What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

January 23, 2022

Personal Observations

Several site visitors have written to suggest that I cite renditions of certain songs as performed by the Pet Shop Boys in their 2007 BBC Radio 2 concert (recently highlighted by the Boys on their official website) among the "Mixes/Versions" that I list for many (if not most) of their tracks. But, as I explained to them, I generally make it a practice to list mixes/versions there only if they're available on CD, on vinyl, or as individual digital releases, such as "digital singles." If I were to begin listing live renditions such as these, I would be opening a huge can of worms and creating tremendous headaches for myself, not to mention loads of additional work. So I won't be listing these versions of PSB songs here. I hope you understand. And thanks to those of you who have already asked me about this!

January 22, 2022

Updates / Corrections

Thanks to George "Jammer" Dashevsky for pointing out a likely error I had made in item #30 (Crackòvia - "Mou, res!" parodying "Go West") in my list of "performance parodies" of the Pet Shop Boys. I've rewritten what I say there to reduce the possibility of a factual mistake. And in the process of doing that, I noticed a longstanding typo there, which I've also now corrected.

My Thank You Page

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Diego “Zapple” Imperatore to my Thank You page in recognition of his contribution of information yesterday (see just below).

January 21, 2022

New Songs

Thanks to Diego “Zapple” Imperatore for providing proof (in the form of an actual photo of the credits) of the professed nature of the long-discussed collaboration between German electropop artist Nico Wieditz and Neil Tennant on Wieditz's recent track "Eternity." Because of the uncertain nature of this reputed collaboration, I had previously resisted creating a new entry for that song here on my website (see December 18 below). This formal songwriting credit, however, has broken down my resistance. We still have precious little information about the actual circumstances surrounding this collaboration aside from Neil being credited with co-composing the music (as opposed to its lyrics). Ideally we'll be learning more about it from Neil and/or the PSB organization in the days and weeks ahead. Meanwhile, I've also added Wieditz to my list of artists with whom the Boys have collaborated.

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Rafael Moretti for reporing a typo, now corrected, on my page devoted to the song "Twenty-something."

January 19, 2022

Strange But True

Thanks so much to Rory Simpson for calling my attention to some online records that have inspired me to add a new entry to my "Strange But True Incidents Involving the Pet Shop Boys." It concerns the Boys' interest, at least at one time, in possibly launching their own perfume brand. And thanks as well to Raymond Merkh for reporting a typo, now corrected, in the immediately preceding "story" on that page.

A World of PSB Fans

I've just noticed that day before yesterday my home page's hit-counter routine detected its first-ever site visitor from the East African island nation of Comoros. So I've now added that nation to my "A World of Pet Shop Boys Fans" page. And I extend a very hearty welcome to my Comorian visitor!

Covers of Tennant-Lowe Songs

I don't feel obliged—it would be silly—to try to note every single release of any specific recording of a PSB song by another artist. Just mentioning its first release would suffice. But I reserve the right either to cite or ignore such subsequent re-releases as I see fit. To this end, thanks to Richard Firth for letting me know that the hard-to-find remake of "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" by West End Girls was indeed reissued in 2020. I've made note of this re-release in the entry for that song on my page devoted to cover versions of Tennant-Lowe songs.

January 16, 2022

PSB Lists

Thanks to Jeff Schapira for alerting me to the fact that the top "values" of the limited-edition Yes and Electric vinyl box sets have recently increased. I've therefore updated the corresponding figures in my list of the "The current 10 most collectible PSB releases based on value." This update doesn't affect the relative standings of these releases in the list—#1 and #5, respectively—but the dollar figures have gone up.

Personal Observations

FYI, there was a ten-minute "profile/update" of Liza Minnelli on today's edition of CBS Sunday Morning. It made no actual mention of the Pet Shop Boys or of their Results collaboration, but there was a fleeting segment, about one-third of the way through, that showed a montage of her various album covers, Results prominent among them, during which an extremely brief snippet of "Losing My Mind"—no more than two or three seconds of it—could be heard. Disappointing, but better than nothing. At any rate, I've noted all this in a new entry for that song at #102 in my list of PSB songs used in non-musical television shows and films.

January 11, 2022

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Rafael Moretti (whose name I've added to my Thank You page) for pointing out quite an old oversight on my part in which I had neglected to include the full writing credits for the Pet Shop Boys' song "Miracles." In the main body of my entry for that song I had indeed correctly noted that Adam F and Dan Fresh had collaborated in its composition, but I had failed to include them (as Fenton and Stein) in the writing credits near the top of the page. That oversight is corrected!

Thanks as well to Nigel Brand for giving me a nudge about Neil having contributed a short essay to the publication last year of excerpts from Derek Jarman's diaries as Modern Nature. I've now made note of this fact in the entry for Jarman on my "In Memoriam" page.

