We recently recorded an interview with 'hit maker' music producer Pete Waterman at his private music studio in the North of England. George Shilling popped in to chat about the past and the future of record making and was one of the most entertaining and positive producer interviews that we've done in some time.
Pete has had a string of hit records, ranging from Dead or Alive to Kylie. Being able to spot a good tune and able to work well with a production team has helped him become one of the most prolific record producers the UK has produced.
Special thanks to Pete for his time and to George Shilling for his excellent interviewing skills - plus the use of his camera!
George Shilling (l) interviewing legendary music producer Pete Waterman (r)
I Wish I Was Me is the extraordinary story of a true maverick, and essential reading for anyone interested in the history of pop.....
And so one of Pete Waterman's most infamous creations was born and Kylie was launched onto a startling solo music career. It's gems like this that make I Wish I Was Me such a fabulous read and the pages are literally packed to the rafters with sparkling anecdotes from the King of Camp Pop as he sets the record straight on his extraordinary career as one of pop music's most successful producers.
Waterman has been responsible for some of the most popular chart acts of the last 10 years: Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley, Mel and Kim, Bananarama to name but a small few. Along with his writing and producing partners, Matt Aitken and Mike Stock, Waterman virtually defined the 1980s pop scene with some of the most infamous songs ever put to vinyl: "You Spin Me Right Round", "I Should be So Lucky", "Venus". In fact, it was a rare week in the 1980s when SAW (Stock Aitken and Waterman) didn't dominate the top 20 and no matter how hip you think your record collection is now, chances are there are a few of their 7 inches lurking in there somewhere. His SAW years are chronicled in a laid-back, colloquial fashion and Waterman's no nonsense voice shines through, albeit often peppered with bad language.
He talks candidly about the early days and of the unfortunate court case which bought the lucrative SAW team to an end. After reading this account, it is obvious he has worked long and hard to reach the top of his game, and his success is precisely because he believed so much in what he was doing. He knew, and still does, that no amount of hype or image can disguise a bad song. But with Pete Waterman what you see is what you get, and what you get here is one of the best insights into the music business to be published in recent years.
Weir review for Amazon.
rock songs is easy. Great pop takes talent.' Pete Waterman
Pete was born in 1947. He grew up in a poor, working-class environment, and didn't learn to read and write until he was in his 40s. He was a union shop steward at nineteen, but went on to be described as the respectable face of Thatcherism. He worked for many years on the railways, briefly became a miner in 1977 in protest at the 'blind commercialism' of the music industry, and then went on to become one third of the greatest hitmaking partnership the world has ever seen. 'I can take a kid earning #150 a week and turn them into a multimillionaire. If that's exploitation, I bet you I could find 400 people . . . right now who would queue up to be exploited.'
'The Hit Factory' single-handedly defined the pop sound of the 80s. Way before the Spice Girls, Bananarama became the biggest girl group in the world. Add in Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Jason Donovan and many others and it is easy to see how Stock, Aitken and Waterman reinvented the sound of British pop. In I Wish I Was Me Pete tells the truth about why 'The Hit Factory' really split, and how he fought his way to a major personal comeback in 1999 - producing chart-toppers for international pop sensations Steps and Westlife. It includes never-before-published stories and anecdotes about many of the 80s' biggest stars - and some of today's top names, too.
I Wish I Was Me is the extraordinary story of a true maverick, and essential reading for anyone interested in the history of pop.