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What is Neil Tennant’s Net Worth?

Neil Tennant is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and music journalist who has a net worth of $14 million. Neil Tennant is best known for being the co-founder of the synthpop duo, Pet Shop Boys. Tennant worked as a journalist for Smash Hits and also served as assistant editor for the magazine.

The British actor David Tennant was actually born David McDonald. When he learned there was another David McDonald in the acting guild he wanted to join, he changed his name to David Tennant, intentionally as a reference to Neil.

Early Life

Neil Tennant was born in North Shields, Tyneside, England on July 10, 1954. Neil Francis Tennant was born to William W. Tennant (1923–2009), a sales representative, and Sheila M. (Watson) Tennant (1923–2008). He has an older sister, Susan, and two younger brothers, Simon and Philip. The family moved to Greenfield Road, Brunton Park, shortly after Neil was born.

As a child, Tennant attended St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School, an all-boys Catholic school in Newcastle. His songs “This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave” and “It’s a Sin” refer to his early life in a Catholic school and its strict upbringing. While at school, Tennant played the guitar and cello.

At age 16, he played in a folk music group named Dust, whose most popular song was called “Can You Hear the Dawn Break?”. They were heavily influenced by The Incredible String Band. During his teenage years, he was a member of the youth theatre at the People’s Theatre, Newcastle.

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Early Career

In 1975, having completed a degree in history at North London Polytechnic (now part of London Metropolitan University), Tennant worked for two years as the production editor for Marvel UK, the UK branch of Marvel Comics. He was responsible for anglicizing the dialogue of Marvel’s catalog to suit British readers and for indicating where women needed to be redrawn for the British editions. He also wrote occasional features for the comics, including interviews with pop stars Marc Bolan and Alex Harvey.

In 1977, Tennant transferred to Macdonald Educational Publishing, where he edited “The Dairy Book of Home Management” and various illustrated books about cookery, playing the guitar, and other home interests. He then moved to ITV Books, where he edited TV tie-in books.

After having commissioned Steve Bush, then the designer of “Smash Hits” and “The Face,” to design a book about the group “Madness,” Tennant was offered a job at “Shash Hits” as a news editor of the British teen pop magazine in 1982. The following year, he became assistant editor. He also edited “The Smash Hits Yearbook” from 1982 to 1985. At “Smash Hits,” an opportunity arose for him to go to New York to interview The Police and other big-name bands.

(Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Pet Shop Boys

In 1981, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in the hi-fi shop Chelsea Record Centre in Chelsea, London. Tennant had purchased a Korg MS-10 synthesizer, which sparked a conversation with Lowe. Discovering that they had a mutual interest in disco and electronic music, they became friends. Later that year, the two formed the synth-pop duo band, the Pet Shop Boys.

The Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and were listed as the most successful duo in UK music history in the 1999 edition of “The Guinness Book of Records.” They are three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees. Since 1984, they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles, 22 of these being Top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart, including four UK No. 1’s: “West End Girls” (also No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100), “It’s a Sin,” a synth-pop version of “Always on My Mind,” and “Heart.”

Tennant and Lowe say their band name was taken from friends who worked in a pet shop in Ealing and were known as the “pet shop boys.” They also noted a naming similarity with the recently formed rap rock group Beastie Boys.

In August 1983, Tennant, who was still an assistant editor at “Smash Hits,” went to New York to interview Sting. While there, he arranged to meet hi-NRG producer Bobby Orlando and gave him a demo tape containing “It’s a Sin” and “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money).” Orlando was sold, and from 1983 to 1984, he recorded 11 tracks with Tennant and Lowe.  In April 1984, the Orlando-produced “West End Girls” was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

At the 2009 Brit Awards in London, the Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2016, Billboard newspaper named the Pet Shop Boys as the No. 1 dance duo/group over the 40 years since the chart’s inception in 1976. In 2017, the duo received NME’s Godlike Genius Award.

Personal Life

Tennant came out as gay in a 1994 interview in Attitude magazine. Tennant is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. He has criticized ageism in the music industry, stating in 2013 that radio professionals would tell him that they wanted to play Pet Shop Boys songs on the air, but would not because the duo, then in their 50s, were considered to be “too old.”

In 1998, Tennant was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party. However, in the 2005 general election, he voted for the Liberal Democrats, citing disillusionment with Labour’s ID card scheme.

Tennant maintains a house in London and another in County Durham in the countryside of North East England. He and Lowe also have an apartment in Berlin.

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