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.
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".
On July 1st, the first version of 'Opportunities' is released. It reached #116 in the UK.
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.
'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
Electronic's 'Getting Away with It,' co-written by Neil and with him on background vocals, debuts on the U.S. singles chart. This same afternoon, an ill Derek Jarman is visited at home by Neil and several other friends. Jarman records in his diary, 'We had a wild half an hour with Neil at his best.' Neil notes that he and Chris are about to head off to Germany to work on their next album.
The limited-edition Essential CD is released in the U.S. and Japan.
The Pet Shop Boys arrive in Sydney for their first visit to Australia since 1994. Their first day there, they perform at Sydney's V Festival along with Beck, Gnarls Barkley, the reformed Pixies, and various other artists. Unfortunately, someone enters Neil's dressing room just before the show and steals his custom-made black long-tailed Dior coat, valued at more than £1,500, which he would otherwise have worn during their performance.
In addition to completing their remix of the Hidden Cameras' 'Colour of a Man,' started the day before, they begin work on a brand new song, 'Night and the City.'