Tracks by other artists that sample the Pet Shop Boys
I include tracks here only if I can very clearly hear an indisputable sample for myself or if I have some sort of definitive confirmation, such as a label credit or a statement by one of the artists involved. Because of this, I ignore (at least for the time being) a number of tracks that may contain PSB samples but leave me with enough uncertainty that I'd rather err on the side of caution and not include them.
1. "She's the One" by Saint Etienne
This song from this U.K. band's 1991 debut album Foxbase Alpha samples some drums from the album/single mix of "Being Boring."
2. "Archway People" by Saint Etienne
These alt-popsters struck again with this bonus track on their 1993 CD single "You're in a Bad Way." And they sampled from "Being Boring" again, only this time from the Marshall Jefferson remix. They must really like that songbut, then again, who can blame them?Honorable mention: If that weren't enough for Saint Etienne, they've also sampled brief bits of dialogue from the Boys' film It Couldn't Happen Here. The Gordon King "Variety Club" remix of their 1992 single "Avenue" samples two brief snippets of dialogue spoken by Gareth Hunt in the guest house breakfast room scene: "Good morning, everybodywhat a lovely day for a bit of fun!" and (repeatedly) "Good morning, Vicar!" They're not really "PSB samples," but they're certainly PSB-related.
3. "Only in My Mind" by soulDecision
A 2000 track that samples "We All Feel Better in the Dark." Since the Boys get a songwriting credit, this song gets its own entry on this website.
4. "Style" by Mis-teeq
Once again the Boys get composing credit, so this 2003 song, which samples "West End Girls," also has its own entry here.
5. "Lev Stort" by Paragon
A 2006 Swedish rap recording that's built upon the opening bars of "King's Cross."
6. "Oh Yeah" by X-Mode
Perhaps more a mashup than anything else, but this track nevertheless samples the chorus of "One Thing Leads to Another."
7. "Wipe the Needle (Remix)" by the Ragga Twins
A 1991 release that samples quite liberally from "Heart."
8. "Session" by Space Cube
This obscure 1993 track takes a snippet of Neil's wordless falsetto vocals toward the end of "Love Comes Quickly," gives it a comic amphetimine boost at roughly twice the speed and proportionately higher pitch, and drops it in the midst of a downright frantic track that would provide the healthiest dancer on earth with a near-dangerous cardio workout.
9. "Can't Stop Falling" by Liquid Crystal
Also from 1993 is this rave track that similarly lifts and speeds up Neil's vocal from "Love Comes Quickly," only this time taking not just the same wordless bit as the preceding item but also his words from the chorus "Can't stop falling," thereby providing the title.
10. "Go Get Busy" by DJ Weirdo & DJ Slim
An incredibly bizarre 1995 track that bears the credit "Chipmunk vocals sampled from Pet Shop Boys - 'Love Comes Quickly'." The sample begins almost exactly two minutes into the "Hardcore Edit." But where have we heard this before? Oh, yeah—see #8 and #9, just above and two years earlier. It's that wordless falsetto segment again, only this time sped up even more and placed in an even stranger context.
11. "It's a Sin" by Gamma Ray
Not content with merely covering the song on their 1999 album
Powerplant,Gamma Ray also includes in the opening of their version a prominent sample from the PSB original.
12. "Berlin Mitte Boy" by Berlin Mitte Boys
This 2000 one-off single, which translates "New York City Boy" into German—with an appropriate change of venue—contains samples from the PSB original. Some of the remixes of the track do as well.
13. "Heartbeat" by Monoboy
This dance single, released in 2000 by Ian Masterson (of Trouser Enthusiasts fame) under the pseudonym Monoboy, prominently features Neil's voice sampled from "Heart" saying the words "heart," "beat," and "heartbeat."
14. "West End Girls" by Oranje, Jago D, and Bluskie (for DirtyFresh Records)
The title would lead one to believe this 2009 track is a cover version. But no, not really. Rather, it's sped-up sampling of parts of the Pet Shop Boys' classic recording—particularly the chorus and that iconic bassline—overlaid with some rather fast, chaotic rapping and general hiphop silliness. You know, although every fiber of my being tells me I should despise this, I can't say that I do.
15-16. "I Miss You, Robot," "Terinenan," and "Björn Borg Underpants" by Nathan Jay
It's getting hard to distinguish between "amateur" and "professional"—the lines have blurred so. But even if you consider these superb 2009 tracks the former, they sure sound like the latter. I don't know where all the samples of Chris's and Neil's voices come from, although "Did You See Me Coming?" definitely contributes to "Björn Borg Underpants." Some of the samples, in fact, aren't from songs at all but rather from interviews. Nathan splices them up and reassembles them atop his original backing tracks that, in his own words, try to "recapture that Relentless sound." As far as I'm concerned, he's done a damn fine job of it. As of this writing they're posted on his YouTube page.
