What's New? – Recent Updates & Additions

June 3, 2020

Thanks to Antoni V. for letting me know that "Dreamland" could be heard briefly during the final episode of Season 2 of the U.K. reality show The Circle. I've noted this in the entry for that song at #91 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and TV shows. And thanks as well to Rob Bainbridge for informing me that "West End Girls" (as well as other hits from the 1980s by other artists) was used during this evening's edition of The Great British Sewing Bee. I've accordingly updated the entry for that track at #1 in the same list.

May 31, 2020

As announced previously, the Pet Shop Boys took part in the Smithsonian "Project Pride" virtual concert earlier this evening. It consisted of a series of pre-recorded live performances by each artist. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the Boys were the final artists to perform during the two-hour show—saving the best for last! Our musical heroes debuted a "New Lockdown Version" ("Lockdown" referring of course to the social restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic) of "West End Girls," with Chris, his back to the camera, providing the instrumentation from a laptop computer and a small electronic keyboard, and Neil of course singing. They were in two different locations, again adhering to the "lockdown" theme. While I and many other "attendees" at the concert would've loved for them to have performed another, more recent song (WEG reinforces the unfortunately too-common view of them in the United States as an oldies act or even a one-hit wonder), it was an understandable choice. I'm just greatly pleased that they performed at all!

Incidentally, if you missed it, don't despair: it's available for replay on YouTube. And I recommend watching more than just PSB. While not all of the artists were to my own personal aesthetic liking, many were indeed very good—not the least of them the performing opener, Rufus Wainwright, and the penultimate act (whom I'd never heard of before but who was frankly superb), Kat Cumming. Enjoy!

May 27, 2020

Thanks to Rory Simpson for letting me know that a 2001 episode of the original U.K. Top Gear series offered brief background snippets of two Pet Shop Boys classics: "Suburbia" and "Being Boring." I've now noted this in the entries for those two songs (at #17 and #22 respectively) in my list of non-musical TV series and films in which PSB tracks can be heard.

May 26, 2020

Here's something fun and interesting for these pandemic days. U.K. writer Tom Ewing (http://freakytrigger.co.uk) has instituted "The People's Pop Poll" in which somewhat random groups (although there's an internal logic that I'm having trouble understanding) of pop songs are pitted against each other in votes for favorites. The Pet Shop Boys' "Left to My Own Devices" is in the running in "Division 4 Group 8." If you're intrigued, and perhaps even would like to give this song a boost in the rankings (the voting apparently takes place on Twitter) check it out. And thanks to Peter in Sweden for telling me about this delightful poll. I can think of far worse ways to spend the "lockdown."

An update on the Smithsonian "Project Pride" virtual concert this coming Sunday, which I first mentioned here in yesterday's entry – Two fellow "bigger name" artists have just joined the Pet Shop Boys (as well as many lesser-known artists) on the bill: Indigo Girls and Rufus Wainwright. Again, it remains to be seen precisely what is meant by a "virtual concert," but it sounds promising.

May 25, 2020

Thanks to Jeff Schapira for catching a dating error on yesterday's "On This Day in Pet Shop Boys History" page. I had erroneously listed 2013 as the year in which the Boys headlined at the Babylon Soundgarden Festival in Istanbul, with proceeds going to a charity benefiting families of the victims of the Soma mine disaster. But that actually took place the following year, 2014. I've now made that correction, although for most of you reading this, it won't show up again until May 24 next year.

I hadn't noticed until this morning some very interesting news posted the other day on the official PSB website. The Pet Shop Boys are among the artists taking part in the Smithsonian Institution "Project Pride" virtual concert this coming Sunday, May 31, starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT, "celebrating the diversity, resilience and creativity in LGBTQ+ history and culture." It will apparently be available free of charge on YouTube. Now, I'm not yet sure what precisely is meant by a "virtual" concert. Does it mean actual live performances but with no live audience aside from those online, or does it mean recorded performances delivered in a "pseudo-live" format? Time will tell. But I think it's worth noting that, at least from my perspective, the Boys are by far the "biggest name" on the bill. And as an American, I'm especially pleased and proud that the Smithsonian—the country's and, in fact, the world's largest museum institution, originally founded and funded in the mid-1800s through a large bequest by the British scientist James Smithson—is sponsoring this event.

