PSB "cover songs" and who first recorded them
For such prolific songwriters, Neil and Chris have certainly recorded and performed their share of "covers"that is, songs originally recorded by other artists. Here's a complete list of such songs that the Pet Shop Boys are known so far to have recorded or otherwise performed, along with the names of the songwriters and the original artists. I don't include, however, other artists' songs that have merely been interpolated into PSB originals, such as Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" (interpolated into "Between Two Islands") and KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)" (interpolated into "Party Song"), nor do I include songs that the Pet Shop Boys have merely sampled, such as Barry White's "You're My First, My Last, My Everything" (sampled in "Positive Role Model").
1. Always on My Mind (Wayne Carson Thompson*/Mark James/Johnny Christopher)
Originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972, but made more famous by Elvis Presley later that same year. Willie Nelson didn't release his big hit version until a decade afterward, in 1982.
*Note: "Wayne Carson Thompson" wrote songs under two different names: Wayne Carson and Wayne Thompson. You will therefore find the songwriters of "Always on My Mind" sometimes listed as "Thompson/James/Christopher" and at other times as "Carson/James/Christopher." It's all the same.
2. Alone Again, Naturally (Gilbert O'Sullivan)
Gilbert O'Sullivan's original was an international #1 hit in 1972. The Pet Shop Boys collaborated with Elton John in covering it, a rendition that has been officially released only on a hard-to-find 2005 promo disc.
3. Believe (Elton John/Bernie Taupin)
Originally recorded by Elton John in 1994 (released in early 1995). The Boys performed this with Elton John as part of a medley with "Song for Guy" on a U.K. television show; so far it has not been officially released.
4. Break 4 Love (Vaughan Mason)
Originally recorded by Raze in 1988.
5. Climb Every Mountain (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein III)
From the 1959 musical The Sound of Music, in which it was originally sung by Patricia Neway. Chris and Neil performed this song live at the 1997 Stonewall Concert, but haven't yet released it officially.
6. Do Anything You Wanna Do (Graeme Douglas/Ed Hollis)
A 1977 U.K. hit for Eddie and the Hotrods. The Boys performed this song at some of the dates on their 2002 "Uni" tour, but haven't yet released it officially.
7. Girls and Boys (Damon Albarn/Graham Coxon/Alex James/Dave Rowntree)
Originally a 1994 hit for the band Blur and remixed for them by the Pet Shop Boys, who subsequently performed it live and released one such live performance as a bonus track on their "Paninaro '95" single.
8. Glad All Over (Dave Clark/Mike Smith)
A big hit from early 1964 by the Dave Clark Five. Not only was it that band's first major hit, but it was also the first "British Invasion" hit other than by the Beatles in the United States. It has long served as the "anthem" for various U.K. soccer and rugby teams, including the Blackpool Football Club. To date it has been publicly performed by the Boys only once: as an encore, appropriately enough, for their Summer 2010 concert in Blackpool, Chris's hometown.
9. Go West (Henri Belolo/Jacques Morales/Victor Willis)
Originally recorded by the Village People in 1979.
10. Hallo Spaceboy (David Bowie/Brian Eno)
Originally recorded by David Bowie in 1996, the single version of which was remixed by the Pet Shop Boys. They later performed it live during their "Somewhere" shows.
11. Homosexuality (Morey Goldstein/Ken Kessie)
Originally recorded in 1985 by Modern Rocketry. Neil and Chris performed this song live at the 2000 "Equality Rocks" concert in Washington, D.C. but haven't yet released it officially.
12. I Am What I Am (Jerry Herman)
The "hit song" from the 1983 musical La Cage Aux Folles, in which it was originally performed and recorded by George Hearn. It was later remade as a dance track by Gloria Gaynor and became a major club hit. The Boys have, as far as I know, performed it only once: a live rendition accompanied by Scissor Sisters lead singer Jake Shears, at the December 19, 2005 London "stag party" for Elton John and David Furnish.
13. I Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe)
Originally recorded in 1967 by Frankie Valli, whose version was a U.S. hit. Andy Williams shortly afterward recorded the U.K. hit version. The Boys of course blended it into their cover of "Where the Streets Have No Name." Oddly, it was they who added "I" to the title; the song's original and "official" title is simply "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
14. I Cried for Us (Kate McGarrigle)
Originally recorded and released by Kate and Anna McGarrigle on their 1982 album Love Over and Over. The best-known version, however, was by Linda Rondstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris on their 1987 album Trio, where, oddly enough, it was retitled "I've Had Enough."
15. I Started a Joke (Robin Gibb/Barry Gibb/Maurice Gibb)
A major international hit for the Bee Gees in 1968 (though, oddly enough, never released as a single in the U.K.), primarily written and sung by Robin Gibb. The Pet Shop Boys covered it in 2012 in tribute to Robin, who had died only a few months before.
