Pet Shop Boys, obsession.

If you know me, you’d be very aware of my obsession with Pet Shop Boys. It’s hard to believe, but I have been a raving fan for over 30 years now – ever since their first single, “West End girls”, came out in 1986. I believe that my devotion and fandom was quite simply fate, as it seems that Pet Shop Boys represent everything to me in so many ways: music, style, design, brand, and image. You may find it excessive that I have devoted an entire page to write about how they have impacted my life, yet I feel that it is warranted since they are such a major part of everything I have done and everything I do. 2016 was the 30th anniversary of their first single and my loyalty as a fan...so if you dare, enjoy reading about this entertaining, enduring obsession.

A 5 Point Summary: Why I Love Pet Shop Boys

There are countless reasons why I love Pet Shop Boys, but I will try and explain my passion as concisely as possible in these first few paragraphs. I think that I can summarise my enthusiasm and interest with the following 5 points:

1. The music, of course. Pet Shop Boys music is the perfect union of pop, art, dance, electronics, lyrics, wit, energy, style, irony, happiness, politics, love, and sadness.

2. They are electronic music pioneers. They were cutting edge in the 1980s with their synth-pop style, which has only evolved over time. They have continued to be revolutionary with every release, and, like Depeche Mode, have influenced countless DJs and dance music acts. Billboard Magazine ranks them the 5th most successful dance act ever; only Madonna, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, and Beyonce have hard more hits on the US dance charts. And, of course, they are the most successful UK pop duo ever with over 50 million records sold.

3. Their lyrics and songwriting. Neil Tennant is an incredible songwriter; his lyrics range from the simplest of singalong pop tunes to complex historical references. Chris Lowe’s melodies are catchy, intense, and timeless, and he yearns to capture the feeling of euphoria in each and every song (even melancholic euphoria).

4. Remixes and collaborations. I have always been fanatical about their remixes, and they have used an extraordinary array of talent. In terms of collaborations, they have worked with some of the biggest names in music. A full list of artists is listed further below on this page.

5. Their image. Pet Shop Boys are meticulous about their image, and they have always been extremely focused on design. (So much so, that in 2006 they released Catalogue, documenting their contributions to design.) They have primarily worked with the same graphic designer for the entirety of their career – his name is Mark Farrow – and collectively they have created some of the most impressive and iconic graphic work that has ever been seen in the music industry. My interest in design stemmed from observing how they calculate their image and brand.


It all began in 1986.

I won’t go into a Pet Shop Boys biography here, because there are plenty of other places online where you can read about them and how they got started. I thought it would be entertaining, however, to talk about how I discovered them. The year was 1986, and I was 13 years old. I was already an avid record collector and was very much into “long versions” and “extended remixes” of popular songs. I had heard "West End girls" on the radio and immediately fell in love with the vocals. I felt that Neil Tennant sounded like Al Stewart, an artist from the 1970s who I liked when I was even younger. I was at the mall shopping in a toy store for a Transformer, and just as I was about to pay for it, I remembered how much I liked “West End girls.” I put the Transformer back on the shelf and went to the record store and bought the 12” single, which had all of the long versions and remixes. It was a moment that would change my life...

The life of a Pethead: following Pet Shop Boys on tour.

I have had several lucky opportunities to meet Pet Shop Boys. The first time was in 1991. It was my senior year in high school, I was 18 years old. I drove down to Miami, Florida (from Orlando) with two friends to see them. It was the opening date on their first US tour – Performance – and there was a lot of hype: I remember MTV and various other news outlets were there filming the event. The first night was actually cancelled, however, due to technical issues. I was so worried we wouldn’t get to see them, but they rescheduled for the following night (thus requiring my Mom to call my school and tell them I was sick for a second day!). The show was over-the-top and one of the most amazing things I had ever witnessed. It was also the very first time I heard their version of “Where the streets have no name (I can’t take my eyes off you)”. After the show, my friends and I decided to try and get backstage. It was quite a feat, and required what seemed like hours of loitering in the lobby before we were finally noticed by one of their dancers who was willing to help us out. My friend Kelly had snuck a disposable camera into the show, and we were lucky enough to snap a picture (see photo below). It was completely surreal to meet my favourite band of all time. They were funny, pleasant, and excited. As expected, I had so many questions to ask, and yet failed to ask any. I think shock is the word I would use, because I just was overwhelmed to be in their presence. It was amazing, however it wouldn’t be the last time I would meet them...