May 24, 2020

Thanks to Simon from Newcastle for reminding me that I needed to add the previously unreleased songs from My Beautiful Laundrette (that is, all except the previously released "No Boundaries") to my PSB song chronology. While there, I noticed that I had also forgotten to include "New Boy." Those oversights are now corrected!

And while we're on the subject of corrections, thanks so much to Marc R for correcting me on an update I made yesterday, in which I had mistakenly added "Memory of the Future" to my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with extra lyrics. As it turns out, the line I had thought was "You never talk to me" in the song's Extended Mix is actually "Inevitable to me," which is not an "extra lyric." So I've deleted that song from the list. Thanks again, Marc!

May 23, 2020

Incidentally, I've pretty much finished making updates to my website based on information gleaned from Annually 2020, the exception being many items I still need to add to my "On This Day in PSB History" page. (No rush there since each item will appear there only once the corresponding day rolls around.) As I mentioned previously, I've made too many updates to bother listing them all here. Most of them are relatively minor. Among the more significant ones, however, are:

May 20, 2020

I've begun making scattered updates to my website—too many to delineate here in detail—based on information gleaned from Annually 2020, but I still have quite a bit more to do. (Yes, it's packed with useful material.) As time permits, I plan on continuing to make such updates throughout the day today.

Having received his permission to do so, I've added Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar's name to my Thank You page in recognition of his assistance noted on May 18 below.

May 19. 2020

Woo-hoo! I've just received in the afternoon mail my copy of Annually 2020, including its My Beautiful Laundrette bonus CD. Now it's time for some reading! Obviously it will take me a while to collect information from it for any necessary updates here on my website. But I'll make any such updates as soon as I can. Stay tuned! (And thanks to Jeff Schapira for catching a typo in this paragraph, now corrected.)

Meanwhile, thanks to Andrew Shaw for calling attention to the sexual implications of certain lines in "I'm with Stupid" that qualify it for inclusion at #22 in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs with titles and/or lyrics that are or may be sly innuendos. Although, as I note there, I had previously rejected that song overall for inclusion, there's really no avoiding the connotations of those specific lines.

May 18, 2020

Thanks to a new site visitor, Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, for noticing an oversight in my entry for the track "After All" from the Tennant-Lowe Battleship Potemkin score. I had neglected to note there its subsquent appearance on the Pet Shop Boys' live Concrete album. I've now corrected that oversight!

Thanks to Tobias Gadau for alerting me to a couple of samples I had missed in "Forever in Love," so I've updated the entry for that track at #2 in my list of PSB songs that contain samples of other artists' music. Both Tobias and I must credit the Who Sampled website as the source of this information. I've found that website to be of sometimes questionable value considering that I frequently disagree with what its creators consider to be "samples," but in this case it's clearly on target.

Further thanks to Nenad P. for noticing that in my "Mixes/Versions" list for "Jealousy" I had overlooked one of its officially unreleased demo versions, specifically the one that appears on the famous Abbey Road Demos bootleg compilation. I've now made the appropriate update.

Finally, thanks to Kfos for pointing out a possible additional innuendo for the line "What I do for afters" in the song "Monkey Business" by virtue of what afters can mean in German. I've now noted this in an expansion on the already-existing entry for that song at #21 in my list of PSB songs with titles and/or lyrics that are or may be sly innuendos.

May 15, 2020

Thanks to John Hunt for telling me about a forthcoming boxed-set reissue of the Hotrats covers album Turn Ons, which will apparently include their previously Japanese-only remake of "West End Girls." I've updated my page that lists cover versions of Tennant-Lowe songs accordingly. If you would like to hear it for yourself, it's available on YouTube. It's very different. Although I'm sure this power-pop/punk rendition won't be to everyone's liking, I'm actually somewhat fond of it just because it is so different.

