English musician, singer, songwriter, music journalist and co-founder of the synthpop duo Pet Shop BoysNeil Tennant was born 10 July 1954. As a child, Tennant attended St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School, an all-boys’ Catholic school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Tennant’s songs “This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave” and “It’s a Sin” refer to his early life in Catholic school and the strict upbringing there While at school, Tennant played guitar and cello. At age 16, he played in a folk music group called Dust, whose most popular song was called “Can You Hear the Dawn Break?” They were heavily influenced by The Incredible String Band. During his teenage years, he was a member of the youth theatre at the People’s Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne.
In 1975, having completed a degree in history at North London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University), Tennant worked for two years as London editor for Marvel UK, the UK branch of Marvel Comics. He was responsible for anglicising the dialogue of Marvel’s catalogue to suit British readers, and for indicating where women needed to be redrawn for the British editions. He also wrote occasional features for the comics, including interviews with pop stars Marc Bolan and Alex Harvey. In 1977, he moved to Macdonald Educational Publishing where he edited The Dairy Book Of Home Management and various illustrated books about cookery, playing the guitar, and other home interests. Then he moved to ITV Books where he edited TV tie-in books. After having commissioned Steve Bush, then the designer of Smash Hits and The Face, to design a book about the group Madness, he was offered a job at Smash Hits as news editor of the British teen pop magazine in 1982. The following year he became Assistant Editor. He also edited the 1982, 1983 and 1984 editions of The Smash Hits Yearbook.
While working At Smash Hits, an opportunity arose for him to go to New York to interview The Police. Meanwhile Tennant formed the band Pet Shop Boys in London with Chris Lowe in 1981 whom he had met in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London, and who had a mutual interest in dance music. they began to work together on material, and produced “It’s a Sin”, “West End Girls”, “Rent” and “Jealousy”. Their big break came in August 1983, when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits to interview The Police in New York. The duo were obsessed with a stream of Hi-NRG records made by New York producer Bobby Orlando, simply known as Bobby O. After hearing a demo tape that Tennant had brought along with him, Orlando suggested making a record with the Pet Shop Boys and Between 1983–84, Orlando recorded eleven tracks with Tennant and Lowe including; “West End Girls”, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money”), “It’s A Sin”, “I Want A Lover”, “I Get Excited”, “Two Divided By Zero”, “Rent”, “Later Tonight”, “Pet Shop Boys”, “A Man Could Get Arrested” and “One More Chance.
In March 1985, after long negotiations, Pet Shop Boys cut their contractual ties with Bobby O. Tennant left Smash Hits (where he had progressed to the position of deputy editor) and released the single, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”/”In the Night”, “West End Girls” was rereleased in 1986 becoming a hit. followed by, “Love Comes Quickly” and the debut album, Please. New versions of their second single, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”, and the album track “Suburbia” were also released in 1986, followed by a remix album, Disco. Pet Shop Boys also performed “Love Comes Quickly” and “West End Girls” at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. In 1987 The Pet Shop Boys received both BRIT Awards and Ivor Novello Awards for “West End Girls” and released “It’s a Sin followed by “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” featuring Dusty Springfield which appeared on the second album Actually featuring the songs “Rent” , “King’s Cross”
Pet Shop Boys also appeared on Love Me Tender, a UK television programme, on ITV, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. They were asked to perform one of their favourite Elvis tracks and played “Always on My Mind”, which was re-released in a 12″ version with “In My House” which was included on the 1988 album, Introspective. Pet Shop Boys started work on an film It Couldn’t Happen Here, with director Jack Bond, starring Barbara Windsor, Joss Ackland and Gareth Hunt. In 1988. The Pet Shop Boys wrote and produced the song “I’m Not Scared” for Patsy Kensit’s band, Eighth Wonder. The song became her biggest hit single and the Pet Shop Boys included their own extended version of the track on their Introspective album. The Pet Shop Boys released “Heart”, Which was included on their first and third greatest hits albums, Discography: The Complete Singles Collection and Ultimate. whereas the album version was on their second retrospective, the double PopArt: Pet Shop Boys – The Hits. The video to the single, directed by Jack Bond, starred Ian McKellen as a vampire who steals Neil Tennant’s wife.
