PSB songs for which the Boys have acknowledged the influence of specific tracks by other pop artists

Before we get to the list itself, I need to provide a goodly set of explanatory notes; otherwise I'd be letting myself in for all manner of questioning emails. Please note that I'm counting only specific pop-song influences on particular tracks that have been acknowledged by Neil and/or Chris. What this list doesn't include are:

There are a number of borderline cases, some of which I include here and some I do not. Some of these are instances where the Boys decided to interpolate a portion of another artist's song into their own, such as when they incorporated portions of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" into "Between Two Islands," and of KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)" into "Party Song." Are these "influences" or merely "musical quotations" that are more akin to the aforementioned occasional lyrical quoting of lines from Beatles songs? As the proprietor of this website, I hereby assume the role of judge. If I deem such a musical quotation as a pronounced influence on the track overall, I include it here. But if I deem that it's merely "inserted" without otherwise influencing the track overall—which I believe is the case for the two examples noted above—I don't include it.

Please keep in mind that the question of "influence" can be quite broad, ranging from cases where an entire song was greatly influenced by another artists' recording to situations where just one relatively small, hardly noticeable aspect of a track bears the other song's influence. To help clarify the respective degrees of these influences, I've provided pertinent quotations by Neil and Chris in the following list, which is presented in alphabetical order by the PSB songs in question.

PSB Track
Avowedly influenced by…
Axis "Erotica" (1992) by Madonna
Neil: "My inspiration for the spoken bits was sounding a bit like Madonna saying 'Erotica… romance….'"

Beautiful People "California Dreamin'" (1965) by The Mamas and the Papas
  Chris: "We said that we'd like it to sound like Mamas and the Papas—sound like California in the sun."

Neil: "'California Dreamin'.'"

Chris: "Yeah, all that sort of thing."

Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (1983) by Michael Jackson
  Neil: "It's got a Michael Jackson rhythm track.…It's got a 'Wanna Be Startin' Something.'…"

Betrayed "Walking Wounded" (1996) by Everything But the Girl
Neil: "The template for this track was definitely 'Walking Wounded' by Everything But The Girl."

Breathing Space "If You Leave Me Now" (1976) by Chicago
Neil: "We worked on it in Berlin and Chris thought it sounded a bit like 'If You Leave Me Now' by Chicago."

Chris: "I like that record, so it's a good thing."

Building a Wall "'Heroes'" (1977) by David Bowie
Neil: "Johnny Marr played weird guitar—we told him to play like Robert Fripp on 'Heroes'."

Decadence "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968) by Aretha Franklin
Neil: "Musically, the song was based on a sample from the beginning of Aretha Franklin's 'I Say A Little Prayer'. That was the whole starting point."

Neil: "What it did was, it gave the rhythm.…"

Disco Potential "Firestarter" (1996) by The Prodigy and
"Discothéque" (1997) by U2
Neil: "The music is Chris being The Chemical Brothers."

Chris: "It's more The Prodigy than The Chemical Brothers. It's more 'Firestarter.'"

Neil: "There's also something in this that's a kind of reference to 'Discothéque' by U2 which was out at the time. I think it's supposed to sound a bit like Bono really doing disco."

Discoteca
(specifically the "New Version")
"I'm So Hot for You" (1982) by Bobby "O" and
"I'm Alive" (1996) by Stretch and Vern
Chris: "We used a Bobby 'O' type riff. It's like his 'I'm So Hot For You,'…."

Neil: "I did this rap, and I took the rhythm from Stretch And Vern's 'I'm Alive' which had just been a hit. Chris ordered me to write a rap in the same rhythm as that, and I dutifully complied."

DJ Culture "Absolute Beginners" (1986) by David Bowie and
"Ride on Time" (1989) by Black Box
Neil: "We took the idea of Tessa Niles singing behind me in the chorus from 'Absolute Beginners' by David Bowie; there's a girl singing with David Bowie all the way through that and I've always liked that."

Neil: "Steve Anderson of Brothers in Rhythm put down the piano part, which is pretty much like 'Ride on Time,' on it. I said, 'Isn't that a bit too much like "Ride on Time"?' but then I realised that's what 'DJ Culture' is all about. It's just a rhythm part, anyway."

Domino Dancing "La Isla Bonita" (1987) by Madonna
Neil: "We thought it was a bit like 'La Isla Bonita' by Madonna."
Note: Chris and Neil have always been totally upfront about the influence on this song of its producer Lewis A. Martineé's work with Exposé, but as far as I know they've never cited a specific Exposé track as an influence.
Don Juan "Flashdance… What a Feeling" (1983) by Irene Cara
Chris: "…[I]t goes into a bit which is like 'Flashdance (What a Feeling).''"