Fast forward to 1999, when Pet Shop Boys were on their world-tour for their Nightlife release, with an impressive stage set designed by Zaha Hadid. This time, I was joined by my dear friend and fellow Pet Shop Boys obsessor, Corey. We made sure to make this tour count: we went to three US shows, in Tampa, Orlando, and Atlanta. We attempted to get backstage all three nights, and were surprisingly successful in all three attempts. In Tampa, we hung around outside the arena and met them on the way to their bus. Armed with a camera, we got pictures with Chris and Neil separately. Then we followed their tour bus to Orlando...not because we’re crazy (well, maybe a little) but because we actually had to drive back to Orlando. The Orlando show the following night was the best one of the three, and we were able to get to the front row because it was a general admission show. Afterwards, we hung around again inside the venue, hoping to get backstage. After a close-call with getting thrown out, we actually got to go and meet them again. This time we met the entire crew as well, including Sylvia Mason-James, their long-time back-up singer. We took more photos, again with Neil and Chris separately. The next day, we ventured up to Atlanta, Georgia for a third show. We got backstage again, ironically because our backstage passes from Orlando were coincidentally dated for the next day! The meet-and-greet in Atlanta was very crowded, and Neil and Chris were across the room from each other most of the night. Then, when it was time for them to go, they began approaching the exit. Corey and I ran to them, and asked them for a photo, and they agreed: it was the only picture taken that night by anyone with BOTH of them together. (See photo below.) Corey and I were simply speechless. This has become an iconic image for me, since they both no longer allow fans to take photographs with them. Needless to say, it was an incredible end to an already incredible trip.

Pet Shop Boys toured the US again in 2002 promoting Release, and Corey came to Atlanta (where I was living at the time) to see them with me. We tried to do our previously successful “hang around the backstage doors after the show” technique for a meet-and-greet, but had no such luck meeting them this time around.

Well bring on 2006, when Pet Shop Boys began touring for Fundamental. Corey and I decided to again relive our 1999 experience, so this time we went over the top and bought tickets to see them in four cities: New York, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta. We had third row seats for Radio City Music Hall, about 20th row seats for Miami, and the Orlando and Atlanta shows were general admission. These were some of the best Pet Shop Boys concerts we had ever seen: it was amazing and nostalgic to hear “Where the streets have no name (I can’t take my eyes off you)” in the same venue in Miami where I had heard it for the first time back in 1991. Perhaps the most surprising thing was that the Radio City Music Hall show ranked last in terms of energy on our list of performances for that tour. We are not exactly sure why, but we think it had to do with the fact that it was a seated venue and people did not know whether to stand up or sit down. Orlando was a general admission show so everyone was jumping up and down – it was like being at a proper synth-pop rave.

Corey and I unfortunately did not get any photos with Pet Shop Boys this time around (as I mentioned above, Neil and Chris were no longer having their photographs taken with fans). We did, however, get to meet them in New York City at Virgin Megastore for a midnight in-store signing and got their autographs. The tour was eventually released on DVD under the title Cubism. As you can imagine, this trip was rather exhilarating: four cities, four concerts, and plenty of amazing new Pet Shop Boys memories to hold me over for several years... 

...until 2009! Pet Shop Boys toured the world again for their album, Yes, known as the Pandemonium Tour. When they made their way to the US, Corey and I planned trips to see several concerts again. Corey saw two shows, and I saw three: Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Also unique to this 2009 tour was that they were selling backstage meet-and-greet tickets, so of course we scored some. I saw the show from three perspectives: front row mezzanine seats in Miami, the meet-and-greet in Tampa with front row seats, and then the Orlando show as general admission. From an energy stand point, Orlando won again as being the most lively, primarily because it was general admission. I've concluded that Pet Shop Boys should not have people sitting down during their concerts, there’s simply too much pent-up energy for people to stay seated.

