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

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 (1986)