In 1983, my publisher, Kathleen Carey at Unicity, a division of MCA, introduced me to British music manager Tom Watkins. He has seen a piece of my art in her office and asked I would come to London to do a portrait of his new group, Pet Shop Boys, for their fan club stationary. "West End Girls" was a hit in Europe but wasn't out in the states yet. I flew to London in December 1984 and while they were posing for me, Neil Tennant asked me why they had never heard of me before. I told him it was because I had just started painting a few months before and I really was a songwriter who wrote primarily Black pop songs. After a second he turned to me and said "You're not the A. Willis on those Earth, Wind & Fire records are you?". I said yes and ended up staying in London and extra week to write and demo "What Have I Done To Deserve This". My recollection of writing the song varies a little from theirs. They had never collaborated with anyone before. I remember Chris being very uptight and stomping out of the room and Neil having to calm him down. Also, I was a horrible keyboard player, which I remain to this day. I was very frustrated because we weren't getting anywhere and I just started playing, as best I could, a couple of things I had been tinkering around with before I came to London -the tinkling piano figure that plays throughout the verse as well as most of the chorus chords and melody. Chris came up with the music under the B section ("I bought you drinks, I brought you flowers...") and Neil came in with the title and basic concept of the song. We didn't finish the lyrics, which Neil took the lead on, until we were actually in the studio recording the demo. I had also brought all my chips for my Linn Drum machine with me, a very big deal at the time, and those sounds helped me define the feel of the song. I sang the parts that Dusty Springfield eventually sang and Neil sang the same parts he did on the record. Chris played just about everything I think. I loved writing songs with incongruent parts, of which "What Have I Done To Deserve This" is my favorite, but there was a lot of worry on both Neil and Chris' part for two years before they finally recorded it that they didn't know which section was the chorus.
I remember both Chris and Neil saying at the demo session that they'd love Dusty to sing it with them. I knew her manager, Vicky Wickham, very well and had also written a song with David Lasley that Dusty had cut in 1981. "I Wish That Love Would Last". She cut another song of mine written with Lauren Wood. "Send It To Me", after I wrote WHIDTDT. It took a couple of years of phone calls from Neil and Chris as well as from me trying to convince Dusty to record the song as she hated the music business and was reluctant to get involved again. "What Have I Done To Deserve This" became the second largest selling song of her career after "Son Of A Preacher Man".