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Stock Aitken Waterman

From Academic Kids

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(From left to right) Pete Waterman, Matt Aitken and Mike Stock in 1987.

Stock Aitken Waterman, sometimes known as SAW, were a British songwriting and record producing trio who had great success during the mid-late 1980s and early 1990s with many of their productions. The three can be considered to be the most successful songwriting and producing partnership of all time, scoring over 200 top 40 UK hits in the mid 1980s to early 1990s.

The trio consisted of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman.

On January 15, 1984, shortly after meeting Aitken and Stock, Waterman asked them to work with him and his recently formed production company, Pete Waterman Limited (PWL). Their initial style was Hi-NRG with a cover version of "You Think You're a Man" by Divine (#16 UK Jul 1984) and "Whatever I Do" by Hazell Dean (#4 UK Jul 1984). They struck gold in March 1985 when "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive reached number one in UK. However, Pete Waterman has said in interviews that the trio were still in dire financial straits at the time.

Following this success their style changed to a more mainstream style of catchy (some would say annoying) bubblegum synth pop, with attractive singers. They typically worked by writing the songs, recording the music with extensive use of synthesizers, drum machines (drums were often credited to "A Linn", a sly reference to the Linn brand of drum machine) and sequencers and then bringing in a singer solely to record the vocal track. Their prodigious, production line-like output led to them being referred to as the hit factory (not to be confused with the record label of the same name) and attracted criticism from many quarters. However, Pete Waterman defended their style by comparing it to the output of Motown in the 1960s.

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Stock, Aitken and Waterman with Kylie Minogue, c. 1989

Their most successful artist was Kylie Minogue, a young actress from Melbourne, Australia who was well known for her role in the soap opera, Neighbours. Her first 13 singles reached the UK top 10 and her debut "I Should Be So Lucky" spent 5 weeks at number one (in UK). The album Kylie was the highest selling album of 1988, and 5th highest selling album of the decade. They were also responsible for the 1987's highest selling single - Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". At the height of their fame, Stock Aitken and Waterman also had a Top Ten hit as themselves with the largely instrumental "Roadblock".

In 1989 they wrote and produced the highest selling album of the year - Jason Donovan's Ten Good Reasons. Donovan was Minogue's co-star in Neighbours and his success for a time equalled hers. In 1988-'89, the trio recorded three tracks with Judas Priest. These tracks were never released, and are said to be in Judas Priest's possession.

Another of SAW's most successful hit singles was the 1989 number one single "Ferry 'cross the Mersey" (a charity single featuring The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney and Gerry Marsden.)

Waterman made no attempt to hide his hostility towards the sampling culture prevalent at the time, and when M/A/R/R/S sampled "Roadblock" for their track "Pump Up the Volume" he was quick to instigate legal action against them. However, he always stated that it was a matter of principle rather than profit and pledged to donate all the royalties from the court case to charity.

Pete Waterman's career as a record producer preceded his collaborations with Stock and Aitken, and continued after the demise of the trio as an entity.

Contents

List of acts who have performed songs written or produced by SAW

See Also

Trivia

  • The ubiquitousness of their productions led some who were less impressed with their style to re-interpret the abbreviation "SAW" to mean "Stop Atiken Waterman!"
  • British duo "Stockhausen and Walkman" chose their name as a play on words, referencing SAW, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and the SONY Walkman.

External links

  • StockAitkenWaterman.Com (http://www.stockaitkenwaterman.com/) - Stock Aitken Waterman & PWL | cafe80s (This site is owned by fan of SAW called Jeremy Kay)
  • Arcor.De (http://home.arcor.de/thehitfactory/English-Home/english-home.html) - Fan site
  • Lycos.de (http://mitglied.lycos.de/thehitfactory/English-Home/english-home.html) - Fan site
  • Chello.At (http://members.chello.at/mobius/main.html)de:Stock Aitken Waterman
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