Left To My Own Devices
Formed in 1981, this UK pop due features Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. Lowe had previously played in a cabaret act, On Under The Eight, while Tennant was employed as a journalist on UK pop magazine “Smash Hits”. In 1984, they issued “West End Girls”, which passed unnoticed. After being dropped from Epic Records, they were picked up by Parlophone. In 1986, the re-released “West End Girls” topped the UK and US charts. “Please” and the hits “Opportunities” and “Suburbia” consolidated their position during the year.
The duo returned to the UK number 1 slot in 1987 with “It’s a Sin”. By this time, they were being critically feted as one of the more interesting bands of their time, with an engaging love of pop irony, camp imagery and arch wordplay. The quality of their melodies was evident in the successful collaboration with Dusty Springfield on “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”
By the end of the year the duo were back at the top in their home country with a cover version of the Elvis Presley hit, “Always On My Mind”, also a US Top 5 single. A fourth UK number 1 with “Heart” was followed by “Introspective” which spawned further UK Top 10 hits in “Domino Dancing”, 'Left To My Own Devices' and “It’s Alright”. A surprise collaboration in 1989 with Liza Minnelli gave her a UK Top 10 hit with “Losing My Mind”. The duo’s own inventive hit was again in evidence on the UK Top 5 hit “So Hard”, the laconic “Being Boring” and an odd fusion of U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” and Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. The attendant “Behaviour” was a downbeat, slightly disappointing album.
Tennant also enjoyed UK hits with Johnny Marr and Bernard Summer in Electronic, but returned to the Pet Shop Boys for 1993’s “Very”. Later in the year they enjoyed a UK number 2 hit with a bold cover version of the Village People’s gay anthem, “Go West”. “Bilingual” experimented with Latin rhythms, while “Nightlife” highlighted their remarkable creativity.
Tennant and Lower subsequently collaborated with writer Jonathan Harvey on the West End musical, “Closer to Heaven”, which opened at the Arts Theatre in May 2001 but closed after only four months. Lowe and Tennant returned to music in 2002 with “Release” which featured a more guitar-orientated sound.
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