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.
Released on 1st July 1985. It came out on 7″ vinyl as well as two different 12″ versions.
12″ (version 1)
12″ (version 2)
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.