West End Girls

Album: Please (1985)
Charted: 1 1
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  • Tennant said in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "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. I remember once staying at my cousin's house in Nottingham and we were watching some kind of gangster film with James Cagney, and just as I was dropping off to sleep, the lines 'sometimes you're better off dead, there's a gun in your hand and it's pointing to your head' came into my head and I thought 'that's quite good' so I went off to find a pen."
  • Another influence was TS Eliot's poem The Wasteland. Said Tennant: "What I like about it is, it's the different voices, almost a sort of collage. All the different voices and languages coming in and I've always found that very powerful. So on West End Girls it's different voices. The line 'Just you wait till I get you home' is a direct quotation."
  • Recorded in one take, this originally missed the UK Top 40 in 1984, though it made #1 in Belgium. The song was re-recorded with producer Stephen Hague. As Stephen explained, "I heard the Bobby O version and thought it had potential. I felt it should be slowed down and the story told a little clearer. Neil and Chris agreed once they'd heard it." The above 2 quotes are also from 1000 UK #1 Hits.
  • This won the 1987 BRIT Award for Best Single. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above
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Comments: 23

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenSocs on one end, greasers on the other?
  • Jules from OregonOne of the greatest 80s songs. Everything about it is fantastic.
  • Big Dave from AlabamaIs that Annie Lennox form the Eurhythmics doing background vocals?
  • Rick from West Chester, PaBritish rock of the 80's is just so rich, I have secretly (even to myself) loved this song for years. I sort of rediscovered it again today on Sirius. There is so much hidden substance to it, reading the comments makes me appreciate even more how it fits together. Thanks for all your insightful comments about this great song, maybe The Song of the 80s. The video is awesome, just inspired and elegant.
  • Jacob Black from La Push, WaTo Barry from Newcastle: Sorry, mate, but the song is about how the working class men (in LONDON) pine for the rich girls on the west end.
    Not sure how you came up with the idea it was about Newcastle. Neil Tennant did live there but also says that the song refers to London. :)
  • Oliver from Rose Hill, Mauritiusi noticed this song in a simpson episode where homer was in a gay pub.lol..may be its related somewhere...
  • Bill from Bangkok, ThailandBarry from Newcastle, Sorry but the song "West End Girls" it is about the West End and East End of London. The video clearly shows this.
  • Austin from Seminole, FlThis song i like but, I wish it was faster instead of it being so peacefull.Who knows someone may try to tune it up, Like with you really got me
  • Steve from Tenby, UkAs well as the lyrics Marc pointed out on the original Bobby 'O' version, there's also the line "I've said it all before, I'll stay it all again, we're all modern men" before continuing to "we've got no future, we've got no past, here today, built to last".
  • Marc Antonio from Hollywood Hills, CaThe lyrics were written in the early 1980s and were influenced by the Grandmaster Flash rap hit "The Message",[citation needed] although they focus more on class issues in London than on the inner city problems depicted in Grandmaster Flash's song. The title and refrain refer to London's divide between the traditional and working class East End and the cosmopolitan, consumer-driven West End.

    Neil Tennant has stated, despite rumours to the contrary, that the lyrics do not refer to rough trade. The verses are fragmented stories, told from several different narrators' points of view - a form of verse influenced by T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land[citation needed].

    The lyric "From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station" refers to the train route taken by Vladimir Lenin when he was smuggled by the Germans to Russia during the World War I, a pivotal event in the Russian Revolution. Indeed, it is highly likely the lyric was inspired by the book To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson, a very famous work on the history of revolutionary thought and Socialism that Tennant would have at least heard of, if not read, as a student. The Bobby Orlando produced version of the single included another line, "All your stopping, stalling and starting, / Who do you think you are, Joe Stalin?" which was removed for the 1985 version. Neil Tennant has a degree in history and his interest in Russian history is evident in many other Pet Shop Boys projects such as their soundtrack to the silent film Battleship Potemkin.

