By Mark Nobes

You can listen to the original 12 inch Disco Mix of the Pet Shop Boys classic 80s hit "It's A Sin" in our video above, and you will also find the original video further down this page.

I still have the 12" vinyl version of this stored away somewhere, and the imagery of a glum-looking Neil in his funeral outfit, sat at an old, dusty table in a dilapidated kitchen (with Chris watching over him) has stuck with me ever since!

There was much controversy when the song was released in June 1987. Not only did it ruffle a few feathers in the Catholic church (which I'll discuss in the lyrics section), but DJ Jonathan King also accused Pet Shop Boys of plagiarising the melody for "It's a Sin" from Cat Steven's 1971 hit, "Wild World". He made the claims in The Sun newspaper, for which he wrote a regular column during the 1980s.

King also released his own cover version of "Wild World" as a single, using a similar musical arrangement to "It's a Sin", in an effort to demonstrate his claims. This single flopped, while Pet Shop Boys sued King, eventually winning out-of-court damages, which they donated to charity.

Chris Lowe (foreground) and Neil Tennant on the inner sleeve of "It's A Sin"

This powerful and dramatic song became Pet Shop Boys second No.1 single and entered the UK singles chart at #5 on 21st June 1987, whilst The Firm were at No.1 with the novelty record "Star Tekkin'". Pet Shop Boys reached No.1 the following week, pushing The Firm down to #2, and remained at the top of the charts for three weeks, preventing Bruce Willis from claiming the top spot with "Under the Boardwalk". 

The single also reached #9 in the U.S., giving Tennant and Lowe their third top ten hit here.
The track was produced by Julian Mendelsohn, with extra production and mixing by Stephen Hague, and the original version features on the album ActuallyThe B-side featured the track "You Know Where You Went Wrong", and the duo certainly know how to pen a decent B-side. The 12 inch vinyl and CD singles also included the Disco Mix of "It's A Sin".
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe in a dilapidated kitchen on the vinyl sleeve for


UK 7 Inch Vinyl - Parlophone R 6158

A. "It's A Sin" 4:58

B. "You Know Where You Went Wrong" 5:51

UK 12 Inch Vinyl - Parlophone 12R 6158

A. "It's A Sin" (Disco Mix) 7:39

B1. "You Know Where You Went Wrong" 5:51

B2. "It's A Sin" (7 Inch Version) 4:59

"It's A Sin" Lyrics

The lyrics describe Neil Tennant's difficult Catholic upbringing and education, with a negative stance on his school (St. Cuthberts), the teachers and Catholicism in general. His view is that the religion is too strict and makes you feel shame throughout your life, particularly as he is homosexual, as in the chorus "Everything I've ever done, everything I ever do, every place I've ever been, everywhere I'm going to... it's a sin".
As someone who was educated in a Catholic primary school, I can understand Neil's point of view, although my experience was a mostly pleasant one, and the nuns and teachers were actually very lovely people. They were firm when they needed to be, and I actually appreciate the discipline, which moulded me into a well-mannered and well educated individual. However, I do not follow Catholicism or any religion as an adult, as it's too restrictive and outdated.
This Ural DJ's remix keeps much of the drama of the original tune intact, while also bringing it to the dancefloor.
Neil Tennant in the video for