Meeting Pete Waterman

Meeting Pete Waterman

Well, tomorrow I am off to a sales conference with Pete Waterman over a book I have requited him to write for us. Can you guess what it’s about?

Pete Waterman

Born in Coventry, Waterman was a teenage trainspotter at Leamington Spa railway station every Saturday morning. He enjoyed this so much, he began collecting railway equipment – some of which had been stolen, for which he was convicted of receiving stolen goods. Waterman had left school illiterate, not learning to read until the age of thirty-eight.[1] The judge who convicted him gave him six months suspended sentence, subject to him travelling to Wolverhampton on a free pass and making tea for the depot staff. After his six months service, the depot foreman offered him a job as a cleaner, from which he progressed to a fireman. After the closure of the depot, Waterman chose to follow a career in music, being inspired by The Beatles. To supplement his income as a DJ, Waterman became a gravedigger and then an apprentice at General Electric Company, becoming a trade union official.

Musical career

Building a record collection through rare US imports, his DJ work began to take him across the UK, entertaining bigger crowds with a blend of R and B and soul music tunes he had sourced. Given a residency with the Mecca group, he developed new initiatives including matinee discos for under 18s at Coventry’s Locarno club, which gave him a valuable insight into what music interested a younger audience.

Waterman took up a job as an A&R man and worked in the Philadelphia scene, which included introducing the Three Degrees to the UK. He then moved to Jamaica working with Peter Tosh and Lee Perry and producing Susan Cadogan’s reggae-crossover hit Hurts So Good.

In 1979, Waterman set up Loose Ends with Peter Collins, the first coming under the name 14-18 with a single inspired by World War I – “Good-Bye-Ee,” and then hits with artists like Musical Youth and Nik Kershaw. He then set up his own company PWL (Pete Waterman Limited), in 1984, quickly signing producers Matt Aitken and Mike Stock, who produced the Whatever I Do for Hazel Dean. The trio formed the team Stock Aitken Waterman, who became one of the most successful musical production teams of the 1980s.

To date, Waterman has scored a total of twenty-two UK number one singles with his various acts and he claims upwards of 500 million sales worldwide (inclusive of singles, albums, compilation inclusions, downloads, etc). Pete has also appeared in the Steps video “Tragedy”.

Television presenting

Waterman co-presented The Hitman and Her with Michaela Strachan. He also presented a show on Radio City.

In more recent years, Waterman has appeared as a judge on both series of Pop Idol in the UK, and also Popstars: The Rivals, the latter leading him to become manager of the winning boy band One True Voice. Waterman said to rival judge Louis Walsh that if One True Voice failed to reach the 2002 Christmas number one in the UK, he would commit suicide. One True Voice were duly beaten to the number one spot by Girls Aloud, the programme’s winning girl group, managed by Walsh. Waterman returned as a judge for the second series of Pop Idol, but was constantly critical of the eventual winner, Michelle McManus, and was unashamedly unhappy when her victory was announced. Waterman has since said he will not appear on any similar programmes in future

Following his interests in railways, Waterman presented a historic self-retrospective view in Waterman on Railways for Channel Four/the Discovery Channel. Waterman also appeared in an advert by the National Blood Service in the UK, their sixth TV advert which also features Carol Smillie and Will Carling.

Outside music

In 1988 he revived the name of the London and North Western Railway Company for his rail vehicle maintenance business, based at Crewe, which is now the largest privately owned rail maintenance business in the country. He also has an interest in model railways and is the founder of the model railway business ‘Just Like the Real Thing’, which specialises in O scale kits. He works closely with model-maker Malcolm Mitchell on this project. He continues to retain an interest in the company and regularly accompanies its sales stand to model railway exhibitions. Waterman has an extensive private collection of railway models and railway layouts, in O scale and larger gauges.

In addition to his passion for music and the railway, Waterman is also a huge supporter of Walsall FC. He is also a rugby league fan and is president of Rugby League Conference side Coventry Bears.

In the New Year’s Honours List published 31 December 2004 he was given an OBE for his services to music. In December 2006, he became a patron of the newly formed charity, the City, Lambeth and Southwark Music Education Trust.

t. D� ga � p� rating fight between Iorek and the King of the Ice Bears, we were on the edge of our seats willing Iorek to win – a resounding cheer went up at the end!

All in all a masterpiece and one that children and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy this at Xmas.

After the film came the Premiere party at Tobacco Dock where a warehouse had been transformed into a wonderland for our entertainment. We alighted our coach to the magnificent setting of drifting snow and an aerobatic display by a young lady dangling elegantly from a large balloon! Surrounded by “guards” from the film, we were welcomed by “Iorek” – a kinetic replica of the Ice Bear. Inside the building was as enchanting as outside – a snowy tree-lined avenue guided us to the main area where there were differently themed rooms to reflect the concepts of the film, complete with Daemons. Everywhere glittered and was magnificently adorned with chandeliers, props from the film and a variety of different “climates” were reproduced from mysterious fogginess to the delicately drifting snow of the North! Everybody mingled happily and we were often whisked past by Dakota Blue (and friends) who was utterly charming and delightfully down-to-earth. Finally, in the early hours, we were driven back to our hotel and left to revel in what was one of the most magical evenings I have had the pleasure to experience!

Image of Pete Waterman courtesy of Coventry Telegraph

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