Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)

"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" is a song by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys from their debut studio album, Please (1986). It was released as a single in 1985 and re-recorded and reissued in 1986, gaining greater popularity in both the United Kingdom and United States with its second release, reaching number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. After a Super Bowl ad in February 2021, featuring the song, it re-entered the charts claiming the Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Songs No. 1 spot on February 27, 2021, among others.

"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"
Single by Pet Shop Boys
B-side"In the Night"
Released1 July 1985
RecordedLate 1984
GenreSynth-pop
Length3:45 (7″ version)
6:44 (12" mix)
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"One More Chance"
(1984)
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"
(1985)
"West End Girls"
(1985)
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"
PSB Opportunities.jpg
Second release cover
Single by Pet Shop Boys
from the album Please
B-side"Was That What It Was?"
Released19 May 1986
RecordedLate 1985
GenreSynth-pop
Length3:44 (album version)
3:36 (7″ edit version)
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Stephen Hague
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"Love Comes Quickly"
(1986)
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"
(1986)
"Suburbia"
(1986)

BackgroundEdit

The song was written during the Pet Shop Boys' formative years, in 1983. According to Neil Tennant, the main lyrical concept came while in a recording studio in Camden Town when Chris Lowe asked him to make up a lyric based around the line "Let's make lots of money".[1]

The first version of the song, recorded with the duo's first producer, Bobby Orlando, was not released; upon signing with record label Parlophone, they re-recorded the song with J. J. Jeczalik (of Art of Noise) and Nicholas Froome.

The original single release charted at number 116 in the UK, to be exceedingly outdone by the number-one spectacle of the second release of "West End Girls" in multiple countries. With producer Stephen Hague still on board from that release, a new single version for the duo's debut album, Please, was mixed, with reprogramming done by Hague and re-recorded vocals from Tennant. The second release of "Opportunities", following the album's release, resulted in better chart performance. It is the only single from the band to chart higher in the US than the UK, becoming the duo's second top-10 single in the US, peaking at number 10, and just missing out (number 11) in the UK. In Australia, the first version was the one to chart (although outside the top 40).

Please also included a brief, cacophonic track titled "Opportunities (Reprise)", which was the original middle section to the song proper before it was edited out.

CompositionEdit

The lyrics depict, in Tennant's words, "two losers". The song is written from the perspective of a man who describes himself as being intellectual and educated. The lyrics are addressed towards another character, identified as having "looks" and "brawn", and who is invited to join the song's protagonist in a scheme to "make lots of money".

Tennant has made it clear that the schemes are doomed to failure. The protagonist's claimed accreditations, a PhD in mathematics from the Sorbonne and knowledge of computer programming, are conceited fabrications. The punchline of the song, he says, is that "the people in it are not going to make any money".

The lyrics' meaning is taken at face value by some listeners, and this subsequent interpretation of the song as a materialistic anthem receives mixed reactions. The satirical interpretation, on the other hand, has cemented the Pet Shop Boys' reputation as ironists for many, to the band's chagrin since often their more-sincere songs are ignored as a result.[1]

A notable change between the original and re-recorded versions of "Opportunities" is the omission of the spoken outro "All the love that we had / And the love that we hide / Who will bury us / When we die?" According to Tennant, the lyrics were removed from the second version of the song as the duo feared the passage would be construed as "too pretentious". The first two lines of the outro, however, are sung within the lyrics of "Why Don't We Live Together?" from the Please album. The original single version of "Opportunities" was unavailable on compact disc until the 1998 U.S.-only Essential compilation album, and was subsequently published on compact disc in the U.K., in a longer edit of the mix, on the 2-disc expanded 2001 remaster of Please.

ReleaseEdit

12-inch remixes for the 1985 release were produced by Ron Dean Miller of Nuance, while those for the 1986 release were produced by noted 1980s producer Shep Pettibone. Some of Miller's overdubs went on to be incorporated into the 1986 single version.

"In the Night"Edit

The B-side of the 1985 release, "In the Night", is about the subculture known as the Zazous, which appeared in France during the German occupation of France in World War II; concerned with fashion and music, and allied with neither the Nazis and Vichy France nor the French Resistance, they were distrusted by both sides. Tennant, having read about the movement in a book by David Pryce-Jones, asks, in the song, the question of whether this apathy essentially amounted to collaborationism.[2]

The Arther Baker remix from Disco became the opening theme music of the BBC fashion programme The Clothes Show from the second season in 1987 (the original 1986 theme was Five Star's "Find the Time (Shep Pettibone Remix)").[3] This continued for a decade until 1995 saw a fully instrumental re-recording of the song, "In the Night '95", for the purpose of replacing the old theme.[4]

Music videosEdit

First versionEdit

The music video for the first single release was directed by Eric Watson and Andy Morahan. A Cadillac stands in an underground parking garage, the headlights switching on by themselves as Lowe walks away from it. The cover of a ground-level service hatch in front of the car vanishes, leaving a rectangular hole in which Tennant materialises, standing with only his head and shoulders visible. He is dressed in a hat, eyeglasses, and a suit by British fashion designer Stephen Linard. As he sings amid occasional washes of steam from the car, his face begins to jitter and his neck inflates in similar fashion to a frog. Lowe appears at intervals, wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket and standing/walking around the garage. At the end of the video, Tennant's body disintegrates to dust within his suit, leaving it upright on a coat hanger and his hat on the pavement. The suit disappears as Lowe drives away in the car.

