August 1981

On August 19th, Neil and Chris meet by chance in an electronics shop on the Kings Road. Realizing they have a common interest in dance music, they begin to write together. Initially they call themselves West End; later they come up with the name Pet Shop Boys, a name derived from some friends who work in a pet shop in Ealing. "We thought it sounded like an English rap group".

On This Day

1994

Neil appears on the BBC Radio 4 show With Great Pleasure to talk about some of his favorite literary works. Among them are Nik Cohn's I Am Still the Greatest Says Johnny Angelo, Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall, Barbara Pym's Excellent Women, John Betjeman's 'Death of George V,' Philip Larkin's 'Aubade,' excerpts from the diaries of Noël Coward and Tony Benn, and Elvis Costello's lyrics for the song 'Shipbuilding' (which Neil describes as 'one of the cleverest lyrics in recent pop music').

1997

The Pet Shop Boys make their first-ever live festival appearance at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

2002

They perform in Amsterdam.

2011

The Boys open again for Take That in the first of two consecutive nights' shows in Birmingham, U.K.

2015

The Pet Shop Boys headline the Flow Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia—their first show ever in that country. Their concert starts just before midnight and continues into the early hours of the following day (June 28).

2016

Neil appears as a guest on the fiftieth episode of Rocket Hour, a weekly radio show hosted by Elton John on Apple Music. They play several records chosen by Neil and, of course, talk. Neil later says, 'It was nice—it was more like just a chat between the two of us.'

Next (1983)