Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)

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"Opportunities" redirects here. For other uses, see Opportunity.
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) [1985 version]"
Single by Pet Shop Boys
B-side "In the Night"
Released 1 July 1985
Format 7", 12"
Recorded Late 1984
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:45 (7" version), 6:44 (dance mix)
Label Parlophone / EMI
Writer(s) Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe
Producer(s) J. J. Jeczalik, Nicholas Froome
Ron Dean Miller ("New York overdubs")
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"One More Chance"
(1984)
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) [1985 version]"
(1985)
"West End Girls"
(second release)
(1985)
"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) [1986 version]"
Second release cover
Single by Pet Shop Boys
from the album Please
B-side "Was That What It Was?"
Released 19 May 1986
Format 7", 12"
Recorded Late 1985
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:36 (7" version), 3:44 (album version)
Label Parlophone / EMI
Writer(s) Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe
Producer(s) Stephen Hague
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"Love Comes Quickly"
(1986)
"Opportunities (Let's make lots of money) [1986 version]" "Suburbia"
(1986)

"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" is a song by UK duo Pet Shop Boys, released as a single in 1985 and then in 1986, gaining greater popularity in both the United Kingdom and United States with its second release, reaching number 11 in the UK Singles Chart and number 10 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

Written as a satire of Thatcherism and its embodiment in conspicuous consumption and yuppies in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, the song's indirect attack on its subject matter has come to exemplify the Pet Shop Boys as ironists in their songwriting.

Overview[edit]

History[edit]

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] Tennant has said that he was somewhat inspired by the relationship between the characters of Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy.[2]

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 lowly 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 and a version for the duo's debut album, Please, were mixed. The second release of "Opportunities", following the album's release, resulted in better chart performance. It is currently 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 #10, and just missing out (#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.

Lyric[edit]

The lyric depicts, 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, however, 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 "joke" of the song, he says, is that "the people in it are not going to make any money". The band have attributed the cynicism of the song, in part, to the punk rock attitudes of the period.[2]

The meaning of the lyric 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 to many, to the chagrin of the band as the result is often their more sincere songs being ignored.[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 U.S.-only Essentials compilation album in 1998, and the 2-disc expanded remaster of Please in 2001 for the UK (in an expanded form).

Release[edit]

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.[3]

An instrumental version of "In the Night" became the opening theme music of the BBC fashion program The Clothes Show when it first aired in 1986. 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]

Track listing[edit]

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

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985 release) Peak
position
UK 116
Australia 63
Chart (1986) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[citation needed] 63
Canadian Singles Chart[5] 22
Dutch Singles Chart[6] 30
German Singles Chart[7] 25
Irish Singles Chart[8] 14
Italian Singles Chart[9] 46
New Zealand Singles Chart[10] 2
Spain (AFYVE)[11] 14
UK Singles Chart[12] 11
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 10
U.S. Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart[13] 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales Chart[13] 16

Music videos[edit]

First version[edit]

The music video for the first single release was directed by soon-to-be perennial Pet Shop Boys photographer Eric Watson and 1980s staple music video director Andy Morahan. It depicts Lowe in an underground parking garage; a Cadillac pulls up to him and stops, whereupon Tennant materializes in front of it, dressed in a hat, glasses, and a suit by British fashion designer Stephen Linard, and standing inside a rectangular hole in the ground while singing the song while his face continually twitches suggesting missing frames and inflates in similar fashion to a frog. The video ends with Tennant disintegrating into dust and the car driving away.

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.[14]

Second version[edit]

For the re-release, the prestigious Polish director Zbigniew Rybczyński was recruited. In the video, Tennant is again dressed in a suit and hat, while Lowe wears the hard hat, jeans, soiled shirt, and work gloves of a construction worker, depicting the two roles spoken of in the lyrics. The camera pans over a background of city skylines and clouds rendered in neon lines as Tennant and Lowe appear duplicated repeatedly, passing to each other symbols of the different statuses they represent — including a top hat, a trophy, a brick, and a sledgehammer.

Cover versions[edit]

Australian jazz singer Frank Bennett recorded a big band style cover of the song for his 1998 album Cash Landing.

British thrash metal band Revenant Dead recorded a darker, more sinister cover of this song on the 2010 album Two Evils.

Appearances/references in other media[edit]

  • "Opportunities" was the opening theme to the WB Television Network reality show Beauty and the Geek, which first aired in 2005; the show literally pairs up people with "brains" (intellectual men) alongside those with "looks" (attractive women) in a competition to "make lots of money".
  • The song was also used in commercials for ABC's 2004 short-lived reality series The Benefactor, which was cancelled before completing its six-episode run. Contestants competed for a chance to win US$1 million from entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
  • Billionaire Boys Club starring Judd Nelson features this song.
  • In the Simpsons episode "Husbands and Knives", after Marge starts a women's fitness club (a parody of Curves) a snippet of the song is used to demonstrate her increasing profits.
  • In Psych season 2, episode 15, "Black & Tan," the song is played briefly in a slow-motion montage with Gus and Shawn walking down the street as fashion models.
  • In Raising Hope season 4, episode 2 "Burt Bucks" the song is played during a montage showing Burt and Virginia's excessive spending of their newly created currency "Burt Bucks".

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pet Shop Boys Interview". RememberTheEighties.com. Retrieved 15 January 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Heath, Chris (2001). "Opportunities". In Please / Further Listening 1984-1986 [CD liner notes]. London: Pet Shop Boys Partnership.
  3. ^ Heath, Chris (2001). "In the Night". In Please / Further Listening 1984-1986 [CD liner notes]. London: Pet Shop Boys Partnership.
  4. ^ "Trivia". Cult - Classic TV - The Clothes Show. BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2006. 
  5. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group - http://www.fireballmedia.ie. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: P". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Steffen Hung. "Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  12. ^ "ChartArchive - Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Pet Shop Boys (21 December 2009). "Pet Shop Boys - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Interview with Eric Watson". Literally (Pet Shop Boys fanclub magazine). May 1992. Retrieved 19 June 2006. 

External links[edit]