Category Archives: Pet Shop Boys

Flashback Friday – I Hope It’s Going To Be Alright

Well… things don’t always go as planned, so I couldn’t put as much effort in this posting as I wanted to. But I’m not coming up with another excuse to postpone the Flashback Friday; this will be a rather short entry in the Pet Shop Boys Singles series though… most of the information is from Wikipedia, but at least I had enough time to dig out various mixes of It’s Alright. Here we go:

It’s Alright was the 13th single from the boys; it was released in June 1989. Lyrics-wise, the song centers around a wide variety of serious political issues from that time (like “Dictation enforced in Afghanistan, revolution in South Africa, etc.), but also offers the positivie message of the song title – that music is our life’s foundation, it shall last and ultimately succeed to bring the nations together. On the album version, the song ends with Neil Tennant constantly repeating “I hope it’s gonna be alright…” which gives the song a doubtful aftertone.

It’s Alright was originally written and performed by Sterling Void; the Pet Shop Boys discovered it on a house compilation. Sterling Void later did a remix of the PSB version (find it below). As Void‘s original version had only two verses, Neil Tennant added a third one for their version. The song was first released on the Introspective album, running for a bit over nine minutes. It reached the number 4 spot in the UK.

The B-sides, One Of The Crowd and Your Funny Uncle, are typical b-sides… nothing to dig in deeper. But the video to It’s Alright was a quite good one; shot entirely in black and white, and showing nothing but the Pet Shop Boys with… well, other boys. Check it below, and don’t miss the look of the baby in the last scene!!!

Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright (10″ Version) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright (Extended Dance Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright (Extended Disco Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright (The Sterling Void Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright (The Tyree Mix) (MP3)

Flashback Friday – … I Probably Would

Another Flashback Friday with the Pet Shop Boys. Here’s the next single:

Left To My Own Devices was the second single from the boys’ third studio-album Introspective, and did better chart-wise than the first one, Domino Dancing. But it was also the first single that missed out on the Top 40 in the USA (highest position was No. 84). It climbed up the the No. 4 spot in the UK though, and settled around No. 10 in other European countries.

The song was recorded at Abbey Road studios with Trevor Horn. It was the first song that the Pet Shop Boys recorded with an orchestra, and it included opera singer Sally Bradshaw. According to Chris Lowe, Devices was more of a Motown song at the beginning stages, and only became a pop-song later when the tempo was pitched up.

Left To My Own Devices is mainly about a person just doing what he/she wants to do without being bothered by anything or anyone. Neil Tennant, who wrote the lyrics, said that he was somehow influenced by his own youth, as “writing a book” or “going on stage” were both things he wanted to do when he was young. Other parts of the lyrics came from various people, for example the “Debussy to a disco beat” part was something that Trevor Horn “always wanted to do”.

The video to the song was once again directed by Eric Watson. It was a rather dark and dull affair, as it mainly showed Tennant and Lowe filmed through an invisible glass floor from an upward angle. MTV even declined to show the video due to its dimly-lit nature.

The album version of the song is slightly longer than the released radio-friendly 7″ single release. A limited version of the maxi-single came in a yellowish sleeve package (see below). As always, various remixes followed, one of them by long-time compagnion Shep Pettibone. The B-Side was the rather average The Sound Of The Atom Splitting.

Here’s the 7″ version of Left To My Own Devices, as well as various remixes, and of course the video. Stay tuned for the next part in this series!

Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (7″ Version) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (Razormaid Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (Device Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (Royal Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (Shep Pettibone Remix) (MP3)

Flashback Friday – Domino Boys

Another part of the Pet Shop Boys singles discography. Let’s do some serious dancing!

Domino Dancing was released in 1988 as the first single from the Boys’ third album Introspective. Although expectations were high for the song to become another chart-breaker, the song failed to make a real impact. Highest chart position in the UK was No. 7, and in the U.S., it even failed to break the Top-10 with peaking at No. 18.

The song was produced by Lewis A. Matinée, the Miami-based producer of 80s-band Exposé. It was also recorded at Matinée‘s studio in Miami. The boys have been wanting to do a Latino-influenced song for a while, and a previous holiday on the Carib island Antigua might just have been the final kick they needed. Actually, most of the song had already been written about one and a half year earlier; all that was missing was a proper chorus. When in Antigua, they used to play Dominoes with friends, and one particular friend would always be doing a dance when he won; eventually, Chris Lowe told him to “stop doing his Domino Dance”. Neil Tennant took up the idea, and the chorus was born.

The photo on the cover of the single was taken on Miami’s South Beach. When the boys first saw the van with the inscript – Latin American Party – it was clear that it had to be on the cover. They took a polaroid, and this first shot ended up on the cover.

All the musicians on Domino Dancing were Cuban. During the recording sessions, various mixes were produced “on the go”, one of them the wonderful Lewis Matinée version without the drums. More remixes followed later, and until this day, the Base Mix of Domino Dancing remains my favourite ever PSB-remix. The B-Side to Domino Dancing was Don Juan.

The video was once again directed by Eric Watson, making it the sixth collaboration (of a total 11) with the Pet Shop Boys. It’s about a love-triangle between two young men fighting over one girl, and it was filmed in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, in about 4 days. All the actors were Puerto Rican, and were cast by the boys themselves.