In 1988, Pet Shop Boys released, “Domino Dancing” followed by the third album, Introspective-a six-track album of previously unheard remixes and extended tracks. Followed by “Left to My Own Devices”, and a cover version of the Sterling Void single “It’s Alright”. In 1990, Pet Shop Boys released, “So Hard”, followed by the’ fourth album Behaviour, containing the song “Being Boring”. In 1991, Pet Shop Boys released a cover of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” as a medley with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, together with a remix of the album track “How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?” by Brothers in Rhythm. In 1991 the Pet Shop Boys embarked on World Tour visiting Tokyo, United States, Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The Pet Shop Boys also released an 18-track compilation called Discography, which included all of their single releases up until then, two new singles—”DJ Culture” and “Was It Worth It?
The Pet Shop Boys also collaborated with many musicians. Including Dusty Springfield, on the singles “Nothing Has Been Proved” From the film Scandal about the Profumo political scandal starring John Hurt and “In Private”. The duo later went on to produce half of the tracks on her 1990 solo Reputation album. Pet Shop Boys were also asked to write and produce an album for Liza Minnelli, in 1989. The album, Results, generated four singles, including the hit single “Losing My Mind”, a cover version of the Stephen Sondheim song from the 1971 Broadway musical “Follies”. In 1989 Neil Tennant formed Electronic with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr and co-wrote and co-produced the song “Getting Away with It”. Lowe also contributed to the chord sequence to “The Patience of a Saint” on Electronic’s 1991 album. In 1992, Tennant sang lead vocals on the song “Disappointed”, for the soundtrack for the film Cool World. A remix of “So Hard”, by The KLF, led to Tennant re-recording his vocals for the song. Pet Shop Boys set up the Spaghetti Records label in 1991. Their most successful release was the soundtrack to the 1992 film The Crying Game, which featured Boy George performing the title song “The Crying Game”.
In 1992, Pet Shop Boys were the subjects of a South Bank Show program on ITV. This included interviews with Neil and Chris, and contributions from Liza Minnelli, Simon Frith, David Alden and David Fielding. In 1993, Pet Shop Boys released the song “Can You Forgive Her?” and covered the Village People single “Go West which was adopted into a football chant at Arsenal Football Club (which Chris Lowe supports) and is heard at grounds throughout Europe. Pet Shop Boys released their fifth studio album, Very, featuring the songs “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing”, “Liberation” and “Yesterday, When I Was Mad”. Pet Shop boys also released the album, Relentless, which was composed of six all-new darker progressive house tracks. In 1994, Pet Shop Boys remixed Blur’s single “Girls & Boys” and released the Comic Relief single, “Absolutely Fabulous” featuring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. The Pet Shop Boys also released Disco 2 a follow-up to their 1986 remix album Disco featuring club remixes of songs from Very and Behaviour, in a continuous megamix by Danny Rampling. The subsequent Discovery Tour visited Singapore, Australia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. In 1995 Pet Shop Boys released a new version of “Paninaro”.
