E63: Neil Tennant on Smash Hits + Pet Shop Boys + Andy Weatherall

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By Rock's Backpages, Mark Pringle, Barney Hoskyns, and Jasper Murison-Bowie. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney invite the ever-entertaining Neil Tennant to look back on his time at Smash Hits magazine — and on how he became pop's ultimate poacher-turned-gamekeeper.

Neil talks about mid-'70s London and about interviewing a pudgy Marc Bolan for Marvel UK. He recalls the laughter and irreverence of his 1982-85 stint at Smash Hits before the Pet Shop Boys shot to No. 1 in Britain and then America. After hearing clips of himself speaking to Steven Daly in 1996, he attempts to explain the longevity of the PSBs but takes issue with the term "national treasure".

Mark & Barney pay tribute to the late Andrew Weatherall as we hear a clip of the legendary DJ/producer/remixer talking to DJ History's Bill Brewster in 2009. Neil offers his perspective on the evolution of the UK's club culture through the '90s and then pitches in as Mark guides us through highlights of the week's new library additions. Discussion follows on Hawkwind's topless dancer Stacia, Michael Watts' 1976 dinner with Laura Nyro and the 10th anniversary of Manchester's Haçienda club…

Many thanks to special guest Neil Tennant details about the Pet Shop Boys’ new album Hotspot and upcoming tour are available via petshopboys.co.uk. The new editions of Chris Heath’s Pet Shop Boys, Literally and Versus America are published by Heinemann and out on March 19th.

Pieces discussed: Neil Tennant, Neil Tennant audio, Soft Cell, Wham!, The Power of Negative Thinking, Andy Weatherall audio, Andy Weatherall's Mixed Emotions, Andy Weatherall: Pick and Remix, Cilla Black, Jimi Hendrix, Hawkwind's Stacia, Laura Nyro, Curtis Mayfield, the Haçienda, 0(+>/Prince, Steve Earle and Willie Nelson's drummer Paul English.

The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.

79 episodes