And now we reach what I think is my favourite phase of the Pet Shop Boys between September 1988 and June 1989, and the three singles that were lifted from their third album Introspective, itself released in October 1988. And it’s why I’m temporarily deviating away from looking at all singles from an album in one posting.
Domino Dancing was released on 12th September 1988
Perhaps already tiring of being pigeonholed as purely a synth band, Pet Shop Boys in March 1988 had decamped to Miami for some recording sessions. This was around the same time as when Heart had raced all the way to #1, and given what they were working on in the studios is perhaps the best indication as to why they had been so ambivalent to the previous 45.
They chose to work with Latino producer Lewis A. Martinée, the results of which saw far more musicians play on a PSB track than ever before. The credits on the single list two additional keyboard players, a guitarist, a four-piece brass section and a backing vocal group in the shape of The Voice Of Fashion.
More than 20 years after the event, the memories of the recording sessions still could bring real excitement to Neil:-
“All the musicians on it are Cuban. There’s tons of people playing on it. This trumpet player came in who couldn’t really speak English and he played loads of notes for the solo, and so I said, ‘Can’t he play the tune, and then halfway through play loads of notes?’ and he did that, and it was great. And he came up to me afterwards and hugged me. I hate it when the solo has none of the tune in; it’s the jazz version of a remix not having any of the song in.
We made the seven-inch version, and then Lewis Martinée expanded it to the twelve-inch version on the album. Towards the end there are lots of edits, all done by hand. You could see all the white sticky tape going past. When Lewis Martinée finished the mix we suggested to him that he did a mix without the drums and that was done in half an hour. I’ve always liked that mix.”
All of which explains why I’m going to go beyond just the 7″ version.
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Don Juan
Despite having a latin-sounding title, the b-side is a complete contrast to Domino Dancing having been recorded in London and featuring just Neil and Chris. It’s a decent enough song but sounds rather sparse in comparison to the single.
The record-buying public didn’t really take to Domino Dancing as it only reached #7, which was seen as a bit of a let-down after two consecutive #1s.
But for me, the real majesty of the song can be found on the 12″ and CD versions, as well as on Introspective:-
mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (disco mix)
Here’s the mix without the drums that was referred to by Neil in his comments above. It becomes a totally different song:-
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (alternative mix)
It was also included on the 12″ and CD versions of the single. A few years later, when Introspective was given an expanded re-release, the demo version of the song was provided.
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (demo version)
This had been recorded in Los Angeles in 1987, and the really interesting thing is the lack of lyrics for the verses, as they hadn’t been completed yet.
7 thoughts on “PET SHOP BOY SINGLES (Part Five)”
Happy to see Domino Dancing get a post all to itself, an excellent song in all it’s versions. A special mention for the record sleeve as well, which I think is just brilliant.
Thanks for all the different versions – wonderful!
Been waiting for this one, def deserves a post of its own, a superb single and a work of art. As Khayem says, the sleeve alone is brilliant. When (some) people say ‘yeah but PSBs are just a pop band’ the response is this single, one of their best and the best of the decade. And also, who else could do this? No- one else could do this, certainly no-one else making ‘pop’ music in the 80s could make a song like Domino Dancing. Magnificent.
Love the Neil Tennant trumpet solo story.
I LOVE this phase of PSB.
Iconic phase. LOVED Introspective. 💀🖤
Oh how hearing Domino Dancing Disco Mix bring back memories of NYC clubs, big and small at the end of the 80s. Being void of drums, it was like a DJ Tool sort of mix that every DJ of the time could pull out to glide from one Latin Electro/Freestyle track to another. It held up well to having the speed messed with.
Further kudos to Khayem celebrating the single cover!!
I love the throwback nature of Don Juan. It’s still got an Urban Latin – soft Electro – feel to it, but it’s purely a Pet Shop Boys song at it’s heart. In fact I would go as far as to say that it harkens to where the Boys would, in a short time, be going on Behavior.