Matt Aitken

Matthew James Aitken was born in Coventry in 1956 and grew up in Astley,

Greater Manchester.

By the age of nine Matt realised that music was his thing. All he ever

wanted to do was play guitar but his parents wouldn't let him have one,

insisting instead that he learn to play piano if he wanted to learn music. 

"We had a piano in the front room and I was made to learn formal piano

whichI never wanted to do. As soon as they went out I would be in there

playing Boogie Woogie".Matt realises now that that grounding made it

much easier for him to learn guitar.

When he left school Matt worked in local Government but still kept one

eye on the music side of things.He was in a few different musical

relationships. He had a writing partnership with two guys who owned

a studio and was also in a jazz/funk band.before moving into music full

time by playing in a covers band at American army bases in Germany.

He moved on to cabaret bands, playing in hotels and cruise liners, before

being introduced to Mike Stock.

Matt met Mike through a singer they both knew who recommended Matt for the job when Mike's regular guitarist with his covers band, Mirage was sacked. The pair hit it off and Matt also joined Mike's other band Nightworks, who played original material written by Mike. Mike then built a small recording studio underneath his house in Abbey Wood, where he and Matt spent most of 1983 writing songs and producing local bands.

When Mike announced on New Years Eve 1983 that he was giving up the bands to try and make it properly as a sonwriter/producer Matt made the decision to join him.

Mike and Matt approached Pete Waterman in January 1984 for advice on a track they had made with two Essex girls called, "The Upstroke".

"We invented the concept, invented the name of the group and went around to various people one of whom was Pete as we knew he was involved in production. When we first went to Pete we were actually just after some advice on the publishing side. It wasn't with a view of working with him.  It was clearly obvious that we had a lot of common ground and in the end we decided to re-cut the track that we had taken to Pete and re-do it again and that was how we started working with him".

Over the next ten years the trio would take the pop world by storm. They sold 200 million records, had 13 UK #1 singles and the roll call of their artists reads like a who's who of 80's/90's pop culture. They created massive stars in Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and Jason Donovan and worked with artists as diverse as Sir Paul McCartney, Sinitta, Donna Summer, Sir Cliff Richard and Bananarama.

 

By 1991 Matt was becoming increasingly frustrated with the business side of things and was also exhausted so he decided to take a break from the partnership.

"Originally I was only going to take a couple of months off as I was really tired and it just went on and on. I could also see things getting out of hand with major record company involvement and that all contributed towards my departure".

When Mike Stock also severed his connections with Pete Waterman he decided to start his own label and after a 3 year hiatus Matt decided to join him.

Stock and Aitken enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic with Nicki French and also had huge success in the UK with three number one singles from Robson & Jerome.

After nine years Matt decided to call it a day and officially retire. 

He did return to SAW duties in 2005 to help promote the Stock Aitken Waterman Gold compilation and again in 2015 when the world was surprised with a brand new SAW production on Kylie Minogue's, "Every Day's Like Christmas".

MATT_AITKEN.jpg