Here are various mixes of Domino Dancing; the above-mentioned, drumless version is the Alternative Version. Enjoy!

Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (12″ Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Base Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Larkeros Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Alternative Version) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Razormaid Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (Demo Version) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Don Juan (MP3)

Domino Dancing:

Domino Dancing 12 Inch:

Flashback Friday – Saturday Heartbeat

Sorry for the delay. Hope the next part of the Pet Shop Boys singles discography is excuse enough. Here we go:

Heart was released early in 1988 and again reached the number one spot in the UK, as well as in Germany and Switzerland. It was the fourth and final single from the boys’ second album Actually.

Heart has its origins back in 1986 during the Please recording sessions with Shep Pettibone. It was re-recorded for Actually with producer Andy Richards, and once again mixed by PSB-regular Julian Mendelsohn. The Pet Shop Boys had planned to offer the song to Hazell Dean or Madonna at first, but later decided to keep it for themselves. It was also intended to feature in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 movie Innerspace, but was denied due to not fitting the tempo for the scene.

Lyrics-wise, Heart is one of the “simpler” songs by the Pet Shop Boys; it’s mainly just a straight-forward declaration of love which you can find in countless other pop songs. According to Neil Tennant, the “uh uh oh oh uh”-part that repeats itself throughout the song consists of vocals from Neil, Luciano Pavarotti and Wendy Smith from Prefab Sprout. The song was originally called Heartbeat, but when former Culture Club-drummer Jon Moss formed a new band called Heartbeat UK at around the same time, the boys changed the name.

The video was directed by Jack Bond who also filmed the boys’ 1987 movie It Couldn’t Happen Here. The Heart video is based on the 1922 version of Nosferatu and shows Tennant and his bride in a castle where they are spied on by a vampire, played by Sir Ian McKellen. The vampire eventually seduces the bride, bites her and takes her away. Chris Lowe’s part in the movie is the chauffeur who brings Tennant and his bride to the castle first, and later drives Nosferatu and his new girlfriend into their future…

The B-Side to Heart was I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too), a rather PSB-by-numbers song. And of course there were once again various remixes from Julian Mendelsohn and Shep Pettibone. As always, I’m gonna offer you some of those mixes as well as the video.

Pet Shop Boys – Heart (12″ Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Heart (Disco Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Heart (Dub Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Heart (Radio Edit) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – Heart (X Mix) (MP3)
Pet Shop Boys – I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) (MP3)

This will be the last Flashback Friday for the next two weeks as I will be away for a few days starting next Thursday. But the PSB singles discography will continue!

Flashback Friday – Pet Shop Boys On My Mind

Time for another part of the Pet Shop Boys singles history. It’s cover-time today!

Always On My Mind was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972, but it was Elvis Presley that took the song to chart success in the same year. He reached number 16 on the US Billboard’s Hot Country singles charts, while Brenda Lee only made it to number 45. Ten years later, Willie Nelson re-recorded the song, and his version climbed up to the number 1 spot in the Hot Country charts. It also became Billboards number one country song of 1982 (and remains my favourite version of the song until this day, btw.).

The Pet Shop Boys first performed their version of Always On My Mind in 1987, when various popular contemporary acts performed Elvis Presley covers on a special TV show to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Presley‘s death. Their version was so well-received by the audience that the boys decided to record it as a single. Released shortly before the holidays, their release became the UKs Christmas number one single that year and stayed at the top spot for another three weeks. In 1988, the song also reached number one in Germany, and became the fifth and last Top-10-hit in the US charts, peaking at number four. Initially not included on the album Actually, it was added on a seven-inch single with the Japanese copies of the album.

Some trivia about Always On My Mind:

Chris Lowe admits that he isn’t a fan of Elvis Presley, and that the only songs he likes are Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind
Levi’s used the PSB-version in a commercial in 2004
– also in 2004, the Daily Telegraph placed the song at number two in a list of the fifty greatest cover versions of all time (right behind Jimi Hendrix‘ version of Bob Dylan‘s All Along The Watchtower)
B.B. King said in the January 2006 issue of Esquire magazine that this was his favourite song; not sure if he meant the PSB version though…

More cover-versions:

Always On My Mind was covered many times over the past years. Artists include such names as Shakira, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, Erlend Oye, B.B. King, Ryan Adams and Michael Bublé.

The B-Side to the single was the pretty ballad Do I Have To, and there were of course various remixes. Always On My Mind was re-recorded years later for the release of Introspective, another Pet Shop Boys remix-collection similar to the previous release Disco. The boys wanted to add a spin of the then-fashionable Acid House trend, and Always On My Mind/In My House was the result.

In the music video for Always On My Mind, you can see (and hear) British actor Joss Ackland. The scenes in the video are taken from the Pet Shop Boys‘ movie It Couldn’t Happen Here; initially, the song wasn’t intended to be in the movie, but after the decision to release it as a single, a whole new scene was written for the movie. Listen to the monologue of Ackland at the end of the video… know from which PSB-song it’s taken? 🙂

As always, here are some of the many remixes for Always On My Mind, and the B-Side, too. Enjoy, until next time!

Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (2008 Deep Factory Private Anthem Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Julian Mendelsohn Extended Dance Version)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Phil Harding Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Prime Cuts Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Rare Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (7″ Instrumental Version)
Pet Shop Boys – Do I Have To

Always On My Mind video:

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