So Sorry, I Said

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 1989 (Liza Minnelli); 2001 (PSB)
Original album - Results (Liza Minnelli); Introspective 2001 reissue Further Listening 1988-1989 bonus disc (PSB)
Producer (PSB version) - Pet Shop Boys; (Liza Minnelli version) - Julian Mendelsohn, Pet Shop Boys
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - single by Liza Minnelli, produced by PSB (UK #62)

Originally released on Results and subsequently released as its third single. Drawing from Liza Minnelli's theatrical background, Neil and Chris took much of their musical inspiration for this song from Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. Thematically, it addresses the fact that sometimes it's much easier to stay in a relationship, no matter how faulty and troubled it is, than to go through all the difficulty of leaving it. So the narrator compares her circumstances to those of living in a ghetto or a prison—trapped, but at least trapped in it with someone else, and therefore (and most importantly!) not alone. Whenever problems arise, it's easier simply to apologize ("So sorry, I said") and continue on as before. The last line of the final verse, in which the narrator implicitly compares herself—and, by implication, perhaps her partner as well—to snakes ("I couldn't leave you; think of the skins I'd have to shed"), is nothing less than brilliant.

In a 2010 interview, Neil revealed the fascinating fact that he and Chris had originally envisioned "So Sorry, I Said" as a duet between Liza and Frank Sinatra, with whom she had recently been touring. Liza, however, didn't want to sing it with Sinatra; instead she wanted Neil to duet with her. They compromised by having Liza sing it by herself. The Boys naturally regretted not having this chance to work with the legendary Sinatra and have him record one of their songs, but at least they did get to meet both him and Sammy Davis, Jr. later on at a dinner with Liza.

At any rate, the Boys' own demo of this song, released with the 2001 reissue of Introspective, isn't substantially different from Liza's version aside from Neil's vocal.



Officially released

Pet Shop Boys rendition:

Liza Minnelli rendition:

List cross-references