Losing My Mind

Writers - Stephen Sondheim
First released - 1989 (Liza Minnelli); 1991 (PSB)
Original album (PSB version) - Alternative
Producer (PSB version) - Pet Shop Boys; (Liza Minnelli version) - Julian Mendelsohn, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - Introspective 2001 reissue Further Listening 1988-1989 bonus disc
Other releases - b-side of single "Jealousy"; 1989 single by Liza Minnelli, produced by PSB (UK #6, US Dance #26)

Neil shares Liza Minnelli's great fondness for musical theater, so when the Boys agreed to produce her Results album, it was only natural that they would decide to collaborate on a song written by one of the giants of contemporary musical theater, Stephen Sondheim. The Minnelli version was released first, later followed by the PSB version on the b-side of the "Jealousy" single. Interestingly, the backing tracks of the two versions seem virtually identical aside from their being in different keys, no doubt to suit the respective singers' ranges. Otherwise, aside from the lead vocals themselves, the most notable difference is the inclusion in the Boys' version of what can probably best be described as "mad screams" suggestive of one who is indeed losing his mind. Liza felt that these screams were inappropriate and distracting, perhaps even somewhat disrespectful of the song itself, and requested that they be deleted from her version. Neil and Chris decided to keep the screams in their version, although, in retrospect, they've conceded that Minnelli's instincts were correct and that the track is better without them.

The song itself is quite direct. Taken from Sondheim's 1971 musical Follies, it describes the extreme disorientation and regret felt by someone over a missed opportunity at love. In the show, a female character is reunited at a party with a man with whom she'd had a brief fling many years before. She now would like nothing more than to renew their relationship on a more passionate, ongoing basis, but her wishes come to naught. In "Losing My Mind" she describes all the pain and anguish she experiences over thinking of what might have been.

Annotations

Mixes

Officially released

Pet Shop Boys rendition:

Liza Minnelli rendition:

Official but unreleased

Performed by Pet Shop Boys (probably as demos for Liza):

List cross-references