The highlight of the 2009 Pandemonium Tour was the meet-and-greet to get backstage in Tampa. Upon hearing about the meet-and-greet, originally Corey and I thought we would be standing around in a large room with a bunch of fans, trying to make our way to them but having little luck spending any one-on-one time with them (similar to what happened during the Nightlife Tour). However, upon arrival, we quickly realised that the meet-and-greet was going to be the two of us one-on-one with the Pet Shop Boys with no one else around. Yes, you read that correctly. Here's how it worked: after queueing up outside the auditorium, they let us in based on how big our party was. So Corey and I, just being the two of us, were brought into a small room and got to spend about five minutes with Neil and Chris! Needless to say, it was entirely surreal and superb. Before heading in to meet them, we feverishly typed away on our iPhones trying to list questions we would want to ask. Once it was our turn to go in, of course we tried hard not to stumble over our words. It was unbelievable that we were just having a relaxed conversation with our favourite musical artists of all time.

After we experienced the giddiness of getting backstage, we had the fortune of scoring front row seats to that show, and obviously took it all in with total amazement. And, in typical ironic fashion, after the end of the Tampa show Corey and I drove back to Orlando and stopped at restaurant to have a late night dinner. What song was playing when we walked in? Yep, “Love etc.”. I’m telling you...it’s insane sometimes with how connected I am to the world of PSB.

So 2013 arrived. Pet Shop Boys toured the entire year with an all new show, Electric, to promote the release of their eleventh and twelfth albums, Elysium and Electric. And now that I had moved in London, I experienced them in four European cities: Barcelona at the Sónar Festival, London at the O2 Arena, Manchester at the MEN Arena, and Hogmanay in Edinburgh. It was amazing to see them in four very different venues – a festival in Spain which was simply extraordinary, a general admission show in London, a seated venue in Manchester, and then to ring in the new year in Scotland. But of course, it doesn’t stop there. In September, I also had the benefit of seeing them in St. Petersburg, Florida in the United States, where Corey and I (again) scored backstage passes for a meet-and-greet AND front row seats. This time the meet-and-greet wasn’t as fulfilling as 2009, simply because we were rushed through and didn’t have much time to ask any questions or have a conversation of quality. We shook hands with them, got to them to sign our passes, and were basically quickly ‘moved along’ within two minutes. It was exciting though, as always, and a fantastic way to celebrate one of the five shows I saw that year.

The year ended on a high note for sure at the Hogmanay Fesitval – one of the biggest New Year’s Eve festivals in Europe – taking place in Edinburgh. Pet Shop Boys headlined the event to ring in the New Year, so needless to say I celebrated this simply phenomenal Pet Shop Boys year like no other. The show was a hybrid of the Pandemonium and Electric Tours, with many greatest hits and stunning visuals.

2014 arrived and it was another incredible PSB-fueled year. They continued their Electric world tour and added many dates and headlined some major festivals, including Moogfest and the coveted Coachella. I had the benefit of experiencing two more UK shows, in Brighton and Cardiff, as well as making my way to The Netherlands to see two shows in Utrecht (more details about that show below). In July, I had the fortune of seeing an incredible one-off performance of their highly anticipated musical score dedicated to Alan Turing, called A Man from the Future. The event, held at the Royal Albert Hall, was a moving night of their music delivered through orchestration, and even featured guest vocalist Chrissie Hynde to sing on four tracks. Simply stunning.

In 2016, Pet Shop Boys delivered their 13th album, Super; a 4-day theatrical concert experience debuted in July called Inner Sanctum at the Royal Opera House in London (see photos below); and a full tour that commenced in the autumn. For the Super Tour, I got backstage yet again when I saw them with Luis in November in New York City, and in February 2017 I saw two more Super shows in Leeds and Manchester, UK. In April, I had the amazing opportunity to see them at the Royal Albert Hall for a special one night gig to support the Teenage Cancer Trust. This event brought Pet Shop Boys together again with their long-time collaborator Johnny Marr and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was a unique and extremely moving experience to hear them perform a lush set of orchestral arrangements from their entire catalog.


Anecdotes.

