The ‘Results’ cover by David LaChapelle
Whenever I have posted on this blog in the past about her mother Judy Garland, some of our less culturally-enlightened (troglodyte) readers accuse me of having “the musical tastes of a middle-aged drag queen”—so what if I do?—but that’s not going to stop me from recommending a somewhat obscure (in the US at least) 1989 collaboration between Liza Minnelli and the Pet Shop Boys.
Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant had already teamed up with Dusty Springfield, providing England’s greatest blue-eyed soul singer with a featured role in their “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” worldwide smash, her first hit single after two decades away from the pop charts, so the Pet Shop Boys producing Liza Minnelli’s comeback album must have seemed like a natural fit. Minnelli, who had not been in the recording studio since 1977, was already a fan of theirs, they of her, so it was apparently a bit of a love affair from the very start, Liza having a demonstrated knack (like her mother before her) for falling for gay men…
The results of the pairing of the chart-topping duo, then at the height of their hit-making powers and the showbiz royalty (who was working around her London concerts with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. during the sessions) were so stellar they opted to call the album Results, in keeping with the one word nomenclature customary for PSB releases. The material, cannily selected with Minnelli’s own tabloid-documented experiences—and age, at the time she was 43—in mind came together to sound exactly like what you’d think it would sound like with Minnelli’s iconic powerful/tender/vulnerable/triumphant voice placed atop typical (but by no means second rate) Pet Shop Boys symphonic electronic disco beats. Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti and Anne Dudley from the Art of Noise did the orchestral arrangements.
Originally released in September of 1989, Results went gold in the UK and Spain, with the “Losing My Mind” single hitting number #6 in the British singles chart. In America however, Results didn’t even make the top 100 and it was easy to find the CD for cheap in the cut-out bins not so long after it came out. It remains an undiscovered gem. Results spawned four singles: “Losing My Mind”; “Don’t Drop Bombs”; “So Sorry, I Said” and “Love Pains.” There was also a VHS video EP release titled Visible Results. The by now 28-year-old album has just been given a make-over in the form of a remastered and expanded edition three CD and one DVD box set by Cherry Red Records and hopefully it will (deservedly) pick up some new admirers with this latest iteration.
If you are even slightly curious if the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minnelli are indeed two great tastes that taste great together, then I am pretty sure that you will love this album. But the beauty of writing about pop culture these days is that you don’t have to take my word for it, you can simply hit play on this clip of Minnelli lip-syncing “Love Pains” and make up your own mind:
Minnelli performing Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” and then getting the Grammy Living Legends award from Herbie Hancock in 1990
With the Pet Shop Boys on ‘Wogan’
“So Sorry, I Said” on ITV’s ‘The Dame Edna Experience’ in 1989
NY Times critic Ben Brantley once wrote of Minnelli that “She asks for love so nakedly and earnestly, it seems downright vicious not to respond.” Nowhere is this quality on better display than in her heartbreaking version of “Rent”
“If There Was Love”
The “Don’t Drop Bombs” music video