Electricity "California Love" (1995) by 2Pac
Chris: "It's a bit influenced by the 2Pac record 'California Love.'"

The End of the World "Enjoy the Silence" (1990) by Depeche Mode
Neil: "You can hear the influence of Violator on the guitar on this. Hello, 'Enjoy The Silence.'"

Fluorescent "Fade to Grey" (1980) by Visage
Chris: “Stuart [Price] added this really great line which to me sounds like it was inspired by Visage.”
Note: Although Chris didn't specifically cite "Fade to Grey," he hardly had to. "Fade to Grey" was by far Visage's best-known and most commercially successful song. Its influence on "Fluorescent" is unmistakable and has been noted as such from the get-go by numerous other critics and commentators.
The Ghost of Myself "… Baby One More Time" (1998) by Britney Spears
Chris: "Do you know 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' by Britney Spears? Shall we pause and play it?"

Go West "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" (1949 stage; 1958 film) from South Pacific (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
Neil: "I liked the idea of doing vocals like 'There Is Nothing Like a Dame' from South Pacific on a pop record, a big choir of butch men, so we got a group of Broadway singers in New York arranged by Richard Niles to perform it in that style."

Heart "I Like You" (1985) by Phyllis Nelson
Neil: "The inspiration for 'Heart,' which was originally called 'Heartbeat,' was Phyllis Nelson's minor American hit 'I Like You.' It was produced by Shep Pettibone, whom I'd always wanted to work with."

Hit Music "Peter Gunn" (1986) by The Art of Noise with Duane Eddy and
"Money Money Money" (1976) by Abba
Neil: "We were in a New York club, The Pyramid, and they were playing The Art Of Noise version of 'Peter Gunn' and I found myself singing 'hit music—on the radio' to it in the taxi on the way home.… And the 'I've been working hard all day to pay the bills I have to pay' line is a complete nick from the Abba song, 'Money Money Money.'"

Hold On "Up, Up, and Away" (1967) by The Fifth Dimension
Neil: "Some of the backing vocals on [Elysium] were influenced by [Jimmy Webb's] 'Up, Up, and Away.' That's a direct LA influence.… On 'Hold On,' we got all the singers on the album to appear on it together."

How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously? "Every Little Step" (1989) by Bobby Brown
Neil: "In 1990 Bobby Brown was very popular, particularly the song 'Every Little Step'.… So we decided to do a swingbeat song."

I Didn't Get Where I Am Today "Father's Name Is Dad" (1968) by Fire
Neil: "We… then started working on 'I Didn't Get Where I Am Today,' adding a sample from an old sixties song called 'Father's Name Was Dad' [sic] off a psychedelic compilation I had. We discovered it was in the same key, so we started to rework the song with that in it."

I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More "Barbie Girl" (1997) by Aqua
Neil: "Chris said, 'Right, if Barbie's a hit, why don't we write one about Action Man?' Instead, I sang the 'don't know what you want' bit in the middle and near the end."

I Want to Wake Up "Temptation" (1982) by New Order
Neil: "The 'oooo-oooo-ooo-ooo-ooo's are a complete New Order rip-off, from 'Everything's Gone Green,' I think."
Note: Neil's expression of uncertainty was well-founded. There aren't any "oooo-oooo's" in "Everything's Gone Green," but they're very prominent in the follow-up New Order single, "Temptation." So "Temptation" is almost certainly the song that actually provided the influence.
I'm Not Scared "Voyage Voyage" (1986) by Desireless and
"Irresistible" (1986) by Stéphanie (Princess Stéphanie of Monaco)
Neil: "We kept hearing this record ['Voyage Voyage'] in Europe and we didn't know what it was for ages.… When we made 'I'm Not Scared' with Patsy Kensit we wanted to make the same sort of record."

Neil: "Chris and I were obsessed at the time by this record Princess Stéphanie had made, 'Irresistible.' We liked that kind of French pop music and we liked the idea of making Patsy a European pop star."

In the Night "Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)" (1969) by Donovan
Neil: "When I sang it, I tried to sound like Donovan, because I was thinking of a Donovan song, 'Goo Goo Barabajagal.' Although he was a hippie he had a rather cool way of singing."

Inside a Dream "What's Going On" (1971) by Marvin Gaye
Neil: "I sang this tune with William Blake's words, and then we did our Marvin Gaye thing—as in 'What's Going On'—where you sing a countermelody to the main melody."

Integral "Amerika" (2004) by Rammstein
Neil: "It actually has an influence from Rammstein…. It reminds me a bit of Rammstein’s song, 'Amerika'."

Invisible "Say You Will" (2008) by Kanye West
Neil: "I really liked Kanye West’s album 808s & Heartbreak, particularly the first track ['Say You Will']. When we were writing the song 'Invisible' it somehow made [us] think of that album."

