Tracks that have been mistakenly attributed to the Pet Shop Boys on Napster, YouTube, and elsewhere

1. "Bizarre Love Triangle" erroneously attributes this 1986 New Order masterpiece to PSB. Hey, not every great synthpop song is by our two heroes!

2. "I Wanna Be a Cowboy"

This 1986 hit was by the British quintet Boys Don't Cry. Considering the name of the band, it's easy to see how the confusion might have arisen.

3. "The NeverEnding Story"

Former Kajagoogoo lead singer Limahl (real name Chris Hamill) released this hit song in 1984—more than a full year before the Pet Shop Boys made it to the top with "West End Girls."

4. "One Night in Bangkok"

Murray Head recorded this 1985 smash from Benny and Bjorn's musical Chess. Its "Brit-rap" style may account for the PSB confusion.

5. "Pop Music"

British musician Robin Scott, under the name "M," released this international #1 all the way back in 1979. That was before Chris and Neil had met, much less recorded together.

6. "Send Me an Angel"

Probably the single most ubiquitous error in this list. "Send Me an Angel" by the Australian band Real Life dates back to 1983. Some time ago one of my email correspondents had me going on this, leading me to believe that it had been covered by Neil and Chris—only it hadn't. As it turns out, it repeatedly turns up in faulty online lists of PSB tracks as well as on YouTube, mistakenly attributed to the Pet Shop Boys. It's still going on decades after the error first appeared online. Even when corrected, posters and other online "believers" often reject the truth, absolutely insisting it's by PSB, clinging to their blunder like slugs to a cabbage. Some have claimed, incredibly, that the Boys wrote and recorded a demo in their pre-fame days, which was subsequently "stolen" by Real Life. Others assert, just as incorrectly, that the Pet Shop Boys have recorded a cover of Real Life's song. It just goes to demonstrate the irritating persistence of cyber-falsehood.

7. "Tainted Love"

At least one .mp3 distribution site has wrongly attributed Soft Cell's immortal 1981-82 rendition of this song to the Pet Shop Boys.

8. "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"

Someone on Kazaa mistakenly attributed this latter-day (1975-76) Four Seasons #1 smash to the Pet Shop Boys. True, it did experience a major chart revivial (in a remixed format) during the "PSB era," but it was still the Four Seasons.

9. "The Safety Dance "

This 1983 hit was by the Canadian band Men Without Hats. How anyone can confuse Ivan Dodoschuk's baritone vocals with Neil Tennant's tenor is beyond me.

10. "Sunglasses at Night"

A more understandable error than most. "Sunglasses at Night" was a 1984 hit by Corey Hart. Early PSB producer Bobby "O" Orlando had the rights both to a cover of Hart's song (by a singer who sounds an awful lot like Hart himself, but isn't) and to the original version of "West End Girls." He mixed the two tracks together to create something he called "West End Sunglasses" and released it on a 12-inch disc in late 1984. Ever since then, the Boys have been sporadically—and incorrectly—credited with writing and/or recording "Sunglasses at Night."

11. "59, Lyndhurst Grove"
12. "Babies"

These two Pulp songs, both from their 1993 album Intro, have been mistakenly identified as PSB songs on at least one online lyrics site. The source of this fallacy is anyone's guess—although, in my experience, online lyrics sites seem particularly prone to such egregious errors.

13. "Jingle Bells"

An instrumental synthpop rendition of this Christmastime classic appeared on YouTube in November 2008, described as a "very rare track by the brilliant Pet Shop Boys." But it's not by them, a fact confirmed by the PSB organization. It was created by someone, identity unknown at this time, who was undoubtedly striving to mimic their style—with emphasis there on the word "striving."

14. "Lemon Tree" (sometimes mistakenly referred to as "It's Just a Lemon Tree")

This 1995 song, a hit single in various European countries, comes from the album Dish of the Day by the German band Fool's Garden. For a time it was erroneously credited on Napster to PSB. The singer's vocal similarities to Neil—he shares Neil's general "tone" though he pronounces many words quite differently, which is certainly understandable considering the nationalities involved—probably accounts for the confusion.

15. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"

Dead or Alive's unforgettable 1985 hit was wrongly attributed to the Pet Shop Boys in a 2010 posting on YouTube. Virtually inexplicable.

16. "Party Like a Rock Star"

This big rap hit from 2007 has on several occasions been wrongly attributed online (YouTube, among other places) to the Pet Shop Boys, despite the fact that it sounds absolutely, positively nothing like them. The cause of the error? That's simple: the act that actually did record it was an Atlanta-based hip-hop trio who go by the name "Shop Boyz." Hence the confusion. Meanwhile, "Party Like a Rock Star" has proven to be the Shop Boyz' only hit to date.

