35 episodes

Hosts Gavin Scott (from Chart Beats: A Journey Through Pop) and Matthew Denby work their way through all the singles produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (SAW), starting in 1984 with "The Upstroke" by Agents Aren't Aeroplanes and taking in hits by Dead Or Alive, Hazell Dean, Bananarama, Princess, Mel & Kim, Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Sinitta, Jason Donovan, Divine, Sonia and more, as well as lesser known chart misses. Bonus interviews and discussion: chartbeats.com.au/saw (Theme music: Switch Me On by Shane Ivers at www.silvermansound.com)

A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman Chart Beats

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

Hosts Gavin Scott (from Chart Beats: A Journey Through Pop) and Matthew Denby work their way through all the singles produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (SAW), starting in 1984 with "The Upstroke" by Agents Aren't Aeroplanes and taking in hits by Dead Or Alive, Hazell Dean, Bananarama, Princess, Mel & Kim, Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Sinitta, Jason Donovan, Divine, Sonia and more, as well as lesser known chart misses. Bonus interviews and discussion: chartbeats.com.au/saw (Theme music: Switch Me On by Shane Ivers at www.silvermansound.com)

    Ep 35: The Harder I Try

    Ep 35: The Harder I Try

    It takes a certain confidence to auction off your songwriting and production services secure in the knowledge that you'll deliver the highest bidder a hit single. But that's exactly what Stock Aitken Waterman did in 1988. EMI Records bid the most and the artist that received the Hit Factory Midas touch was Parlophone's struggling pop band Brother Beyond. Lead singer Nathan Moore joins us to talk about the group's initial efforts to land a hit themselves. After three singles failed to reach the UK top 40, not even a trip to PWL to work with Harding & Curnow on the original version of "Can You Keep A Secret?" could turn their fortunes around. But everything changed — and we mean everything — for Brother Beyond when a SAW tune was bestowed upon them. Nathan reveals how Motown-influenced track "The Harder I Try" was recorded (and who was involved in the studio session), what the band's reaction was to external writers providing them with a song, why one member quit and what it was like doing all that running he did in the song's flashy music video.

    • 40 min
    Ep 34: Mind Over Matter to Maybe (We Should Call It A Day)

    Ep 34: Mind Over Matter to Maybe (We Should Call It A Day)

    It was good news and bad news for Stock Aitken Waterman in mid-1988. On the upside, their run of hits continued with the next single for Kylie Minogue. After the runway success of "I Should Be So Lucky", Mike Stock and engineer Karen Hewitt were dispatched to Australia to record a follow-up — and we hear all about the meeting to convince Kylie to continue working with SAW after her shabby treatment in London, as well as the ups and downs of the recording sessions that ensued. Pete Hammond tells us about the earlier version of "Got To Be Certain" recorded by Mandy Smith, while David Howells explains how he commissioned music videos filmed in Australia — like the one for Kylie's single — from PWL in London. Another song SAW recorded with more than one vocalist is "Mind Over Matter", which was unfortunately not a success on the UK chart. That song's writer, Michael Jay, reveals why it went from a Debbie Harry track to being recorded and released by E.G. Daily — and he also talks about another PWL tune he wrote: "Cross My Heart" by Eighth Wonder. In more good news, Hazell Dean scored her next hit with "Maybe (We Should Call It A Day)", even if, as she explains, she wasn't that keen on the tune. And in bad news for music lovers: SAW worked with the England Football Team on a song that went all the way down the dumper. 

    • 56 min
    Ep 33: Who's Leaving Who to Let's All Chant

    Ep 33: Who's Leaving Who to Let's All Chant

    There was no stopping SAW at this point in 1988 with another three massive hits on the UK chart, including Hazell Dean's long-awaited return to the top 10 with a cover of Anne Murray's "Who's Leaving Who". We hear from Hazell about the track and why it connected with the public when her previous few singles hadn't. Meanwhile, a change in line-up did not slow Bananarama down with a fourth hit being lifted from the Wow! album. The first single released by the girl group with Jacquie O'Sullivan in the line-up, "I Want You Back" was freshened up from the album and came with a music video that would never be made in 2022. We discuss that and how Jacquie ended up joining the group. This episode's third single was the debut collaboration between SAW and London DJs Pat Sharp and Mick Brown. Their charity cover of "Let's All Chant" was part of a long-running association betwee the pair and PWL — and Mick explains how it all came together.

