Exclusive audio: Neil Tennant talks David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Take That

Twenty five years ago, on 25 April 1996, I conducted my first official on the record interview with a pop star: Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. Neil had called me from his home in Chelsea, ostensibly to discuss the PSB’s latest disco diva, David Bowie, for a magazine I published called Crankin’ Out. This is a mini morsel of the 90 minute chat, leading up to a controversial remark Neil relayed Bowie making about Michael Jackson as they watched MJ’s Brits rehearsal together.

That and further unpublished extracts from the Tennant interviews (there were more to come, including one where Chris Lowe deigned to join), will be published exclusively in a book I’ve authored detailing those years and which covers David Bowie’s life and work in the 1990s. Here’s the taster transcript…

“He really works hard. Actually, when we made the record [Hallo Spaceboy] he looked exhausted, I thought. But then he had quite a lot of holiday over Christmas; he went to Bali or somewhere like that, I think he said. But he’s always been very charming and chatty to talk to. He sort of wears his fame very well. I mean, I’ve just got endless people saying, ‘Please introduce me to David Bowie’ at The Brits and everything. And it was funny because at The Brits he didn’t know who Take That were! (laughs) They wanted to meet him and I thought ‘Oh god, I just can’t deal with all of this!’

Our press officer is a huge fan of David Bowie. Do you know Murray, yeah? He signed some stuff for Murray. And, yeah, I must say he’s very charming about it all.”

So no meetings with Michael Jackson that day then?

“No. There was no, erm…”

To be continued. 

Steve Pafford

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