Paninaro (song)

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"Paninaro '95"
Single by Pet Shop Boys
Released24 July 1995 (1995-07-24)
  • 4:40 (original 1986 version)
  • 4:07 (1995 remix)
Producer(s)Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"Yesterday, When I Was Mad"
"Paninaro '95"
Music video
"Paninaro '95" on YouTube

"Paninaro" is a song by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys,[1] originally a B-side to the 1986 single "Suburbia". In 1995, a re-recording titled "Paninaro '95" was released to a wider market, to promote the duo's B-side compilation album Alternative, though only the original version was included on the compilation.


The song is about the 1980s Italian youth subculture known as the paninari; derived from the word panino, they were known for congregating in restaurants serving sandwiches and in the first US-style fast food restaurants, as well as their preference for designer clothing and 1980s pop music, such as the New Romantic music of Italo disco. Neil Tennant has said that they were drawn to the concept due to having shared those preferences.


"Paninaro" is one of the few Pet Shop Boys songs in which Chris Lowe provides the majority of the vocals. Tennant, meanwhile, only sings the title repeatedly in intervals.

The main lyrical motif consists of eight words:

Passion and love and sex and money
Violence, religion, injustice and death

These words are repeated at the end of the song in a soliloquy to the singer's "lover".

In reference to the fashion of the paninari, references to prestigious Italian fashion designers are repeated throughout the song:

Armani, Armani, ah-ah-Armani
Versace, cinque

(Although Versace was removed from the 7-inch B-side and from the 1995 version.)

In addition, the middle of the song contains a sample from a statement by Lowe within a 1986 Entertainment Tonight interview with the band:

I don't like country and western. I don't like rock music, I don't like rockabilly or rock and roll particularly. I don't like much, really, do I? But what I do like, I love passionately.

According to Neil Tennant, the song's lyrics Woh, woh, woh, which he provided as backup vocals, were influenced by the song "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora. He clarified this by stating "We wrote it because you could go 'woh, woh, woh.' We were obsessed with songs that had 'woh, woh, woh' in them. Remember 'Tarzan Boy' by Baltimora?".[2]

Original 1986 version[edit]

The song was released in Italy as a limited edition 12" single, featuring the Pet Shop Boys Remix (Disco album version) and an exclusive remix by Ian Levine who would go on to remix "It's a Sin".

It came to wider attention as the b-side to Suburbia before appearing as an extended mix (aka Pet Shop Boys Remix) on the 1986 remix album Disco. It later appeared on the 1998 compilation album Essential and on the companion disc to the 2001 remastered re-release of their 1986 debut album Please, called Further Listening 1984–1986.

1995 version[edit]

A radical new version was recorded and performed on the Discovery tour of South America in October/November 1994. It first appeared on the 'Discovery: Live in Rio 1994' VHS tape and broadcast on BBC Radio on 29 May 1995, just prior to being issued as a single in its own right. This new recording included a rap in the middle of the song, newly written by Lowe; it laments the loss of the "lover" referred to in the pre-existing lyrics. The written lyrics in the final are also changed to "were" rather than "are" in referring to the lost love.

The 1995 version received remixes from Angel Moraes, Tin Tin Out, and Tracy & Sharon. Tom Stephan of Tracy & Sharon would continue to remix for the Pet Shop Boys as his later alias Superchumbo.

The 1995 version is included on the 2003 compilation album PopArt: The Hits the 2001 double-disc reissue of Bilingual and the 2023 "Smash" album.

Critical reception[edit]

Music & Media wrote, "Re-released to draw attention to the vital Alternative Pet Shop Boys sampler which contains all the B-sides, this is abundant proof of who's got the best melodies in electro pop."[3] David Hemingway of Melody Maker picked "Paninaro" as one of the magazine's "single[s] of the week" and called it "perfection". He noted how the original version, a "celebration of Italian Cool Kids", is "reinvented as the most passionately heartbreaking ex-lover song ever".[4] David Quantick of NME described it as "the great lost Pet Shop B-side".[5]

Music videos[edit]


A self-produced music video, filmed in Italy, was used for the original release; it consisted of footage of the duo singing the song alongside locals.

