Losing My Mind
Writers - Stephen Sondheim
First released - 1989 (Liza Minnelli); 1991 (PSB)
Original album - Alternative
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, and they well could be. 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.
- As noted above, this song was written by the celebrated American songwriter Stephen Sondheim (born 1930) for his 1971 stage musical Follies. Interestingly, Follies was originally one of Sondheim's less-successful musicals, losing money during its initial run despite its having won several Tony Awards, including Best Score. Critical opinion of it has been mixed. It has, however, enjoyed a number of successful revivals, including one in London's West End that ran for about a year-and-a-half, from mid-1987 to early 1989. In fact, this production closed only about a month before the Boys began working with Liza Minnelli to record "Losing My Mind" and the rest of Results. I'm not aware, however, of the Boys stating whether this production may have played a role in their having chosen to cover this song.
- "Losing My Mind" is by far the most popular number from Follies, having been covered by more artists than any of the show's other songs. If I'm not mistaken, Sondheim's opinion at the time of the Minnelli and PSB renditions was reportedly that he didn't much care for the arrangement, but he did like the songwriting royalties they earned him.
Pet Shop Boys rendition:
- Mixer: David Jacob
- 7" Version (4:34)
- Available on Alternative
- Disco Mix (6:09)
- Available on the Further Listening bonus disc with the Introspective reissue
- 7" Version (4:34)
Liza Minnelli rendition:
- Mixer: Pet Shop Boys and Julian Mendelsohn
- Album version (4:11)
- 7" Mix (4:09)
- Extended Remix (7:01)
- Mixer: Julian Mendelsohn
- Ultimix (7:32)
- Ultimix Edit (6:37)
- Ultimix Dub (5:07)
- Mixer: The Almighty
- Almighty Mix (8:33)
- On the 2009 CD and download release Almighty Essentials.
- Almighty Dub (8:38)
- Almighty Mix (8:33)
Official but unreleased
- Mixer: unknown
- Demo aka "Monitor Mix" (4:33)
- At least two additional demo-type versions of "Losing My Mind" have also come to light on bootleg releases.
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