    The lyrics also mention '...a dive bar in a west end town'. This actually refers to a popular gay bar that was situated at one end of Gerrard Street in London's Chinatown. At the time this song was written it was called The Dive Bar. The bar has now shut down.

    During the intro of the song (where a woman in heels can be heard walking on the pavement on top of some street noise) there is a female voice asking "is that Sting?" approximately seven seconds into the original version of the song. The producer, Stephen Hague, who recorded the sound effect just outside the studio, apparently looked somewhat like him.
  • Nezir from Travnik, BosniaAlejandra, West End is a rich part of London, East End is a poor part of London. In West End you have areas like Covent Garden (many theaters), Leicester square (cinemas) and they are soft options as song say. For hard options you have Soho (many peepshows,gay bars, SM bars), but also many restaurants, pubs with all sorts of music and excellent coffee bars (italian). Excellent and very, very expensive at the same time for me to be honest (so, not much real choices you have as PSB say in their song). And it is pretty same in Paris but there it is north that is poor, and south that is rich, and the center that is very, very rich, or Istanbul with the rich right bank of Bosphor, and poor left bank of Bosphor and so on, and so on (like PSB say "Here today built to last (probably walls between rich and poor), In every city in every nation, From Lake Geneva to the Finland station"). It was a truth in 1987. and it is a truth in 2007.In Bosnia we have no such worries, only two classes exist, poor and very poor. Irony is that those poor think they are rich, until they visit places like West End.
  • Alejandra from Santiago, ChileI would like somebody to comment more about the hit West End Girls. Maybe Barry or Grace can talk about the content of the song. I heard that the West end girls were the rich girls in London. Am I right? and the East end Boys? Could somebody to help me to better understand? PSB were lastnight in Santiago,Chile in an amazing concert.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcCool song!!! It's one of the best songs of the 80s.
  • Barry from Newcastle, Englandthis song is actually about Newacstle upon tyne, England. neil tennant attended an all boys school in the east end of the city, where the boys would talk about the all girls school in the west end of newcastle. the boys school was st cuthberts grammar and is very much catholic. hence the monastic chants in the song. this song is CERTAINLY NOT about london. Sting attended the same school aswell as Dec from Ant and Dec fame.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesNearly 21 years after "West End Girls", the Pet Shop Boys are back in the UK charts with "I'm With Stupid" (no relation to Aimee Mann's 1994 album). They've now had nearly 40 chart hits in the UK, yet in 1985, the UK's music critics all said that PSB were a novelty act who'd soon disappear when the next electro-pop band came along and stole their crown. How wrong they were...
  • Sebastian from Providence, RiI love the new "West End Girls" by the West End Girls. Confuse? Search westendgirls on Google.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesPSB were one of the most successful bands of the 1980s in the UK, while in 1996-97 they sold more records than Oasis and the Spice Girls (then the two biggest UK bands in the world) put together!
  • Marlow from Perththis was my fav song for a while.. when i was about 14 when it was released.. still dont mind it now though
  • Grace from Fairfax Station, VaI like this song. It's cool how it seems like a fluffy pop song but really has meaning (it's about class tensions in London). I am confused, however, on which class is rich and which class is poor (the two classes mentioned are the East End boys and, of course, the West End girls).
  • Dave from London, EnglandMelissa, the song you title "Let's Make Lots Of Money" is actually titled "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)"
  • Melissa from Green Bay, Wi"Always on My Mind" and "Let's Make Lots of Money" (right title????) and "What Have I Done to Deserve This" were also top 10 in the US
  • Dave from Cardiff, Wales"It's A Sin" was also a big hit in the US, and the Boys have written many songs for other artists, including Liza Minelli, Carter USM and the late Dusty Springfield
  • Kian from Dublin, IrelandI think you'll find its called West End Girls. Pretty much the sole PSB song to make it big in the US, although they've had phenomenal sucess in the UK.
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