The Pet Shop Boys Get Snippy With MTV, c. 1982

Listening to the SiriusXM 80s channel, the host introduced a Pet Shop Boys tune by saying that, in the early days of MTV, Mark Goodman interviewed the band and that they were kind of petulant (no pun intended) about being interviewed by an American cable network, apparently believing that the whole thing was beneath them. According to the host, Goodman reminded them that MTV could make or break a career, and if they wanted to be assholes about it, Goodman could see to it that their videos weren’t played. Apparently that improved the band’s attitude tout suite.

Is anyone familiar with this event? Or perhaps has read Goodman’s book? What’s the story?

Never heard that one. I didn’t read Goodman’s book, but I did read I Want My MTV, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t mentioned.

On the one hand, it’s funny if it were true. Putting down snotty artists is always good.

On the other hand, Duran Duran. Just because you can make a band, doesn’t mean you should. With great power comes great responsibility.

I don’t remember The Pet Shop Boys ever misbehaving like that. I do remember, on the other hand, watching a clip of a couple of the main guys in Frankie Goes To Hollywood being complete jerks to Mark Goodman during an interview. I can easily see how the two groups might have been confused for one another.

Sounds a bit off - before The Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant was a music journalist himself (for teenage fan mag Smash Hits) so it would a bit weird for him to be sniffy.

These two posts seem to line up with an air of likelihood.

There’s also the fact that the Pet Shop Boys broke through in the United States before they were known in the UK since their first singles were recorded with Bobby Orlando. And also that was in 1984.

Given their level of success, The Pet Shop Boys were/are remarkably not up themselves. I remember seeing Chris Lowe being interviewed (itself a rare thing) and telling the story of how, after they played a set at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, he caught the tube home and nobody recognised him. He obviously thought his anonymity was great.


I found a site that discusses the Frankie Goes to Hollywood interview. But it was about MTV asking the band to tone down their gayness for their channel, not that the network was beneath them.

in 1982? no one out of NYC probably even knew what mtv was … i remember when mtv used to run syndicated shows that were pretty much infomercials with music videos imploring people to “contact their cable provider and say I want my mtv” in like 85 or 86