Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pet Shop Boys


A couple of months ago, Q magazine published their “Best 250 Albums Released In Our Lifetime” list, as voted for by their readers, effectively covering a period from some point in 1987 to the present day. There seems to have been what can surely only be described as ‘errors due to technical difficulties’ - the debut album by Keane was deemed to be a better record than Sonic Youth’s “Daydream Nation”, whilst the cock-rock horror of Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction” was higher up the list than anything by REM. As I say, a technical error at the publishers I assume, or are Q readers really a bunch of Dad-Rock loving numpties?

Another “mistake” was the fact that the Pet Shop Boys seemed to be poorly represented in the list. They only registered one LP in the list if I remember correctly, somewhere at number 150-ish, despite the fact that they have released at least four stone cold classic albums. It seems that the PSB’s are destined to become one of Britain’s Great Lost Bands. As a group who issued their first single over 25 years ago, that now makes them a “heritage” act, and thus ignored by the likes of Radio 1. But anybody who saw their jaw-droppingly perfect Glastonbury show last year, would agree that they deserve better than being ignored by Joe Public.

Pet Shop Boys are a fairly unusual band. Whilst you can’t really move for the amount of indie bands cluttering up the toilet circuit, the amount of two-man electronic duos in existence can be counted on one hand. But with Soft Cell seemingly on hiatus, the jury still being out on Hurts, and Erasure simply not being as good as people claim they are, the PSB’s seem totally out on the fringes - it’s difficult to find anybody else to compare them to who are even on the same wavelength as them.

In this blog - the first of a two parter - I shall look at the band’s UK discography, looking in particular at the singles. The duo have always had a love of pop in all it’s forms - singles were regularly edited for 7” release, and extended for the 12”, and each single has come with a new B-side or two. Over the years, there have been several compilations that have cobbled together some of these rarities, and what I shall attempt to do is list where these rarities can nowadays be found.

In 2001, the first six “proper” PSB albums were reissued as double disc CD editions, with a second CD entitled “Further Listening” containing rarities and unreleased material from the relevant period. The amount of unreleased material that was contained across these six releases could probably have been squeezed onto a single CD, but the record company were not going to miss a trick, were they? The band had in fact released a seventh studio album by this point, but as “Nightlife” had only been issued in 1999, the band probably thought it would be a bit cheeky to try and reissue something so recent. So, we shall concentrate on those first six albums here.

For each album, I shall list the various singles that were issued in relation to the LP. All formats that contained something exclusive at the time will be shown, and thereafter, a list of which songs/mixes have subsequently resurfaced on later releases or reissues will be listed. As such, you should then be able to work out which of the formats are still of interest today. Tracklistings and chosen formats are, as far as I am aware, correct.

Any a-sides which are not shown as being edited or extended, are therefore the same as the LP mix (see the 7” of “Love Comes Quickly”, for example) unless the track was originally a ‘stand-alone‘ 45, in which case the mix is simply the original version from the 7“ (see “Always On My Mind“). For the ease of use, I shall only list the FIRST release to include each rarity - some made their debut on the “Further Listening” disc of the relevant LP, but many were included on compilations beforehand. As regards the 7” singles, the band have released several “best-of” sets which have provided a home to these items - 1991’s “Discography”, 2003’s “Pop Art”, and following a newspaper freebie “Story” in 2009, 2010’s “Ultimate”. The b-sides from the first decade of the group’s career later found a home on 1995’s “Alternative”, whilst “Disco”, released between the first two studio records, provided a home for some of the remixes. The triple CD edition of “Pop Art” also housed several previously released mixes. I shall also list the compilations and other albums in the list, primarily as several of them also spawned their own singles.


Please

The duo of Neil Tennant, at the time a writer on pop magazine “Smash Hits” and Chris Lowe, met in 1981, and after a quick name change, met up with US producer Bobby Orlando who agreed to work with them and help them sign a record deal. In 1984, the band issued their debut single, “West End Girls”, which did well in the States and Europe, but strangely, flopped in the band’s native homeland, the United Kingdom. The b-side was titled “Pet Shop Boys” and although two different mixes of this song exist, only the “5.10” version appeared in the UK. A follow up single, “One More Chance”, was therefore issued virtually everywhere except the UK, and would not make it’s debut here until a re-recorded version turned up on the band’s second LP, “Actually”, in 1987.

