March 1985

They sign to Parlophone Records after long negotiations with Bobby O', who relinquished his contractual rights over them in return for a substantial royalty on future record sales.

April 1985

On April 5th, Neil leaves Smash Hits. In the next issue an 'obituary' is written, bidding him a sad adieu and predicting that in a matter of weeks Neil's pop duo, the Pet Shop Boys "will be down the dumper and he'll come crawling back on bended knees, ha ha ha". "I spoke to my mum on the telephone and said how we'd signed with EMI and she said "But you're not going to give up your job, are you?" and I said, actually I did last week".

July 1985

On July 1st, the first version of 'Opportunities' is released. It reached #116 in the UK.

July 1985

August 1985

They play a short set as part of the ICA Rock Week in London, Chris showing off his skills on the trombone. Neil and Chris are interviewed on stage by Max Headroom. They re-record 'West End girls' with producer Stephen Hague the same month.

October 1985

'West End girls' is released on October 28th and goes to #1 in the UK in January. It is subsequently #1 in USA, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Norway, selling 1.5 million copies. "People endlessly ask us what it's like having a #1" says Neil at the time. "But what it feels like is vaguely nothing. It feels like having a cup of tea".

On This Day

2001

Session bass player Steve Walters joins the Boys in the studio and records bass parts for 'Birthday Boy' and 'Home and Dry,' although his playing on the latter isn't used in the final version.

2008

Neil and Chris attend sessions at London's famous Abbey Road studios, where string and horn parts are recorded for two of the tracks on their next album, Yes (although the title hasn't yet been decided on at this time). Afterward they travel by taxi to Soho for a meeting related to their ballet plans.

2013

The Pet Shop Boys appear in concert at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

Next (1986)