It Always Comes as a Surprise "Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)" (1964) by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz
Neil: "It starts off with a sample from Astrud Gilberto's 'Corcovado'…. After the middle bit, which goes down chromatically, you get a cool sax solo. It's so like Stan Getz."

Jack the Lad "E=MC²" (1985) by Big Audio Dynamite
Neil: "The idea of calling a song 'Jack the lad' came from Big Audio Dynamite, whose song 'E=MC²' had a very similar chord change to 'West End girls.' On 'E=MC²' there's a sample from the film Performance which says, 'Who do you think you are–Jack the lad?'"

Jealousy "You're a Lady" (1972) by Peter Skellern
  Chris: "… I sat down at the piano and this just came out. It was probably meant to be a bit like that big ballad in the seventies, 'You're a Lady' by Peter Skellern—'You're a lady, I'm a man'—which was very popular with the Lowe family."

Legacy "Bitter-Sweet" (1974) by Roxy Music
Neil: "I was thinking Roxy Music would have had a waltz. There's a Roxy Music track ['Bitter-Sweet'] on their fourth album. I just thought it was a fantastically pretentious thing to do—go into a waltz and then sing it in French."

A Little Black Dress "Get It On" (1971) by T.Rex
Neil: "We wrote a new song using a sample from T.Rex's 'Get It On.' It's called 'Little Black Dress.'"

Love etc. "Can't Buy Me Love" (1964) and
"All You Need Is Love" (1967), both by the Beatles
  Neil: "It's actually saying all you need is love and money can't buy me love. It's a return to the Beatles, and I think that's an appropriate sentiment for where the world is at the moment."

Luna Park "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (1967) by the Beatles
  Chris: "The reason it sounds like a fairground ride is because I thought it could sound like 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.'"

My October Symphony "What's Going On" (1971) by Marvin Gaye (again)
Neil: "We had a copy of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On?' in the studio—we always have a point in the album where we say, 'Let's make it like Marvin Gaye,' We realised there was something really good about having two voices doing different things at the same time…."

The Only One "Born Slippy" (1995) by Underworld
Chris: "Well, the chords for it, were nicked. From, um… 'Born Slippy.'"

Neil: "Underworld."

Chris: "In fact, originally they were just sampled. Then they've eventually got replaced, you can't tell now. Hopefully. They're only three chords, bloody good ones though."

Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) "Shoot Your Shot" (1983) by Divine
Neil: "[Chris] was playing the three chords—C minor, E flat, B flat, which was like Bobby O's 'Shoot Your Shot' for Divine."

Paninaro "Tarzan Boy" (1985) by Baltimora
Neil: "We wrote it because you could go 'woh, woh, woh.' We were obsessed with songs that had 'woh, woh, woh' in them. Remember 'Tarzan Boy' by Baltimora?"

Party Song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (1991) by Nirvana
Neil: "'Party Song' was based, on its inception, on Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'"

Positive Role Model "You're My First, My Last, My Everything" (1974) by Barry White
Chris: "The demo we'd done in England started off with a Barry White sample from 'You're My First, My Last, My Everything,' which I took off the Barry White Greatest Hits CD. The idea was that it was like punk electro disco."

Rent "I Like Chopin" (1983) by Gazebo
Neil: "We were very into Italian disco—there was this record I'd been sent at Smash Hits called 'I Love Chopin' [sic] by Gazebo and it was meant to sound a bit like that, though it never did."

Say It to Me "Our Love" and "Can't Do Without You" (both 2014) by Caribou
  Neil: "We really liked the last album by Caribou. Chris liked 'Our Love' and I liked 'Can't Do Without You,' and we were talking about it, and Chris said, 'Can't you just come up witha phrase that you can repeat like Caribou do? And I came up with 'Say it to me.'"

Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is) "Estrada Da Paixão" (1994) by Olodum
Neil: "I bought an album by the group Olodum in São Paulo in December 1994 when we were on tour, and I was flicking through the tracks in the studio, listening through to drum sounds for samples, and I liked the bit of this song, 'Estrada Da Paixão' where it went 'Se a vida é,' so I started to do my own version of it."

Shopping "Word Up" (1986) by Cameo
Neil: "Chris and I loved 'Word Up' by Cameo, so we decided to write something in the style of Cameo."

Shouting in the Evening "Dancing on the Ceiling" (1986) by Lionel Richie
Neil: "The lyric is actually really taken from Lionel Richie ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’—'Oh, what a feeling/shouting in the evening.' No really, it’s 'Oh, what a feeling/When you’re dancing on the ceiling.'"