In the UK, the band switched labels from Epic to Parlophone, and released their second 45, “Opportunities”, in the summer of 1985. The b-side, “In The Night”, would later gain prominence by being used as the theme music for fashion programme “The Clothes Show”, but the single originally flopped. A re-recorded “West End Girls” then appeared as the band’s next single towards the tail end of the year, and this time around, became a hit - and a major one at that, hitting the number 1 spot. “WEG” is still probably the most famous of all the PSB hits.

Following the release of the sublime “Love Comes Quickly” (one of the five greatest PSB songs), “Opportunities” was reissued and became a hit at the second time of asking - the lead mix on both the 7” and 12” editions differed from those that had appeared on the 1985 releases, and a new B-side replaced “In The Night”. “Suburbia” became the last single to be released from “Please”, and completed - in one form or another - a quartet of hit singles for the duo.

West End Girls (1984 7” Mix)/Pet Shop Boys (7”, Epic A4292)
West End Girls (Extended Mix)/Pet Shop Boys (12”, Epic TA4292)
Opportunities (1985 7” Mix)/In The Night (7”, Parlophone R6097)
Opportunities (Dance Mix)/In The Night (12”, Parlophone 12R6097)
Opportunities (Version Latina)/(Dub For Money)/In The Night (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RA6097)
West End Girls (Edit)/A Man Could Get Arrested (7”, Parlophone R6115)
West End Girls (Dance Mix)/A Man Could Get Arrested (12” Version)/West End Girls (Edit) (12”, Parlophone 12R6115)
West End Girls (The Shep Pettibone Mastermix)/West End Dub/A Man Could Get Arrested (12” Version) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RA6115)
West End Girls (10” Mix)/A Man Could Get Arrested (Bobby Orlando Version) (10”, Parlophone 10R6115)
Love Comes Quickly/That’s My Impression (7”, Parlophone R6116)
Love Comes Quickly (Dance Mix)/That’s My Impression (Disco Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6116)
Love Comes Quickly (Dance Mix)/That’s My Impression (Disco Mix) (10”, Parlophone 10R6116)
Opportunities (Edit)/Was That What It Was? (7”, Parlophone R6129)
Opportunities (Shep Pettibone Mastermix)/(Reprise)/(Dance Mix)/Was That What It Was? (12”, Parlophone 12R6129)
Suburbia (7” Mix)/Paninaro/Love Comes Quickly (Shep Pettibone Mastermix/Edit)/Jack The Lad/Suburbia Part Two (2x7”, Parlophone RD6140)
Suburbia (7” Mix)/Paninaro/Jack The Lad/Love Comes Quickly (Shep Pettibone Mastermix) (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6140)
Suburbia (The Full Horror)/Paninaro/Jack The Lad (12”, Parlophone 12R6140)

Of interest, is that the 12” Version of “A Man” is shorter than the one on the 7”. The 1985 7” Mix of “Opportunities” is more or less the same length as the LP version, although I am not sure if they are actually the same mix.

“Discography” includes the “Edit” mixes of “West End Girls” and “Opportunities”, and the “7” Mix” of “Suburbia”. “Alternative” includes “In The Night”, the Bobby Orlando version of “A Man Could Get Arrested”, the Disco Mix of “That’s My Impression”, “Was That What It Was?”, “Paninaro” and “Jack The Lad”. “Disco” includes the 'Full Horror' mix of “Suburbia”, the Shep Pettibone Mastermix of “Love Comes Quickly” and the 'Version Latina' mix of “Opportunities”. The 10” mix of “West End Girls” appears on “Story”. The “Further Listening” disc of “Please” includes the two other mixes of “A Man Could Get Arrested”, the Dance Mixes of “Opportunities” and “West End Girls“, and both sides of the 10”/12” edition of “Love Comes Quickly”. It is also worth noting that some of these singles used the same catalogue numbers for “differently packaged” versions; for example, some of the “WEG” 12” singles were housed in both standard and die-cut sleeves.


Disco

Something of a “stop-gap” record, but one that spawned three follow-ups, “Disco” was a mix of previously released mixes, and new versions of “WEG”, “In The Night” and “Paninaro”. As it was not a new studio album as such, it was thus excluded from the 2001 reissue campaign. Despite it still being on catalogue, the “Italian” mix of “Paninaro” was later included on the double disc edition of “Please”. No singles were taken from the album.


