Number Ones: #119


  • PET SHOP BOYS Always On My Mind (Parlophone)
  • Week Ending 2nd January 1988
  • 1 Week At #1

Pet Shop Boys, finally.

Nine singles into their career (if we include the original Opportunities from mid-1985, which we do as it made the giddy heights of #16 on my Top 40), Neil and Chris eventually made it to the summit at the very end of 1987. They’d already done so three times on the real UK chart, and for one harmonious week we shared the same #1 as Always On My Mind was still in situ, having taken the coveted Christmas Number One slot.

This is another of my head-scratching decisions, since I preferred several of the duo’s previous eight efforts and three of them got as high as #2 (Love Comes Quickly, Opportunities ’86 and What Have I Done To Deserve This?). All of the others, aside from that original Opportunities, had made my Top 5 (It’s A Sin peaking the lowest, at #5). Perhaps it was the knock-on effect of Actually, their most recent album and by far my favourite record of 1987’s second half, which helped propel Always On My Mind to the top.

An orphan single, this cover version was originally recorded for an ITV special to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death in August 1987 and then spruced up in the studio. As such, it didn’t appear on Actually; these days, the album would be repressed and reissued to add it, but the most that EMI did was to double-pack the Always On My Mind single with the Actually CD in shrinkwrap (I’m not sure how widespread this edition was, but I definitely saw it in the Marble Arch branch of Virgin Megastore in early 1988).

The song would also help promote the Boys’ upcoming film It Couldn’t Happen Here, with its Joss Ackland-starring video, but the less said about that project the better (although I’ve not long bought the Blu-Ray, so there’s a chance I may revise my opinion in due course!).

Late 1987 through to early 1988 was prime Pet Shop Boys, the ultimate Imperial Phase as three UK chart-toppers were joined by one very near-miss, and a fan favourite – Rent – which was a little too low-key and only reached #8 in October 1987 (a #3 for me).


    • Yes, the Pogues single was #2 on my chart as well that Christmas. One of the very few times the Great British Public got it right, with the best two records occupying the top two spots.

      Liked by 1 person

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