Sunday, September 30, 2012

Out Spotlight

 Today's Out Spotlight is an English musician, who, with Neil Tennant, makes up the pop duo Pet Shop Boys. Today's Out Spotlight is Chris Lowe.

Chris Lowe was born Christopher Sean Lowe on October 4, 1959, one of four children to Clifford and Vivien Lowe.   He attended Arnold School, an independent school in his hometown of Blackpool, Lancashire. He also worked in the Solarium where he followed the family tradition of his grandfather play trombone in a comedy jazz troupe.  Lowe was a member of  seven-piece dance band called One Under the Eight, that played old-time favorites like "Hello Dolly", "La Bamba" and "Moon River".   He also became a skilled pianist. 

In 1978,  he went to study architecture at the University of Liverpool and during a work placement in 1981 at a London architectural practice, he designed a staircase for an industrial estate in Milton Keynes. It was at this time that he met Neil Tennant in a hi-fi shop on the Kings Road in London.  From that meeting the foundation for Pet Shop Boys was formed.

Recognizing a mutual interest in dance music, they began to work on material together, first in Tennant's flat in Chelsea and from 1982, in a small studio in Camden Town. It was during those early years that several future hit songs were created, including "It's a Sin", "West End Girls", "Rent" and "Jealousy".

Starting out, the two called themselves West End because of their love of London's West End, but later they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys, derived from friends of theirs who worked in a pet shop in Ealing. Their big break came in August 1983, when Tennant was assigned by Smash Hits to interview The Police in New York. The duo were obsessed with a stream of Hi-NRG records made by New York producer Bobby Orlando, simply known as Bobby 'O'. According to Tennant: "I thought: well, if I've got to go and see The Police play, then I'm also going to have lunch with Bobby 'O'." They shared a cheeseburger and carrot cake, at a restaurant called the Apple Jack, on 19 August (two years to the day since Tennant and Lowe had met) and, after hearing a demo tape that Tennant had brought along with him, Orlando suggested making a record with the Pet Shop Boys.


In April 1984, the Orlando-produced "West End Girls" was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco. On November 2, it was voted "Screamer of the Week" by listeners of Long Island, New York radio station WLIR. It was a minor dance hit in Belgium, and France, but was only available in the United Kingdom as a 12" import.

Pet Shop Boys  went on to become one of the world's best-selling music artists, selling over 50 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records.  Their music became a part of the soundtrack of the 1980's.  Three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees, since 1986 they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart, including four number ones: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind" and "Heart".

They maintain consistent public personalities—in interviews Tennant appears cerebral, articulate and loquacious; while Lowe, now almost always seen in his trademark attire of hat and sunglasses (since as early as 1985), appears guarded yet fun-loving, terse yet flippant and casual. They have maintained a consistent pattern for interviews, in which Tennant is the primary speaker, answering questions at length, while occasionally being interrupted by brief, generally humorous interjections from Lowe (which is comparable to the concept of a comedic double act).
After Pet Shop Boys began touring on a regular basis, Lowe became known for his behavior of standing still while playing keyboards on stage. In 1995, The Guardian commented that he was "possibly more famous for not doing anything than almost anyone else in the history of popular entertainment.

They have also been seen as willfully contrary, defying expectations of record labels and the music industry in terms of commercial image, self-promotion and the nature of their own music. In their early years, Pet Shop Boys seemed to be mostly defined by the things they refused to do.

At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.  While synonymous with the 80's the band continues to create fresh and relevant music.  The band's eleventh studio album, titled Elysium (continuing their tradition of single word titles), was released in September 2012, the first single of which, titled "Winner", was released in July 2012.  They participated in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London reprising their hit "West End Girls."

While Lowe has not been involved in many solo projects, he has done some.  In 1993 he wrote and produced the track "Do the Right Thing" for the footballer, Ian Wright (Lowe is a die-hard Arsenal F.C. fan). The song featured backing vocals by the long-time Pet Shop Boys’ backing singer, Sylvia Mason-James, and the single featured remixes by Rollo. In 2004 Lowe was commissioned to do music for an advertisement for the sunscreen brand Blockhead. The song ended up in a remixed version on a "Caf√© Mambo" chill-out compilation.  And he has also written the music for the song "Streets of Berlin", featured in the revival of Bent at the Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall in 2006.

Branching out from music he has appeared on both television and radio.  In 1995, he had a cameo in the Australian soap opera Neighbours.  On the radio, he once filled in for  host Pete Tong when he was too sick to present the Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1.  And in August 1991, Lowe and Tennant were invited to take over Simon Bates' mid-morning show on BBC Radio 1 choosing the playlist, principally dance music. They were invited back to fill the same role in July 1992.

In March of  2009, the duo  presented a radio cover show at Absolute Radio on 15th, while DJ Geoff Lloyd was on holiday; appeared on Rob Da Bank and Friends on 16th, showcasing their A to Z of music; and  Lowe was interviewed by Gaydar Radio presenter Simon Le Vans airing on the 19th.

 Lowe's innovation and style was not limited to his music and in 1997, he returned to his architectural roots, when  his flat was the subject of an in-depth feature in Elle Decoration magazine.

2 comments:

boxoffice mojo said...

End of Watch

Domestic Total as of Sep. 30, 2012: $26,169,000 (Estimate)

destiny said...

Oh I agre PG that some of the behavior comes from his family, Maggie has never been too fond of the fans and celeb side of the business, except when it suits her to do staged photos.

Regarding the other behavior, personally I don't think Jake and Austin are together anymore, or if they are, it's not much of a relationship.