In 1996 The Pet Shop Boys remix of the David Bowie song “Hallo Spaceboy” (co-written by Brian Eno), from the album Outside, was released, The Pet Shop Boys then joined Bowie at the 1996 BRIT Awards and released the singles, “Before” and Se a vida é (That’s the Way Life Is)”, from the sixth Pet Shop Boys album Bilingual. Tina Turner also released her Wildest Dreams album, featuring a Pet Shop Boys-produced track “Confidential”. 1996, Neil appeared live with Suede, singing the Suede song “Saturday Night” and Pet Shop Boys track “Rent” alongside Brett Anderson. In 1997 Pet Shop Boys had a three-week residency at the Savoy Theatre, in London, featuring a cover of the song “Somewhere” from the musical West Side Story featuring projections filmed by the artist Sam Taylor-Wood. Pet Shop Boys collaborated with Sam Taylor-Wood again in 1998, recording a version of “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, by Serge Gainsbourg, and also covered the Donna Summer track “Love to Love You Baby”. In 1998 thePet Shop Boys performed a series of live dates and released a charity album of Noël Coward songs, called Twentieth Century Blues. The album included Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Sail Away”, along with songs performed by Elton John, Texas, Marianne Faithfull, The Divine Comedy, Suede, Damon Albarn, Vic Reeves and Robbie Williams. Tennant provided backing vocals on Robbie Williams’ “No Regrets” single, along with Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy.
Pet Shop Boys also worked with playwright Jonathan Harvey on a stage musical project. In 1999, many of the tracks recorded ended up on the duo’s seventh studio album, Nightlife, including “I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Any More”,”New York City Boy”, “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”, and”Closer to Heaven” which became the title of Pet Shop Boys’ musical.
Tennant also sang “In Denial”, with Kylie Minogue about a father coming out to his daughter. Minogue also performed the track live, during her 2005 Showgirl tour. The Pet Shop Boys also toured during 1999 and 2000 playing in the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe and the UK. they also played a series of festival dates in Europe, including Glastonbury. They also won their third Ivor Novello Award, honouring their “Outstanding Contribution” to music. The musical, Closer to Heaven, opened at the Arts Theatre in London, in 2001. Tennant also wanted Closer to tour Europe and New York. in 2005, a series of performances were staged in the Brisbane Powerhouse, Australia. In 2002, Pet Shop Boys released their eighth album Release featuring the songs “London”, “I Get Along” and “Home and Dry”, this album has a stripped back acoustic sound and is a complete change from dance music and featuresJohnny Marr on guitar. They embarked on a less lavish tour, with no dancers, backing singers, or outrageous costumes which also included Bristol University, Keele University, University of East Anglia in Norwich, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough and De Montfort University, Leicester. They used two extra guitarists, Bic Hayes and Mark Refoy, a percussionist (Dawne Adams) and regular programmer (Pete Gleadall) alongside Chris Lowe (keyboards) and Neil Tennant (vocals and guitar).
They also toured Germany, the U.S., Canada, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. In 2003 The Pet Shop Boys released Disco 3, Which included new songs as well as remixes. They also launched two new labels, Olde English Vinyl and Lucky Kunst. The first release on Olde English Vinyl was Atomizer’s “Hooked on Radiation”, followed by Pete Burns’ “Jack and Jill Party”. They also remixed Yoko Ono’s “Walking on Thin Ice” and Rammstein’s “Mein Teil”. In 2003, Pet Shop Boys released a second greatest hits album, PopArt: Pet Shop Boys – The Hits, a double compilation with two new singles: “Miracles” and “Flamboyant”. In 2004, Pet Shop Boys appeared at a free concert in Trafalgar Square in London , with the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra Performing a new soundtrack to accompany the 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin. There were four more live performances in Germany in 2005. The Pet Shop Boys also played at the Prince’s Trust concert with other artists who had worked with the British producer Trevor Horn, including Grace Jones, ABC, Seal and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. In 2005, Pet Shop Boys headlined the Moscow Live 8 concert, in Red Square. They were also asked to put together music for the Back to Mine series, an ongoing anthology showcasing artists’ favourite music selections, with an emphasis on afterhours chill-out music. In 2006 Pet Shop Boys remixed Madonna’s single “Sorry”. The Pet Shop Boys also released “I’m with Stupid”, parodying the relationship between George W. Bush and Tony Blair. The promo video featured Matt Lucas and David Walliams as Tennant and Lowe, parodying, “Go West”, and “Can You Forgive Her?”.
