by Pet Shop Boys

Song details

Actually cover Track number 4
from the album
Previous track: Shopping
Next track: Hit Music

Writer(s): Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe
Producer(s): Julian Mendelsohn
Rent |
Single details
UK release: 12 October, 1987

Label: Parlophone
Format(s): 7", 12", CD
B-side(s): "I Want A Dog"
Peak chart positions:
#8  UK Singles Chart
#11  US Hot 100

Pet Shop Boys singles chronology
"What Have I Done To Deserve This?"
"Rent" "Always On My Mind"

Release DateEdit

  • 12 October, 1987

Chart PositionsEdit

  • UK: #8
  • Italy: #11
  • Netherlands: #28
  • Germany: #10
  • Sweden: #2
  • Switzerland: #10


'Rent' was the third single from 'Actually', and was released just after the album. It was written in 1984, and the first line to be written was 'I love you / you pay my rent". In North America, 'Rent' was not released as a single on it's own, but was often coupled with 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?'. Remixes were done by Francois Kevorkian, and the b-side was 'I Want A Dog'.

In 1989, Pet Shop Boys produced an orchestral version of this for Liza Minnelli's 'Results' album, arranged by Angelo Badalamenti.


Popular Pet Shop Boys lore is that that this song is about a rent-boy, but according to Neil, it's really about a kept woman; a female prostitute. "I've always thought that it was about a politician's mistress. It takes place in New York, and it's a long-standing affair and they are in love but he's made no other commitment to her than taking her to restaurants and buying her furs and paying for an apartment for her off Madison Avenue or somewhere...and he's still got his family, and the two of them have some of relationship and they do love each other but it's all kind of secret. 'I love you/You pay my rent' is about compromise. It's really saying, it could be worse, this relationship isn't that bad, really. It's not perfect but then nothing is."


  • The song was meant to sound like a record called "I Like Chopin" by Gazebo.
  • Originally recorded with Bobby Orlando, it was more of a Hi-NRG track, but Stephen Hague mellowed it out for the 'Actually' album, as they felt they already had enough energy on the record.

Official VersionsEdit

Studio Versions

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Studio Versions
These versions were originally released in 1987, from the Actually album.
Length Version Title
5:09 Rent
a.k.a (album version)
produced and engineered by Julian Mendelsohn.

3:55 Rent
(single version)
7:06 Rent (extended version)
6:06 Rent (dub)
produced and engineered by Julian Mendelsohn.

remixed by Francois Kevorkian.


We follow the comings and goings of the kept woman mentioned in the song, as she dines with her lover. Neil plays her chauffeur. At the end, Chris meets up with her at a train station when she flees a lavish dining table to go to him.

Cover Versions by Other ArtistsEdit

  • 1989 The Triffids (Island Records)
  • 1990 Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine (Big Cat Records)
  • 1998 Condition Icon (AWP Records)
  • 2002 Frau Doktor
  • 2006 West End Girls
  • 2013 Matt Mancid & Color Theory Feat. Faded Paper Figures

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