What Have I Done to Deserve This? (song)
|"What Have I Done to Deserve This?"|
|Single by Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield|
|from the album Actually|
|B-side||"A New Life"|
|Released||10 August 1987|
|Studio||Sarm West and Advision (London)|
|Pet Shop Boys singles chronology|
|Dusty Springfield singles chronology|
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" is a song by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys and soul singer Dusty Springfield, taken from the duo's second studio album, Actually (1987). The song was released as the second single from the album on 10 August 1987.
A commercial success in both the United Kingdom and United States, the song helped revive Springfield's career and led to a resurgence of interest in her music. Following the single, the Pet Shop Boys wrote and produced the singles "Nothing Has Been Proved" and "In Private" for Springfield, both included on her album Reputation (1990).
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" marked Pet Shop Boys' first major collaboration with another recording artist.
The song was originally written and demoed around Christmas 1984 with the assistance of notable American songwriter Allee Willis It was originally intended for use on Please, but the problem was to decide who’d sing the other half of the duet. Various contemporary singers were suggested to them, but none of them seemed suitable for the song. Eventually their manager’s assistant suggested Dusty Springfield, whose album Dusty in Memphis (from 1969) was often acknowledged by Neil Tennant as his favourite LP.
According to Tennant, EMI—their record label Parlophone's parent company—did not want the duo to work with Springfield, instead suggesting Tina Turner or Barbra Streisand for the collaboration. Springfield's career had declined from its peak in the 1960s, with her last top 40 entry on the UK Singles Chart being "How Can I Be Sure" in 1970. The Independent's Adam Sweeting described the ensuing years for Springfield as "a litany of unmemorable albums, while her private life became a free-fall into drugs, alcohol and self-mutilation". However, Tennant was insistent on choosing Springfield for the song, having long admired Dusty in Memphis (1969).
Initially, within a few weeks of sending a tape of the song to Springfield’s manager, word came back that she wasn’t interested in doing the duet, so the song was left off Please. Springfield was unfamiliar with Pet Shop Boys, however, had heard "West End Girls" on the radio and liked the song. Several months later, the duo’s manager heard back from her manager saying she wanted to do the duet. According to Tennant, Springfield was without a recording contract by the time of their collaboration. Springfield, at the time living in California, returned to London for the song's recording just before Christmas 1986. According to Chris Welch of The Independent, Springfield "didn't know quite what the group wanted", but Tennant explained to her they wanted her distinctive "husky, breathy voice" to feature.
Tennant recalls of the vocal session with Springfield:
"She arrived at the studio on time, in a black leather designer jacket and high-heeled boots, with blonde hair and black eye make-up, clutching the lyric-sheet of the song, annotated and underlined. Chris Lowe, Stephen Hague and I began to consult with the legend about how to sing our song and she was very nice, surprisingly a little lacking in self-confidence. As if by telepathy, a Dusty fan appeared on the studio doorstep and was invited in to listen. Dusty’s English secretary arrived bearing a new compilation cassette. ‘They keep repackaging the old songs,’ the legend marvelled. Then she went through to sing.
Her voice was the same as ever. When she sang her solo part ‘Since you went away … ‘ everyone in the control room smiled. She sounded just like she used to. Breathy, warm, thrilling. Like Dusty Springfield."
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" is a synth-pop song composed in the key of A minor. According to its sheet music, it features the moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute. In a review for AllMusic, Ned Raggett states the track "springs to life with a seemingly off-kilter drum break, then slides right into a smart, deceptively simple, and full-bodied combination of big drums and sparkling keyboards."
Written by Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe and Allee Willis in early 1985, Classic Pop noted the song's somewhat peculiar structure reflects the way it was composed: "Lowe wrote the riff and the music for the 'I bought you drinks, I bought you flowers' section; Tennant came up with the verse; and Willis wrote the 'Since you went away' part." Tennant wrote the majority of the lyrics while on the bus home from his job at Smash Hits. Lyrically, Sound on Sound describes the song as "a number about the mundane lives of bored '80s yuppies", while according to Nick Levine for the BBC, the lyrics "reflect the emphasis placed on personal financial gain during the Thatcher and Reagan years", with the song's opening lines being "You always wanted a lover, I only wanted a job."