We meet for the first time in Miami, 1991, for the Performance Tour.

We meet for the first time in Miami, 1991, for the Performance Tour.

Corey and me with Pet Shop Boys in Atlanta for the Nightlife Tour, 1999.

Corey and me with Pet Shop Boys in Atlanta for the Nightlife Tour, 1999.

My PSB fan page was featured on http://petshopboys.co.uk in 2006.

My PSB fan page was featured on http://petshopboys.co.uk in 2006.

Why was my name written in chalk outside Sadler’s Wells?

Why was my name written in chalk outside Sadler’s Wells?

My picture and tweet from Sónar, which they posted on their website.

My picture and tweet from Sónar, which they posted on their website.

Pet Shop Boys promoting my Sónar picture via Twitter.

Pet Shop Boys promoting my Sónar picture via Twitter.

My friends and me with our signed VIP passes for the Electric Tour in 2013.

My friends and me with our signed VIP passes for the Electric Tour in 2013.

My "Love is a bourgeois construct" tattoo made the front page of their site.

My "Love is a bourgeois construct" tattoo made the front page of their site.

Pet Shop Boys posted Pete Gleadall’s photo from Utrecht.

Pet Shop Boys posted Pete Gleadall’s photo from Utrecht.

My latest tattoos: "Love life" and "Love etc." were added in May 2016.

My latest tattoos: "Love life" and "Love etc." were added in May 2016.

Ever since 1986, I have had several entertaining stories about different moments in time with the release of different Pet Shop Boys singles and albums. Below are just some of the several interesting stories...

  1. The release of “Opportunities (let’s make lots of money)” in 1986 caused me to force my parents to drive to the record shop on the way home from our holiday (even with our boat on the back of our car) so I could buy it.  

  2. My very first compact disc, which I bought in 1986, was the remix album Disco. I was so excited to play it on my ridiculously heavy Panasonic portable CD player.

  3. Pet Shop Boys’ second album, Actually (released in 1987), was a favourite of mine to listen to on the bus ride in the morning to high school when I was in tenth grade. I used to program tracks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 to listen to in order, which are the moody tracks on the album.

  4. The 1991 release of “Where the streets have no name (I can’t take my eyes off you)” involved begging a friend to loan me the money to buy it (I had used up my allowance from my parents the day before it was released, and I simply couldn’t wait until the following week). So I drove my friend to the bank so she could give me the money, then I rushed down to the record store to buy it.

  5. At my high school graduation in 1991, I performed “It’s alright” on keyboards along with two of my fellow students, Lyle and Laura, who sang the vocals. It was Lyle’s idea, because he thought graduates would relate well to the lyrics.

  6. The entire Very album (1993) was the soundtrack to my massive immersion into the house music scene, and the album contains several songs that impacted my DJing gigs. “Go West” was the first song I played in 1993 to celebrate the new year at a New Year’s Eve gig; the Jam & Spoon remix of “Young offender” offered lots of late club night entertainment; and their subsequent remix of “Yesterday, when I was mad” was a classic Remark track to play at 3:00 a.m. no matter where I performed.

  7. I saw the show Absolutely Fabulous on VHS tape months before everyone else knew what it was in the United States thanks to Pet Shop Boys releasing their song, “Absolutely Fabulous”, as a single in 1994. I remember sharing the show with my best friend Tonda and we immediately became fans of the show ever since.

  8. The Trouser Enthusiasts remixes of “A red letter day” and “Somewhere” (both 1997) were literally “mind-blowing” to me, and both were staples in my gigs and after-parties. To this day, both mixes still evoke strong and intense nostalgic emotions for me, particularly the mix of “Somewhere”, which has become my favourite PSB remix of all time.

  9. 1999 saw the release of Pet Shop Boys seventh album, Nightlife, which reminds me of my last year in Orlando before I moved to Dallas, Texas. A song included is “New York City boy”, which was coincidentally released as a single the week I went to New York City for the first time. Needless to say, I have a photo of myself standing “where 7th avenue meets Broadway”, a lyric from the track.