16. I Will Survive (Dino Fekaris/Freddie Perren)
Originally recorded in 1978 by Gloria Gaynor. On many occasions the Boys have performed this song as a medley with their own "It's a Sin."
17. If Love Were All (Noël Coward)
From the 1929 musical Bitter Sweet, in which it was originally sung by Ivy St. Helier.
18. It's Alright (Sterling Void/Paris Brightledge/Marshall Jefferson)
Originally recorded in 1988 by Sterling Void.
19. It's Not Unusual (Gordon Mills/Les Reed)
Originally recorded by Tom Jones in 1965. Chris and Neil performed it live at the 1997 Stonewall Concert, but haven't yet released it officially.
20. Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus (Serge Gainsbourg)
Originally recorded in 1967 by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, but that version remained unreleased for many years. The first actual release was in 1969, a recording by Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.
21. The Last to Die (Bruce Springsteen)
Written by Springsteen as "Last to Die" (without the article "The" in the title) and included on his 2007 album Magic.
22. Losing My Mind (Stephen Sondheim)
From the 1971 musical Follies, in which it was originally sung by Dorothy Collins.
23. Mr. Vain (Nosie Katzmann/Steven Levis)
Originally recorded in 1993 by Culture Beat. The Boys performed it live as part of a medley with their song "One in a Million" during their DiscoVery shows.
24. My Girl (Mike Barson)
Originally recorded in 1979 by Madness and a major U.K. hit for them early the following year. The Pet Shop Boys performed their rendition with two members of Madness (Suggs and Chas) at a May 2, 2008 benefit at London's Heaven nightclub in memory of their mutual friend Dainton Connell, who died in an automobile accident the previous year. Shortly afterward Chris and Neil made their demo version available for listening on their official website. They would release a more polished recording on their 2009 Christmas EP.
25. Numb (Diane Warren)
Although Chris and Neil didn't write this song, I'll concede that it might not really be a "cover" since the Pet Shop Boys did record the first officially released version. (Aerosmith had reportedly considered it and may even have recorded a demo, but no version by them has surfaced, not even as a bootleg.) Diane Warren's unreleased demo, however, made the rounds on the Internet well before the PSB version became public, so from that perspective it makes the list.
26. Philadelphia (Neil Young)
Originally recorded by Neil Young for the 1994 film of the same name. Neil and Chris performed it live on U.K. television and in some of their 2002 concerts. So far they haven't released it officially, although Neil has intimated that they will eventually. It is, however, another of those tracks that they've made available for listening on their official website.
27. Rhythm of the Night (Francesco Bontempi/Peter Glenyster/Michael Gaffey/Annerley Gordon/Giorgio Spagna)
Originally recorded by Corona in 1994. The Boys performed this song live during the DiscoVery tour as part of a medley with their own "Left to My Own Devices."
28. Sail Away (Noël Coward)
From the 1950 musical Ace of Clubs, in which it was originally sung by Pat Kirkwood.
29. Sixteen Going On Seventeen (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein III)
From the 1959 musical The Sound of Music, in which it was originally sung by Brian Davies. Chris and Neil performed it live in 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall, but haven't yet released it officially.
30. So Long, Farewell (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein III)
Yet another song from The Sound of Music, in which it was performed by the cast members portraying the Von Trapp Family Singers. (This is the third song from The Sound of Music recorded by the Boys. Do you get the impression that they're rather fond of this particular musical?) Recorded by Neil and Chris for U.K. radio's The Simon Bates Show, but officially unreleased.
31. Somewhere (Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim)
From the 1957 musical West Side Story, in which it was originally sung by Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence.
32. Song for Guy (Elton John)
Originally recorded by Elton John in 1978. The Boys performed it with Elton in medley with "Believe" on U.K. television, but they haven't released it officially.
33. Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man) (Bobby Orlando)
Originally recorded in 1983 by one of Bobby O's "girl groups," Oh Romeo.
34. Viva la Vida (Berryman/Buckland/Champion/Martin)
Coldplay's original, a hit single, was the title track on their 2008 album Viva la Vida, or Death and All His Friends.
35. We're the Pet Shop Boys (Howard Robot)
In an unexpected and frankly fascinating move, Neil and Chris covered this tribute to them written and first recorded in 2002 by My Robot Friend (aka Howard Robot). They "re-covered" it, so to speak, in collaboration with Robbie Williams in 2006.
36. What Keeps Mankind Alive? (Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill)
From the 1928 musical The Threepenny Opera, in which it was originally sung by Lotte Lenya.
37. Where the Streets Have No Name (Paul Hewson/Dave Evans/Larry Mullen/Adam Clayton)
Originally recorded in 1986 by U2 (released in 1987).
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