A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman
Chart Beats has launched its first podcast: A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman, which is working its way through every single produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman in chronological order. Each episode, hosts Gavin Scott and Matthew Denby cover a handful of tracks, sharing memories of the songs, discussing the stories behind their release, debating whether they were as big a hit (or miss) as they deserved to be and talking to some of the artists and studio talent behind them. Listen on Apple, Spotify, all other major podcast platforms or right here!
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EPISODE 1: The Upstroke to Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)
In the very first episode of Chart Beats: A Journey Through SAW, we look at the first four Stock Aitken Waterman productions from 1984: "The Upstroke" by Agents Aren't Aeroplanes, "Anna Mari Elena" by Andy Paul, "You Think You're A Man" by Divine and "Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)" by Hazell Dean, who joins us to talk about the genesis of SAW's first ever UK top 5 hit.
BONUS CONTENT: We hear more from Hazell Dean about the early days of her career and being signed to Proto Records. Plus, Gavin and Matt take a closer look at those early credits on SAW's singles. Listen here.
EPISODE 2: Dark Glasses to Back In My Arms (Once Again)
We continue A Journey Through SAW with the next four singles produced by Stock Aitken Waterman: "Dark Glasses" by Edwina Lawrie, who joins us for a chat about her Nik Kershaw cover; "Can The Rhythm" by Girl Talk; "I'm So Beautiful" by Divine, about which we talk with mix engineer and producer Phil Harding; and "Back In My Arms (Once Again)" by Hazell Dean, who is back to tell us a story about that song we'd never heard before.
EPISODE 3: You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
It was SAW's first UK number 1 single, and "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" by Dead Or Alive is paid due respect as Gavin and Matt take an in-depth look at one of the most enduring singles produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. Mixmaster Phil Harding, who worked on the track, joins us to talk about how Dead Or Alive came to work with SAW, what singer Pete Burns wanted from the production, the tension during the mixing session, the song's slow climb to the top of the UK chart and its legacy.
BONUS CONTENT: We look at some of the remixes, re-releases, samples and covers of "You Spin Me Round", plus pick out the highlights from Dead Or Alive's non-SAW catalogue. Plus, Phil Harding goes into greater detail about the legendary Murder Mix of the song. Listen here.
EPISODE 4: No Fool (For Love) to Dance Your Love Away
We kick off our look at Stock Aitken Waterman's 1985 output with a couple of controversial projects. On the one hand, there is three-piece pop group Spelt Like This, described by Pete Waterman as "the biggest travesty I've been involved in". What did the band's singer think? We find out. And on the other hand, there's Michael Prince, whose song, "Dance Your Love Away', was transformed into Hazell Dean's "Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)". After tracking Michael down in the US, we got to the bottom of that story. Plus, Gavin and Matt discuss Hazell's "No Fool (For Love)" (and hear from her as well) and "Lover Come Back To Me" by Dead Or Alive.
BONUS CONTENT: Listen to the full interview with Michael Prince, in which he reveals what happened after "Dance Your Love Away" and why he left the music industry. Plus, read all of former Spelt Like This singer Alin Karna's emailed Q&A. Listen here.
EPISODE 5: In Too Deep to Say It Again
As we approach a major turning point in the Stock Aitken Waterman story, Gavin and Matt take a look at three singles by bands that worked with the producers. First, there's the next Dead Or Alive single, "In Too Deep", which was a change of pace for them. Next, Spelt Like This released their second single, "Stop This Rumour", and changed lead singer! And goth rock/dark wave band The Danse Society were persuaded to work with SAW by their record company on "Say It Again". But a new direction was just around the corner, and we preview our next stand-alone episode on "Say I'm Your Number One" by Princess (out in a week's time).
BONUS CONTENT: Listen to the full interview with Paul Nash from The Danse Society to hear him talk about the band's break-up and reformation decades letter. Plus, Phil Harding tells us about SAW working with Judas Priest and the British band who refused to allow a PWL remix of their debut single to be released. Listen here.
EPISODE 6: Say I'm Your Number One
It was the single that changed everything for Stock Aitken Waterman. The debut single for Princess, "Say I'm Your Number One" was not only a shift away from hi-NRG towards soul/pop but it saw Mike Stock and Matt Aitken take a more proactive role in writing the songs they would produce. In an exclusive interview, we talk to Princess and her brother/manager, Donovan Heslop, about her move from backing vocalist to solo star, the origin of the name Princess, recording with SAW and signing to Supreme Records, the worldwide success of "Say I'm Your Number One" and why the relationship with the production trio eventually broke down. And we explore the influences and highlights of one of SAW's greatest tunes.
BONUS CONTENT: In another clip from our interview, Princess and Don talk more about how she ended up being signed to Supreme Records and not the major label that was courting them. And the ever-reliable Phil Harding gives the PWL perspective on working with Princess, both initially and as time went on. Listen here.
EPISODE 7: My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor) to They Say It's Gonna Rain
As 1985 continued, Stock Aitken Waterman straddled two genres — hi-NRG and pop/R&B. Two of their regular artists, Dead Or Alive and Hazell Dean, released new singles: "My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor)" and "They Say It's Gonna Rain" respectively. And the trio began work with R&B singer Haywoode ("Getting Closer") and A-list girl group The Three Degrees ("The Heaven I Need"). Joining us to talk about those tracks are Hazell, Haywoode and Valerie Holiday and Helen Scott from The Three Degrees. There's also a bit of a theme to this episode's tunes, with two of them being later remade by other SAW artists and a third being a remake itself.