Actually

Continuing their perchant for single word album titles, “Actually” surfaced in 1987, trailed by two singles - the bombastically brilliant “It’s A Sin”, and a duet with Dusty Springfield, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”. The album contained one of the band’s more famous “album” tracks, “Kings Cross”, and a photograph of the duo on platform 1 of the (at the time) British Rail station of the same name was used for the cover of the third single from the LP, the majestic “Rent”.

The next single, a cover of “Always On My Mind”, came about after the group had performed it on a TV tribute show to Elvis Presley (despite it having been recorded initially by Brenda Lee). The song, as such, was not included on “Actually” although in the US, the album was reissued with the single included as a bonus disc. The band gave the song a typically high energy makeover, and it gave them a Christmas No 1. It remains to date, one of their most impressive and most loved 45’s.

The promo campaign for “Actually” was then resumed, with the pop perfection of “Heart” getting a single release in 1988. Different formats featured a picture of either Neil or Chris on the cover, whilst the 7” remix was actually longer than the original LP version.

It’s A Sin (Disco Mix)/You Know Where You Went Wrong/It’s A Sin (12”, Parlophone 12R6158)
It’s A Sin (Remix)/You Know Where You Went Wrong (Rough Mix) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6158)
It’s A Sin/You Know Where You Went Wrong/It’s A Sin (Disco Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6158)
It’s A Sin/You Know Where You Went Wrong/It’s A Sin (Disco Mix) (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6158)
What Have I Done To Deserve This? (Extended Mix)/A New Life/What Have I Done To Deserve This? (Disco Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6163)
What Have I Done To Deserve This? (Extended Mix)/A New Life/What Have I Done To Deserve This? (Disco Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6163)
Rent (7” Edit)/I Want A Dog (7”, Parlophone R6168)
Rent (Extended Mix)/(Dub)/I Want A Dog (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6168)
Rent (Extended Mix)/(Dub)/I Want A Dog (12”, Parlophone 12R6168)
Rent (Extended Mix)/(Dub)/I Want A Dog (CD, Parlophone CDR6168)
Always On My Mind (Extended Dance Version)/Do I Have To?/Always On My Mind (12”, Parlophone 12R6171)
Always On My Mind (Extended Dance Version)/Do I Have To?/Always On My Mind (12” with inner bag, Parlophone 12RS6171)
Always On My Mind (Extended Dance Version)/Do I Have To?/Always On My Mind (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6171)
Always On My Mind (Remix)/Do I Have To?/Always On My Mind (Dub Version) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6171)
Heart (Single Version)/I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) (7”, Parlophone R6177)
Heart (Disco Mix)/I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too)/Heart (Dance Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6177)
Heart (Disco Mix)/I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too)/Heart (Dance Mix) (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6177)
Heart (Disco Mix)/I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too)/Heart (Dance Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6177)
Heart (12” Remix)/(Dub Mix)/I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6177)

“Always On My Mind”, and the 7”/Single Versions of “Rent” and “Heart” are on “Discography”. “Alternative” includes “You Know Where You Went Wrong”, “A New Life”, “I Want A Dog”, “Do I Have To?” and “I Get Excited”. The “Disco” Mix of “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” appears on the 3-disc version of “Pop Art”, listed as the “Shep Pettibone Mix”. The “Further Listening” disc for “Actually” includes the Disco Mixes of “It’s A Sin” and “Heart“, the Extended Mix of “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, and the Extended Dance Version and Dub Version of “Always On My Mind”. Again, some of the earlier releases came in “single” or “double” sleeves, but used the same catalogue number.


Introspective

If you discovered the PSB’s during the Nineties or later, I would not be surprised if you looked at the track listing of “Introspective”, and thought to yourself ‘aah, a follow up to “Disco”’. It consisted of just six songs, none shorter than six minutes in length, and all of them were songs that seemed to ring a bell - “Always On My Mind”, three other hits, and wasn’t “I Want A Dog” an old B-side? And what about “I’m Not Scared” - wasn’t that the song that the band wrote for Eighth Wonder? And the fact that “Always On My Mind” was listed as some sort of medley with a track called “In My House” suggested that this album was obviously some sort of remix project. But it wasn’t. “Introspective” was the band’s third studio LP, and had been designed to sound like a dance LP - it meant that when the band came to issuing singles from the album, they had to be heavily edited for 7” release.