May 14, 2020

Thanks to Tobias Gadau for noticing an outdated reference—that "Tall Thin Men" is officially unreleased, which is no longer true—in my list of pop songs mentioned by title in Pet Shop Boys lyrics. I've now deleted the outdated text.

Thanks also to Steve N. for reminding me that the Boys' friend and sometime-collaborator Sam Taylor-Wood directed the 2009 feature film Nowhere Boy, which concerns the early life of John Lennon. I've added this fact to my list of PSB-Beatles "connections" on the page devoted to my other favorite artists.

May 13, 2020

As has long been expected/feared, the Pet Shop Boys' "Unity Tour" of North America with New Order has been postponed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. New dates have yet to be finalized, but the tour is now anticipated to begin in September 2021. I've struck-through the old dates on my PSB tours page and will post the new ones once they're announced.

May 12, 2020

Site visitor Simon Sloane shared with me some interesting data that I'd like to pass on to you. In fact, it's a tally that I initially considered adding to my "PSB Lists" section, but I then thought better of it since it would be a "moving target," so to speak, that would require frequent updating. I see no downside, however, to offering it here temporarily. It's Spotify's current (as of May 11) Top 10 streaming songs by the Pet Shop Boys (not counting different versions of the same song, but only its most popular version). All figures are rounded to the nearest tenth of a million:

  1. Always on My Mind - 100.0 million plays (the first PSB song to hit this figure on Spotify)
  2. West End Girls - 81.1 million plays
  3. It's a Sin - 57.9 million plays
  4. Go West - 39.9 million plays
  5. Domino Dancing - 20.4 million plays
  6. What Have I Done to Deserve This? - 20.2 million plays
  7. Being Boring - 14.5 million plays
  8. Suburbia - 11.1 million plays
  9. Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is) - 11.1 million plays
  10. New York City Boy - 10.1 million plays

Thanks so much to Simon for sharing this list with us!

May 11, 2020

Thanks to Nenad P. for calling my attention to an oversight that affects a number of pages here on my website: that I had neglected to note in the "Mixes/Versions" sections of all the songs in the Inner Sanctum live set the official release of those particular renditions on CD. I've now rectified that oversight. Thanks again, Nenad!

Thanks also to Raymond Merkh for catching a typo, now corrected, in my entry for the Chris "solo" track "Blockhead."

Finally, thanks to a site visitor who prefers to remain anonymous for letting me know (accompanied by evidence) that the Pet Shop Boys have used a Roland JX-3P, specifically on the track "Paninaro." I've now added that keyboard to my list of synths and samplers they have used.

May 10, 2020

Thanks once again to Jens Boldt, this time for reporting a few typos on my page for "Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)." Those typos are now corrected!

May 9, 2020

Thanks to Valérian (whom I've added to my Thank You page) for writing to tell me of the importance of Delia Derbyshire's arrangement of the famous theme music to Doctor Who, which I refer to in an annotation to my commentary on the song "Radiophonic." I've now modified that annotation to credit her contribution to such iconic and influential music.

Thanks also to Jens Boldt for alerting me to a likely careless redundancy, now corrected, within my list of remixes for "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More."

May 7, 2020

Thanks to Niall Vickers for letting me know that the Pet Shop Boys' rendition of "Always on My Mind" could be heard on the May 3 episode of the Irish television show Keys to My Life, which included actor/entertainer Rory Cowan talking about his time in the late 1980s working as a marketing manager for EMI, during which Chris and Neil once paid him a visit in his Dublin flat. I've now noted this in the entry for that song at #16 in my list of PSB tracks heard in non-musical films and TV shows.

Thanks as well to George Kay for alerting me to a pair of typos, now corrected, in my list of current favorite records selected by Chris and Neil in their Literally/Annually publications. I've added both Niall and George to my Thank You page.

I've added "I Don't Wanna" to the tally on my page devoted to the Boys' status as "Kings of the U.S. Dance Charts." As they themselves have mentioned on their official website, "I Don't Wanna" has also hit #1 on the U.K. physical sales chart, which I've cited (as a footnote) on my page covering their U.K. and U.S. pop chart performance.