2009 turned out to be a year of consolidation for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. At the BRITS in February they collected a well-earned Outstanding Contribution to Music Award. A month later saw the release of Yes, their best-selling album in 13 years, then in the summer they launched a worldwide stadium tour.
They could well ask What Have I Done To Deserve This? After 25 years of mixed fortune, the Pet Shop Boys are most definately worthy of such accolades.
Since West End Girls reached No. 1 (the first of 4 in the UK) in 1985, Messrs Tennant and Lowe have secured 43 Top 40 hits, and sold over 100 million records. The Pet Shop Boys are the most successful duo in UK music history, and the biggest British act on the US Dance Chart with 10 number 1's there. Next month, the Boys release Ultimate, their 17th album, and 56th single, Together.
Yes is the 10th studio album, and spawned 3 singles (Beautiful People was only issued in Germany). Personally, this is probably my favourite Pet Shop Boys album, the best songs being Did You See Me Coming? and should-have-been-a-single Pandemonium. For me, track 2, All Over The World (with it's brilliant Tchaikovsky sampling), typifies everything the Boys are about: this is a joyous celebration of their global appeal.
The 14-month Pandemonium tour took in 88 performances in 31 countries, and I was lucky enough to attend the Liverpool and Manchester dates. The London show at the O2 arena last December was filmed, and released on DVD this year.