“Domino Dancing” was issued during the late summer of 1988, just before the album came out. The eight minute long album mix was included on the 12” as the “Disco Mix”. “Left To My Own Devices” was made even longer for the 12”, but rather strangely, the so-called “Extended Disco Mix” of “It’s Alright” was actually SHORTER than the album version! The vinyl and cassette editions came in different sleeves, and because “Always On My Mind” had been issued midway through the “Actually” promo campaign, the “Further Listening” disc for “Introspective” included only rarities from 1988 and 1989 - thus explaining why the rare mixes from that single appear on the “Actually” double disc set.

Domino Dancing (Single Version)/Don Juan (7”, Parlophone R6190)
Domino Dancing (Single Version)/Don Juan (7” with inner bag, Parlophone RS6190)
Domino Dancing/Don Juan (Disco Mix)/Domino Dancing (Alternative Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6190)
Domino Dancing/Don Juan (Disco Mix)/Domino Dancing (Alternative Mix) (12” with inner bag, Parlophone 12RS6190)
Domino Dancing/Don Juan (Disco Mix)/Domino Dancing (Alternative Mix) (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6190)
Domino Dancing/Don Juan (Disco Mix)/Domino Dancing (Alternative Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6190)
Domino Dancing (Base Mix)/Don Juan (Demo)/Domino Dancing (Demo) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6190)
Left To My Own Devices (7” Edit)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (Extended Version) (7”, Parlophone R6198)
Left To My Own Devices (7” Edit)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (Extended Version) (7” with inner bag, Parlophone RS6198)
Left To My Own Devices (Disco Mix)/(7” Edit)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (12”, Parlophone 12R6198)
Left To My Own Devices (Disco Mix)/(7” Edit)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (12” with inner bag, Parlophone 12RS6198)
Left To My Own Devices (7” Edit)/(Disco Mix)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (CD, Parlophone CDR6198)
Left To My Own Devices (7” Edit)/(Disco Mix)/The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6198)
It’s Alright (7” Remix)/One Of The Crowd/Your Funny Uncle/It’s Alright (Extended Disco Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6220)
It’s Alright (Alternative Mix)/(Extended Dance Mix) (10”, Parlophone 10R6220)
It’s Alright (Tyree Mix)/(Sterling Void Mix) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6220)

The single mixes of “Domino Dancing”, “Left To My Own Devices” and “It’s Alright” are on “Discography”. “Don Juan”, the extended mix of “The Sound Of The Atom Splitting”, “One Of The Crowd” and “Your Funny Uncle” later appeared on “Alternative”. The “Further Listening” disc includes the demos of “Domino Dancing” and “Don Juan”, and the ‘alternative mixes’ of both the former and “It‘s Alright“, listed as the “10“ Version“. The Disco Mix of “Don Juan” is also included. Again, some editions of the singles listed here come in different sleeve designs but with the same catalogue number.


Behaviour

And so to 1990’s “Behaviour”. Neil’s hair had been shorn (or maybe, had fallen out), and the band’s song writing continued to mature. The opener to the record, “Being Boring”, remains one of the most astonishing PSB songs, a tear-jerking work of majestic beauty, whilst just the title of “This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave” suggested five minutes of genius before you had even heard a note.

After releasing “So Hard” and “Being Boring” as singles, the band released arguably their campest moment yet. The decision was taken to release, as a stand-alone 45, a mash up of U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” and Frankie Valli’s “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, issued as a AA side with “How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?”, off “Behaviour”. The medley was so high energy, so over-the-top, and so completely perfect, it’s difficult to understand how anybody could not love it wholeheartedly. Bono, apparently, didn’t, as soon after was being quoted as saying “what have we done to deserve this?” His decision to paraphrase one of the PSB’s hits suggest he was being ironic (after all, U2 would go “pop” on an album of the same name in 1997), but it seems that he really was offended by the cover, as Tennant was quoted a few years ago as saying that he and Bono “had made up” at an Elton John party.

The band returned to “Behaviour” for their next single, “Jealousy”, which came backed with a track the band had originally written for Liza Minnelli, “Losing My Mind”. Although the single was issued during May 1991, this version of “Losing My Mind” had been taped in 1988/89.

