“Domino Dancing” is a song by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, released as the lead single from their 3rd studio album, Introspective (1988). It reached #7 on the UK Singles Chart and topped the charts in Finland, Poland and Spain.
Written by Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, and influenced by Latin pop, the song was produced by Lewis A. Martinée, the Miami-based producer behind 1980s freestyle groups such as Exposé. The song was recorded at Martinée’s studio in Miami, resulting in a considerably large number of studio musicians for a Pet Shop Boys song being featured on it.
The duo had achieved 3 #1s in 1987 and 1988, and Domino Dancing was expected to continue this success. However, the public reception to the duo’s new Latin sound proved disappointing. Tennant remembers: “…it entered the charts at #9 and I thought, ‘that’s that, then – it’s all over’. I knew then that our imperial phase of #1 hits was over.”
The single missed the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #18, and was the duo’s 6th and, to date, last top-20 entry in the United States. (In fact, they have not made the top 60 since “Domino Dancing”.) The song did reach #5 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, where the duo have seen more consistent success.
The music video for “Domino Dancing” was directed by Eric Watson and was his 6th of 11 collaborations with the band. The storyline is about a love triangle between 2 handsome young men who are fighting over a beautiful woman. Rolling Stone magazine calls the video “probably the most homoerotic pop video ever made”, citing the slow-motion shots of the boys wrestling on the beach:
The video was taped in about 4 days in the old colonial district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1988. One of the locations that was featured in the music video is the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery.
All the lead actors were Puerto Rican; the two boys were David Boira and Adalberto Martinez Mojica and the girl was Donna Bottman, who was an aspiring actress and model. All of them were cast by the Pet Shop Boys.