cover art for Neil Tennant remembers the pop press and “the last great era of forward-looking songs"

Word In Your Ear

Neil Tennant remembers the pop press and “the last great era of forward-looking songs"

Ep. 621

Neil’s an old friend from our days back at Smash Hits in the early ‘80s. The first Pet Shop Boys demos were played on the office tape machine, though he was a bit self-conscious about “the one with the rap on it”, and he’s one of the few people who’s seen the music press from every angle - as a reader in the ‘70s, as a writer and interviewer and as a musician on its front covers. We had so much great material from this wide-ranging conversation that we’ve turned it into a two-part podcast. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in this first half ...


 … the NME article he and his brother pinned to their bedroom wall.


… the event at a Sex Pistols show “which stopped me going to gigs for about three years”.


… the first time he saw his name in print.


… interviewing Marc Bolan in his “fat phase”.


… a barbed chat with Morrissey.


… the pop press shift from “super-showbiz to super-counter-culture”.


… Television, the Clash and other music he discovered through the NME.


… meeting John Taylor 35 years after interviewing him.  


… the pop decade when “something extraordinary happened every day”.


… his mother’s horrified reaction when he left Smash Hits to start the Pet Shop Boys.


… the Human League in their Imperial Phase.


… Phil Collins showing him round Abba’s studio in Stockholm.


… and why ‘80s pop stars were “the most controlling”.



PSB tour dates:


Order the new Pet Shop Boys album ‘Nonetheless’ here:


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