February 1998

On February 28 the Pet Shop Boys begin a short, four-concert Russian tour, visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg, inspired by their visit to St. Petersburg to see Brian Eno the previous summer. In Moscow they perform twice in one night, once in a large arena then later in the middle of an over-crowded nightclub. The local media ask them whether they speak Russian, "We're very good at saying 'nyet'," they explain.

April 1998

On April 13, Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward is released. It is an album of Noel Coward songs covered by contemporary musicians, co-compiled by Neil, who has been working on it for the past eighteen months. He has loved Noel Coward's music since he first heard it in about 1970. "I think as a songwriter he's slightly underrated," Neil says, "simply because his plays are so famous, and people forget." The Pet Shop Boys do a version of "Sail Away", and amongst the other interpreters are Elton John, Paul McCartney, Suede, Robbie Williams and the Divine Comedy. "We tried to choose artists," Neil explains, "who somehow seem to be in the Noel Coward tradition of wit, theatrically and style." To promote the album, Neil appeared along on TFI Friday where he sang along with a busker playing Pet Shop Boys songs on an acoustic guitar.

June 1998

At the request of their former American record company, the Pet Shop Boys agreed to the release of 'Essential Pet Shop Boys', a compilation of early Pet Shop Boys songs recorded between 1985 – 1990, including a number of rare remixes, as part of a series of limited edition CDs by other artists.

June 1998

November 1998

At the behest of director Gus Van Sant, the Pet Shop Boys wrote a new song, with Tom Stephan, at extremely short notice for the soundtrack of Van Sant's remake of 'Psycho'. It is called "Screaming". "It's about an obsessive fan, written from the obsessive fan's point of view," Neil says. "Or actually just by someone obsessed with someone who doesn't love them."

On This Day

1987

'What Have I Done to Deserve This?' debuts on the U.S. singles chart. On the same day, the Boys appear on Top of the Pops, performing 'Always on My Mind.'

1991

Chris and Neil perform three songs live with Electronic at London's Wembley Hall.

1994

They wind up their DiscoVery tour in São Paulo, Brazil.

2007

Neil sits down in the upstairs living room of his London home with Chris Heath for a lengthy interview that appears in the February 2008 issue of the PSB Fan Club magazine Literally. (Chris—Lowe, that is—arrives at the house just as the interview is about to begin but, after making tea and sandwiches, he heads downstairs so as not to eavesdrop.)

2009

The Pet Shop Boys perform in Münster, Germany.

2011

After working on a new track titled 'A Dream,' they start on another new song, 'Hold On,' based on the chord progression of Handel's 'Eternal Source of Light Divine.' Afterwards they have dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

2014

This evening they perform in Johannesburg, the first of three shows in South Africa, and their first ever in that nation. In fact, it's their first-ever concert on the entire continent of Africa. (The Boys have now performed on every continent except Antarctica.)

Next (1999)