So Hard (Extended Dance Mix)/It Must Be Obvious/So Hard (Dub Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6269)
So Hard (KLF Vs Pet Shop Boys)/It Must Be Obvious (UFO Mix) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6269)
Being Boring (Edit)/We All Feel Better In The Dark (7”, Parlophone R6275)
Being Boring (Edit)/We All Feel Better In The Dark (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6275)
Being Boring (Extended Mix)/We All Feel Better In The Dark (Extended Mix)/Being Boring (Edit) (12”, Parlophone 12R6275)
Being Boring (Extended Mix)/We All Feel Better In The Dark (Extended Mix)/Being Boring (Edit) (CD, Parlophone CDR6275)
Being Boring (Marshall Jefferson Remix)/We All Feel Better In The Dark (After Hours Climax)/(Ambient Mix) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6275)
Where The Streets Have No Name (7” Edit)/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Single Version) (7”, Parlophone R6285)
Where The Streets Have No Name (7” Edit)/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Single Version) (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6285)
Where The Streets Have No Name (Extended Mix)/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Extended Mix)/Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend (12”, Parlophone 12R6285)
Where The Streets Have No Name (David Morales Remix)/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (MoMo Remix)/(Ragga Zone Remix) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6285)
Where The Streets Have No Name/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Extended Mix)/Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend/How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously? (Classical Reprise) (CD, Parlophone CDR6285)
Jealousy (7” Version)/Losing My Mind (7”, Parlophone R6283)
Jealousy (7” Version)/Losing My Mind (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6283)
Jealousy (Extended Mix)/Losing My Mind (Disco Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6283)
Jealousy (7” Version)/Losing My Mind (Disco Mix)/Jealousy (Extended Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDR6283)
Jealousy (Extended Mix)/This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave (Extended Mix)/So Hard (Eclipse Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6283)

The edited mixes of “Being Boring”, “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “Jealousy” appear on “Discography”. “Alternative” includes “It Must Be Obvious”, “We All Feel Better In The Dark”, “Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend” and “Losing My Mind”. The “Further Listening” version of “Behaviour” includes the Extended Dance Mix of “So Hard”, and the Extended Mixes of “Being Boring”, “Where The Streets Have No Name”, “Jealousy” and “We All Feel Better In The Dark”.


Discography

In my view, the best of all the Pet Shop boys collections, primarily because by being in chronological order, it makes a lot more sense than the “random” track listing of “Pop Art”. It included all 16 of the bands UK singles up to that point (excepting “How Can You Expect To Be”…) and started off at the point with which the band began to get chart entries - so “West End Girls” is track 1, and “Opportunities” track 3, rather than the other way around. Where they existed, the 7” mixes were used, and although the Wikipedia page states six of the songs appear here in their album form (because this was the mix used on the accompanying 7”), I only make it four - “Love Comes Quickly”, “It’s A Sin”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” and “So Hard”.

Two new songs were included at the end of the set, a by now common feature of Greatest Hits records - “DJ Culture” and “Was It Worth It”, both of which were issued as singles before and after the album respectively. The former was also the subject of a remix by The Grid (featuring Soft Cell’s Dave Ball), and this mix was used as the A-side of a remix 12” version of the single, and a remix CD edition as well. Despite the fact that “Discography” is still quite easy to get hold of, “DJ Culture” was later added to the “Further Listening” disc of “Behaviour”.

DJ Culture (Extended Mix)/Music For Boys (Part 1)/(Ambient Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6301)
DJ CultureMix/Music For Boys (Part 3)/Overture To Performance (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6301)
DJ CultureMix/Music For Boys (Part 3)/Overture To Performance (Remix Cassette, Parlophone TCRX6301)
DJ CultureMix/Music For Boys (Part 3)/Overture To Performance (Remix CD, Parlophone CDRX6301)
Was It Worth It?/Miserablism (7”, Parlophone R6306)
Was It Worth It?/Miserablism (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6306)
Was It Worth It?/Miserablism/Was It Worth It? (Twelve-Inch Mix)/(Dub) (CD, Parlophone CDR 6306)
Was It Worth It? (Twelve-Inch Mix)/(Dub)/Miserablism (Electro Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6306)

As “Discography” was not a proper studio LP, the rarities from this period were thus shoe-horned onto the “Further Listening” disc of “Behaviour” instead. “Music For Boys (Part 1)” and “Miserablism” appeared on “Alternative”, whilst the “Electro Mix” of the latter appeared on the 3-disc “Pop Art” set. The extended versions of “DJ Culture” and “Was It Worth It?”, along with the Ambient Mix of “Music For Boys”, were included on the expanded “Behaviour” reissue.