The Pet Shop Boys released their ninth studio album, Fundamental, with a remix album called Fundamentalism, which included a version of “In Private” as a duet with Elton John and “Fugitive”, “Minimal”. A Channel 4 documentary, titled Pet Shop Boys – A Life in Pop, was also broadcast directed by George Scott and produced by Nick de Grunwald. With Contributions from Robbie Williams, Brandon Flowers, Tim Rice-Oxley, Jake Shears and Bruce Weber. Pet Shop Boys toured Europe in support of Fundamental in 2006 at assorted festivals and outdoor venues. They also played two dates at the Tower of London and at Thetford Forest. There were also performances of Battleship Potemkin, in Germany and Spain and at the Swan Hunter shipyard, in Newcastle upon Tyne, accompanied by the Northern Sinfonia orchestra. The Pet Shop Boys also worked with Robbie Williams on the album, Rudebox, producing two tracks: a cover version of “We’re the Pet Shop Boys”, written by My Robot Friend and “She’s Madonna”, a duet with Tennant, allegedly about Guy Ritchie’s affair with Tania Strecker, prior to his relationship with Madonna. They also toured Canada, the United States and Mexico, A DVD of the show in Mexico City titled Cubism was also released.
A book called “catalogue” was published, containing their entire visual output (photography, as well as the design of albums, videos, tours, books and fan club magazines) from 1984 to 2004. A small exhibition of Pet Shop Boys Artwork also opened in the Bookshop Gallery of London’s National Portrait Gallery. The song, “Numb”, was also released. the album Concrete was released in 2006. It is a double CD of the complete Mermaid Theatre concert, with the BBC Concert Orchestra (musical director: Trevor Horn), featuring Rufus Wainwright, Frances Barber and Robbie Williams. The Pet Shop Boys were also nominated for two 2007 Grammy Awards for “I’m with Stupid”, and ‘Best Electronic/Dance Album’ for Fundamental. Neil Tennant served as executive producer on Rufus Wainwright’s new album, Release the Stars, and also sang backing vocals on “Do I Disappoint You”, and “Tiergarten”. Pet Shop Boys’ released the Stars Are Blazing’ remix of The Killers’ “Read My Mind”. Pet Shop Boys continued their world tour, performing in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia (as co-headliners of the V Festival 2007), Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Romania, Spain, Belgium and Singapore.
In 2007, Pet Shop Boys released Disco 4, Comprising remixes, completed by Pet Shop Boys, of other artists’ work including The Killers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Madonna, Atomizer and Rammstein. Plus two remixed PetShop Boys “Integral” and “I’m with Stupid”. In 2008, the Pet Shop Boys released the single “I’m in Love with a German Film Star” featuring photographer Sam Taylor-Wood on vocals, to coincide with her exhibition in London, this was remixed by Gui Boratto, Juergen Paape and Mark Reeder. The Pet Shop Boys next album Yes was released in 2009featuring “Beautiful People” “Love etc” and “Did You See Me Coming?” They also appeared on Girls Aloud’s new album Out of Control, collaborating on the Song “The Loving Kind”. In 2009, Pet Shop Boys received the British Phonographic Industry’s most prestigious accolade, the award for outstanding contribution to British music, at the 2009 Brit Awards ceremony atEarls Court’ London. During the show the Pet Shop Boys collaborated with Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers (The Killers). following the new album and tour a new official website was released
in 2009 Pet Shop Boys began their Pandemonium Tour playing Saint Petersburg, Russia, Tel Aviv, Israel, the Manchester Apollo and the O2 Arena in London, the Metropolis, in Montreal, Canada. This tour included songs such as “West End Girls”, “It’s a Sin” and “Always on My Mind”,” Two Divided by Zero”, “Why Don’t We Live Together?” and the B-side “Do I Have To?” InBrazil the Pet Shop Boys released a compilation titled Party, including songs that were heavily featured in the following TV Globo soap operas: “Being boring” (Meu Bem Meu Mal OST), “Domino dancing” (O Salvador da Patria OST), “West End Girls” (Selva de Pedra OST) and “King of Rome” (Viver a Vida). On 14 December 2009, Pet Shop Boys released an EP of covers, remixes, and new material, titled Christmas.
