He was educated at Whitley Abbey Comprehensive School until he left in 1962 to work
(Stafford Road) depot. After closure of the depot in 1963, Waterman chose to follow a
career in music, being inspired by The Beatles. To supplement his income as a DJ, he
became a gravedigger and then an apprentice at General Electric Company, becoming
a trade union official.
Building a record collection through rare US imports, his DJ work began to take him
club, which gave him a valuable insight into what music interested a younger audience.
Waterman noticed that the younger dancers preferred records with high beats per
minute and this influenced his later work. It was at the Locarno that he first met Neville
for a brief period.
Pete took up a job as an A&R man, and worked in the Philadelphia scene, which included introducing the Three Degrees to the UK. He then moved to Jamaica working with Peter Tosh and Lee Perry, and producing Susan Cadogan’s reggae-crossover hit Hurts So Good.
In 1979, Waterman set up Loose Ends with Peter Collins, the first coming under the name 14–18 with a single inspired by World War I, "Good-Bye-Ee," and hits with artists like Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw.
In 1984 he was approached by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken and they formed the partnership, Stock Aitken Waterman, one of the most successful musical production teams of all time.
To date, Waterman has scored a total of twenty-two UK number one singles with his various acts (including Dead or Alive, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Bananarama, Steps, Mel and Kim, Donna Summer, Sinitta, Cliff Richard and Jason Donovan and he claims upwards of 500 million sales worldwide (inclusive of singles, albums, compilation inclusions, downloads, etc.).
Pete has appeared on many television shows including, The Hitman And Her, Pop Idol and Celebrity Masterchef.
Waterman's main interest outside music is in railways, and he has been involved in several railway ventures. To hold his own collection of locomotives, he founded the Waterman Railway Heritage Trust. He also has a keen interest in model railways, and is the founder of the model railway business Just Like the Real Thing.
In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for services to music.