Very

1993 saw the release of what is seen by some as the definitive PSB release, “Very”. The album marked a shift in a slightly more forward looking direction - the bombastic roar of “Can You Forgive Her”, with it’s wonderfully vitriolic lyrics, the pure pop perfection of “I wouldn’t Normally Do This Kid Of Thing”, the intelligence of “Young Offender”, and the future pop sound of “Liberation”.

When it was first released, Very appeared as a double disc set called “Very Relentless”, with the second disc being a more dance influenced record called - yep - “Relentless”. It appeared in some rather exotic packaging, a see-through rubber sleeve with circular holes across the sleeve, and is now quite a difficult record to track down. The next pressing was a single disc edition, housed in an orange textured “bumpy” box. The Cassette edition came in a “Neil And Chris” sleeve, whilst the mid 1990’s CD reissue featured a photo of said “bumpy” sleeve taken from an overhead, 45 degree, perspective. The PSB’s back catalogue was reissued recently (without bonus tracks) and “Very” was released in the orange bumpy sleeve, but in normal packaging. In order words, the inlay has what is probably a photo of the original release. And given that the 2001 “Further Listening” edition came in a white bordered sleeve, that makes six editions!

The second single from the album was a semi-camp/semi-refined cover of Village People’s “Go West”, which became one of the duo’s most famous songs. It had originally been scheduled as a stand alone single in 1992, but by the time it appeared on “Very”, it was reworked - although the 1992 12” mix of the song later appeared as the lead track on a French 12” EP called “Lively Tracks”.

Before the promo campaign for the record was over, the band issued a single called “Absolutely Fabulous”. The odd man out in the band’s singles discography, it was to all intents and purposes an instrumental track by the group, with Tennant occasionally singing the single’s title, whilst a barrage of samples from the TV show of the same name filled the air. The single actually listed it as “Absolutely Fabulous The Single Produced By Pet Shop Boys”, and although some PSB collections in later years have ignored the song, it has appeared on several reissues/compilations. Technically, it became the first PSB 45 to not include a new B-side, as the CD edition featuring a cover of “This Wheel’s On Fire” (the show’s theme tune) was withdrawn due to legal difficulties. The Wikipedia page lists the only official B-side as “Absolutely Dubulous”, which of course, is nothing more than a remix of the A-side.

Can You Forgive Her?/Hey Headmaster (7”, Parlophone R6348)
Can You Forgive Her?/Hey Headmaster (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6348)
Can You Forgive Her? (Rollo Remix)/(Rollo Dub)/(MK Remix)/(MK Dub) (12”, Parlophone 12R6348)
Can You Forgive Her?/Hey Headmaster/Can You Forgive Her? (Rollo Remix)/(Rollo Dub) (CD1, Parlophone CDR6348)
Can You Forgive Her? (MK Remix)/I Want To Wake Up (1993 Remix)/What Keeps Mankind Alive?/Can You Forgive Her? (MK Dub) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS6348)
Go West/Shameless (7”, Parlophone R6356)
Go West/Shameless (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6356)
Go West/Shameless/Go West (Mings Gone West: 1st And 2nd Movement) (CD, Parlophone CDR6356)
Go West (Mings Gone West: 1st And 2nd Movement)/(Farley And Heller Disco Mix)/(Kevin Saunderson Tribe Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6356)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Beatmasters 7” Mix)/Too Many People (7”, Parlophone R6370)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Beatmasters 7” Mix)/Too Many People (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6370)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing/Too Many People/Violence (Hacienda Version)/West End Girls (Sasha Remix) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6370)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Beatmasters 7” Mix)/(Extended Nude Mix)/(Wild Pitch Mix)/(Grandballroom Mix)/(Wild Pitch Dub) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6370)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Extended Nude Mix)/(Grandballroom Mix)/West End Girls (Sasha Remix)/(Sasha Dub) (12”, Parlophone 12R6370)
I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Wild Pitch Mix)/(Wild Tribal Beats)/(Club Mix)/(Wild Pitch Dub) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12RX6370)
Liberation/Decadence/Liberation (E-Smoove Mix)/(E-Smoove 7” Edit) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6377)
Liberation (Murk Deepstrumental Mix)/(Oscar G’s Dopeasdub Mix)/Young Offender (Jam & Spoon Trip-O-Matic Fairy Tale Mix)/Decadence (Unplugged Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6377)
Liberation (E-Smoove 7” Edit)/(Murk Deepstrumental Mix)/(Oscar G’s Dopeasdub Mix)/(Murk Dirty Club Mix)/Young Offender (Jam & Spoon Trip-O-Matic Fairy Tale Mix)/(Remix No.2) (2x12”, Parlophone 12R6377)
Absolutely Fabulous (Original)/(Our Tribe Tongue-In-Cheek Mix)/Absolutely Dubulous/Absolutely Fabulous (Dull Soulless Dance Music Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR6382)
Yesterday When I Was Mad (Single Mix)/Euroboy (Cassette, Parlophone TCR6386)
Yesterday When I Was Mad (Single Mix)/If Love Were All/Can You Forgive Her? (Swing Version)/Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam And Spoon Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6386)
Yesterday When I Was Mad (Coconut 1 Mix)/Some Speculation/Yesterday When I Was Mad (Junior Vasquez Factory Dub)/(RAF Zone Dub) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6386)
Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam And Spoon Mix)/(Junior Vasquez Fabulous Dub)/(RAF Zone Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6386)