    • 52 min
    Ep 32: That's The Way It Is to Cross My Broken Heart

    Ep 32: That's The Way It Is to Cross My Broken Heart

    Three songs, three more UK top 10 hits as Stock Aitken Waterman's chart domination ramped up. The first of those songs was a rather emotional one — the final single released by Mel & Kim, "That's The Way It Is". Kim Appleby joins us to talk about how she and Mel recorded the track during a respite in her sister's treatment for cancer and how one of their own compositions, "You Changed My Life", was included on the B-side. Kim also discusses her return to work with Stock and Aitken in 1994 during her solo career and gives her thoughts on Mel & Kim's legacy. We then take a look at Rick Astley's next hit, "Together Forever", which was blocked from the number 1 spot in the UK by another SAW record but made it all the way to the top in the US. But all that success was getting to Rick — and we explore the downside to his sudden fame. Meanwhile, Sinitta lifted another song from her debut album — one that was remixed for single release. We hear from the pop star about "Cross My Broken Heart" and the inspiration behind her image.

    • 50 min
    Ep 31: I Should Be So Lucky

    Ep 31: I Should Be So Lucky

    She was already huge in Australia, with the biggest single of 1987 under her belt, but no one could have predicted just how massive a pop star Kylie Minogue would become in 1988, with her fame extending way beyond her home country. Certainly no one at PWL had any idea that the polite teenager sitting in reception waiting for a promised recording session with Stock Aitken Waterman would change everything for the Hit Factory. In this special episode dedicated to Kylie's UK debut single and Australian follow-up to "Locomotion", we hear from former PWL MD David Howells, Mike Stock, Pete Hammond, Karen Hewitt and Dee Lewis about how "I Should Be So Lucky" came together. Why didn't Stock and Aitken know anything about Kylie? Was the writing and recording of the song as much of a whirlwind as legend would have it? How did Kylie react after she'd recorded it? We also connect the dots and hear from PWL's Mike Duffy about how he ended up producing "Locomotion", the song that resulted in Kylie being flown over to work with SAW themselves in the first place.

    • 50 min
    Ep 30: Let's Get Together Tonite to I Can't Help It

    Ep 30: Let's Get Together Tonite to I Can't Help It

    Our journey reaches the end of 1987 with Stock Aitken Waterman's bid for the UK Christmas number 1 slot: a double A-side release from Rick Astley that combined his cover of "When I Fall In Love" with a brand new song, "My Arms Keep Missing You". We explain the factors that prevented the single from taking out top honours that year. Plus, it was the end of an era for Bananarama as the original line-up's final single together, "I Can't Help It", was released. Phil Harding and Karen Hewitt share their memories of Siobhan Fahey's time in the group. Sinitta released her latest pop tune, "G.T.O", but she explains why she wasn't that thrilled about the song's subject matter. Meanwhile, SAW worked with DJ Steve Walsh on "Let's Get Together Tonite" and released their own follow-up to "Roadblock" called "Packjammed (With The Party Posse)". 

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

PWLFan ,

Addicting!

I remember listening to You Spin Me ‘Round for the first time and went straight out to buy the 12” single and proceeded to play it constantly. Then it was Kylie and Rick. But it was only after Donna’s This Time I Know It’s For Real that I realized the sound I liked so much was created by the same production team of Stock Aitken Waterman…DUH!

I then spent my 30’s trying to hunt down any record that had ANY affiliation to PWL which was quite a challenge living in America.
My timing was also unfortunate as SAW had broken up shortly after I started collecting but thanks to the internet and Jeremy Kay’s wonderful SAW/PWL discography I was able to amass a pretty decent collection.

Now, many years later comes this wonderful podcast from Gavin and Matt that offers so much information and insight behind the creation of the music I spent so much time and money collecting. The amount of time and research they have put in to create these episodes must be enormous and I for one am truly grateful for their efforts. I find it fascinating to hear the interviews of the people Gavin and Matt have been able connect with and look forward to all the upcoming episodes.

Keep up the good work guys!

MN Gaming Guy ,

I finally feel seen

As a guy who grew up loving this music genre, I’ve found myself over the years feeling like I was alone in my obsession with early Dead or Alive, Rick Astley and the iconic Kylie Monogue. No longer. The hosts speak my language—from the snippets of tracks they love best, to deep dives on the extended remixes I couldn’t get enough of at the time. It’s a love letter and a trip down a nostalgic Memory Lane—plus, the interviews and back stories help me hear the SAW collection in a whole new way. Viva ChartBeats!

discodivadarlin ,

Simply wonderful.

This is a podcast for anyone who loves music. Yes, the focus is on SAW singles. But even if you’re only somewhat familiar with that history, the insight and the stories behind the music are fascinating. Lots of great interviews and always a few surprises. The production of the podcast is excellent. The research is meticulous yet concise. Cheers to our hosts, because they’ve created a gem.

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