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Mike Stock

Mike 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.

"Being self-taught has its advantages and disadvantages, I can't do anything clever, but I used the instruments as a kid to accompany myself singing."

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, Irving Berlin and the freshness of The Beatles, he established a deep love of pop music and at age of only nineteen he signed a publishing contract after earning a reputation as a budding songwriter, although at this stage no one had suggested a full-time career in the music world!

In 1970 Mike earned a placement at the University of Hull to study Drama and Theology and formed a band, The Cosmics,  with a fellow student, the later acclaimed Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella.  Whilst at Hull, Mike met his wife Bobbie and left University when she graduated to concentrate his efforts on making it in music.

Mike and Bobbie married in 1975 and soon after sold their house in Bury, Lancashire to move back south.

Mike Stock played his first paid solo gig at Aveley Working Men's Club in Essex in 1976, earning twenty-five pounds. By the late 1970's and now living in Blackheath, South London he was performing up and down the country. Performing solo, in a duo or with bands Mirage and Nightwork, Mike 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 Mike was gigging every night of the week in his various guises embracing pop, dance, old-standards, rock and 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. Mike contacted Matt to come to audition. 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. Needless to say, he smashed the audition and was in the band.

In 1982 Mike moved to Abbey Wood, South London where he acquired a recording desk and tape machine and, along with Matt, concentrated on making records of their own as well as gigging at nights.

During a break at one of Mirage's sets on New Year's Eve 1983, Mike announced he would be leaving and was going into the studio to pursue a career in songwriting and production. Matt agreed to join him and from January 1984 onwards the pair worked exclusively in recording studios.

"We knocked the gigs on the head on New Year's Eve 1983. All the band members went their own way and Matt came with me. I had enough money to keep us going for about a year I reckoned and we gave ourselves that long to break it in the music biz in a big way. As a matter of fact, we did in about a month."

Stock had previously worked with Pete Waterman in 1980 with the song "One Nine For A Lady Breaker". Pete managed Peter Collins, a successful producer with acts like Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw and they re-recorded the track with Collins as producer and Stock singing under the alias Chris Britton. Because of this previous connection Stock and Aitken arranged a meeting with Waterman in January 1984. The timing was perfect as Pete was looking for a new partnership and could see clearly what Mike and Matt were trying to achieve.

"To his credit Pete got it straight away. We had recorded this song, The Upstroke, we were the band and we had 2 girls who would front the record. He could see what we were doing and where we were coming from and how he could help us. What we needed was a proper first flight studio not a home demo and he could supply that with his background and success as a manager. Initially Pete was going to be our manager, but I have this thing about managers, I don't need to be managed. So, I said Pete the only way I'll do it is if we're all equal. And that's how it was formed, we've never had a contract between us and nothing more than a handshake."

By the end of 1984 the newly formed partnership of Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) had a #16 hit with Divine's, "You Think You're A Man", a massive #4 with Hazell Dean’s "Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)" and had released "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" by Dead Or Alive which would give them their first #1 in March 1985.

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.

Mike realised a unique achievement by having one of his records or songs in the UK chart in an unbroken run which lasted three and a half years between 1987 and 1991. This is a feat unlikely to be repeated. On three occasions in the UK one of Mike’s records was knocked off NO.1 by another of his own records.

After the break up of SAW in 1993 Mike developed his own record label activities, achieving worldwide hit records and notching up an impressive market share of business in the first months of operation. In its lifetime the company achieved 26 UK Top 40 singles with much associated worldwide success. This included three massive selling NO.1’s from Robson & Jerome with their debut hit, “Unchained Melody/White Cliffs Of Dover” selling over 1.8 million copies and becoming the best selling non-charity record of the 90’s. Nicki French had a massive worldwide hit with “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” reaching number two in America!

Unfortunately the company was forced to close after London Underground had tunnelled the new Jubilee Line close to the building and compromised the integrity of the studio facility.

In 2003 Mike formed a new company, Better The Devil Records. The first single released, “Fast Food Song”, was the biggest selling CD single of the day going on to sell over 200,000 copies. This was followed by a further two top 40 hits for the group, Fast Food Rockers.

In 2004 Mike published his first book “The Hit Factory” which recorded his early years and the history of Stock Aitken Waterman and more. Mike felt it was necessary to set the record straight. He is currently writing another book which deals with some of the more controversial areas which were omitted from his first publication.

Bringing us up to date Mike set up a new label, MPG Records, which is based at his private studios in Surrey.

He worked with former X Factor winner Shayne Ward on an album, “Closer”, that reached NO.17 in the UK.

Mike also worked with Bucks Fizz, now known as The Fizz, and the resulting album gave the group a Top 30 chart placing, their first in 30 years! The Fizz are currently working on material for two further albums with Mike.

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