Rent (song)

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Single by Pet Shop Boys
from the album Actually
B-side "I Want a Dog"
Released 12 October 1987
Format 7", 12", cassette, CD
Genre Synthpop
Length 5:08 (album version)
3:35 (single version)
7:06 (extended version)
Label ParlophoneR 6168
Writer(s) Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe
Producer(s) Julian Mendelsohn
Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
"Always on My Mind"
Actually track listing
"Shopping" (B4, CD03) "Rent" (B4, CD04) "Hit Music" (B4, CD05)

"Rent" is a 1987 single by the Pet Shop Boys. It was released in the UK by Parlophone on 12 October 1987.

Song information[edit]

The lyrics are commonly thought to deal with a financially one-sided relationship, i.e. that of a kept man, the title implying more specifically the lot of a rent boy. Neil Tennant, however, stated in the Actually: Further Listening liner notes:

"I've always imagined it's about a kept woman, and I always imagined it set in America. I vaguely thought of one of the Kennedys, for some reason, and imagined that this politician keeps this woman in a smart flat in Manhattan, and he's still got this family, and the two of them have some [sort] of relationship and they do love each other but it's all kind of secret..."

It peaked at number 8 in the British charts. Producer Stephen Hague remixed the song for single release.


The video for the song was directed by Derek Jarman. It features two intercut storylines. One, filmed in black and white, shows Chris Lowe arriving at King's Cross station by train and walking past various low-life characters. The other, filmed in colour, features Margi Clarke as the partner of a wealthy man (played by Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath), who is hosting a dinner party. The lyrics are sung by Tennant, who plays her chauffeur. The woman becomes annoyed when the man pays her no attention. She then gets Tennant to drive her to King's Cross. There, she meets Chris Lowe on the platform and they embrace.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Serbian punk rock band KBO! recorded a version on their 2001 cover album (Ne) Menjajte Stanicu (Do Not) Change the Station).
  • In 2007, Thirteen Senses covered the song to be placed on preloaded iPod Nano. These were then given away as prizes at their May 2007 tour of the UK.
  • "Rent" has been performed live by Neil Tennant with Suede.
  • Liza Minnelli included a version on her 1989 album Results, produced by the Pet Shop Boys.
  • Australian band The Triffids recorded a cover version in 1989, as a B side to the UK reissue of Bury Me Deep in Love.
  • In 2002, the German ska-band Frau Doktor covered "Rent". It was released on their album Penner Superdisco.
  • UK electro pop singer/songwriter Alexander Price recorded a cover version of Rent which was released as a digital download in September 2010.
  • British indie rock band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine released a cover of Rent as a b-side on their single "Rubbish" in 1990.
  • Field Music recorded a cover of this, along with "Heart" for their 2012 Record Store Day release, actually, nearly.
  • Matt Mancid & Color Theory released a 5-track EP with three different arrangements (synthpop, electro house, chillout) of "Rent" in December 2013, featuring Heather Alden of Faded Paper Figures on backing vocals.[1]

Track listing[edit]

7": Parlophone / R 6168 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rent" – 3:35
  2. "I Want a Dog" – 4:57

12": Parlophone / 12R 6168 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rent" (Extended Mix) – 7:06
  2. "Rent" (Dub) – 6:06
  3. "I Want a Dog" – 4:57
  • also available on CD (Parlophone / CD R 6168)

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
Poland[2] 1
Ireland 5
UK 8
Italy 9
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[3] 12
Germany 10
Spain (AFYVE)[4] 21
Switzerland 10
Sweden 19
Austria 27
Australia (ARIA)[5] 81


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  4. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.