top of page


1984 is where the Stock Aitken Waterman story begins...


By January 1984 Mike Stock and Matt Aitken had agreed to finish playing live shows and concentrate on writing and producing their own records. Their plan to launch a ‘female version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’ had led to the creation of the Hi NRG track THE UPSTROKE. Written with keyboard player Pete Ware, the track was recorded in early January with two female singers fronting the project under the name AGENTS AREN’T AEROPLANES. After a demo recording was completed Mike and Matt set out to find a label who would support their project and release the track. After several unsuccessful meetings in London, Mike and Matt met with Pete Waterman at his offices in Camden. Mike Stock had already had a brief encounter with Pete Waterman, when his song ONE NINE FOR A LADY BREAKER, was Produced by Pete Collins (Nik Kershaw, Musical Youth) who was managed by Pete Waterman.

During a meeting on January 15th 1984, Mike and Matt explained their idea to Pete who was instantly in-tune with their concept; " OK, so you're the band, you make the record and the girls front it. I understand what you're getting at. I like it. Let's go in the studio and do it!". So on February 15th Mike, Matt and Pete went to the old Marquee Studio in Wardour Street and recorded the track that became the very first STOCK AITKEN WATERMAN record. Barry Evangeli, a Greek Cypriot who ran a label called Proto Records with his partner Nick East, agreed to put the record out.

THE UPSTROKE only made number 93 in the charts however faired significantly better on the club scene. The gay club and Hi NRG scene was quickly gaining a reputation for where the hottest new records were being discovered – a trend that would mark a lot of SAW’s future success.

The second production, and perhaps one of the more bizarre - credited to Stock Aitken Waterman was the 1984 Cyprus Eurovision entry. In late 1983 Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, whilst working from a studio built underneath Mike’s home in South London, were visited by a Greek Cypriot named Andy Paul who was in need of a song to enter into the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest. ‘ANNA MARI-ELENA was later voted by the Cypriot public to represent the nation at the contest in May 1984. During which time Stock Aitken Waterman had begun several projects together and Pete Waterman was able to organize the recording of an orchestra for the final version.


After its popularity the record was released in England, mainly for the Greek/Cypriot community  and once again it was Barry Evangeli who released the record on his own label.

It was Barry's connection to SAW that led the trio to their next two artists - and more importantly - to their first hit single!

Divine was a larger than life drag artist who had an outrageous stage act, had appeared in the film Shampoo and was a folk hero on the club scene.  SAW recoded YOU THINK YOU'RE A MAN with Divine, who’s real name was Glenn Milstead, but when the record company heard it they asked that his vocals be re-recorded. Why? Because the producers had made him sound too good, quite contrary to his larger than life appeal with his deep gravely voice that he was famous for. At this point Divine was on his way to Heathrow but calls were made and they managed to get him back into the studio just so he could sing it badly! The record was released on Proto and entered the chart at number 38 on 14th July eventually peaking at number 16. It spent a total of 11 weeks on the chart and gave SAW their very first hit record.

Essex-born, Hi NRG singer Hazell Dean had already had a top ten hit single with "Searchin'" in 1983 and was looking for a follow-up. Mike and Matt had written a song that Matt thought was perfect for her so he played the song to Barry Evangeli who liked it and put them together with Hazell. The result was "WHATEVER I DO (WHEREVER I GO)" which reached number four in the UK in August 1984 and stayed in the charts for 11 weeks.

By September SAW seemed to have had a pretty good year however, this success was cut short when both the Divine and Hazell follow up singles missed the Top 40. I'M SO BEAUTIFUL stalled at #52, while Hazell's BACK IN MY ARMS (ONCE AGAIN) just missed out, peaking at #41. Female duo ‘Girl Talk’ - CAN THE RHYTHM - was another release that failed to chart as did the Nik Kershaw cover DARK GLASSES performed by Lulu’s sister Edwina Laurie.

As the year drew to a close, Goth hi-NRG band Dead Or Alive asked SAW to produce their next single, which they wanted to sound like Hazell Dean. The single in question, YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD), was released in December 1984 and entered the lower end of the Top 75, ending the year on a disappointing note for Stock Aitken Waterman.

bottom of page