The Hit Factory - Part 1

Stock Aitken & Waterman, better known by the abbreviation SAW, is an English trio of songwriters and producers to this day considered one of the most productive and most importantly effective composition and production associations of all time. With the key more than 100 titles having integrated the English Top40 and 40 million records sold, just that.

The SAW saga began in the early 1980s when the first of the trio, Mike Stock, then renowned composer, met the second of the trio, Matt Aitken, then accomplished guitarist. A meeting which resulted in the creation of a first label in 1982.

But it was only from 1984 that the duo gained momentum and especially joined forces with the third thief of the future trio, namely Pete Waterman, composer and DJ. Trio which released the same year a first title "You think you’re a man" for the singer Divine, drag queen then very in vogue. Followed by little "Whatever I do (Wherever I go)" for another singer who is none other than Hazell Dean. Two titles that will hit the mark and highlight the trio in a shattering way.

So much so that the group Dead Or Alive took a keen interest in them and asked them to produce and arrange their new track "You spin me round (Like a record)". And the result will go well beyond the expectations of the group with the production of a global mega hit the following year in 1985. Mega hit which will literally explode the notoriety of the group, while exploding that of the production trio.

The year 1985 also saw the creation of their new recording studio The Borough, very quickly renamed hit 'The Hit Factory'. A recording studio that sees the production of a first hit with the track "Say I'm your number one" for singer Princess. That same year, it was the Bananarama's turn to appeal to the trio by asking them to revisit the Shocking Blue's flagship title "Venus". New version released the following year in 1986 and which in turn became a global mega-hit.

Also in 1986, it was the turn of the duo Mel & Kim to benefit from the favors of the trio with the production of the title "Showing out (Get fresh at teh weekend)". Flagship title which launches the 2 girls in a sensational way on the front of the English music scene.

The following year in 1987, the 'Hit factory' continued to produce new top hits with the titles "Heartache" for the duo Pepsi & Shirlie, "I jus't can't wait" for Mandy Smith, "In love with love” for Debbie Harry,“Get ready” for Carol Hitchcok and “Toy boy” for Sinitta in particular.

But also, and above all, the huge "Nothing's gonna stop me now" for Samantha Fox, "Never gonna give you up" for Rick Astley and "I should be so lucky" for Kylie Minogue. Three artists then totally unknown and who will become indisputable and undisputed stars in the years that will follow.

The trio also created their own PWL label in 1987, a label which will become one of the planetary references in the years that will follow and one of the very first titles produced will be Kylie Minogue's “I should be so lucky”.

The incredible success of the trio more and more resembles that met a few years before by Motown in the United States, begins to make people envious and arouses more and more jealousy in the community.

This does not prevent them from continuing to fly to stratospheric heights on the success side in 1988 with the production of new titles and above all new artists such as Brother Beyond and Jason Donovan in particular. Which will hit the track "The harder I try" for the first and "Nothing can divide us" for the second. Not to mention the magic association Minogue/Donovan on the track "Especially for you" which will undoubtedly remain as one of the most glamorous hits of the decade.

The year 1989 will remain as the most exceptional vintage of the trio with no less than 7 titles ranked No.1 and 15 titles ranked in the Top5 by English Charts, all SAW artists combined. With new winners like Donna Summer and the title “This time I know it's for real”, Sonia and her “You'll never stop me loving you”, “Blame it on the boogie” for the group Big Fun and “I just don't have the heart ”for Cliff Richard.

An incredible adventure that unfortunately began to falter in mid-1991 when Matt Aitken decided to leave the ship. Then it will be Mike Stock's turn to leave the adventure in his turn two years later in 1993, a Mike Stock who will have recorded the writing or the production of more than three hundred titles classified in the English Top75 and 30 albums having been certified Platinum, just that !

A final departure which will thus put an end to a truly incredible saga, a saga which will have produced an incredible number of planetary mega hits to say the least and which will have made this brilliant trio one of the most inspired and the most productive of this end of the XXth century. century!

To discover or rediscover.