  10. Their eighth album, Release, was emotionally important for a few reasons. First, it was released the year I left Texas and moved to Atlanta (2002), so many songs remind me of that time. Second, there are two songs that I turned to that helped me make it through the painful end of a relationship at the time: “Love is a catastrophe” and “You choose”.

  11. The single “Miracles”, released in 2003, became one of my all-time favourite Pet Shop Boys songs, reinforced by the Eric Prydz remix, which is showcased on my mix titled Artwork. It's important to note that Pet Shop Boys were using remixers like this long before they were massively popular – a hallmark in the Pet Shop Boys' choice of producers to remix their songs.

  12. In 2005, Pet Shop Boys agreed to contribute to the iconic Back to Mine project. It is ironic that I too had been inspired by the series and had already been creating my own Back to Mine soundscapes since 2003.

  13. When Madonna released her album Confessions on a Dance Floor in 2005, my favourite song was “Sorry”. I was completely shocked when I found out that Pet Shop Boys were chosen to remix that song (but why should I have expected anything less?)!

  14. Pet Shop Boys released the audio stems for the second single from Fundamental (2006), called “Minimal”, for a U-MYX compilation. So I created my own remix of the song: the Remark Ambient Communication mix.

  15. In November 2006, the Pet Shop Boys added a link to this site (yes, the one you are reading) on their official website. (See image above.) This would be the first of several posts of mine on the official Pet Shop Boys website.

  16. In March 2007, the Pet Shop Boys played their first and only concert in New Zealand. It’s yet another interesting coincidence that this occurred the same year that I had my first trip to New Zealand.

  17. In February 2009, my sister came to visit me in Atlanta for my birthday. I was very eager to play her the new Pet Shop Boys’ single off of Yes, called “Love etc.”. As we were driving on Peachtree Street listening to the song at full volume in the car, we drove past one of Pepsi’s advertisements...that just so happened to state, quite clearly, “LOVETC” across a massive billboard. And of course it was my first time seeing that advertisement, so we just had to pull over and take a picture.

  18. Also in February 2009, the Pet Shop Boys were honoured with the most prestigious British music award: The Brits Outstanding Contribution to Music Award. This award recognises the Pet Shop Boys’ significant contribution to pop music. And the special guests were Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers.

  19. In the spring of 2011, I relocated from the United States to the United Kingdom. I find it more than a coincidence that I’m now living in the Pet Shop Boys’ homeland, and it’s brought so much of the Pet Shop Boys history, lyrics, and influence to life for me in ways that I could never have imagined. I consider my move to the UK to be the most incredible experience of my life, and of course they would just have to title their ballet, released the month before I moved, The Most Incredible Thing.

  20. In 2012, I finally had the opportunity to see the ballet playing at Sadler’s Wells in London. When I arrived to the show, I noticed there was a name written in chalk outside on the brick wall. One name, and nothing else. Eerily, that name was “Mark.” So of course I had to take a picture. (See image above). Yet another strange, but almost expected, coincidence...

  21. In September 2012, Pet Shop Boys released their eleventh studio album, entitled Elysium. It was the first album they had released since I had moved to UK, and there were plenty of Pet Shop Boys stories in the press, as their classic “West End girls” was featured in 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony...and perhaps more importantly, they delivered a magnificent version of it in the 2012 London Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, riding around on orange rickshaws in high fashion black suits and pointy hats designed by Gareth Pugh. They performed three songs for the British Victory Parade of Athletes to celebrate Great Britain’s athletes from the Olympic and Paralympic games. The Elysium era also provided a wonderful keepsake: I ordered my vinyl and compact disc release of the album from their website, and they were offering 500 limited edition signed copies...so I scored another autographed piece to add to my collection.

  22. Elysium’s second single, “Leaving”, resonated immediately with me upon its release, however it became even more emotionally and lyrically important to me in January 2013 when a difficult relationship of mine came to an end.

  23. I turned 40 in 2013 and Pet Shop Boys released Electric. This album was hailed in the press as a ‘return to form’ and immediately became my second favourite album of all time, and it was the soundtrack to my personal renaissance of shaking off my challenging relationship, focusing on getting my body in shape, and embracing my 40s with pride.