January 5, 2022

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Raymond Merkh for catching and reporting a longstanding typo, now corrected, on my page devoted to the song "Mr. Vain," which the Pet Shop Boys have covered as part of a live medley with their own song "One in a Million."

Personal Observations

Please allow me to wish a belated Happy New Year to all of my site visitors!

December 27, 2021

Song Annotations

Thanks to Julia (whom I've just added to my Thank You page) for letting me know that a brief sample of Neil singing the word "October" from "My October Symphony" is being used in TikTok and has turned up in one or more videos that have gone viral. One example (of a young woman showing her weight loss from one month to the next for a full year) can be found here. I've noted this phenomenon in a new final annotation to my commentary on that song.

December 24, 2021

Song Annotations

Thanks to Jeff Schapira for asking a question that has triggered a new annotation to my commentary on the song "Postscript." Jeff asked whether that brief song appears at the end of the authorized vinyl and digital editions of Very, just as it does on CD. I had to do some research to answer that question, and while I'm not 100% sure of the complete accuracy of my answer—that, no, it's not found on the official vinyl (or cassette) edition, but it is found on official digital/streaming editions—I'm at least confident enough in my answer to venture sharing it here on my website. Hence, that new annotation. Now, if any of you can offer any additional (or corrective) information on this matter, please let me know. Supportive evidence of any alternate conclusions would be important.

Personal Observations

I may not have a chance to do so tomorrow, so I'll take advantage of this opportunity to wish a very Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate the holiday. And I wish very Happy Holidays to everyone!

December 22, 2021

News

An article posted today on the Retropop website asserts that a Soft Cell/Pet Shop Boys collaboration of some sort—perhaps a PSB remix of a Soft Cell track, or maybe something else—may be in the works in the wake of the Boys' recent backstage meeting with Marc Almond and Dave Ball. It sounds promising but, as they say, only time will tell.

December 21, 2021

PSB Lists

Thanks to Zazou2 (Laura C.A. Moloney-Kenny) for telling me that the Pet Shop Boys' version of "Always on My Mind" played during the final scene and end-credits of last night's special Christmas episode of the BBC2 comedy series Mandy. I've added this fact to the entry for that song at #16 in my list of PSB tracks that have been used in "non-musical" films and TV shows.

December 20, 2021

PSB Lists

Thanks to Rob Bainbridge for letting me know that "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" could be heard on this evening's episode of the U.K. soap EastEnders, a fact that I've noted in the pre-existing entry for that song at #48 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs that have been used in "non-musical" films and TV shows.

December 19, 2021

PSB Lists

Thanks so much to Marco Lucht for calling my attention to a quote by Neil in the Nightlife album reissue Further Listening booklet in which he observes that he had considered the song "Nightlife" as a good candidate for single release. This fact it a spot in my list of "PSB singles that weren't." And while digging a bit more into the background of that song, I discovered that the Boys themselves had forthrightly cited the Bee Gees classic "Night Fever" as a direct influence. So I've also added "Nightlife" to my list of Pet Shop Boys songs in which Neil and/or Chris have acknowledged the influence of specific tracks by other artists.

December 18, 2021

Personal Observations

German artist Nico Wieditz has just released a new album, Una Corda, the lead single of which is "Eternity," which he describes as an homage to the Pet Shop Boys. (It's now available for your listening pleasure on YouTube; the video makes the PSB homage even clearer.) Even more interesting, however, is that this new song's writing credits are apparently "Neil Tennant / Nico Wieditz." I don't yet have any information with regard to the precise nature of Neil's involvement. Did he write the lyrics to Wieditz's music? Did Wieditz somehow "borrow" or "sample" text written by Neil?—although, if that's the case, I'm so far unable to discern the source. Or is Wieditz simply crediting Neil for "inspiration"? But if that's the case, why isn't Chris credited as well? On Wieditz's own website, he subtitles the song "Eternity" with the words "with special thanks to Neil Tennant," which again suggests inspiration—but any more than that? Elsewhere online, the credits are more specifically detailed to state that the lyrics were written by Wieditz and the music by Neil—just Neil, not Neil and Chris—which seems extremely curious to say the least. All of this raises more questions than it answers. So until I can learn more, I'm very reluctant to provide a separate entry for this song here on my website. If Neil is indeed involved as more than mere "inspiration," perhaps news will soon be forthcoming from the PSB organization. Or maybe Wieditz himself will offer clarification before long. Whatever the case, stay tuned! I'll supply more info here as I learn it myself. In the meantime, thanks to Jarek Staszkowian, whose name I've added to my Thank You page, for providing me with the link to the video.

UPDATE: Please see the entry for January 21 above.

