I had to sneak Kylie Minogue around in the boot of my car after she started dating INXS rocker Michael Hutchence: Pete Waterman reveals his bizarre escapades as a star maker

Now you can enjoy 200 hit singles from Pete Waterman and his collaborators Mike Stock and Matt Aitken - the legendary Stock, Aitken and Waterman - in their new musical I Should Be So Lucky, named after the hit Kylie single
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He’s celebrating half a century in the music industry, but despite having more number 1 singles than The Beatles, Pete Waterman shows no signs of slowing down. On the contrary.

The mastermind behind more than 200 hits from Dead Or Alive, Donna Summer, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and many more has added a musical theater producer to his repertoire.

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Pete and his creative partners Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, the legendary Stock, Aitken and Waterman, were known in the 1980s as the Hit Factory, responsible for at least one Top 40 record every week for three and a half years in a row .

Now those hits can be heard in their new musical I Should Be So Lucky, named after the hit Kylie single.

Written by Debbie Isitt, the woman behind the Nativity Scene! In films, the story follows the young couple Ella and Nathan, whose wedding is called off after Nathan develops a wobble.

Now you can enjoy 200 hit singles from Pete Waterman and his collaborators Mike Stock and Matt Aitken - the legendary Stock, Aitken and Waterman - in their new musical I Should Be So Lucky, named after the hit Kylie single

Now you can enjoy 200 hit singles from Pete Waterman and his collaborators Mike Stock and Matt Aitken – the legendary Stock, Aitken and Waterman – in their new musical I Should Be So Lucky, named after the hit Kylie single

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan's (pictured) split 'felt like the end of our world' says Pete Waterman as they were the 'dream duo'

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan's (pictured) split 'felt like the end of our world' says Pete Waterman as they were the 'dream duo'

After breaking up with Jason Donovan, Kylie dated Michael Hutchence

After breaking up with Jason Donovan, Kylie dated Michael Hutchence

The split between Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan (pictured left) ‘felt like the end of our world’, says Pete Waterman. Kylie then started a relationship with Michael Hutchence (right)

But Ella’s friends are determined that she shouldn’t miss the honeymoon in Turkey, and when Nathan has doubts, he heads there too to try to win her back.

The show features more than 30 songs from Hit Factory acts such as Kylie, Rick and Bananarama, as well as a ‘magical’ appearance from the real Kylie, who has been involved in the production from the start.

“Launching this musical is a vindication for me because we have had a lot of perseverance over those years,” says Pete. “We were treated like pariahs because we made popular music.”

Rather than deterring them, the vitriol gave the trio extra focus and many of the hits they created would be wiped out within minutes.

“You came to see us and walked out with a hit,” says Pete, now 77. “But even though the songs were written quickly, they were the result of forty years of experience.”

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Pete became one of the music industry’s great success stories, and the key to that was an 18-year-old named Kylie Minogue. He signed her to a five-album contract despite never having seen Neighbors, the Australian soap that launched her.

Her first single I Should Be So Lucky, written for her while she waited outside the studio in 1987 after the trio forgot she was coming, was a huge success. But it was a huge gamble for Pete.

“I couldn’t eat on Christmas Day,” he remembers. ‘I had £300,000 worth of records in my warehouse and if they didn’t sell I was done for. I had to pay staff, rent and taxes. You never advertise on Christmas Day, but I took a risk with a TV ad and thank goodness I did, because on Boxing Day I got a call from the warehouse saying, “We have a problem: we don’t have enough stock.”‘

Kylie's hit I Should Be So Lucky was written while she waited outside the studio in 1987 when Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken forgot she was coming.

Kylie's hit I Should Be So Lucky was written while she waited outside the studio in 1987 when Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken forgot she was coming.

Kylie’s hit I Should Be So Lucky was written while she waited outside the studio in 1987 when Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken forgot she was coming.

Pete Waterman (pictured) became one of the music industry's great success stories, and the key to that was an 18-year-old Neighbors actress named Kylie Minogue.

Pete Waterman (pictured) became one of the music industry's great success stories, and the key to that was an 18-year-old Neighbors actress named Kylie Minogue.

Pete Waterman (pictured) became one of the music industry’s great success stories, and the key to that was an 18-year-old Neighbors actress named Kylie Minogue.

Kylie was getting hit after hit, but when Pete learned that she had ended her relationship with castmate and fellow singer Jason Donovan after three years and was dating bad boy INXS rocker Michael Hutchence, everything changed.

‘It felt like the end of our world when we had the dream duo Jason and Kylie. I said, “Christ. Better the devil, you know.” But we had to come up with a song for her and she was on her way to the studio. Then it dawned on me: Better The Devil You Know!

“By the time Kylie arrived we were on a rough patch, so Matt and I sat with our backs to her, writing lyrics and putting them behind her for Mike to teach her. She loved the song and it became a huge hit.

We were treated like pariahs for making popular music, so this musical is vindication

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‘After the Michael Hutchence story broke everyone was looking for her, so she hid in my house in Cheshire for two weeks. I had to sneak her around in the trunk of my car.

‘She was like a daughter to me and we are still friends. How could we not be together with everything we’ve been through?’

Pete also worked with the notoriously racy girl group Bananarama. ‘They knew exactly what they wanted. At the time I was dating their manager and every night we would get a call at 3am when we were in bed asking if we could get them a taxi,” he laughs.

It’s all a far cry from his poor upbringing in Coventry. An only child, Pete found a clever way to make money at the age of six after joining the church choir.

‘I realized that couples getting married didn’t know which hymns were the best, so I picked them out and selected the choristers for ten shillings and sixpence. I could earn £1 a week while my dad only earned £3.50 a week,” he chuckles.

A scene from Stock Aitken Waterman's I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical, now on tour

A scene from Stock Aitken Waterman's I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical, now on tour

A scene from Stock Aitken Waterman’s I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical, now on tour

He worked as a gravedigger, steam train firefighter and apprentice for the General Electric Company, while beginning to make his mark in the music world as a DJ.

He joined EMI in 1973 as a talent scout and half a century later he is worth an estimated £30 million, although he has not been so lucky in love.

“I don’t have a partner,” he says. “My first wife died a long time ago, and as for the other two marriages, I wish I could have been a better husband if I had given more time to it.”

But Pete has plenty to keep him busy. ‘This musical theater world is tough, but I love it so much that I am working on a second musical. But if I had to give it all up, I’d go back to work on the railroad tomorrow. I just happen to realize that I’m so lucky.’

  • Stock Aitken Waterman’s I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical is now on tour, see soluckymusical.com.

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