A new documentary on Channel 5 shows the extraordinary success of pop producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, Pete Waterman. Since the mid-1980s, SAW propelled an array of session singers and soap opera stars (and a legendary disco queen) to astonishing chart triumphs, racking up over 100 Top 40 hits. Simon Cowell would start his own music producer campaign to take the industry by storm around the same time, scoring his first hit song in 1986 with ex-girlfriend Sinitta’s So Macho. But he was less than macho with his reaction to the crown jewel of SAW.
Stock Aitken Waterman: Legends of Pop is the first part of a new series on Channel 5, Secrets of the Hitmakers and airs on Saturday nights.
In addition to discussing her work with Rick Astley, Jason Donovan, Hazell Dean, and Mel and Kim, the show takes a look at what happened behind the scenes with the signing and launch of Kylie Minogue.
On the show, Simon Cowell looks back on his devastation over the Australian pop princess.
Cowell said: “I got a phone call from Pete who said, ‘Have you heard of this show called Neighbours?’ I said yes.’ He said, do you know who Kylie Minogue is? I said, ‘No.’
“He said, ‘I have a contract with Mushroom Records. They want me to sign a contract with Kylie Minogue. Will you sign her?’ I said, ‘Yeah, if you do the record of her. He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, I won’t book her then.’
“For about five years I felt physically sick every time I heard one of her records, thinking, ‘God, if she had signed me, my label would have gone crazy.’
In fact, Cowell’s early pop success had not lasted and by 1989 his company Fanfare Records collapsed and he was near bankrupt.
It was Cowell’s inspired signing of Robson and Jerome and their 1995 recording of Unchained Melody that would set Cowell firmly on the path to industry dominance.
Meanwhile, Stock, Aitken, and Waterman had confronted Kylie. Initially, they were not particularly sure that it would be a hit for her and admitted that they created her smash hit in a last minute rush because they had forgotten that she was flying in from Australia to record with them.
Famously, after she left, SAW put I Should Be So Lucky aside and forgot about it.
Of the new documentary, Mike Stock said, “David (Howells, the CEO of PWL Records) came up to me and said, ‘Kylie’s at the front desk.'” I said, ‘Kylie who?'”
Pete Waterman was in Manchester and apologized for not telling him he was coming and suggested they tell him to come back. But Stock didn’t want to be rude, so he persuaded Aiken to quickly write something with him.
Stock added: “David had told me all about her, everything in her life seemed wonderful. Why does she want to become a pop star, does she have everything she needs?
“She’s a… a famous actress, she’s doing everything… why does she want to work with us? I thought maybe she doesn’t have love. She has everything else, but she really wants love. And she doesn’t.” .. ‘she Should be so lucky in love…’ I finished the first verse and said to Matt, ‘Matt, go over there, write a second verse, follow the meter.’
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