  24. In the cab ride home after the 2013 Electric show at Sónar in Barcelona, the driver was playing bad disco on the radio. And what comes on? Yep, the original version of “Go West” by the Village People.

  25. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing to happen in 2013 was the fact that Pet Shop Boys posted a picture of mine on their website and Twitter. I could have literally died when all this came to fruition. The pictures above showcase this moment. As soon as the Sónar show was over in Barcelona, I tweeted my response about the incredible experience, and the next day it was posted on the Pet Shop Boys website. And if that wasn’t enough, shortly after that, Pet Shop Boys retweeted my picture via their Twitter account (see photo above). It was quite an overwhelming way to properly kick off the Electric era, which has easily become one of my favourite PSB eras to date.

  26. The CRAZIEST thing to happen in 2014, and perhaps ever in all my years of fandom, was the fact that PET SHOP BOYS POSTED A PICTURE OF MY TATTOO ON THEIR MAIN PAGE AND FACEBOOK PAGE. Okay okay, so let me explain. On 12 July, 2014 (coincidentally the one year anniversary of the release of Electric), I got my fourth tattoo. I had been wanting this tattoo for a while, and finally took the plunge: I had “Love is a bourgeois construct” tattooed across my chest. It’s the title of the third single off of Electric. After I had it done, I was excited and posted a black and white image of it to a Pet Shop Boys forum as well as my Instagram. Then, about three days later, PET SHOP BOYS POSTED THE IMAGE TO THEIR WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE. I cannot stress enough how much this completely BLEW MY MIND. And SHOCKINGLY, they said “We don’t know who the man is but we’re liking his tattoo” which is unbelievable given my three-decade devotion. Hopefully they will remember me from now on! See the full image above from when it posted on 16 July, 2014.

  27. My ninth and final attendance of the Electric Tour was in Utrecht, Netherlands in 2014. On that night, I managed to work my way to the front of the general admission show. After it was over, Pete Glendale (their long-time producer and friend), came out to the edge of the stage and snapped some photos of us in the front. He then posted the photo on Twitter, which conveniently made its way onto the front page of the Pet Shop Boys website. (See image.) So yet AGAIN, I was featured on petshopboys.co.uk.

  28. March 2016 will go down as a very special month, as I was asked to DJ a 3-hour exclusive Pet Shop Boys set to conclude the 2-day academic seminar, Pet Shop Boys Symposium, celebrating 30 years of the Pet Shop Boys career and influence. See the section below to read more about this incredible milestone and story.

  29. In May of 2016, I added two more tattoos to my PSB-inspired collection. I have this goal of getting all five Pet Shop Boys songs that begin with the word "love" tattooed on me, and I added "Love life" and "Love etc." to the mix. Now I just need to wrap up the project at some stage by getting "Love is a catastrophe" and "Love comes quickly" tattooed. As of right now I'm not quite sure when or where I'll get them, but I'm confident they will be imprinted on me at some point in the future...

  30. In November 2016, I flew to New York City with Luis to see the Super Tour in the US. This was the first time I've met Neil and Chris with all of my "Love..." tattoos. Neil and Chris were in great spirits and signed some of my things. Neil also commented on how cool my "Love..." tattoo project was and mentioned that I should consider "Love trumps hate", in light of the controversial American election. He also made a rather cheeky comment about where "Love comes quickly" should get tattooed on my body. I'll leave that up to your imagination!


Pet Shop Boys Symposium.

In March of 2016, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Please and the Pet Shop Boys contribution to music, design, and theatre, the University of Edinburgh hosted a 2-day academic seminar called Pet Shop Boys Symposium. Almost as if by fate, I was contacted by the organisers to DJ a 3 hour set celebrating their career to close out the event. I was so incredibly excited and honoured to take part in this very special event, and added yet another incredible story to my PSB fandom. I recorded the set and you can enjoy all three hours below:


Super Pet Shop Boys.

