Elena Aitken Biography & Facts
Michael Stock (born 3 December 1951) is an English songwriter, record producer, musician, and member of the songwriting and production team Stock Aitken and Waterman. He has written and/or produced 18 No. 1 records in America and the UK, over a hundred top-40 hits and is recognised as one of the most successful songwriters of all time by the Guinness Book of Records. As part of Stock Aitken and Waterman in the 1980s and 90s, he holds the UK record of 11 number one records with different acts. In the UK Singles Chart he has written 54 top-ten hits including 7 number ones.
Stock was born in Margate, Kent, England in 1951 and grew up in Swanley, Kent. He attended White Oak primary school and Swanley comprehensive school. At Swanley school he was involved in several school variety productions. He was self-taught in playing the piano and guitar and began writing songs at the age of seven. Inspired by The Beatles he soon became fixated with pop music and put together his first band at age 13, playing bass guitar and singing. Fascinated by the popular songwriting styles of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and writers such as Irving Berlin and the energy and freshness of The Beatles, he established a deep love of pop music. Stock signed a publishing contract when he was nineteen after earning a reputation as a budding songwriter, although no one had suggested a full-time career in the music world was a possibility.In 1970 Stock earned a placement at the University of Hull to study Drama and Theology and formed a band with a fellow student, the later acclaimed Oscar-winning director, Anthony Minghella. Whilst at Hull, Stock met his wife Bobbie and left university when she graduated to concentrate his efforts in making it in music. In 1975 they married and soon after, sold their house in Bury, Lancashire to move back south Stock played his first paid, solo gig at Aveley Working Men's Club in Essex in 1976, earning twenty five pounds. By the late 1970s Stock, now living in Blackheath, South London, was performing up and down the country. Performing solo, in a duo or with bands Mirage and Nightwork, Stock gained a good reputation for his live performances and was regularly booked for venues like the Hilton Hotel, Grosvenor House and the Dorchester in Mayfair. Throughout 1979 to 1981 Stock was gigging every night of the week in various bands embracing pop, dance, old standards, rock or funk.Stock's band had gone through several guitar players before he was alerted to Matt Aitken; a guitarist who had been spotted by another member of his band working on a cruise ship. Stock contacted Aitken to offer him a role in the band. Playing on cruise ships and in various bands of his own, Aitken was an accomplished guitarist whose style could adapt to any type of music. In 1982 Stock moved to Abbey Wood, South London where, along with Matt Aitken he acquired a recording desk and tape machine and formed his first record label. During the break of one of Mirage's sets on New Year's Eve 1983, Stock informed the band he would be leaving and was going into the studio to pursue his career as a songwriter and producer. Matt Aitken agreed to join him and from January 1984 onwards the pair worked exclusively in recording studios.
Stock Aitken and Waterman
Formation and Early Hits: Divine, Hazell Dean, Dead or Alive (1984–85)
Stock had briefly worked with Pete Waterman in 1980 when John Milton, Mark Stock and Mike wrote a song – One Nine for a Lady Breaker – for a CB radio club. A version of the track found its way to Pete Waterman who managed Peter Collins, then a successful producer with acts like Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw. The track was re-recorded and produced by Collins; Stock sang on the track under the alias Chris Britton. In January 1984 Stock and Aitken arranged to meet Waterman at his office in the Stiff Records building, Camden Town. Waterman was seeking a new partnership and in February 1984 they went into the Marquee Studio in Wardour Street Soho to record the song 'The Upstroke' for 'Agents Aren't Aeroplanes'- a front for their concept of a female Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The record was released on Proto Records run by Barry Evangeli and Nick East and distributed by RCA. 'The Upstroke' achieved popularity in the gay clubs and discos where many new records were being found and subsequently promoted into the mainstream as Hi-NRG.In 1983 Stock had been approached by Andy Paul, a Greek Cypriot, to write a song for Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest. 'Anna Maria Elena' was voted by the Cypriot public to represent their country in the competition and the re-recorded version would be Stock and Aitken's second collaboration with Waterman. The team were then asked to produce a song for Divine and they recorded 'You Think You're a Man' at the Marquee Studio which was released by Proto Records in July 1984 reaching number 16 in the UK charts. Soon after, the team recorded Hazell Dean's 'Whatever I Do, (Wherever I Go)'. The song became SAW's first top 10 hit, reaching number 4 in the UK. In September 1984 they were approached by Dead or Alive to produce the song You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) which became Stock Aitken and Waterman's first UK number 1 in March 1985.
The Hit Factory: Bananarama, Mel and Kim, Princess (1985–86)
In 1985 the trio built a new studio at ‘The Vineyard’ recording studio complex, The Borough that would later be dubbed 'The Hit Factory'. Whilst working with the band Brilliant, Stock wrote a song for their backing singer Desiree Heslop called 'Say I'm Your Number One', which became a hit in the UK under her stage name 'Princess'. Towards the end of 1985 the group Bananarama approached SAW to record a cover of 'Shocking Blue's' Venus. The track became a huge hit in the UK and went to No. 1 in America in July 1986. Bananarama would continue to enjoy success with SAW with hits such as Love in the First Degree, I Heard a Rumour and I Want You Back. In 1986 Mel and Kim's first single 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend) went to number 3 in the UK charts and their follow-up Respectable reached number 1.
Rick Astley, Ferry Aid (1987)
In 1987 Rick Astley recorded what would be one of the team's biggest hits-Never Gonna Give You Up, though initially Stock and Aitken were unsure of its appeal with Astley's strong but unorthodox voice. When it was released by RCA, Never Gonna Give You Up went straight to No. 1 in 17 different countries including America and the UK where it became the biggest selling record of 1987. Astley's fourth single, Together Forever also topped the Billboard Hot 100. That year SAW produced Let It Be in aid of the victims involved in the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster, and Stock got the chance to work with his musical inspiration Paul McCartney whose original recordings of The Beatles classic were sent to the production team by producer George Martin. 'Let It Be' went straight to No. 1 where it stayed for three weeks knocking Stock's.... Discover the Elena Aitken popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Elena Aitken books.