PET SHOP BOY SINGLES (Part One)

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I genuinely pay close attention to feedback via the comments section, which is why the plan for a new Sunday series looking at selections from the many hundreds of 7″ singles sitting in a very large cupboard space in Villain Towers will now be put to one side.  I’ve already written around a dozen of proposed posts, but I’ll make use of these over the coming weeks and months.

Instead, Sundays are now going to be devoted to the singles released by the Pet Shop Boys

The thing is, if I was to do it at the pace of one single per week, I’ll still be working my way through them well into 2024 and probably have lost all sorts of enthusiasm for getting to the end.  So, what’s going to happen is that the singles will more often than not be broken up on an album-by-album basis, with just a few short facts about each song so as to avoid any one posting becoming too lengthy.  Oh, and for clarification, I’ll only be featuring singles that were released in the UK and are mentioned on the PSB website.

Which means neither of the Bobby Orlando produced singles will feature.  It’s just as easy to quote from the ‘Early Years’ section over at wiki:-

“Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in a hi-fi shop on King’s Road in Chelsea, London, in 1981. Tennant had purchased a Korg MS-10 synthesizer which sparked a conversation with Lowe. Discovering that they had a mutual interest in disco and electronic music, they became friends. In particular, the pair had a shared love of two electropop records: Souvenir by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD); and Bedsitter by Soft Cell, which reflected their lifestyles at the time. According to Tennant, he and Lowe would listen to “pioneers of electronic music”, including OMD, Soft Cell, Kraftwerk, the Human League and Depeche Mode.

“The duo began to work together on material, first in Tennant’s flat in Chelsea, then, from 1982, in a small studio in Camden Town. They say that their band name was taken from friends who worked in a pet shop in Ealing and were known as the “pet shop boys”. In August 1983, Tennant, who was an assistant editor at Smash Hits, went to New York to interview Sting. While there, he arranged to meet hi-NRG producer Bobby Orlando and gave him a demo tape containing It’s a Sin and Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money).

“From 1983 to 1984, Orlando recorded 11 tracks with Tennant and Lowe.  In April 1984, the Orlando-produced West End Girls was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  It was a minor dance hit in Belgium and France, but was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12” import.

“In March 1985, after long negotiations, the Pet Shop Boys cut their contractual ties with Bobby O, with a settlement giving Bobby O significant royalties for future sales. Hiring manager Tom Watkins, they signed with the London-based Parlophone label. In April, Tennant left Smash Hits magazine – where he had progressed to the position of deputy editor – and in July, a new single was released.”

Which takes us to Part One of the series.

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Released on 1st July 1985. It came out on 7″ vinyl as well as two different 12″ versions. 

7″

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of  Money)
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – In The Night

12″ (version 1)

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) (Dance Mix)

12″ (version 2)

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) (version Latina)
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Dub For Money)

Produced by J. J. Jeczalik (of Art of Noise) and Nicholas Froome, it was a flop, getting no higher than #116 in the UK charts.

In what would become a feature of PSB singles over the years, the b-side was a song worth listening to.  The version of In The Night that was included on the 7″ could also be found on both of the 12″ releases.

It’s also interesting that, from the outset, the duo were keen to import a Latina element to their sound, something that would really come to the fore a few years later.

JC

 

14 thoughts on “PET SHOP BOY SINGLES (Part One)

  1. I like the Pet Shop boys but know little about them. I own Actually on vinyl and that’s it. I thought I had Intropection on vinyl too – quite sure I did, but no more. I own some albums on CD but not at home to check.

    I have a favourite single and will wait till it emerges to gush.

    I think I felt the band were a bit too ‘up their own arses’ to be of any real use to me. It transpires it was me who was up my own arse – taking music too seriously, again.

    I’m really looking forward to this.

  2. In the Night is superb. Lyrically it concerns the French Resistance which is pretty unusual for a pop song and brilliantly PSB. It was also the theme to the Clothes Show. Also brilliantly PSB.

  3. There is one more mix to offer. The ‘matrix mix’ was found on the A side of some later 7″ singles. It was marked as the original 7″ but is about 20 seconds shorter and has a different mix.

  4. OK confessions first: I still think the Bobby O verion of ‘ West End Girls’ is one of the best records ever period. I love the bassline, the very English rapping and the very obviously electronically minipulated backing vocals. Looking forward to the series. I am afraid I gave up on PSB single after the 4th album.

  5. The Bobby Orlando-produced West End Girls was released in the UK as a single, on Epic. We had a copy at student radio that we played until I was able to get down to the record shop and purchase the Parlophone version.
    Discogs confirms this – the release that is, not me skipping a tutorial to go and purchase it.

  6. There will be some great tunes in this series!

    Found PSB (and “Opportunities…” from an old giveaway cassette from Record Mirror which also had some excellent tunes from early Del Amitri, Win, Chakk, Colourbox etc.

  7. “Found PSB (and “Opportunities…” from an old giveaway cassette from Record Mirror which also had some excellent tunes from early Del Amitri, Win, Chakk, Colourbox etc.”

    I have that same cassette somewhere – for me, it was one of the best ones that Record Mirror did.

  8. Like many American, I assume, I came to Pet Shop Boys on the heels of West End Girls’ release and then to Opportunities. I never bought the reissued Opportunities produced by Hague… the JJ Jeczelik/Nick Froome version was pretty definitive for me.

  9. They recorded 11 tracks with Bobby O! I was only aware of a WEG. I was just listening to my copy of the BO version. While it of course doesn’t have the high polish of the Stephen Hague version we all know, there is a certain punky charm to it. I’m not saying it’s superior (it is not) I’m just saying the Orlando work is worth your readers seeking out on their own.

    Due to the vagaries of social media BS i have been away from TVV for too long but now I’m BACK BABY and I am SO happy you are still doing this and that I come back just as you embark on this epic series. ❤️👊😆

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