Neil and Chris meet by chance in an electronics shop on the Kings Road. Realizing they have a common interest in dance music, they begin to write together. Initially they call themselves West End; later they come up with the name Pet Shop Boys, a name derived from some friends who work in a pet shop in Ealing. “We thought it sounded like an English rap group”.
Neil is sent to New York by Smash Hits to interview The Police. By this time the Pet Shop Boys are obsessed by a stream of hi energy records made by New York producer Bobby Orlando, known as Bobby O’. “I thought well, if I’ve got to go and see The Police play then I’m also going to have lunch with Bobby O'”. Neil and Bobby O share a cheeseburger and carrot cake at a restaurant called The Apple Jack on August 19th (two years to the day since Neil and Chris met) and Bobby O’, flatered by Neil’s compliments, suggests making a record with the Pet Shop Boys.
The first version of ‘West End girls’ is released. It is a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco and a small hit in France and Belgium.
Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records. Three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, since 1985 they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles, 22 of them Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four UK number ones: “West End Girls” (also number one on the US Billboard Hot 100), “It’s a Sin”, a synthpop version of “Always on My Mind”, and “Heart”. Other hit songs include a cover of “Go West”, “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”, and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” in a duet with Dusty Springfield. With five US top ten singles in the 1980s, they are associated with the Second British Invasion.