It's A Sin

Album: Actually (1987)
Charted: 1 9

Songfacts®:

  • Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant was raised Catholic and his lyrics on "It's A Sin" reflect his unfavorable view of the church. This caused a lot of controversy, but got the group plenty of attention and helped make the song a huge hit in the UK, where it became their second #1, following "West End Girls."
  • The ending stanza is sung in Latin and loosely translated it reads: "Father my father, please forgive me for I have sinned, it is my fault, it is my fault." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nathaniel - Newark, NY, for above 2
  • Tennant wrote the lyrics to get back at some of his teachers at his former school, St. Cuthberts. The teachers said some harsh things about him when the song was released. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Paul - Potters Bar, England
  • Pet Shop Boys proved that you didn't need to be road warriors to land hits in the '80s. They didn't tour, relying instead on TV appearances and music videos. The video for "It's A Sin" was directed by Derek Jarman and shows the group under inquisition. The Seven Deadly Sins are represented by different characters, like a guy hoarding gold coins for greed.
  • Julian Mendelsohn reunited with Pet Shop Boys to produce and engineer most of the songs for their second album, Actually, after doing the same for the track "Suburbia" on the duo's debut album two years before. In a Sound on Sound interview, Mendelsohn explained his job on the Actually album:

    "My role as a producer on that album was just getting it all recorded. I also made a few suggestions here and there - you know, 'We can get a better sound for this' or 'Try singing that part again.' In those days, Neil wasn't a great singer and he knew it. So, there was always a bit of work involved in getting his vocals right. He's improved a hell of a lot since then."
  • In a bid to keep himself focused and the songs fresh, Mendelsohn tried not to labor over any individual track too much, with the exception of "It's a Sin." He explained: "I remember describing a sound or a feel that I was after and sy[synthesizer/keyboard programmer] Andy Richards not quite understanding what I wanted. We were still there at midnight and he was saying, 'Well, what do you want?' My answer was, 'I want it like this, but I can't quite explain,' and there were a couple of times when we got fairly angry and frustrated with each other. I had this thing in my mind: 'I want it like that and I'm going to get it like that.'"
  • The thunder sound was created on a Roland keyboard.
  • The Pet Shop boys won a lawsuit against TV presenter Jonathan King after he accused them of stealing the melody from Cat Stevens' 1971 song "Wild World." King even recorded his own cover of that track to prove his point, but it flopped. The duo donated their out-of-court damages to charity.

Comments: 7

  • Steve from Tenby, Uk, EnglandThe video for the single was directed by the late, classic filmmaker and director Derek Jarman. Jarman was also employed to create movies for the Pet Shop Boys' first tour in the late 1980s.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesTony - It's quite possible that Cat Stevens didn't think of suing the Pet Shop Boys for one simple reason - namely, the fact that "It's A Sin" does not sound even remotely like "Wild World". Given the fact that Maxi Priest brought out his cover of "Wild World" soon after "It's A Sin" was released, that would have drawn comment at the time if there were any similarities between the two songs
  • Tony from Devon, EnglandIt's a wonder that Cat Stevens didn't sue the Pet Shop Boys for pinching half the melody for this from his 'Wild World'. It's a lot closer than 'My Sweet Lord' is to 'He's So Fine'.
  • Sebastian from Providence, Ri(Confiteor Deo omnipotenti vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione,
    verbo, opere et omissione, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa)
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesNeil Tennant is not gay, he's bisexual. There is a slight difference, but he does lean towards "gay" more than "straight", so to speak...
  • Jean from London, EnglandNov 05 - Paul Anka has covered this song in his 'Lounge Lizard' style......considering the theme of the song, it's totally incongruous, not to mention utterly horrible.

    But not as vile as the redition of REM's 'Everybody Hurts'.....
  • Christoph from Boston, MaThe "sin" in question is homosexuality. Neil Tennant is gay and sings about it in other PSB songs like "Metamorphosis".
see more comments

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