Discography (among others ...) :

  • Agents Aren't Aeroplanes - The upstroke 1984

  • Divine - You Think You're A Man 1984

  • Hazell Dean - Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) 1984

  • Edwina Laurie – Dark glasses 1984

  • Girl Talk - Can The Rhythm 1984

  • Dead Or Alive - You Spin Me Round 1984

  • The Lewis’s – Behind a painted 1984

  • Michael Prince – Dance your love away 1985

  • Spelt Like This - Contract of the heart 1985

  • The Danse Society - Say It Again 1985

  • Princess - Say I'm Your Number One 1985

  • Haywoode - Getting Closer 1985

  • The Three Degress – The heaven I need 1985

  • Brilliant – It’s a man’s man’s man’s world 1985

  • Rin Tin in – Shake it shake it 1985

  • O'Chi Brown - Whenever You Need Somebody 1985

  • Canton – Stay with me 1985

  • Bananarama – Venus 1986

  • Phil Fearon - I Can Prove It 1986

  • Mondo Kane featuring Georgie Fame – New-York Afternoon 1986

  • Splash – Qu’est-ce que c’est ? 1986

  • Jeb Million – Second time around 1986

  • Austin Howard – I’m the one who really loves you 1986

  • Mel & Kim - Showing Out 1986

  • Pepsi & Shirlie – Heartache 1987

Clips :

1984 ... the first title in a saga that will prove to be truly mind-blowing. Who would imagine at this point that the trio that has just been formed will become one of the biggest tube factories of all time ...?!

1984 ... he, or rather she, will have mainly worked in the Hi-NRG niche and my faith, if we remove the excess related to his character, it is clear that he will not have been so ridiculous as it. At least in the musical field ...

Full Article Divine :

1984 ... HER big year. After the remixed version of 'Searchin' which allows her to obtain the biggest success of her career, we find her on her 2nd title of the year 1984. And guess what, it also ends in notable success !

Full Article Hazell Dean

1984 ... surprisingly, this title will go completely under the radar. Just like the singer who interprets it. Casting error as they say ...

1984 ... a career to say the least ephemeral and a single flagship title for this duo which will pass in the musical landscape of the 80s like a comet. As often during this decade, a single title will have been enough for a good number of groups to engrave their name in history. The proof !

1984 ... THIS title arrives for the group. An amazing title that will undoubtedly remain as one of the biggest Dance hits of the decade. The group finally reached the long-awaited consecration and saw its notoriety literally explode. MO-NU-MEN-TAL !

Full Article Dead Or Alive

1984 ... most of the SAW stable's foals will reach the top. Except a few. Including this group which would have deserved to go a little further in the adventure ...

1985 ... new One Shot. The early years of SAWs will not be the most successful. We'll have to be a little more patient to see them shatter everything ...

1985 ... after a year 1984 which saw the trio break in and find their feet, 1985 will see them clearly gain in strength. The best is yet to come !

1985 ... a hallucinating track which sees the group launch out in the Dance. A domain with 1000 places of their know-how. And my faith, they are far from being ridiculous !

Full Article The Danse Society

1985 ... its jewel ! What will remain as his highest ranked title and among the most emblematic of all his discography. The shattering debut of the young singer to say the least !

Full Article Princess

1985 ... a year 1985 of the very first order which saw the young singer aligning 2 hits of very big caliber including this one. In fine fettle !

Full Article Haywoode

1985 ... the totally improbable return of this trio which had its heyday 10 years earlier. A discount to the taste of the day that will allow them to sign a last major hit

Full Article The Three Degrees

1985 ... the group signs here quite simply the biggest success of its short career. A title full of finesse which literally floats in the air and which allows the group to show the best of himself

Full Article Brilliant

1985 ... another One Shot. This time on a totally supercharged title but which will not benefit this group with a particularly short existence more than that ...

1985 ... a BIG year 1985 for the singer with 2 hits in quick succession including this one. But paradoxically, this single will not benefit her the most. But to Rick Astley who takes it two years later and who will make a mega hit. Too bad for her ...

Full Article O'Chi Brown

1986 ... another group with a very ephemeral existence. Sometimes it takes, sometimes it doesn't. For them, unfortunately, it will be the almost direct way out ...

1986 ... the HUGE hit which makes them definitively fit into the musical legend of the 80s. One of the biggest Dance hits of that year. All on a luxury cover of the Schocking Blue title dating from 1968

Full Article Bananarama

1986 ... a title which will not remain like the biggest success of all the discography of the singer but which will have missed the place of leader of little. Anyway, this title will at least have the merit of being his last top hit, that's already it !

Full Article Phil Fearon