Stock-Aitken-Waterman: The production trio that created the British sound of the ' 80s

This article is dedicated to the real wizards of the world show business who turned unknown artists into real stars: Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman.

Stock, Aitken, Waterman: history, artists, songs

In the middle 80s – beginning 90s London team Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman was well done team producers and songwriters. The trio had a reputation magiciansthat turned the unknown artists in real stars. At that time, many performers believed that the fastest and easiest way to achieve great success was to work with a musical group L.A. & Babyface or duet Jam & Lewis; and in England pop musicians same way sought collaborate with Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

When Stock, Aitken and waterman produced some album, they usually immediately prepared to receive a lot sharp reviews from British and American critics. But it often happens that what you like criticsand what loves public, does not match, so you can't help but admire the professionalism of Stock, Aitken, and Waterman. They have helped many British artists become successful: for example teams "Dead or Alive" and "Bananarama", singer Rick Astley.

Stock, Aitken, Waterman (Stock, Aitken, Waterman) with Rick Astley (Rick Astley)
Stock, Aitken, Waterman (Stock, Aitken, Waterman) with Rick Astley (Rick Astley)

Beginning of work

Pete Waterman in the 1970s he worked for various labels including "Magnet Records" and "Silver Convention". But work went on hard, и disappointment came at the end of the decade, when the musical group "The Specials" left him. Soon waterman started collaborating again with Peter Collins, this creative union was known as "Loose End Productions". They managed to record hits with a British singer Traily Ullman, musical groups "The Belle Stars" and "Musical Youth".

However, during the recording of the second album "Musical Youth" between Waterman and Collins arose tension, and Pete switched to Stiff Records. It was there that he met Mike Stock and Matt Aitken.

Pete Waterman today
Pete Waterman today

Managed Barry Evangeli Proto Records provided SAW (Stock, Aitken, Waterman) all of his early work, and waterman moved into their small office. First products SAW have stylized their names as credits films - it was whim Waterman, which was quickly abandoned, but the actual separation labor inside the trio obscure and over the years it has become source all problems within the team.

Talking about who is what role played in songwriting, it is worth referring to the quote David Howells, Managing Director of PWL:

"Was there Pete author songs in the conventional sense? No he was not. But he supplied Mike and Matt recordsthat he heard ideas and titlesfrom which the songs were created. Without him these records were not would have been made."

Record "Stock, Aitken, Waterman Gold" with the best hits of the producers
Record "Stock, Aitken, Waterman Gold" with the best hits of the producers


They soon began work with the Liverpool group "Dead or Alive", whose greatest hits were a copious mixture euro disco and pop rock. Produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman in 1985 band album "Youthquake" was the record that took the band to first place. Infectious single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" became hit both in the UK and America, and "Lover Come Back to Me" was also an equally successful track. In 1986 trio released another album for "Dead or Alive" "Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know", which included hits "Something in My House", "I'll Save You All My Kisses" and "Brand New Lover". While the participants "Dead or Alive" wrote own songs, Stock, Aitken and Waterman had time work and with other artists.

In in 1987 SAW worked with Rick Astley and wrote most of the songs for his debut album "Whenever You Need Someday", including title track and hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". Both compositions became incredibly popular, especially in England and the USA.

In the end 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman also produced and wrote a single for singer Samantha Fox. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now". In addition, they have worked with British girl groups. Mel and Kim and "Bananarama", the last of which, in 1986, Stock, Aitken, and Waterman helped write remake for a song Venus rock bands "Shocking Blue". Other big hits from the 80s that the team did for Bananarama included "Love in the First Degree" and "I Heard a Rumor".

But not all artistswho worked with Stock, Aitken and Waterman were the British. The American singer also addressed them Donna Summer. The producers helped write her an album "Summer's Another Place and Time", which included the hit "This Time I Know It's for Real".

In the late 80s and early 90s, the team actively worked with the Australian superstar Kylie Minogue and created such hits as "I Should Be So Lucky", "Better the Devil You Know", "Shocked" and "What Do I Have to Do?". In addition to producing, they wanted to control image artistes. But over time, the artist tired constant supervision by producers: she wanted to participate in the creative process equallyand not just execute instructions. occasion to the gap was that Kylie and the producers broke up looks at her image in the clip. Trio wanted to portray Minogue as a simple girl from next door - something like a dance-pop version Meg Ryan. Kylie wanted to create more seductive image reminiscent of Madonna. IN 1992 Minogue broke up with the London hitmakers.

Among other artists with whom Stock, Aitken and waterman worked in the early 90s, were a pop singer Lonnie Gordon and American singer Cybillbut in the second half of the decade popularity producers decreased.

End of joint activity

In the end 1993 Stock stopped cooperation with Waterman due to disagreements on a financial matter. In 1994, Stock and Aitken began to work together again: they formed Love This Records and achieved some success in the UK in the 1990s. Waterman continued to manage PWL Records.

In 2005, three producers reunited and released a CD+DVD album «Stock Aitken Waterman Gold» with some of their most famous singles. After that, Aitken soon left.

In December 2015, Stock, Aitken and Waterman again returned and released a remix of the written Chris Martin kylie minogue song «Every Day's Like Christmas».

The era of the production trinity is over, as is its famous British sound from the 80s. Still the songs SAW still performed in different places, and the best of them remain popular.

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