18-21. "Backburner," "Life Feels Like a Storm," "Just Want To," "Balconising," and "Never Said" by Bet Shop Boys
Somebody going by the name "Bet Shop Boys" adopted Nathan Jay's technique of sampling Neil's scattered snippets of voice (frankly, from all over the place) and digitally manipulating them to create some extremely clever tracks. ("Balconising" is especially good, if you ask me.) The title "Backburner" was essentially borrowed—to put it nicely—from one of many known unreleased PSB recordings ("Back Burner"). For a while it seemed the creator was trying to foist these constructions off as legtimate unreleased Pet Shop Boys material, but I doubt if any true fans were fooled. And, thankfully, the apparent pretense has now been dropped. Who knows how long these things will remain available on YouTube and elsewhere?
22. "A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17–24)" by Momus
Momus (Scottish singer-songwriter-author Nicholas Currie) sampled the opening note of the Actually album version of "Heart" and manipulated it to create the strings-like background chords that appear from time to time throughout this delightful track on his 1988 album Tender Pervert. If you like, you can listen to this song online and read Momus's comments about it (scroll down to Track #7). Although Momus doesn't state there which PSB sample he used, a close associate of his has since confirmed that it indeed came from "Heart."
23. "Poseído por los Pet Shop Boys" by Kassidy
The start of this Spanish PSB tribute (from Kassidy's 2007 debut album Electrocardiopop) samples the opening of the Boys' "It's a Sin." It also ends with the musical fanfare from "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," although I'm virtually certain in this case that it's not the PSB-medleyed version of that song.
24. "Westend (2010)" by Beckz, Chockz & Shizzle (aka Beckz Winter, Chockz & Shizzle)
On the more obvious/blatant end of the scale comes this rap trio's track, which hovers precariously somewhere between a remix and a new song (if you can really call it that). Whatever the case, it very liberally samples "West End Girls."
25. "Lot to Learn" by Lee Marrow
The original mix of this 1989 dance track sporadically sampled the "All day, all day" background vocals from PSB's then-recent "Domino Dancing." It was apparently enough to raise some hackles, for the sample was removed from subsequent mixes. I suppose sampling wasn't as generally accepted back then as it is today.
26. "Escape" by Noisecontrollers
This Dutch "hardstyle" DJ/production duo's late 2010 track makes truly extensive use of Neil's vocals from "Numb"—so much so, in fact, that I'm tempted to call it a remix of that song, despite the new title.
27. "Paninaro 2011 (Big City Lights)" by Mitya Fomin
Russian vocalist/actor Mitya Fomin created this track in 2011 with the blessing of Neil and Chris, who authorized its liberal use of "Paninaro '95." It's a quasi-remake (thereby earning a place within my list of cover versions of PSB songs), but it also very obviously samples "Paninaro '95" quite freely. I personally think the question of whether it's a full-fledged cover hinges on the lyrics, which a Russian site visitor has been kind enough to translate for me. They're indeed totally different from those of "Paninaro." And the subtitle given the track ("Огни большого города," which translates as "Big City Lights") similarly tags it as a "new" song. Regardless, it still belongs here as well since it does, after all, sample PSB.
28. "Titan" by Joywave
A track from this Rochester, New York band's 2011 digital album 77777 Mixtape that so ruthlessly samples "West End Girls," I'm not at all sure the term "sampling" is adequate. I actually somewhat like what they've done with it. It's just that it seems like—I don't know—such a blatant appropriation.
29. "Rent" by KBO!
This Serbian punk-rock band not only include "Rent" on their 2011 covers album (Ne) Menjajte stanicu ((Don't) Change the Station), but they briefly sample the Pet Shop Boys' own version of the song as part of the album's clever unifying gimmick/conceit of starting each track with the sound of changing channels on a radio station, only to land on the original of the next song the band will perform.
30. "5D" by Death Grips
A 44-second track from this hip-hop/metal band's 2011 album Exmilitary, which occupies a perplexing nether-region between a cover and a sample: not really either (I suspect it's a re-creation as opposed to a true sample), perhaps a little of both. Hence I've listed it both here and on my page listing cover versions of PSB songs.
31. "This Domino Plane" by Wiz Khalifa
Another re-creation rather than an actual sample, but close enough. This American rapper has built this track around the familiar "Domino Dancing" synth hook, though slightly slowed down. I'm not really sure when this was released (and I don't believe it's on any album yet), but I think it's from 2011.
32. "Intro-Inspection" by Osymyso
This near-legendary 2002 work of so-called "bastard pop" by a palindromically inclined U.K. artist (born Mark Nicholson) consists of the sampled introductory bars of no fewer than 102 different tracks, of which #74 is "West End Girls." Chaotic, cacophonous, and weirdly brilliant. (I should give credit to Wikipedia for the specifics about the artist, the track, and the many other recordings that it samples.)
33. "di5c0nn3ct" by Grant Nelson
A brief, heavily processed snippet of Neil's vocal—specifically, the words "wanna lose touch"—is used repeatedly in this 2012 dance track by this U.K. DJ/producer/remixer.
