The Hit Factory - Part 3

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 ...) :

  • Big Fun - Blame It on the Boogie 1989

  • Cliff Richard - I Just Don't Have The Heart 1989

  • Lonnie Gordon - Happenin' All Over Again 1990

  • Romi & Jazz - One Love, One World 1990

  • Yell! - One Thing Leads to Another 1990

  • Grand Plaz - Wow Wow Na Na 1990

  • L. A. Mood ‎- Olé Olé Olé 1990

  • Errol Brown - Send a Prayer (To Heaven) 1990

  • Delage – Rock the boat 1990

  • The Twins - All mixed up 1991

  • Boy Krazy -That's what love can do 1991

  • Fresh - Did I say 'Ti amo' ? 1992

  • Bill Tarmey - One voice 1993

  • Suzette Charles - Free to love again 1993

  • Kuttin' Edge Feat Dale Joyner - I believe in you 1994

  • Worlds Apart - Same old promises 1994

  • Delage - Ain't no cure 1997

Clips :

1989 ... pure product group SAW which will know its hour of glory thanks to this luxury cover of the title of a named Jackson. Not Michael, no, no. But in truth Mick Jackson, English singer-songwriter. And yes, this emblematic title of the Jackons is not really them ...

1989 ... a perfectly successful Hi-NRG turn which puts the singer once again on the front of the stage. The end of the decade are particularly beneficial to it, that's clear !

Full Article Cliff Richard

1990 ... as soon as the SAWs are in the area, it necessarily pays off. And it will pay off so much that the singer signs here the biggest success of her entire career and obtains her one, and only, mega global hit. MAS-TER-FUL !

Full Article Lonnie Gordon

1990 ... new duo of SAW which will know its hour of glory only on 1 title. For the 2 girls, it will be THIS title. A title which will not remain as the best classified of the Hit factory but which holds up, like all the titles produced by this team

1990 ... same fate for this exclusively male duo this time. The inspiration is there but the SAW can no longer find new rare gems that manage to last. Unfortunately, times are getting harder, even for the best ...

1990 ... an ultra dance version of a standard from the 60s, a standard attributed at the time to a fictitious group called Steam. Title already taken up in 1983 by one of the flagship groups of the SAW team, namely the Bananarama ...

1990 ... yet another One Shot that will go unanswered. The main thing being for the SAW that the title works. After, that the group which interprets it pierces at the highest level, so much the better. If not so be it...

1990 ... the exception which makes the rule here with one of the very rare Intimist pieces produced by the Hit Factory. A nice title that works very well. What more !

Full Article Errol Brown

1990 ... here comes an ultra Dance version of the flagship title of the Hues Corporation dating from 1973. Revisited version which will not bring much more than the original version but which largely holds up

1991 ... another duo, this time of twin sisters, sisters Gayle and Gillian Blakeney. Duo of shock and charm that had everything to succeed. Unfortunately, fate, cruel fate, will decide quite otherwise. When it's written, we can't fight as we say ...

1991 ... few titles on the clock of this 100 % female American group but some great successes. Including this title which will undoubtedly remain as their most successful !

1992 ... new family duo with this time 2 brothers at the helm, brothers Steven and Roger Wright. The family duo will have walked only once with the Appelby sisters. All the others will unfortunately have failed in their quest for glory ...

1993 ... in an ocean of Dance titles, it happens to SAW to produce this kind of titles. Completely outside the standards of the moment and completely outside the expectations of the public. And yet, it works !

1993 ... a former Miss America who will experience her artistic glory days with this title. Unfortunately, it will indeed be his only record success worthy of the name ...

1994 ... the last years of the Hit Factory. 10 years after its creation, the concept is living its last hours and is not producing much. The year 1994 will see the release of only 4 small titles and only this title will come out of the game ...

1994 ... a title of the group that will go unnoticed to say the least. And yet the title is far from unworthy. But when it does not want more, it does not want anymore ... not necessarily for the Worlds Apart but especially for the SAW ...

1997 ... a first version interpreted by the Bananarama will be released in 1991. Without success. Delage puts it back six years later. And the result will be...the same unfortunately. Decidedly, nothing is going anymore in the Hit Factory. The end of an extraordinary adventure which produced an incredible number of mega hits, to say the least, and which will remain almost unique in its kind !

Wiki :

Mike Stock Official Website :

Pete Waterman Official Website :

Discography :

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