Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in an electronics shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London in August 1981. Recognising a mutual interest in dance music, they began to work on material together, first in Tennant's flat in Chelsea and from 1982, in a small studio, in Camden Town. It was during these early years that several songs that would later appear on future albums were created, including "It's a Sin," "West End Girls," "Rent," and "Jealousy."
Starting out, the two called themselves West End, because of their love of London's West End, but later they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, which derived from some friends who worked in a pet shop, in Ealing. They said that the new name "sounded like an English rap group."
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 Apple Jack, on 19 August (two years to the day since Tennant and Lowe had met) and Orlando suggested making a record with Pet Shop Boys, after hearing a demo tape that Tennant had taken with him. 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. Though the track did not do well in the UK, it was a minor hit in France and Belgium.
The Pet Shop Boys have sold about 100 million records worldwide.. Since 1986, they have had 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four Number Ones: "West End Girls," "It's a Sin," "Always on My Mind," and "Heart."
At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The duo's latest album, entitled Yes, was released on 23 March 2009.
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