Page last updated at 07:04 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 08:04 UK
Sounds of 1989

By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News


A selection of Stock, Aitken and Waterman's 1989 hits

It was the year of huge political change across the globe, but 1989 holds lasting musical memories for many people in the UK.

The Manchester sound shot to prominence, Eurodance infiltrated the country's charts, and huge rave parties prompted shock headlines.

Then and now: Big Fun's Phil Creswick

Music producing trio Stock, Aitken and Waterman had captured the teen market with their brand of perky pop tunes and fresh-faced acts including Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley.

Their landmark year was 1989, with seven chart-topping singles and Jason Donovan's Ten Good Reasons becoming the best-selling album.

One of the stable's acts, Big Fun, was a three-piece boy group preceding the likes of Take That, who had hits including a cover of the Jackson Five's Blame It On The Boogie.

As part of a series on 1989's musical memories, former band member Phil Creswick recalls what it was like to be a teen idol.

We were previously in a band called Seventh Avenue and clinched a record deal with another label and had to change our name to Big Fun.

As Seventh Avenue, for three years we'd toured every awful working men's club in England, doing gigs for £50 a night and just trying to make ends meet.

We were an absolute overnight sensation, it was incredible. Suddenly we were doing Top of the Pops with Liza Minnelli and the Pet Shop Boys and Black Box.

We also did the PWL tour [Stock, Aitken and Waterman's record label]. There was us, Sinitta, Sonia, Kylie and Jason Donovan.

At the very first gig in Nottingham we were put on second, and because the female fans went so crazy, they put us on second to last at the next concert, before Jason.
Big Fun
Big Fun were known for their dance routines and co-ordinated outfits

My mum ran our fan club, which was getting 1,000 letters a day and couldn't cope with it!

There was a PWL pecking order, but there was never any bitchiness on the tour and we had so much fun doing it.

The scariest moment for me was when we did a show in Leicester Square. When we came outside the car was surrounded by 2,000 girls and they were rocking the car and we couldn't move.

The second time was in Spain where we had three top 10 singles at once. We were at a radio station and thousands of female fans turned up - we needed a police escort to get out. It made me think 'This is crazy, we're just normal guys and suddenly we're big pop stars!'

I don't think there was anything unusual about what happened in 1989. Stock, Aitken and Waterman simply got it right.

But the songs had the same intro and we often thought we were hearing our own song for the first time and it turned out to be Kylie's!
For a long time afterwards I was really embarrassed because we were voted the world's worst band in one poll, but I've achieved so much and am really proud of that.


Big Fun achieved another trio of UK hit singles after 1989 before they were dropped from their record label.

Creswick and bandmate Mark Gillespie returned as a duo in 1994 - Big Fun II - scoring a US dance chart success with a track called Stomp.

Family Fantastic
Phil Creswick (top right) went from Big Fun to Family Fantastic

Creswick has been writing and producing with Vince Clarke from Erasure and Yazoo for retro disco act Family Fantastic.

They are about to embark on their third album and will be performing at Manchester Pride later this month. Creswick also runs an interior design business.

Former Big Fun bandmate Gillespie renovates listed properties, while Jason John works in music management and has looked after Geri Halliwell and Blue.

Stock, Aitken and Waterman's rich vein of success began to dwindle after 1989, with only one more Kylie chart-topper - Tears On My Pillow - the following year. The threesome's partnership ended in 1993.

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