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Stock Aitken Waterman


In January 1984, shortly after meeting Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, Pete Waterman asked them to work with him and his recently formed production company. Their initial style was in creating Hi-NRG dance music with “You Think You’re a Man” by Divine (No. 16 UK, July 1984) and “Whatever I Do” by Hazell Dean (No. 4 UK, July 1984). They achieved their first UK No. 1 single in March 1985 with “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive.However, Pete Waterman has said in interviews that the trio were still in dire financial straits at the time.

This success and the trio’s sound attracted the attention of girl group Bananarama. Group member Siobhan Fahey wanted to record a cover version of Shocking Blue’s hit song “Venus”. The result was a pop/Hi-NRG reworking which became a worldwide chart hit, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart on 6 September 1986, and reaching the top 10 in the UK and many other countries. Bananarama went on to make Stock, Aitken and Waterman their main producers, and would collaborate with them on some of their biggest hits, including “Love in the First Degree”, “I Can’t Help It”, and “I Heard A Rumour”. SAW took early notice of the skills of UK engineer, remixer and producer Phil Harding and made him the chief engineer and remixer at the newly formed PWL studios. Harding was another significant force in shaping the sound of a PWL record, and subsequent engineers Pete Hammond and Dave Ford would follow his example. Harding and co-producer/keyboard player Ian Curnow became the club remix and production ‘B-Team’ of PWL Studios with many remixes and productions for internal PWL SAW Productions (Kylie, Bananarama, Dead Or Alive, Mel & Kim) as well as external record company clients (e.g. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson/Jackson 5, Holly Johnson, Pet Shop Boys, Eighth Wonder, Four Tops, Chic, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Jesus Jones, Voice of the Beehive, Gary Moore) which included many U.S. dance chart No. 1s (such as ABC’s “When Smokey Sings”, Imagination’s “Instinctual”, Blue Mercedes’ “I Want To Be Your Property”). They also produced the Princess hit “Say I’m Your Number One”(1985), the Mandy hit “I Just Can’t Wait” (1987), and Sinitta’s “Toy Boy” (1987).