s rules but their own. And that independence as allowed them to release some really superb pop music over the past 30 years.

  7. I wouldn’t dismiss them as just a singles band. Their first four albums up to and including Behaviour are wonderful too. Agreed about Can You Forgive Her, great single and the last one of theirs that I bought.

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