Single "The Look of Love" (1981) by ABC
Neil: "I've always wanted to mention my name in a song, ever since Martin Fry did, in 'The Look Of Love': 'and then my friends just might ask me, they say, "Martin, maybe one day you'll find true love…"' In this you get 'Perdóneme, me llamo Neil.'"

The Sodom and Gomorrah Show "Mr. Brightside (Thin White Duke Remix)" (2004) by The Killers
  Neil: "We very much liked [Stuart Price's] Thin White Duke mix of 'Mr. Brightside' by The Killers. In fact, when we were working on 'The Sodom and Gomorrah Show' with Trevor Horn, we kept playing it to Trevor—it actually had some influence on that track."

Somebody Else's Business "Behind a Painted Smile" (1969) by the Isley Brothers
  Chris: "I remember writing it, taking the Isley Brothers sample, just the first two chords of 'Behind a Painted Smile.' I would always leave them in but Neil would always rather take them out."

Neil: "…we ended up taking the sample out."

Suburbia "Into the Groove" (1985) by Madonna and
"Axel F" (1985) by Harold Faltermeyer
Chris: "The inspiration was 'Into the Groove,' the bassline. It's virtually the same.…"

Neil: ".…and the high keyboard sound is influenced by 'Axel F,' which was a hit at the same time."

This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave "Jack Your Body" (1986) by Steve "Silk" Hurley and
"Wonderful Land" (1962) by The Shadows
Chris: "The rhythm [of the vocoder part] was from 'Jack Your Body.'"

Neil: "At the time it had been intimated to us that we might be asked to write the theme song for the James Bond film, The Living Daylights, so as a musical exercise we decided to write something that sounded, in our opinion, like a James Bond theme. That's why you have the guitar at the start, which is a Stratocaster sample I'm playing. It has my trademark pitch-bend at the end. I love twang. I've always liked twang. Since I was a child and we used to go to the Royalty cinema in Gosforth for children's matinees and they used to play 'Wonderful Land' by the The Shadows, a track that can still bring tears to my eyes. I've always loved twang guitar."

Thursday "Ladies Night" (1979) by Kool & the Gang
Chris: "We also thought about what Kool & the Gang might do at one point. That led to, 'It's Thursday night/Let's get it right.' Like 'Ladies Night.'" Because once we realized it was a party record, it was 'What would Kool & the Gang do in this situation?"

The Truck Driver and His Mate "Some Might Say" (1995) by Oasis
Chris: "The music was a complete rip-off of Oasis. 'Some Might Say,' possibly. That's where it started, anyway."

Neil: "The chord change comes from 'Some Might Say.'"

Vocal "Promised Land" (1987) by Joe Smooth and
"Music Sounds Better with You" (1998) by Stardust
Neil: "I was thinking of that period of music like ‘Promised Land,' which Chris is particularly fond of."

Neil: "…[W]e were somewhere during the era when ‘Music Sounds Better with You’ was out…. you couldn’t get enough of that record at the time. I remember looking around and everyone was just so happy. Also with ‘Vocal,' while I didn’t do the rave thing in 1988 and 1989, Chris saw the light then and I was thinking of that from his perspective."

Vulnerable "Voyage Voyage" (1986) by Desireless (again)
Neil: "I liked this song because I always felt it sounded very French, a bit like 'Voyage Voyage' or something."

West End Girls "The Message" (1982) by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and "Billie Jean" (1982) by Michael Jackson
Neil: "'West End Girls' started off as a rap I'd written which was completely inspired by 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash, which was released in 1982."

Neil: "We arrived in the studio and Bobby O had programmed Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' drum pattern. Chris started to play along and I started playing chords. In terms of the lyrics, the inspiration for 'West End Girls' came from 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash."

Where the Streets Have No Name
(I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)
"Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man" (both 1983) by ZZ Top
Neil: "The extended mix really sounds like ZZ Top, I think. When I went to America to work for the American version of Smash Hits I heard ZZ Top for the first time, and there were two of their songs I particularly liked, 'Sharp Dressed Man' and 'Legs.' I loved the combination of electric guitars and drum machines.… And I think this sounds a little bit like that."

Winner "The Greatest Day" (2008) by Take That
Neil: "We were inspired by Take That's 'Greatest Day' during our tour together and thought we should write a mid-tempo anthem."

I should also note that Neil has said that his "Disappointed" collaboration with Electronic, though not really a "Pet Shop Boys song" (only Neil was involved), was influenced by "Désenchantée" by Mylène Farmer. Another "quasi-PSB" track, the Closer to Heaven number "Out of My System," was influenced by "Try Again" by Aaliyah.

I'm especially indebted to the Pet Shop Boys Discography website as the source for many (though not all) of the verifying quotations used on this page.