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Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic/pop music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant who provides main vocals, keyboards and very occasionally guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards and occasionally on vocals.
The longevity of their career is generally attributed to their ability to create melodic pop/dance music with intelligent lyrics and striking style. They are one of the most consistently successful duos in pop music, particularly in Europe. Since 1986, they have had 38 top 40 singles in the UK including four number ones: "West End girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on my mind" and "Heart".
They were very successful in the United States in the mid-1980s; however, their mainstream popularity waned by 1988 with their final top 40 single, "Domino Dancing", reaching number 18 on the US pop chart. They have continued to be successful worldwide since then, however, and their popularity is still prevalent through their very active and devoted fan base.
Neil Tennant has consistently and sincerely labelled the Pet Shop Boys' music as "disco." Their music's trademark sound is a combination of pure synthesised pop (which could qualify them as a New Wave group), with sometimes slightly over-the-top instrumentation, contrasting with Tennant's laconic vocals, sometimes spoken-word or rap.
Despite a history of implementing current musical trends from the underground (house, electro, jungle, techno etc.) into their productions, they have always maintained their own specific and defined sound. Their lyrics (mainly written by Tennant) have been described as articulate, stylish and poetic. Among their musical trademarks is the combining of pop hooks with detailed chord structures and soundscapes.
In March 1985, after long negotiations, the Pet Shop Boys cut their contractual ties with Bobby O with a settlement giving Bobby O significant royalties for future sales. Hiring manager Tom Watkins, they signed with the London-based Parlophone label.
In April, Tennant left Smash Hits (where he had progressed to the position of deputy editor), and in July a new single, "Opportunities (Let's make lots of money)", was released, reaching number 116 in the UK. The B-side to this single, "In the night," was used as the theme for the UK television series The Clothes Show.
Unperturbed by the low chart position, the band returned to the studio in August to re-record "West End girls" with producer Stephen Hague. Released in October 1985, this new version initially entered the charts at a similarly low position, but began a slow rise so that by January 1986 it achieved number one.
It was subsequently number one in the USA, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Lebanon, Israel, New Zealand and Norway, and sold an estimated 1.5 million copies worldwide. It remains the most-heard Pet Shop Boys song to date.
After the success of "West End girls", the Pet Shop Boys released a follow-up single, "Love comes quickly", on February 24, 1986. The single reached number 19 in the UK singles chart and was followed by their debut album, Please on March 24. In June 1986, the band announced a European tour; however, their plans for a theatrical extravaganza proved to be too expensive and the tour was cancelled.