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Wiki

FIRST VERSION
Written by Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe
Produced by Bobby Orlando
Recorded New York, USA, Winter 1983
Released 9 April 1984

SECOND VERSION
Written by Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe
Produced by Stephen Hague
Engineered by David Jacob
Recorded at Advision Studios, 1985
Additional vocals by Helena Springs
Released 28 October 1985

"West End Girls" is a song by pop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe and was their first hit, reaching number one in the US and UK in 1986.

The lyrics were written in the early 1980s. The title and refrain refer to London's divide between the traditional and working class East End and the cosmopolitan, consumer-driven West End.

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 World War I, and to Edmund Wilson's book on the subject, To the Finland Station. There is further Russian Revolution imagery in the Bobby Orlando produced version of the single, which includes the line, "All your stopping, stalling and starting, / Who do you think you are, Joe Stalin?"; this line 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 The Battleship Potemkin.

The single was first released in April 1984 through writer/producer Bobby Orlando's label, and although not a hit in the United Kingdom, it was a minor dance hit in The Netherlands, Belgium, France and the USA. This initial release, on Epic in the UK, featured a mainly instrumental B-side called "Pet Shop Boys". There have been numerous reissues and remixes of Orlando's version as he still owns the original recordings.

The video featured Tennant and Lowe walking through the eponymous "West End" as locals.

Having signed to the EMI label Parlophone and watching their first major label single - "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" - sink without a trace, the Pet Shop Boys decided to give "West End Girls" another release. After serious reworking by producer Stephen Hague, the track was re-released in August 1985 to greater acclaim. Stephen Hague suggested slowing the song down from its faster 1984 version. It was number one on the UK singles chart for two weeks and number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week (six months after its British chart success). It also was a Top 5 hit in Australia and throughout Europe. The success of the song helped the album Please climb into the Top 5 of the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

The video for the second release was directed by Andy Morahan and Eric Watson; it consists of shots of Tennant in various down-at-heel parts of London while Lowe glowers behind him.

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