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"It's A Sin' was the first song to be released from the Actually album. The single was released prior to the album. It was a #1 hit in the UK and several other countries. The song soon became a fan favourite, and was played on all of their tours, sometimes as an encore.

Production and recordingEdit

The song was originally conceived and written in 1982. Chris played some chords which to Neil sounded hymnal. "It's a, it's a, it's a sin' came to Neil, and the rest of the words were written in a few minutes.

Originally, the band wanted to approach the songwriting team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman to record this for Please, but Waterman declined.

At several points in the song you can hear recordings taken in the Brompton Oratory, including general ambiance, a preacher, and a choir singing 'amen'. The '20 seconds and counting' was taken from one of the Apollo missions.

The track was originally recorded with Julian Mendelsohn's production, but it was never used. Stephen Hague took over the track and polished it to the version we are familiar with now.

The bridge which goes 'Father forgive me / I tried not to do it...' was taken from a completely different song Chris had written.

Controversy Edit

At the time of the single's release, British DJ Jonathan King accused the Pet Shop Boys of plagiarizing the melody from Cat Stevens' 1971 hit "Wild World". He made the claims in The Sun newspaper, for which he wrote a regular column during the 1980s. King went so far as to release his own cover version of "Wild World" as a single, using a similar musical arrangement to "It's a Sin", in an effort to demonstrate his claims. This single flopped, while the Pet Shop Boys sued King, eventually winning out-of-court damages, which they donated to charity

Lyrics Edit

The latin that Neil is singing in the background at the end of the track is the Confiteor, a Catholic prayer:

Original Latin
---------------------------------
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti,
et vobis fratres,
quia peccavi nimis
cogitatione, verbo,
opere et omissione:
mea culpa, mea culpa,
mea maxima culpa.

Official English Translation
---------------------------------
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;


Neil says that,

...Having been brought up as a Catholic you thought everything was a sin. You're told that thinking about it is as bad as doing it. The song was meant to be kind of big and funny and camp.

When I look back upon my life
it’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
no matter when or where or who
has one thing in common too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

At school they taught me how to be
so pure in thought and word and deed
They didn’t quite succeed
For everything I long to do
no matter when or where or who
has one thing in common too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

Father forgive me
I tried not to do it
Turned over a new leaf
then tore right through it
Whatever you taught me
I didn’t believe it
Father you fought me
‘cause I didn’t care
and I still don’t understand

So I look back upon my life
forever with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
no matter when or where or who
has one thing in common too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to I
It’s a sin

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti vobis 
fratres quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere 
et omissione. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.