Neil Tennant

Neil Tennant Biography

Singer (1954–)
Neil Tennant is a British musician, songwriter and singer, best known as one half of the electronic dance music group the Pet Shop Boys.


Neil Tennant was born on July 10, 1954, in North Shields, England. After working in publishing, Tennant formed electronic duo the Pet Shop Boys with friend Chris Lowe. Tennant and Lowe had several successful albums and two number one hits, “West End Girls” and “It’s a Sin.”

Early Life

Neil Tennant was born in North Shields, England, on July 10, 1954. Tennant attended St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School. Catholicism would later emerge as a theme of Tennant's music. The Pet Shop Boys’ “This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave” and “It’s a Sin” both deal directly with Tennant’s background in Catholic institutions.


After college, Tennant spent two years as the London editor of Marvel UK, the British branch of Marvel Comics. In 1982, he joined the staff of the teen magazine Smash Hits, where he remained for several years.

During this period, Tennant began writing songs with his friend Chris Lowe. Lowe and Tennant had met in 1981 in a London hi-fi shop, bonding over a shared interest in electronic music. The pair first called themselves West End, changing their name to the Pet Shop Boys shortly thereafter.

While working at Smash Hits, Tennant met producer Bobby Orlando (known as “Bobby O”) and recruited him to produce the Pet Shop Boys’ first single, “West End Girls.” The single, released in April 1984, became a club hit. In 1986, the group released a full-length album, Please, and the single “Love Comes Quickly.” A newly recorded version of “West End Girls” became the group’s first number one hit the same year. Their follow-up album, Actually, featured the number one hit “It’s a Sin.”

Tennant and Lowe have continued to record and tour as the Pet Shop Boys since the mid-1980s. In May 2009, their track “Love etc.” reached number 14 on the U.K. charts. Neil Tennant has also had success as a producer, including the 2007 Rufus Wainwright album Release the Stars.

Personal Life

Tennant confirmed his homosexuality in a 1994 interview for the U.K. publication Attitude.

Neil Tennant was a major donor to Britain’s Labour Party in 1990s, though he has since shifted his allegiance to the Liberal Democrats. Tennant is also a public advocate of modern art, and has served as a judge for the coveted Turner Prize.

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