December 17, 2021

Song Annotations

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for telling me about BBC Radio 3's current competition for "non-professional" composers to set Christina Rossetti's "Love Came Down at Christmas" to music. Seeing as how Chris and Neil are of course "professionals," they're disqualified from this competition, and in all likelihood their choice of that poem for their own setting is sheer coincidence. Still, Andrew thought it deserves mention as an annotation to my commentary on this new song, and I fully agree. So I've now done precisely that.

December 16, 2021

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that the copyright date for "Love Came Down at Christmas" on the Pet Shop Boys' YouTube channel has now been changed from 2001 to 2021. So it apparently was a typo after all. I've made the appropriate adjustments.

December 15, 2021

New Songs
PSB Christmas Cards
PSB Lists

This year's official digitial Pet Shop Boys Christmas card appeared this morning, and there's a little more to it than usual: not just an animated image but also a brief 24-second song titled "Love Came Down at Christmas." I've updated my PSB Christmas cards page accordingly (it's chronological, so scroll down to the bottom to read about the new one) and have posted a page dedicated to this new song.

Thanks so much to Andrea Grasso for tipping me off that this new song's lyrics quote directly from a poem by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. Thus I've added it at #31 to my list of PSB songs with literary references. Also, because of its obvious religious connotations, I've added it at #5 in my list of PSB songs that contain biblical allusions. For those of you who haven't "received" the card yet, here are direct links to the card on the Boy's official website and to the new digital card and song on YouTube—speaking of which, thanks to Robert Smith (whose name I've just added to my Thank You page—and I'm confident that he's not Robert Smith of The Cure ) for pointing out that YouTube lists the copyright date for this track as 2001, which either is a typo or it indicates that the Boys wrote this song twenty years ago but never made use of it until now. [Note: Please see the December 16 update above.]

I've also now added this new song to my "PSB Song Chronology."

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Raymond Merkh for a couple of typos, now corrected, on my pages for the PSB-produced Liza Minnelli album Results and Dusty Springfield album Reputation.

December 13, 2021

PSB Lists

Thanks to Steve N. for suggesting that I make a few additions to some of my lists based on the lyrics of the unreleased song "She's So Eclectic," which Neil quotes in the Introduction to his 2018 book One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem. I've therefore added Harold Robbins and Jean-Paul Sartre to my list of real people mentioned by name in Pet Shop Boys songs; "She's So Eclectic" to my list of PSB songs that contain literary references (by virtue of those same two writers); and Rough Trade (not the record label, but rather the famous record store of that name in London) to my list of real places mentioned by name in PSB lyrics.

December 11, 2021

PSB Lists

Thanks once again to Rob Bainbridge, this time for informing me that BBC One is using the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "Always on My Mind" in advertisements for Series 16 of its popular "reality" competition The Apprentice. I've noted this fact in the already-existing entry at #8 in my list of PSB songs that have been used in TV commercials.

PSB Collaborations

Thanks to Bobby Bird Butenhoff for suggesting that I mention the 2017 Expanded Edition of Liza Minnelli's Results, which I've noted in a brief addendum at the bottom of my page focusing on that album. And that inspired me to do exactly the same for the preceding year's Expanded Edition of Dusty Springfield's Reputation.

December 10, 2021

PSB Covers

Thanks to Rob Bainbridge for telling me about the new Little Boots remake of "Love Comes Quickly," available exclusively to her Patreon followers. So I've added this recording to my page devoted to covers of Tennant-Lowe songs.

December 9, 2021

My Other Favorite Artists

Thanks to Andrew Shaw for letting me know about a new "PSB-ABBA connection" involving Sir Ian McKellen, which I've now added to the entry for ABBA among my other favorite artists. In case you're interested, here's a link to one of the two brief new videos mentioned there. If you ask me, it's quite delightful!

Corrections / Updates

Thanks to Raymond Merkh for catching a typo, now corrected, on my "West End Girls" page.

December 4, 2021

My Other Favorite Artists

Thanks so much to Alexey from Russia for telling me about Dave Gahan's new remake, with the band Soulsavers, of "Always on My Mind," which of course was previously (and very successfully) covered by the Pet Shop Boys. I make note of this in a new next-to-last item in my list of "PSB-Depeche Mode connections" on the page devoted to my other favorite artists.

November 26, 2021

Personal Observations

It's a terribly sad day in the world of musical theater, and one with a distinct "PSB connection." Stephen Sondheim, one of the true giants of musical theater and among the greatest theatrical composer/lyricists of the past century, died this morning at the age of 91. The Pet Shop Boys recorded two of his songs: "Losing My Mind," for which Sondheim wrote both words and music, and "Somewhere," for which he wrote the lyrics (to Leonard Bernstein's music). If I remember correctly, Neil has noted on more than one occasion his own admiration for Sondheim's artistry and the influence he has had on him. As a great Sondheim fan myself (his Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music being two of my all-time favorite musicals), I'm personally grieving this evening.