Given that the next PSB “hits” set would not surface until 2003, it was up to the “Further Listening” version of “Very” to provide an intital home to some of the single mixes of these tracks, with the 7” versions of “I Wouldn’t…” and “Yesterday” making the set. “Alternative” provided a home to “Hey Headmaster”, “What Keeps Mankind Alive?”, “Shameless”, “Too Many People”, “Violence (Hacienda Version)”, “Decadence”, “Euroboy”, “If Love Were All” and “Some Speculation”. The three disc “Pop Art” set included the Rollo Remix of “Can You Forgive Her?”, the Sasha Mix of “West End Girls”, and the Trip-O-Matic Fairy Tale mix of “Young Offender”.


Disco 2

1994’s follow up to “Disco”, but unlike the former collection, this release was not used to house previously released mixes in their original form. Instead, this collection included a series of old PSB mixes, but merged together to make one long “mega mix”. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either a wasted opportunity or 48 minutes of “new” music. Suffice to say, no singles were taken from this LP.


Alternative

The first (and to date, only) PSB B-sides collection, “Alternative” surfaced in 1995, and included all of the bands Parlophone B-sides from 1985 to 1994. It appeared in a variety of formats, including a double-cassette housed in a big lenticular moving image box, which showed a picture of either Neil or Chris, depending on what angle you held the box.

It ran in chronological order, and included all of the flip sides, meaning you got the B-sides from both the 1985 and 1986 editions of “Opportunites”. However, repetition was “out”, so even though there were different versions of “Don Juan”, “We All Feel Better In The Dark”, etc, you only got one mix of each. Usually, it was the version that had made the 7” that was included, but there were exceptions - the Disco mix of “That’s My Impression” from the “Love Comes Quickly” 12” made the set instead of the ‘short’ version.

In the run up to the album’s release, the B-side of “Suburbia”, “Paninaro” was issued - in re-recorded form - as a single. This new mix wasn’t actually included on “Alternative”, for the reasons mentioned above. The track was one of the rare instances where Chris Lowe got to sing lead vocals. One of the formats included a live version of Blur’s “Girls & Boys” as the B-side, whilst “In The Night” (originally from “Opportunities”) was also included on the same format, in remixed form.

Paninaro 95 (Extended Mix)/(Tin Tin Out Mix)/(Tracy’s 12” Mix)/(Sharon’s Sexy Boyz Dub [Edit])/(Angel Moraes Deep Dance Mix [Edit]) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6414)
Paninaro 95/In The Night (Arthur Baker Remix)/Girls & Boys (Live) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6416)
Paninaro 95 (Tracy’s 12” Mix)/(Sharon’s Sexy Boyz Dub)/(Tin Tin Out Mix)/(Extended Mix) (12“, Parlophone 12RX6414)
Paninaro 95 (Angel Moraes Deep Dance Mix)/(Angel Moraes Girls Boys In Dub)/(Angel Moraes The Hot N Spycy Dub) (Remix 12”, Parlophone 12R6414)

“Paninaro 95” was later included on the “Further Listening” version of “Bilingual”, whilst “Girls & Boys” appeared on the “Further Listening” version of “Very”.


