PET SHOP BOYS
July 13, 2013 - 9:30 pm
As the planet’s most successful pop duo, Pet Shop Boys have sold over 50 million records worldwide and amassed forty top 20 hits, including classics like “West End Girls”, “It’s a Sin”, “Always on My Mind” and “Go West”. Renowned for their breathtaking live performances that combine light shows, choreographies, eccentric costumes and incredibly catchy music, Pet Shop Boys will play Lebanon for the first time ever, as part of their Electric Tour. Prepare yourself for some serious “Domino Dancing”
Pet Shop Boys have established themselves among the most commercially and critically successful groups of their era with cheeky, smart, and utterly danceable music. Always remaining one step ahead of their contemporaries, the British duo navigated the constantly shifting landscape of modern dance-pop with rare grace and intelligence, moving easily from disco to house to techno with their own distinctive image remaining completely intact. Satiric and irreverent -yet somehow strangely affecting- they also transcended the seeming disposability of their craft, offering wry and thoughtful cultural commentary.
Pet Shop Boys formed in London in August 1981, when vocalist Neil Tennant (a former editor at Marvel Comics who later gained some recognition as a journalist for Smash Hits magazine) first met keyboardist Chris Lowe (a onetime architecture student) at an electronics shop. Discovering a shared passion for dance music and synthesizers, they immediately decided to start a band. After dubbing themselves Pet Shop Boys in honor of friends who worked in such an establishment -while also obliquely nodding to the sort of names prevalent among the New York City hip-hop culture of the early 1980s- the duo’s career first took flight in 1983, when Tennant met producer Bobby “O” Orlando while on a writing assignment. Orlando produced their first single, 1984’s “West End Girls”, The song was a minor hit in the U.S. but went nowhere in Britain, and its follow-up, “One More Chance”, was also unsuccessful.
Upon signing to EMI, Pet Shop Boys issued 1985’s biting “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”. When it too failed to attract attention, the duo’s future appeared grim, but they then released an evocative new Stephen Hague production of “West End Girls,” which became an international chart-topper. Its massive success propelled Pet Shop Boys’ 1986 debut LP Please into the Top Ten, and when “Opportunities” was subsequently reissued, it too became a hit. Disco, a collection of dance remixes, was quickly rushed into stores, and in 1987 the duo resurfaced with the superb Actually, which launched three more Top Ten smashes “It’s a Sin”, a lovely cover of the perennial “Always on My Mind”, and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, a duet between Tennant and the great Dusty Springfield.
Also in 1988, Pet Shop Boys issued their third studio LP, the eclectic Introspective. The single “Domino Dancing” was their final Top 40 hit in the US. The following year, the duo collaborated with a variety of performers, most notably Liza Minnelli, for whom they produced the 1989 LP Results. They also produced material for Springfield, and Tennant joined New Order frontman Bernard Sumner and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr in the group Electronic, scoring a hit with the single “Getting Away with It”. Pet Shop Boys reconvened in 1990 for the muted, downcast Behavior, produced by Harold Faltermeyer. 1991 saw the release of their hit medley of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” and Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, and was followed in 1993 by Very, lauded among the duo’s finest efforts to date.
After a three-year absence, Pet Shop Boys resurfaced with Bilingual, a fluid expansion into Latin rhythms. Nightlife followed in 1999 and sparked the dance club hit “New York City Boy”, whose success allowed the group to tour the U.S. for the first time in eight years. In April 2002, Tennant and Lowe issued Release, and Disco 3 was compiled for release the following year.
Pet Shop Boys continued releasing material throughout the decade’s latter half. In 2005, they put together a volume of the Back to Mine series and released their soundtrack designed to accompany the 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin, a soundtrack they’d performed a year earlier at a free concert/screening in Trafalgar Square. A year later, they issued Fundamental, a mature, sometimes political album produced by Trevor Horn. The live album Concrete: In Concert at the Mermaid Theatre appeared at the end of the year, and Yes -a collaborative effort with the production crew Xenomania- marked the band’s tenth studio effort in March 2009. While playing shows in support of that album, Pet Shop Boys also released a hits compilation, Party, to coincide with the Brazilian leg of their tour. In 2009, they filmed and recorded their concert at the London O2 Arena and released it on CD and DVD early 2010, under the title Pandemonium.
In 2011, Pet Shop Boys wrote the music for The Most Incredible Thing, a ballet based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name. The soundtrack was released in March to coincide with the opening at Sadlers Wells.
The band’s eleventh studio album, titled Elysium (continuing their tradition of single word titles), was released in September 2012, the first single of which, titled “Winner”, was released on July 2012 just in time for the London Olympic Games. They also performed West End Girls at the closing ceremony.
Pet Shop Boys is one of the most collaboration-prone bands on the music scene. The duo has joined forces for a number of songs and remixes with artists like Madonna, Robbie Williams, Tina Turner, Elton John, David Bowie, Kylie Minogue to name just a few.
Three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, they have achieved forty two Top 30 singles and twenty two Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four number ones. At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
Renowned for their breathtaking live performances, Pet Shop Boys will play Lebanon for the first time ever. Promoting their upcoming 12th album, Electric, they’ve put Es Devlin (Take That, Lady Gaga, Kanye West & Jay Z) in charge of the tour’s artistic direction. With their impressive light shows, choreographies and eccentric costumes, they will have you dancing to all their greatest hits!