The track was recorded at Advision Studios, and produced by Stephen Hague, engineered by David Jacob and mixed by Julian Mendelsohn, who co-produced Actually, at Sarm West Studios. While Tennant's vocal recording was relatively straightforward, Springfield was very particular with her vocals, according to Mendelsohn, who said: "Even though Dusty was a great singer, she was very long‑winded when it came to getting the vocals right to her own satisfaction [...] I remember Neil [Tennant] and I looking at each other as if to say, 'Christ, this is going to take forever.' And it did take forever. We ended up having to sift our way through 20 tracks of vocals, but we got a fantastic result in the end, at which point we looked at each other as if to say, 'Well, that's why she took so long.'"
In a contemporary review in Smash Hits, Vici McDonald wrote: "The brilliant thing about the Pet Shop Boys is that they get everything right – memorable tunes, perfect production, intelligent lyrics, excellent sleeves, loads of style and a self-deprecating sense of humour – a very rare combination. So, having decided to do a duet with a soulful chicklet, they've naturally got the best – '60s songstress and living legend Dusty Springfield."
In a 2017 article for NME, Nick Levine called it "possibly the greatest pop song in history", writing: "We can chat 'hooks' and 'unusual structure' all you want, but this song just has that thing: before it's even finished, you already want to play it again."
Included in a feature of the best duets of all time by The Daily Telegraph, writer Catherine Gee characterised the track as a "deceptively bouncy song of lovelorn misery was clearly written for two of the most idiosyncratic voices in pop. Neil Tennant raps a lugubrious verse about spilt drinks and wilting flowers, before Dusty floats in with a raspy whisper stained by life's disappointments." Craig Mclean of the same publication described the song as "a verifiable Eighties classic", a view echoed by The Independent's Graeme Ross, who called the song one of Springfield's best, writing: "An unmistakable and unforgettable Dusty vocal was layered over trademark Pet Shop Boys synth-pop and the result was an Eighties classic." Caroline Westbrook of Metro called it "a thing of beauty" in an article on the chart hits of 1987.
American LGBT magazine The Advocate included the song in a list of the 10 best queer duets, calling it one of "pop music's most memorable LGBT pairings". Singer David McAlmont called "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" his "unassailable favourite song" of Springfield's in a feature published in The Observer celebrating pop music's landmark gay moments, describing her vocal performance as "a profound interpretation of [songwriter] Allee Willis's sugary chorus".
When released as a single in August 1987, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" peaked at number 2 in the United Kingdom and also at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the fourth top ten hit for Pet Shop Boys as well as the biggest hit of Springfield's career in the United States. The song also helped revive Springfield’s career and led to an increase of sales and interest in her previous songs. It was kept from the top of the Billboard charts by "Seasons Change" by Exposé and "Father Figure" by George Michael, while in the United Kingdom, it was kept off the top by Rick Astley with his debut single "Never Gonna Give You Up". The single made it to number 1 on the Irish singles chart, where it was Pet Shop Boys' second number 1 hit in the space of just six weeks.
The music video was filmed at the O2 Brixton Academy in London, featuring a female chorus line and male members of the pit orchestra. It made significant use of the theatre drapes and stage curtains for dramatic effect. Like all the singles taken from the album Actually (1987), the song also appears on the film It Couldn't Happen Here (1988), where it is briefly played in instrumental form, without vocals.
Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield performed the song for the 1988 Brit Awards. Since Springfield's death in 1999, Pet Shop Boys have performed the song live several times with guest performers singing Springfield's parts. In 2000, singer Cerys Matthews performed the song with Pet Shop Boys during their set at Glastonbury Festival. At the 2009 Brit Awards, where the duo received an Outstanding Contribution to Music award, Pet Shop Boys performed the song with Lady Gaga. During their 2019 headline set at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park, the duo were joined by Beverley Knight to perform the song.
