AboutPet Shop Boys are an English electronic pop duo, formed in London in 1981 and consisting of Neil Tennant (main vocals, keyboards, occasional guitar) and Chris Lowe (keyboards, occasional vocals).
Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records. Three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, since 1985 they have achieved forty-two Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four UK number ones: "West End Girls"(also number one on the US Billboard Hot 100), "It's a Sin", an acclaimed cover of "Always on My Mind" and "Heart". Other hit songs include a cover of "Go West", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"(satire of Thatcherism) and "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in a duet with Dusty Springfield.
At the 2009 Brit Awards in London, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2016, Billboard magazine named Pet Shop Boys the No. 1 Billboard Dance duo/group over the 40 years since the chart's inception in 1976. In 2017 the duo received NME's Godlike Genius Award.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London, in August 1981. Recognizing a mutual interest in dance music, they began to work together on material, first in Tennant's flat in Chelsea and from 1982, in a small studio in Camden Town. It was during those early years that several future hit songs were created, including "It's a Sin", "West End Girls", "Rent" and "Jealousy".
Initially Tennant and Lowe performed as West End because of their love of London's West End, but later they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, derived from friends of theirs who worked in a pet shop in Ealing. Their big break came in August 1983, when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits to interview The Police in New York. The duo were obsessed with a stream of Hi-NRG records made by New York producer Bobby Orlando, simply known as Bobby O. According to Tennant: "I thought: well, if I've got to go and see The Police play, then I'm also going to have lunch with Bobby O." They shared a cheeseburger and carrot cake, at a restaurant called the Applejack Diner, on 19 August (two years to the day since Tennant and Lowe had met) and, after hearing a demo tape that Tennant had brought along with him, Orlando suggested making a record with the Pet Shop Boys.
From 1983–84, Orlando recorded eleven tracks with Tennant and Lowe including; "West End Girls", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money"), "It's A Sin", "I Want A Lover", "I Get Excited", "Two Divided By Zero", "Rent", "Later Tonight", "Pet Shop Boys", "A Man Could Get Arrested" and "One More Chance". In April 1984, the Orlando-produced "West End Girls" was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco. On 2 November, it was voted "Screamer of the Week" by listeners of Long Island, New York radio station WLIR. It was a minor dance hit in Belgium and France, but was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12" import.