Watson was partly inspired by the images of preachers in Wise Blood, the film adaptation of the Flannery O'Connor novel of the same title, in designing Tennant's appearance.[5]

Second versionEdit

For the re-release, prestigious Polish director Zbigniew Rybczyński was recruited. Tennant wears a suit and white gloves, while Lowe is dressed as a manual labourer in a dirty shirt, red baseball cap, and jeans with a pair of work gloves stuffed in the back pocket. A background of city skylines and clouds, rendered as neon outlines, scrolls past as Tennant sings. Duplicates of him and Lowe appear repeatedly, passing objects back and forth that represent their characters' respective statuses, such as a brick, sledgehammer, briefcase, stack of books, and top hat.

In popular cultureEdit

The song was used in the Psych episode "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion" (Season 2, Episode 15).[citation needed]

The song was the opening theme for the American reality television series Beauty and the Geek which premiered in 2005, running for 5 seasons.[6]

The song was used in a commercial for Allstate in 2021 that aired during Super Bowl LV. In the weeks following the Super Bowl, the ad was in heavy rotation and triggered a wave of renewed interest in the Pet Shop Boys and the song re-entered the US charts after 35 years on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales Chart at No. 5.[7] In the last week of February and in early March the song continued to surge in popularity. In the last week of February the song reached No. 1 and stayed atop that chart for four straight weeks, and in the Top Five for six weeks consecutively.[8] The song climbed back to No. 1 on the chart for the week of April 17 2021.[9] It also reached No. 12 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs Chart[10] and No. 25 on the Billboard Digital Songs Chart.[11] The surge in interest also affected other Pet Shop Boys songs with "West End Girls" vaulting to No. 6 on the Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart.[12]

Track listingsEdit

7" (UK) (1985 release) (Parlophone R6097)Edit

  • A. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" – 3:45
  • B. "In the Night" – 4:50

12" #1 (UK) (1985 release) (Parlophone 12R6097)Edit

  • A. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" (Dance Mix) – 6:44
  • B. "In the Night" – 4:50

12" #2 (UK) (1985 release) (Parlophone 12RA6097)Edit

  • A. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" (Version Latina) – 5:29
  • B1. "Opportunities" (Dub for Money) – 4:54
  • B2. "In the Night" – 4:50

7" (UK) (1986 release) (Parlophone R6129)Edit

  • A. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" – 3:36
  • B. "Was That What It Was?" – 5:18

12" (UK) (1986 release) Parlophone (12R6129)Edit

  • A1. "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" (Shep Pettibone Mastermix) – 7:18
  • A2. "Opportunities" (Reprise) – 4:27
  • B1. "Opportunities" (Original Dance Mix) – 6:45
  • B2. "Was That What It Was?" – 5:18

ChartsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Pet Shop Boys Interview". RememberTheEighties.com. Retrieved 15 January 2007.
  2. ^ Heath, Chris (2001). "In the Night Archived 14 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine". In Please / Further Listening 1984–1986 [CD liner notes]. London: Pet Shop Boys Partnership.
  3. ^ "BBC One - The Clothes Show 1986 - YouTube". Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Trivia". Cult - Classic TV - The Clothes Show. BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2006.
  5. ^ "Interview with Eric Watson". Literally (Pet Shop Boys fanclub magazine). May 1992. Retrieved 19 June 2006.
  6. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (9th ed.). Random House Publishing Group. p. 118. ISBN 9780307483201.
  7. ^ Murray, Gordan (18 February 2021). "Super Bowl Ad Propels Pet Shop Boys' 'Opportunities' on Dance Charts". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  8. ^ Murray, Gordan (25 February 2021). "Pet Shop Boys Top Dance/Electronic Digital Songs Chart for First Time with Opportunities" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Billboard Dance/Electronic Song Chart" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Billboard Digital Song Sales Chart" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 232. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0673." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  16. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 29. 26 July 1986. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Opportunities". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Pet Shop Boys" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  21. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  22. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending May 10, 1986". Cash Box. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  28. ^ "Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales Chart" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  29. ^ Murray, Gordan (25 February 2021). "Pet Shop Boys Top Dance/Electronic Digital Songs Chart for First Time with Opportunities" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  30. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Hot Dance/Electronic Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  31. ^ "Billboard Digital Song Sales Chart" (website). Billboard. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1986". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Dance Club Songs – Year-End 1986". Billboard. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  34. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1986 – Top 100 Pop Singles". Cash Box. 27 December 1986. Retrieved 30 April 2020.

External linksEdit