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Music / Stock Aitken Waterman

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The British 1980s in a nutshell

To put it bluntly, Motown for white people.

A music production company based in Britain, this team composed of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman took most of the world by storm throughout the 1980s and early 1990s for it's then-unique dance pop sound which fused Hi-NRG, Eurobeat, and Motown.

Prior to SAW's foundation, Waterman was producing quite a few hits of his own under his Pete Waterman Limited (PWL) production company, such as the iconic "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive, which hit number 1 on the UK sales chart. Since then, they have made many other newcomers big stars, including Bananarama, Sinitta, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and Rick Astley.

Often despised and reviled by detractors who saw SAW as synthetically manufactured music, "Schlock, Ailing and Watered-down" was the least of the invective the trio attracted.

Tropes associated with Stock Aitken Waterman

  • Closet Geek: Pete Waterman apparently has a passion for trains, ranging from tabletop layout models all the way up to the real thing.
  • Cover Version: Bananarama's "Venus" is a famous example.
  • In Da Club: Waterman's TV series, The Hit Man and Her, was set in an idealised nightclub where no ugly people were allowed admission, nobody got drunk, no fights started, and nobody was beaten to a pulp by psychotic bouncers. It served as a TV vehicle for SAW music and acts.
  • Punny Name: On their early recordings, the drums were credited to "A Linn," a reference to the Linn drum machine.
  • Record Producers
  • Silly Love Songs: Nowadays, many would call the music artificial and cheesy.