In 2016, we entered the Super era. This era delivered even more memories, excitement, and music to PSB history. And it felt more than appropriate for 2016 to be celebratory, paying tribute to their 30 year career. Here’s what the year delivered:

  • The release of the 13th album, Super
  • Pet Shop Boys Documentary, a 4-part documentary on BBC Radio 2 and hosted by Graham Norton, discussing their career and history
  • Pet Shop Boys Symposium, the 2-day academic seminar that took place in Edinburgh, focusing on their impact and influence
  • Remark presents Pet Shop Boys: Encomium 1986 – 2016, the 3 hour DJ set to close out Pet Shop Boys Symposium
  • Inner Sanctum: Live at the Royal Opera House debuted in July
  • The Super Tour to close out 2016 and kick off 2017; of which I attended a VIP meet and greet show in New York City. In 2017 I visited Leeds and Manchester, both in the UK, to see the show again.

So as you can probably imagine, it was exciting as ever to enjoy another extraordinary PSB year that went down in history!


Albums, ranked.

After substantial reflection, I think I have been able to construct a ranking of my favourite albums. As of 2016, Pet Shop Boys have released 13 proper albums. The ranking below does not take into account compilation or greatest hit albums (like Alternative or PopArt) nor other projects like The Most Incredible Thing or Battleship Potemkin. Reviewing the list from left to right below, you can see that I consider 1987's Actually to be my favourite album, and 1996's Bilingual to be my least favourite. I should note that despite this ranking, I love all of the albums and find that they each play a special role in my PSB fandom and story.


Remix culture.

Sasha remixed "West End girls" in 1993.


Moby remixed "Miserablism" in 1990.


Eric Prydz remixed "Miracles" in 2003.

Perhaps one of the most astounding things about Pet Shop Boys is the roster of remixers they have used over the years. Given that they have always been pioneers of and helped define electronic dance music, it only makes sense that they would collaborate with so many different DJs and producers to remix their sound. Their use of so many great remixers has, without question, fueled my passion for dance music. I don’t think most people realise how extensive their remix library is. Here’s a current comprehensive list of all of the "official" remixers they have worked with (in alphabetical order) as of February 2017:

  • Abe Duque
  • Alter Ego
  • Altern8
  • Andrew Dawson
  • Angel Moraes
  • Armageddon Turk
  • Arthur Baker
  • Attaboy
  • Baba Stiltz
  • Baby Doc
  • Basement Jaxx
  • Blank and Jones
  • Boys Noize
  • Brother Brown
  • Brothers in Rhythm
  • Brutal Bill
  • Carl Craig
  • Claptone
  • Coconut 1
  • Danny Tenaglia
  • David Morales
  • Dave Aude
  • Davidson Ospina
  • Deep Dish
  • Dettinger
  • Digital Dog
  • DJ Hell
  • DJ Pierre
  • DJ Waldo
  • Dusty Kid
  • E-Smoove
  • Eddie Amador
  • Eddie Fowlkes
  • Eric Prydz
  • Ewan Pearson
  • Farley and Heller
  • Felix da Housecat
  • Flashmob
  • Forthright
  • François Kervorkian
  • Frank Musik
  • Frankie Knuckles
  • Friburn and Urik
  • Goetz
  • Grum
  • Gui Boratto
  • Hed Boys
  • Ian Levine
  • Jam and Spoon
  • Joey Negro
  • John Dahlback
  • Johnny Marr
  • JRMX
  • Julian Mendolsohn
  • Junior Vasquez
  • K-Klass
  • Kevin Saunderson
  • Kornél Kovács
  • Kurd Maverick
  • Lange
  • Laroz and Amdursky
  • Latin Rascals
  • Lemon Jelly
  • Little Boots
  • Los Evo Jedis
  • Louis Martinee
  • Love to Infinity
  • M Factor
  • Mark Kinchen
  • Mark Picchiotti
  • Mark Stent
  • Marshall Jefferson
  • Max Tundra
  • Melynk
  • Michael Mayer
  • Michael Moog
  • Mike Monday
  • Mindskap
  • Moby
  • Motiv8
  • Murk
  • Nacho Chapado & Ivan Gomez
  • Niki and the Dove
  • Offer Nissim
  • Pepptalk
  • Peter Rauhofer
  • Phil Harding
  • Pink Noise
  • Radio Slave
  • RAF
  • Ralphi Rosario
  • Real Lies
  • Rektchordz
  • Richard X
  • Rollo
  • RNG
  • Sasha
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Shep Pettibone
  • Sterling Void
  • Stuart Crichton
  • Stuart Price
  • Sunshi Moriwaki
  • Superchumbo
  • T-Total
  • Telex
  • Tensnake
  • Terence Parker
  • The Almighty
  • The Beatmasters
  • The Cucarachas
  • The Grid
  • The Hitmakers
  • The KLF
  • The Penelopes
  • The Scene Kings
  • Thunderpuss 2000
  • Tiga
  • Tin Tin Out
  • Tocadisco
  • Tomcraft
  • Tom Demac
  • Tracy and Sharon
  • Tracy Young
  • Trentmoeller
  • Trouser Enthusiasts
  • Tuff City Kids
  • Tyree Cooper
  • Ulrich Schnauss
  • Ultrabeat
  • Unicorn Kid
  • Vinnie Vero
  • Wawa
  • Westbam
  • Wideboys

