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Friday, 27 March 2015

My 30 Favourite Stock Aitken and Waterman Songs



Stock Aitken & Waterman were a trio of British songwriters and record producers made up of Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken - hence the name Stock Aitken and Waterman -, also known by their initials as SAW and PWL (Pete Waterman Ltd). Nicknamed 'The Hit Factory', they are considered to be one of the most successful pop songwriting and producing partnerships of all-time, achieving over 100 UK top 40 hit singles, 13 number 1 hits and were crowned songwriters of the year, 3 years in a row throughout the mid -1980s to early 1990s. 

Stock Aitken and Waterman attained mainstream success in the UK with a mixture of Hi-NRG sound, Eurobeat and Italo Disco, as well as Pop. Along with Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Bananarama, Rick Astley, the SAW/PWL coalition became the British equivalent of the Motown assembly line. Rick Astley and Kylie, in particular, went on to enjoy international success. Kylie Minogue is the most successful post-PWL artist; after she left SAW, she recorded hits such as the anthemic 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' of the 2000s. 

Like Max Martin and Cheiron with Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney Spears in the 1990s, they were criticized and ridiculed a lot by the music press, as well as by many general music fans for their upbeat, cheesy pop music and infectious hand claps & cowbells; but Mike, Pete and Matt had a formula, and it worked. Much to the delight of fans of upbeat, fun pop. Their talent and ability to carve out a catchy hit song was unquestionable and with the songs, some of them have become trademark PWL classics and fan favourites in clubs, in karaoke bars and with fans in general around the world. The trio matched the songs with the singers they felt would suit each melody best. SAW even branched out to R&B with Princess's 'Say I'm Your Number One' and Kylie Minogue's 'Let's Get To It' album. 




Whatever your views are in regards to Stock Aitken and Waterman, whether you love em' or loathe them, they became a success in their own right and you can't take away their achievements and their record of securing 100+ British top 40 singles. It's a pretty amazing feat; no other pop producing team has managed to exceed this record, not even Max Martin and Cheiron Studios, who with American acts Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, were the 90s Scandinavian equivalent to SAW. 

I chose and compiled 30 of my all-time favourite Stock, Aitken and Waterman songs; there are so much more, but these were the songs that resonated with me the most, as well as they were the soundtrack to my childhood with a few surprises thrown in. It wasn't easy selecting 30 of them, but if you are a SAW fan, then one of your favourite songs will probably be on this list. 

*last updated: 10 October 2017



Got To Be Certain - Kylie Minogue; my favourite Kylie song of all-time





Take Me To Your Heart - Rick Astley; my favourite Rick Astley song and overlooked by many, who favour the famous rickrolling tune, 'Never Gonna Give You Up'




You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead or Alive 




That's What Love Can Do - Boy Krazy - I know people have said that SAW wasn't as successful in the 1990s as they were in the 1980s, but this song had 'smash hit' written all over it




RSVP - Jason Donovan; PWL had a bit of a mixed 90s decade but with Kylie Minogue's Better The Devil You Know, Boy Krazy's That's What Love Can Do and Jason Donovan's RSVP, they were, by and large, the standouts from this particular period for The Hit Factory. This was Jason's 'Better The Devil You Know', and also a reference to the Kylie Minogue song in terms of similarity. For me, this is my favourite song he has done 



This Time I Know It's For Real - Donna Summer; everyone knows Hot Stuff, On The Radio and I Feel Love from the disco era of the 70s, but Donna with PWL had success with this song in the 80s. This is my personal favourite song of hers. Considered by many as the comeback song for Donna, but also and arguably the greatest song produced by PWL



Happenin' All Over Again - Lonnie Gordon; this song was initially offered to Donna Summer, however, she turned it down. Happenin' All Over Again is a timeless and bonafide dance anthem almost 30 years on. 





Love In The First Degree - Bananarama; 'GUILTY!!'. That is all  




Say I'm Your Number One - Princess 





Let's Get To It - Kylie Minogue; vocally, this is one of Kylie Minogue's best efforts with Let's Get To It's' early R&B smooth sound




She Wants To Dance With Me - Rick Astley 





That's The Way It Is - Mel and Kim




All I Wanna Do (Is Make You Mine) - Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan; this sounds a lot like John Travolta and Olivia Newton John's 'You're The One That I Want'  from the movie, Grease 




Let's All Chant - Pat & Mick; cover of the Michael Zeiger Band's 70's disco tune with a PWL flavour 





I Just Wanna Spend Some Time With You- Sinitta; this has dislodged Cross My Broken Heart as my favourite Sinitta track of hers. Was written and produced by Pete Hammond 




I Just Can't Wait - Mandy Smith 





Did I Say 'Ti Amo'? - Fresh; a one-hit-wonder penned by Mike Stock and Pete Waterman and one of the countless others from SAW's back catalogue, I could have envisaged the London Boys doing a cover of this one. Still a catchy effort 





Turn it Up - Michael Davidson 





Handful of Promises - Big Fun 





Cross My Heart - Eighth Wonder; there was also a version released by Martika, although it wasn't released as a single, in contrast to Eighth Wonder's rendition. I do prefer this SAW production, courtesy of Pete Hammond





Breakaway - Donna Summer, (PWL remix)





Boys (Summertime Love) - Sabrina 





Climb To The Top Of The Mountain - 
Sonia 



 
One Thing Leads To Another - Yell; originally by girl group, Boy Krazy, this was also done by duo Yell!, and another SAW cover whereby I prefer the unreleased version over the official single version, particularly Paul Varney's vocals which shine here 




 
After You're Gone - Suzette Charles; an unreleased track featuring former Miss America winner, Suzette Charles, this breezy effort is another underrated gem that flew under the radar & listening to it today, is a terrific song. 




 
Turn it into Love - Hazel Dean; song made famous by Kylie Minogue, PWL chose to release Kylie's version over Hazel's. I like the production values of this rendition more than the single version by Kylie. 




Whenever You Need Somebody - O'Chi Brown; 2nd version of the song, which was first recorded by Rick Astley. Again another SAW track where I prefer the production values of the unreleased single version. 




 
Requiem - London Boys 





The Time Warp - Damian; made famous on the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie, this is given a SAW revamp




 
(Ain't Nobody Loves You) Like I Do - Latoya Jackson; this innocent-sounding track from one of Michael Jackson's sister's masks the irony of the lyrics, which also should have been released as an official single

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