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Neil Tennant

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Neil Francis Tennant (born July 10, 1954 in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England) is an English musician, who, with his colleague Chris Lowe, make up the successful pop duo, Pet Shop Boys.

As a child, Neil attended St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School, an all-boys’ Catholic school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. (Sting went to the same school.) Neil’s songs “This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave” and “It’s a Sin” refer to his early life in Catholic school and the strict Catholic upbringing there. “It’s A Sin” caused controversy with its implicit criticism of Catholic education.

Whilst at school Neil played guitar and cello. At the age of 16, he played in a group called Dust, whose most popular song was called “Can You Hear The Dawn Break?”. They were heavily influenced by The Incredible String Band.

In 1975, having completed a degree in history at North London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University), Neil worked briefly as an editor for Marvel UK, the UK branch of Marvel Comics. He was responsible for anglicising the dialogue of Marvel’s catalogue to suit British readers, and for indicating where women needed to be redrawn more decently for the British editions. In 1977, he moved to Macdonald Educational Publishing and, later, ITV Books. In 1982 he joined the British teen pop magazine Smash Hits, where he rose to Assistant Editor.

At Smash Hits, an opportunity arose for him to go to New York to interview The Police. Whilst there, Tennant arranged to meet Bobby Orlando, a producer who both he and Lowe admired. Tennant mentioned that he was writing songs in his spare time and Orlando agreed to record some tracks with him and Lowe at a later date.

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