The Null Device

Pete Waterman on the classics

Bubblegum pop producer Pete Waterman (of Stock-Aitken- fame) has revealed that he lifted the structures of many of his songs from classical compositions. Kylie Minogue's I Should Be So Lucky is apparently based on Pachelbel's Canon in D, and Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) borrows from Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, one of about 20 times Waterman has copied from Wagner. (I presume he refers to chord progressions and harmonies.) Waterman also has the extraordinary temerity to compare himself to The Beatles and Burt Bacharach.

And while we've brought up Kylie Minogue, the ubiquitous pop star has recently described herself as a drag queen caught in a woman's body. Funny; I once said almost the same thing about her.

There are 11 comments on "Pete Waterman on the classics":

Posted by: Ben Mon Oct 7 23:33:11 2002

Controversial opinion time: Pete Waterman is as good a pop songwriter as Burt Bacharach.

Why? Well, his songs are insanely catchy, to start with. And when you have a really close listen to them, there's an enormous amount going on. SAW stuff is the anti-prog rock: While prog sounds more complicated than it really is, SAW is really more complicated than it sounds.

Try working out how to play "I Should Be So Lucky" on the guitar and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: acb Tue Oct 8 03:46:48 2002

Not sure if I agree; Waterman's aesthetics tend towards the bland and predictable, whereas Bacharach had a bit more style and quirk. (A Bacharach tune you haven't heard before can take you by surprise; a Waterman tune is unlikely to do so.)

Posted by: Peter Tue Oct 8 15:04:56 2002

I think Bacharach sucks. I also think Waterman sucks mind you... Bacharach is just so insipid. And all those post-Bacharach groups shit me too, including (the pop side of) Stereolab. Mind you, an argument could be made for Saint Etienne being post-Bacharach and I like them. Always need an exception.

Posted by: acb Tue Oct 8 16:11:53 2002

Still, as far as pop goes, post-Bacharach is much better than the sort of whitebread R&B and eurodance (post-ABBA?) that is all the fashion in the charts these days; and also much less bland than the sorts of facile, unthreatening melodies/progressions that dominate commercial radio. Mix that with odd time signatures and tempo changes, and you've got something.

Posted by: Graham Wed Oct 9 01:19:25 2002

Pop culture killed my dog.

Posted by: Graham Wed Oct 9 01:25:54 2002

Actually, that's youth culture killed my dog. Oops. Curiously, the High Llamas album I got isn't too bad (Sean O'Hagan gets around a _lot_), though a bit wussy in comparison to Stereolab.

Posted by: acb Wed Oct 9 07:41:12 2002

Then again, mixing S/A/W-style bubblegum with odd time signatures and tempo changes could be interesting; or at least, could get released by Tigerbeat6 or someone.

Posted by: ianw Wed Oct 9 07:53:25 2002

sean o'hagen is post-early70s-BeachBoys, which is a nice place to visit, if briefly .. stereolab are a so post-bacharch it hurts, unless you enjoy being reminded of "something obscure from the history of classic songwriting" every five seconds (which I do, heaps) .. I could mention the new Queens Of The Stone Age (but they are yet to "quote" Bacharach, so I won't go on) .. oh, that's right, I was going to say: if you like the High Llamas (but that's no prerequisite) and Bacharach (if you don't, then this might be a strange place to start) you should investigate the soundtrack to "Lost Horizon" - musically as grand as ever, lyrically equivalent to those bizarre watercolours that decorate SeventhDayAdventist literature (you know, happy families amidst frolicking free-ranging agricultural species) with, perhaps, some LSD in Hal's martini? (this is pure conjecture, but if you consider it was released the same year ('73) popular culture discovered such summer-of-love icons as tie-dying and macrame .. ) - oh, it in

Posted by: ianw http:// Wed Oct 9 07:55:34 2002

[continued] it includes what was possibly their last top40 hit "The World Is A Circle" (y'know? ".. without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends, tralala")

Posted by: Graham Wed Oct 9 08:56:16 2002

it's all going around in circles! my brain hurts!

Posted by: alex Wed Oct 9 16:44:25 2002

mumble mumble Michael Jackson mumble Beatles rights mumble bassline from 'Bad' mumble ripped off from 'Hey Bulldog' mumble play the notes in ascending order mumble mumble same five notes grumble mumble fnord