In 2010, Pet Shop Boys released a live album/DVD double-pack called Pandemonium. Containing the soundtrack and footage recorded from their 21 December 2009 show at the O2 Arena in London. The Pet Shop Boys also released a cover of “Love life”, as part Record Store Day 2010, which was originally recorded during the Release sessions in 2001 and given to Swedish band Alcazar. The B-side was “A Powerful Friend”, which was composed in the early 1980s and appears on the Disco 3 album. The Pet Shop Boys also headlined the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival. They also released The greatest hits album “Ultimate” preceded by the single “Together”. The Pet Shop Boys’ also produced a ballet based on The Most Incredible Thing by Hans Christian Andersen. It was adapted by Matthew Dunster with choreography by Javier de Frutos and features former Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov, with animated films created by Tal Rosner, and orchestrations by German composer Sven Helbi. In 2012 the album, Format, was released featuring the duo’s B-sides from 1996 to 2009, as a sequel to their earlier B-side collection Alternative. In 2011, the Beyond Theatre Award, was presented to Pet Shop Boys and the director of The Most Incredible Thing, Javier de Frutos.
The Pet Shop Boys next album Elysium included the song “winner” which was featured heavily during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Pet Shop Boys also performed three songs before the Olympic tennis games in Henman Hill, Wimbledon: “Always On My Mind”, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, and “Winner. Pet Shop Boys performed “West End Girls” in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in August. Elysium contained the songs “Winner” “Leaving” and, “Memory of the Future” and the b-side “Listening” which was written for Morten Harkett (Aha). The Pet Shop Boys also played a free concert in the recently opened MediaCityUK BBC facilities accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Manchester Chamber Choir. Performing ‘Miracles’,”The Survivors’ and “He Dreamed of Machines”. In 2013 The Pet Shop Boys twelfth album, “Electric”, was released. In 2014 The Pet Shop Boys new orchestral work A Man from the Future received its world premiere at the BBC Proms. Performed by the BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra Sven Helbi and the Pet Shop Boys, the work was inspired by the life of WW2 code breaker Alan Turing. The concert also included Overture to Performance, an orchestral arrangement of Pet Shop Boys songs used to open their 1991 Performance tour, and four Pet Shop Boys songs arranged by Angelo Badalamenti and sung by Chrissie Hynde – “Vocal”, “Love is a Catastrophe”, “Later Tonight” and “Rent”.
the Pet Shop Boys released that their thirteenth album, Super, in 2016 containing the songs “Inner Sanctum”& “The Pop Kids”. They performed the ‘Inner Sanctum’ tour, for four nights at the Royal Opera House in London. The subsequent Super Tour started in October 2016. In 2017, the Pet Shop boys announced their latest ‘Further Listening’ reissues project, called ‘Catalogue: 1985-2012’. The first batch will be released on 28 July, starting with the release of a 2017 remaster of ‘Nightlife’, ‘Release’ and ‘Fundamental’. Previously released ‘Further Listening’ albums will also be remastered along with ‘Yes’ and ‘Elysium’, and will be released in 2017.
The Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records Three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, since 1985 they have achieved forty-two Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four UK number ones: “West End Girls” (also number one on the US Billboard Hot 100), “It’s a Sin”, an acclaimed cover of “Always on My Mind” and “Heart”. Other hit songs include a cover of “Go West”, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (satire of Thatcherism) and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” in a duet with Dusty Springfield. At the 2009 Brit Awards in London, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2016, Billboard magazine named Pet Shop Boys the No. 1 Billboard Dance duo/group over the 40 years since the chart’s inception in 1976. In 2017 the duo received NME’s Godlike Genius Award