34. "Disco" by Rat Shop Boys
OK, I'm not 100% sure about this, but I am confident enough at least to list it here tentatively. The name of the act alone is a tip-off. This rousing but incredibly obscure 2004 techno-dance track from England sure sounds as though it samples snippets from the Pet Shop Boys' "In the Night." And even if that's not the case, I'm virtually positive that a few syllables of Neil's voice briefly make it into the mix, although I can't tell whether it's from the same song.
35. "Subculture" by Stop Modernists
This track, a 2011 New Order cover famed among PSB fans for Chris Lowe's guest turn as lead vocalist, might very well contain a sample from "So Hard." But, then again, maybe it doesn't. You can hear the sample in question at about 4:42 in the Main Vocal Extended Mix, though you may have to turn the volume way up to hear it: the spoken words "so hard." Is it really taken from "So Hard" itself, or is it merely the same sample (notoriously lifted from a porno film) that the Pet Shop Boys themselves used in their recording? Of course, a third possibility is that it's neither—though I doubt it. At any rate, until definitive word emerges from the PSB and/or Stop Modernist camps, I'll keep this entry as questionable but probable.
36. "Being Boing" by Pop & Eye
Another one of those tracks that hover somewhere between a radical remix and an entirely new song that simply samples very liberally from an older recording—in this case (as if the title wouldn't tip you off), the Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring." This 2012 recording by some mysterious Swedes consists largely of snippets from the PSB track, reassembled in such a way as to create essentially a new instrumental composition. But is it really a "song"? Is it a remix? Just what is it?
37. "Holtág" by Sine Qua Non
This 2012 track by a Hungarian metal band (not to be confused with U.S. and Italian bands with the same name) not only is a cover of "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" (though with new lyrics in Hungarian) but also opens with a sample taken directly from the start of the PSB original.
38. "Playing with Fire" by Stereo MCs
According to Wikipedia, this track on the hit 1992 album Connected by Stereo MCs includes a sample from "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money). But doggone if I could hear it. It took the sharp ears of a site visitor to point out—speculatively, but I believe correctly—that the high-pitched percussive effect that opens the Please album version of "Opportunities," continuing for about 13-14 seconds, was sampled and sped up to serve as part of the underlying percussion line that runs throughout the Stereo MCs track. If this is indeed the case, it sort of begs the question—why even bother with sampling when it's this subtle? And it's not as if it would be particularly difficult to come up with some other sound that would serve just as well.
39. "West End" by Evo & RST
This 2013 track by this U.K. DJ duo (who also happen to be twin brothers) seems more like a radical remix of "West End Girls"—one that liberally samples from the chorus of the original—than a different song. But since the title has been truncated, I'll take that to mean that it's meant to be regarded as more than just a remix, so I'm including it here.
40. "West End" by Sausage Kings of Chicago
This 2002 dance track (with the artist's delightful stage name apparently representing one Nigel Richards) also samples "West End Girls" quite freely. But this one doesn't strike me nearly as much in the "remix" category, so I have absolutely no hesitation adding it to this list.
41. "Are You the One?" (live) by The Presets
This Australian synth duo have a history of incorporating what sounds like a partly sampled, partly "recreated" portion of the introductory chords, countdown, and "blast" from "It's a Sin" into the start of live performances of their 2005 single "Are You the One?" They seem to have gotten away from this recently, but it was apparently quite common several years ago. Instances are documented on YouTube and various other video sites, and an audio recording is available on their obscure live digital EP iTunes Live from Sydney.
42. "Heart" by Hair Without Head
This obscure band's punkish cover rendition concludes with a repeating loop of Neil saying the word "heartbeat," sampled of course from the PSB original.
43. "I Want a Lover" by DJ Sparkes
Andrew Sparkes has unofficially remixed an assortment of tracks by the Pet Shop Boys and various other artists, but this 2015 recording is actually a full-fledged remake, featuring Sparkes's own vocals (or, if it's not him, at least someone other than Neil). I strongly suspect that it incorporates samples of music taken from the Boys' original recording. But even if it doesn't, it certainly includes samples of Chris and Neil speaking, lifted from interview segments.
But I have grave doubts about—
- "Turn Back Time" by Aqua
Numerous websites parrot the line that this 1997 hit (in many countries, though not in the United States) by the Scandinavian pop band Aqua samples the Pet Shop Boys' "Heart." But I hear no evidence of it in the track, and I haven't found any truly authoritative sources. (Hey, I love Wikipedia as much as the next guy, but I've learned not to take its word as gospel.) In fact, as best I can tell, the assertion appears to stem from online observations that the verse melody bears some similarity to that of the PSB song—though even that seems a bit of a stretch—which were then extrapolated into the reported samples. I really don't think so, but I'll leave myself open to the possibility, however remote. If anyone can argue persuasively to the contrary, I'll be glad to hear them out. But, mind you, mere melodic resemblance does not constitute "sampling."
- "Jump" by Madonna
This song employs the same basic chord progression as "West End Girls" and in its early stages may even have included full-fledged samples. (In a famous anecdote related by producer Stuart Price, when Madonna first heard the original backing track, she cried, "Pet Shop Boys! I fucking love them!") But, undeniable similarities notwithstanding, I firmly believe that no actual PSB samples appear in any of the final released recordings.
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