"RENT" - PET SHOP BOYS
"Rent" was released while Pet Shop Boys were at the peak of the career in terms of commercial success, during a run of 10 consecutive Top 10 hit singles. It featured as track 4 on side A of their second studio album Actually. This was an album of perfectly crafted melodic pop, which I bought on cassette and played over and over - I can honestly say that any one of the 10 tracks could have been released as a single.
"Rent" was Pet Shop Boys seventh Top 20 hit in the UK, and was released as the third single from Actually. The single entered the UK singles chart at No.17 on 18th October 1987, making it the second highest new entry that week, behind George Michael's "Faith", which entered at No.10. The boys reached No.8 the following Week (25th) for one week.
The album version (5:08) was remixed and edited down to 3:35 by Stephen Hague for the single release. An extended mix (7:06) and dub version were included on the 12" vinyl, alongside "I Want A Dog" as the third track. The B-side of the 7" was also "I Want A Dog".
Despite many claims that the lyrics were about a rent boy, Neil Tennant stated in the linear notes of the reissue of the Actually album "I always imagined it's about a kept woman". He also stated "I vaguely thought of one of the Kennedys, for some reason, and imagined that this politician keeps the woman in a smart flat in Manhattan".
The song was penned by Neil and Chris, and was produced by the legendary 80s producer and remixer Julian Mendelsohn. Additional keyboard programming was provided by Andy Richards.
The track was covered by Liza Minelli in 1989 and was produced by Pet Shop Boys and Mendelsohn for her album Results, which included the No.6 single "Losing My Mind".
"Rent" reached No.1 in Poland, No.5 in Ireland, No.9 in Italy, No.10 in Germany and Switzerland, No.12 in Finland, No.19 in Sweden, No.21 in Spain, No.27 in Austria and No.81 in Australia.