- 7" Parlophone / R 6163 (UK)
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" – 4:19
- "A New Life" – 4:55
- 12" Parlophone / 12 R 6163 (UK)
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (Extended Mix) – 6:53
- "A New Life" – 4:55
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (Disco Mix) – 8:13
- also available on CD (Parlophone / CD R 6163)
- 12" EMI-Manhattan / V-56080 (US - First Issue)
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (Disco Mix) – 8:17
- "Rent" (Extended Mix) – 7:06
- 12" EMI-Manhattan / V-56080 (US - Second Issue)
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (The Shep Pettibone Remix) – 8:28
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (Dub Mix) – 6:53
- "Rent" (The François Kevorkian Remix) – 7:04
- "I Want a Dog" – 4:48
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||250,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
- Petridis, Alexis (24 January 2020). "Pet Shop Boys: 'The acoustic guitar should be banned'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Norman, Philip (8 August 1987). "Dusting Off A Legend".
- Myers, Justin (13 September 2013). "Official Chart Pop Gem #23: Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This?". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Sweeting, Adam (26 March 2006). "The invention of Dusty Springfield". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Thompson, Ben (21 April 1996). "ARTS: AN ATTITUDE THING". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Welch, Chris (4 March 1999). "Obituary: Dusty Springfield". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- "What Have I Done to Deserve This?". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Raggett, Ned. "Pet Shop Boys - What Have I Done to Deserve This?". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- "The Pet Shop Boys celebrate 30 years of hit album actually". Classic Pop. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Buskin, Richard. "Pet Shop Boys - It's a Sin". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Levine, Nick (21 January 2020). "Why Pet Shop Boys are still the cleverest men in pop". BBC. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Mclean, Craig (21 February 2018). "Pet Shop Boys interview: 'It's still weird without Top of the Pops'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- McDonald, Vici (12 August 1987). "Review: Singles". Smash Hits. Vol. 9 no. 16. p. 61.
- Levine, Nick (2 February 2017). "25 Reasons To Love Pet Shop Boys' 'Actually'". NME. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Gee, Catherine (6 April 2015). "The 20 best duets". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Ross, Graeme (11 April 2019). "Dusty Springfield's 20 greatest songs". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Westbrook, Caroline (4 January 2019). "18 awesome songs from Top Of The Pops 1987 that you still listen to now". Metro. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Vivinetto, Gina (21 October 2015). "10 Best Queer Duets". The Advocate. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- McAlmont, David (12 November 2006). "20 most fabulous". The Observer. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- "Cerys is one of the boys!". NME. 24 June 2000. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Hamilton, John (16 July 2013). "Pet Shop Boys' 12 Greatest Collaborations, From Dusty And Liza To Madonna And Lady Gaga". Idolator. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Savage, Mark (15 September 2019). "Pet Shop Boys bring a pop masterclass to Hyde Park". BBC News.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 232. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Austriancharts.at – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Ultratop.be – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0947." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "European Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 4 no. 37. 19 September 1987. p. 16. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
- Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 233. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
- "Íslenski Listinn". DV (in Icelandic). 29 October 1987. p. 57. ISSN 1021-8254 – via Timarit.is.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – What Have I Done". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Pet Shop Boys" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Charts.nz – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- Currin, Brian. "SA Charts 1965–1989 (As presented on Springbok Radio/Radio Orion) – Acts P". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Swisscharts.com – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Pet Shop Boys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending February 20, 1988". Cash Box. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done to Deserve This?". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Jaaroverzichten 1987 – Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "European Charts of the Year 1987 – Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 4 no. 51/52. 26 December 1987. p. 34. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
- "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
- "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Top Selling Singles of 1987". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Gallup Year End Charts 1987: Singles". Record Mirror. London. 23 January 1988. p. 36. ISSN 0144-5804.
- "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts – 1987" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Top 100 Singles of '88" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 10. 24 December 1988. p. 9. ISSN 0315-5994.
- "Hot 100 Songs – Year-End 1988". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "1988 The Year in Music & Video – Top Dance Club Play Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 100 no. 52. 24 December 1988. p. Y-25. ISSN 0006-2510 – via World Radio History.
- "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1988 – Top 50 Pop Singles". Cash Box. 31 December 1988. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "British single certifications – Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done to Deserve This". British Phonographic Industry. 1 December 1987. Retrieved 24 April 2020.