It's a Sin (4:59)

Cover of Discography: The Complete Singles Collection

From Discography: The Complete Singles Collection and 51 other releases

“It’s a Sin” is a song recorded by the Pet Shop Boys which reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in June 1987.

Written by Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, “It’s a Sin” was the lead single from the duo’s second “proper” album, Actually. Released in June 1987, it rocketed to the top of the charts to become the duo’s second UK number one single. It was also a massive hit across Europe, supposedly the best-selling European single of 1987. In the United States it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the duo’s third Top 10 hit there. A demo of the track was first cut in 1984 with Bobby O, and the song’s form in the demo remained intact to the final version, although the released production is far more dramatic.

The song is an implicit rejection of Tennant’s Catholic upbringing and education at St Cuthbert’s High School in Newcastle upon Tyne, where Tennant claims to have been the victim of homophobic bullying. It is also a subtle indication of his homosexuality (Tennant did not come out until 1994). The song uses extensive samples from Latin masses (specifically, Tennant reciting a part of the Confiteor, and other sounds recorded at locations such as Westminster Cathedral) and religious imagery throughout to reinforce the feel of the song. Tennant has said that he wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes, purging his emotions in a moment of frustration and anger.

The Latin passage near the end translates as, “I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, act, and omission, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.

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