rom the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman were the complete hit-making factory. They started out by creating high energy dance music (known as Hi NRG music) then became famous for churning out a more mainstream disco pop style.
The three men met in 1984 when Waterman had recently set up a production company. He invited Stock and Aitken to join him in his venture and they began collaborating as songwriters and producers.
Money was tight in the early days and for a long time it was touch and go as to whether the partnership could survive. They had the energy and the record-buying public had the appetite for the music they were producing but it was an expensive operation and perhaps growing a little too fast for their budget.
One of the first songs the team worked on together was the 1984 Eurovision entry for Cyprus. The song was called Anna Maria Lena and was performed in Greek by Greek Cypriot singer, Andy Paul.
Just as Berry Gordy and The Tamla Motown team had done two decades before, SAW (Stock Aitken & Waterman) set about creating an artist development programme which controlled all aspects of a new artist’s career. In the main, this seemed to work quite well for all concerned.
As the partnership matured and new artists shot to stardom, the SAW sound became instantly recognisable and it seemed like there was nothing that could stop this team dominating the British charts.
However, by mid – 1990, music fashion was changing and the SAW hit factory sound was starting to sound cheesy and dated. They were struggling to make a mark on the singles chart. Matt Aitken left the team due to stress, leaving Stock and Waterman to carry on for a couple more years with Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue keeping the brand alive.
Jason Donovan left them in 1991 and Kylie in 1992. The partnership fizzled out with just minor hits in 1993 by Bananarama and two top 10 hits by Sybil. At the end of that year, Mike Stock and Pete Waterman parted company.
The SAW team re-united as producers in 1994 when they were asked by Simon Cowell to work with the acting duo, Robson and Jerome who had enormous success with a number of cover songs from the sixties.
Rolling forward to 2005, Stock Aitken & Waterman re-united again and released a CD+DVD album, Stock Aitken Waterman Gold, featuring some of their best-known singles.
Here is a very short list of hit songs written and produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman:
Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
I Should be so Lucky – Kylie Minogue
Too Many Broken Hearts – Jason Donovan
The Harder I Try – Brother Beyond
When I’m Good & Ready - Sybil (Stock & Waterman)
Respectable – Mel & Kim
You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You – Sonia
Toy Boy – Sinitta
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now – Samantha Fox
Better The Devil You Know – Kylie Minogue
I Heard a Rumour – Bananarama (with Bananarama)
Especially For You – Kylie & Jason
Together Forever – Rick Astley