Bilingual

In 2010, the duo released a greatest hits set called “Ultimate”, the deluxe edition of which included a “PSB At The BBC” DVD, with clips from Top Of The Pops et al. Midway through, as the performances started to date from the mid 90s, my wife turned to me and said “so, which was the biggest hit from this part of their career?”. This is a dilemma that now follows the band - a combination of being an “old” band, trying to exist whilst Britpop took charge, saw the Pet Shop Boys become a bit of a cult act post-Very. Which is a shame, because there are some storming moments on 1996’s “Bilingual” - from the carnival pomp of “Se A Vida E”, to the electro throb of “Discoteca”, via the sophisticated pop of “Before”, this was a more than respectable attempt to stay relevant. “Before” was issued as the first 45, backed with a re-recorded version of “In The Night”, which was used again as “The Clothes Show” theme music, with the show deciding to "update" it's theme music at the same time.

In 1997, the band staged a residency at the Savoy Theatre in London, and recorded the ‘West Side Story’ track, “Somewhere”, to coincide. A piece of hyper energetic Euro Dance that hit the top 10, it’s release heralded a double disc reissue of “Bilingual”, containing a second disc of remixes. “Somewhere” was included on the reissue, but only in a 10 minutes plus remixed form. In 2001, a “Further Listening” version of “Bilingual” was issued, which followed previous “FL” editions by replacing the remixes from the 1997 release with mostly B-sides from the period, although the extended mix of “Somewhere” was retained, but moved from the start to the end of disc 2.

Before (Edit)/The Truck Driver And His Mate/Hit And Miss/In The Night 1995 (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6431)
Before (Danny Tenaglia Mix)/(Bonus Dub)/(Underground Instrumental)/(Bonus Beats)/(Classic Paradise Mix)/(Aphrodisiac Mix)/(Hed Boys Mix)/(Dub)/(Extended Mix) (3x12”, Parlophone 12RX6431)
Se A Vida E/Betrayed/How I Learned To Hate Rock N Roll/Se A Vida E (Pink Noise Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDR6443)
Se A Vida E (Mark Picchiotti’s Deep And Dark Vocal)/(Mark Picchiotti’s Deep And Dark Instrumental)/(Mark Picchiotti’s Shelter Dub)/(Deep Dish Liquid Mix)/(Pink Noise Mix)/(Deep Dish Dub)/(Album Mix) (2x12”, Coloured Vinyl, Parlophone 12RD6443)
Single-Bilingual/Discoteca (New Version)/The Calm Before The Storm/Discoteca (Trouser Enthusiast’s Adventures Beyond The Stellar Empire Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6452)
Discoteca (Pet Shop Boys Extended Mix)/Confidential/Single-Bilingual (Baby Doc Mix)/Discoteca (Baby Doc Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6452)
A Red Letter Day (Single Remix)/The Boy Who Couldn’t Keep His Clothes On/Delusions Of Grandeur/A Red Letter Day (Moscow Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDR6460)
A Red Letter Day (Autoerotic Decapitation Mix)/(Motiv8 Twelve Inch Master Mix)/(Basement Jaxx Vocal Mix)/(PSB Extended Edit)/(Trouser Enthusiast’s Congo Dongo Dubstramental) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6460)
A Red Letter Day (Basement Jaxx Nite Dub)/(Congo Dongo Dubstramental)/The Boy Who Couldn’t Keep His Clothes On (The Far Away Dub) (12”, Coloured Vinyl, Parlophone 12R6460)
Somewhere/The View From Your Balcony/To Step Aside (Ralphi’s Old School Dub)/Somewhere (Forthright Vocal Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS6470)
Somewhere (Orchestral Version)/Disco Potential/Somewhere (Trouser Enthusiast’s Mix)/(Forthright Dub) (CD2, Parlophone CDR6470)

“Somewhere” and the Single Remix of “A Red Letter Day” were included on “Pop Art”, the 3-disc edition of which also included the “Classic Paradise Mix” of “Before”. The original double disc version of “Bilingual” included both this mix, plus the “Autoerotic” mix of “A Red Letter Day”, the “Pink Noise Mix” of “Se A Vida E” and the “Stellar Empire” mix of “Discoteca”. The remaining three mixes were previously unissued in the UK. Ten of the eleven B-sides from these singles made the “Further Listening” reissue (including “In The Night 1995“), the odd one out - “Confidential” - was included on the “Further Listening” version of “Very”. Also included on the 2001 version of “Bilingual” were the “New” version of “Discoteca”, and the extended mix of “Somewhere”, first found on the double-disc 1997 edition.

Next month, I shall look at the PSB discography post-1997.


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