Say It's Your Birthday: Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe, the keyboardist for the quintessentially

English Pet Shop Boys, was born today in 1959. Lowe (no relationship to Rob),

along with singer Neil Tennant, have been making deceivingly simple and utterly

seductive dance music for over a decade - deceiving because for all their club

appeal, the Pet Shop Boys can be emotionally intense, deadly ironic, and

intricately simplistic, both in lyrics and in their sometimes spacious music.

The Pet Shop Boys hit it big in Britain and many other countries in 1985, when

their single "West End Girls" hit #1 in the U.K., the U.S., and various other

non-English speaking countries. The next year, they released their debut album

Please, which proved that the Pets, as they are affectionately known,

were no one-hit wonders: the album peaked at #7. The Pets also released

Disco, a collection of dance remixes that same year, which further

displayed the band's ironic sensibilities. In 1987, the Pets released

Actually, which yielded three Top Ten singles, and their subsequent

three albums of new material - 1988's Introspective, 1990's

Behavior, and 1993's Very, were also commercially successful,

while at the same time maintaining the bands ironic sensibility (the Pets also

released a singles compilation, Discography, in 1991). Other birthdays:

Leroy Van Dyke (1929); Patti LaBelle (1944); Blood, Sweat, and Tears' Jim

Fielder (1947); Jon Secada (1951); and Timbuk 3's Barbara Kooyman (1957). --

Seth Mnookin