1995 version[edit]

The "Paninaro '95" video was directed by long-time Pet Shop Boys director Howard Greenhalgh. The Top of the Pops performance of "Paninaro '95" replicated the imagery of the music video, with the same costumes, lighting, and male dancers involved.

Track listings[edit]

  • Italian limited-edition 12-inch single (1986)
A. "Paninaro" (Italian Remix) – 8:40
B. "Paninaro" (Ian Levine Mix) – 9:43
  • UK CD 1 (1995)
  1. "Paninaro '95" (Extended Mix) – 7:30
  2. "Paninaro '95" (Tin Tin Out Mix) – 7:47
  3. "Paninaro '95" (Tracy's 12' Mix) – 8:30
  4. "Paninaro '95" (Sharon's Sexy Boyz Dub) – 5:47
  5. "Paninaro '95" (Angel Moraes' Deep Dance Mix) – 10:39
  • UK CD 2 (1995)
  1. "Paninaro '95" – 4:10
  2. "In the Night '95" – 4:24
  3. "Girls & Boys" (Pet Shop Boys live in Rio) – 5:04
  • UK 12-inch single – The Remixes Part One (1995)
A1. "Paninaro '95" (Tracy's 12″ Mix) – 8:28
A2. "Paninaro '95" (Sharon's Sexy Boyz Dub) – 5:47
B1. "Paninaro '95" (Tin Tin Out Mix) – 7:47
B2. "Paninaro '95" (Pet Shop Boys Extended Mix) – 7:30
  • UK 12-inch single – The Remixes Part Two (1995)
A. "Paninaro '95" (Angel Moraes' Deep Dance Mix) – 10:39
B1. "Paninaro '95" (Angel Moraes' Girls Boys in Dub) – 11:57
B2. "Paninaro '95" (Angel Moraes' The Hot N Spycy Dub) – 9:35


Weekly chart performance for "Paninaro '95"
Chart (1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 30
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[7] 35
Canada Dance/Urban (RPM)[8] 19
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100 Singles)[9] 31
Europe (European Dance Radio)[10] 6
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[11] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[12] 39
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 25
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 30
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 37
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 24
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 15
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[18] 4
US Dance Singles Sales (Billboard)[19] 6

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Paninaro '95"
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United Kingdom 24 July 1995
  • CD1
  • cassette
Parlophone [20]
31 July 1995 CD2 [21]
21 August 1995 12-inch vinyl [22]
Japan 30 August 1994 Mini-CD EMI [23]


  1. ^ Limnander, Armand (7 September 2008). "Puff Dandies". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  2. ^ PSB songs for which the Boys have acknowledged the influence of specific tracks by other pop artists,
  3. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 19 August 1995. p. 14. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  4. ^ Hemingway, David (29 July 1995). "Singles". Melody Maker. p. 31. ISSN 0025-9012.
  5. ^ Quantick, David (29 July 1995). "Singles". New Musical Express. p. 44. ISSN 0028-6362.
  6. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Paninaro '95". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Paninaro '95" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 2763." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12, no. 34. 26 August 1995. p. 12. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  10. ^ "European Dance Radio Top 25" (PDF). Music & Media. 9 September 1995. p. 12. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Paninaro '95" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Paninaro '95" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Paninaro '95/Into the Night". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Pet Shop Boys" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Paninaro '95" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Paninaro '95". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  20. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 22 July 1995. p. 31.
  21. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 29 July 1995. p. 43.
  22. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 19 August 1995. p. 31.
  23. ^ "パニナロ | ペット・ショップ・ボーイズ" [Paninaro | Pet Shop Boys] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 22 January 2024.