17. "Peace and Love, Inc."

The Minneapolis-based synthpop band Information Society, best known for their big 1988 hit "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)," released this, the title track from their third album, in 1991. It reached #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart, but was largely ignored on mainstream pop radio. Several websites have misidentified it as being by the Pet Shop Boys.

18. "Ab Fab (I Am Thin and Gorgeous)"

In 1997, roughly three years after the Pet Shop Boys released "Absolutely Fabulous," the famed DJ/mixer/producer Junior Vasquez (born Donald Mattern)—who had previously remixed PSB's "Yesterday, When I Was Mad"—created and released his own Absolutely Fabulous spinoff track, "Ab Fab (I Am Thin and Gorgeous)." Closely following the model the Boys had already set, Vasquez placed voice samples of the show's stars, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley—especially the former's oft-repeated exclamation "I am thin and gorgeous!"—against a techno-ish synth-driven dance track, albeit one that was stylistically somewhat more in line with house music. As it turned out, Junior's Ab Fab tribute didn't prove nearly as successful in dance clubs as PSB's. That hasn't stopped some, however, from mistakenly identifying it online as a Pet Shop Boys recording—a fairly reasonable mistake under the circumstances, but a mistake nonetheless.

19. "The Lebanon"

The Human League released this song as a single in April 1984. The fact that lead singer Phil Oakey sounds absolutely nothing like Neil Tennant didn't prevent it from being fallaciously attributed to the Pet Shop Boys in an online blog in January 2015. And the blogger was British, so you can't blame this one on widespread American ignorance of PSB—or of the Human League, for that matter. wink

20. "True Faith"

It seems that for nearly as long as there's been an internet there have been mistaken attributions of New Order's brilliant 1987 single "True Faith" to the Pet Shop Boys, although these errors usually take the form of referring to a "PSB Remix" of the track while still crediting the core performance to New Order. But now and then a full-out false attribution of the song itself to the Boys appears. It's just one of those falsehoods with lives of their own; no matter how often they're refuted, they still keep going and going with more staying power than the Energizer® bunny.

21. "Pale Shelter"

On at least two separate occasions people have misattributed to PSB this classic song by Tears for Fears—originally released in 1982 but not a major hit until the following year (which was still before the world had ever heard of the Pet Shop Boys)—in their YouTube postings.

22. "Can't Fight This Feeling"

Someone mistakenly attributed this 2009 number to "Pet Shop Boys featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor" on YouTube. It's a terrific track, so it may only have been a case of wishful thinking. But, no, that's French DJ/multi-instrumentalist/producer Junior Caldera rather than PSB collaborating with Sophie.

23. "Enjoy the Silence"

An October 17, 2020 article ("'Remote' Life Brings End to Beloved 'Snow Day'") on some of the sociological effects of the coronavirus pandemic, posted on the web edition of the North Carolina newspaper The Pilot, stated, "It is a pause, a time for us all to take a break and bask in the beauty of snowfall and ice crystal formations. For us all, as the Pet Shop Boys sang, to enjoy the silence." Sorry, but of course it was Depeche Mode, not PSB, who advised us all to do that.

24. "Never Be Alone"

A couple of websites have erroneously asserted that the Pet Shop Boys put out this 2002 track that was actually written, recorded, and released as a single by the Manchester rock quartet Simian—a most curious mistake given that it sounds nothing like PSB. But it can almost certainly be traced to the fact that a 2003 mix of it by Justice appeared as one of Chris's selections on the Boys' Back to Mine various-artists compilation. (In light of that, it's perhaps only natural that, years later, the Boys would pick James Ford—a former member of Simian and co-writer of "Never Be Alone"—to produce their next album, likely to be released in 2024.)

25. "The Day the World Turned Day-Glo"

In what was surely the most surprising if not outright bizarre instance of apparent mistaken attribution online, the lyrics section of Pet Shop Boys' own website included this punk cult classic—originally released in 1978 by X-Ray Spex and written by then-lead singer Poly Styrene, but covered by Soft Cell and included as the "b-side" of the Soft Cell/PSB collaborative single "Purple Zone"—thereby strongly suggesting that it's a "PSB song." But since the Soft Cell rendition is indeed strictly a Soft Cell recording, the Pet Shop Boys had nothing whatsoever to do with it aside from it appearing as a "bonus" on that single. It proved, however, a short-lived anomaly: the Boys' website removed the lyrics shortly after I mentioned it here. In fact, it was later that same day!