Collaborations, productions, and other projects.

Pet Shop Boys were part of the supergroup, Electronic.


Pet Shop Boys remixed "Sorry" for Madonna in 2006.

As if working with all those remixers was enough, Pet Shop Boys have collaborated, remixed, and produced several other well-known artists, as well as made substantial contributions to other interesting creative projects. The list below is a list of artists they have produced, collaborated with, or remixed.

Collaborations

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Electronic
  • Kylie Minogue
  • David Bowie
  • Suede
  • Superchumbo
  • Elton John
  • Robbie Williams
  • DJ Fresh
  • Stop Modernists
  • Chrissie Hynde / The Pretenders
  • Jean-Michel Jarre
  • Johnny Marr

Production and songwriting

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Electronic
  • Blur
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Liza Minelli
  • Boy George
  • Cicero
  • Pete Burns
  • Patsy Kensit
  • Tina Turner
  • Ian Wright
  • Sam Taylor-Wood
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Girls Aloud
  • Alcazar
  • Morten Harket
  • Eighth Wonder
  • Miyuki Motegi
  • Kiki Kokova
  • Helena Springs

Remixes

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Bloodhound Gang
  • Blur
  • Fat Les
  • Yoko Ono
  • Rammstein
  • Madonna
  • The Killers
  • Atomizer
  • Lady Gaga
  • MGMT
  • The Hidden Cameras

In addition to these partnerships, Pet Shop Boys have dabbled in various other creative mediums throughout the years.

It Couldn't Happen Here was a pseudo-postmodern film they released in 1987 which sort of tells an interesting story of Neil and Chris as they meander through various settings.

Battleship Potemkin is an experimental orchestral track they performed live against the backdrop of the silent film from the 1920s of the same name.

Closer to Heaven was their first musical; a modern day love story that takes place in a nightclub with all kinds of colourful characters.

The Most Incredible Thing was a contemporary ballet inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story.

A Man From the Future was an extraordinary modern piece of music performed at the BBC Proms which tells the story of Alan Turing's life.

I love that Pet Shop Boys have worked on so many interesting and unique projects in addition to the electronic pop music they are famous for. It reveals the full spectrum of their creativity and I'm sure we will continue to see more interesting contributions and collaborations in the future.


Pet Shop Boys, conclusion.

Although Pet Shop Boys are often thought of as being an “80s act”, they clearly continue to be active contributors to music, dance, theatre, and design. Even after 30 years of extraordinary creative output, they continue in 2017 doing what they do best.

I’m not sure if anyone (except other obsessed Pet Shop Boys fans) is going to read this page in its entirety (ha), but if you have, I feel I have certainly conveyed my passion for this very influential musical duo. It’s so great to look back on the past 30 years of my life and know that Pet Shop Boys have been there the entire time: they’ve been with me through my alternative new wave teenage years, the crazy partying club years of my 20s, my foray into the adulthood of my 30s, and even now on this dance floor of life I call my 40s. They truly have been the one musical and emotional constant in my life. Their inspiration is endless and their music continues to drive me, entertain me, excite me, and save me.

Thank you, Neil and Chris, for sharing your talent with the rest of the world.

Have comments about my crazy fandom? Let me know.