Years and Years have covered 'It's a Sin' by Pet Shop Boys for TV drama and it's beautiful

25 January 2021, 16:32

Years and Years' Olly Alexander has covered Pet Shop Boys
Years and Years' Olly Alexander has covered Pet Shop Boys. Picture: BBC/Channel 4

By Tom Eames

The Pet Shop Boys knew a thing or two when it came to putting their own stamp on covering a classic song.

Case and point: their cover of 'Always On My Mind' by Elvis Presley remains one of the greatest cover versions of all time.

While Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe opted for an uptempo take on the classic ballad, Years and Years have done the opposite on a Pet Shop Boys anthem.

Singer Olly Alexander stars in the critically-acclaimed Channel 4 drama - also titled It's a Sin - and to mark the premiere, he released a cover of the song with his band last week.

Listen to the version below:

The new cover is a stunning solo piano version of the classic synth-pop track, and a portion of the proceeds from the song will go to the George House Trust charity.

Talking about the charity’s work, Olly tweeted: “a portion of the proceeds will be donated to George House Trust an incredible charity that have been providing HIV support, advice and advocacy services to improve health outcomes since 1985.”

Read more: The 10 greatest Pet Shop Boys songs, ranked

Written by Russell T Davies, It's a Sin follows five 18-year-olds who move to London in 1981, where their lives are turned upside down by the AIDS crisis.

The Pet Shop Boys are fans of the new version of their song, describing the cover as "beautiful" on social media.

The original song went to number one in 1987, and was inspired by feeling Tennant had got from his time at the Catholic St Cuthbert's High School in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tennant explained that he ended up feeling that everything he had done or was going to do was a sin. He wrote the lyrics about his emotions in a moment of frustration and anger.

Read more: The Story of... 'West End Girls' by Pet Shop Boys

However, he said that it wasn't meant to be something serious: "People took it really seriously; the song was written in about 15 minutes, and was intended as a camp joke and it wasn’t something I consciously took very seriously.

"Sometimes I wonder if there was more to it than I thought at the time. But the local parish priest in Newcastle delivered a sermon on it, and reflected on how the Church changed from the promise of a ghastly hell to the message of love."