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

2000

It's officially announced that the Boys will be among the performers at the upcoming 30th annual Glastonbury Festival.

2002

Neil and Chris tape a live performance in Madrid for broadcast on Spanish TV and radio.

2007

On a break from touring, the Boys split up for two very different afternoons in London. Neil visits the BBC Television Centre to record an interview for the TV series Pop Britannia, while Chris attends The Queen's Club to watch a preliminary championship match in lawn tennis.

2010

Neil is among the artists who take part this afternoon in a special London concert paying tribute to Kate McGarrigle—Canadian singer-songwriter and mother of his friend Rufus Wainwright—who had succumbed to cancer the preceding January. Neil performs Kate's song 'I Cried for Us.' Among the other performers are Emmylou Harris, Nick Cave, Jenni Muldaur, Richard and Linda Thompson, Anna McGarrigle, and Rufus and his sister Martha.

2011

The final night of PSB's extended string of shows in Manchester as the 'special guests' of Take That.

2012

Believing their accidentally muted audio equipment is still malfunctioning, Neil and Chris visit the German town of Wittenberg, including the church where Martin Luther had posted his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.

2015

Neil makes a surprise guest appearance onstage this evening at Rufus Wainwright's concert on the grounds of London's Royal Hospital. They duet on 'Poses,' which Neil introduces as the song that made him a Rufus fan.

Next (1986)