How Kylie Minogue’s music career was almost derailed before the Loco-Motion even started

I Should Be So Lucky was one of the biggest hits of the 1980s and helped launch Aussie soap star Kylie Minogue to international fame.

But the song that made her career almost never happened.

The surprising story behind Kylie’s first global No. 1 has now been told in detail for the first time in a new podcast.

It as one of the biggest hit songs of the 1980s and helped launch Kylie Minogue to international stardom. But I Should Be So Lucky almost never happened as it's revealed producers of her breakout hit bungled the recording and Simon Cowell thought it never had potential

It as one of the biggest hit songs of the 1980s and helped launch Kylie Minogue to international stardom. But I Should Be So Lucky almost never happened as it’s revealed producers of her breakout hit bungled the recording and Simon Cowell thought it never had potential

In 1987, Kylie was the hottest star in Australia, thanks to her role on Neighbours.

She had just released her first single, The Loco-Motion, which was No. 1 for seven weeks and became the best-selling single of the 1980s in the country.

She was then sent to London to work with production team Stock Aitken Waterman – comprising Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman – who had enjoyed a string of ’80s hits with the likes of Rick Astley, Dead or Alive, Mel & Kim and Bananarama.

Their production company, PWL, had been contracted to develop music with Kylie’s Australian label, Mushroom Records. 

In 1987, Minogue was the hottest star in Australia, rising to popularity on TV soap Neighbours

In 1987, Minogue was the hottest star in Australia, rising to popularity on TV soap Neighbours

She was then sent to London to work with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, (Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman), who had enjoyed a string of 80s mega hits with acts like Rick Astley, Dead or Alive, Mel & Kim and Bananarama

She was then sent to London to work with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, (Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman), who had enjoyed a string of 80s mega hits with acts like Rick Astley, Dead or Alive, Mel & Kim and Bananarama

But when Kylie arrived in London, the producers were completely unaware of her after Waterman failed to tell anyone she was coming.

David Howells, who was then PWL Records Managing Director, told the A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman podcast about his frustration over Kylie being kept waiting for more than a week by the oblivious producers. 

Waterman had disappeared to Manchester without telling co-producers Stock and Aitken about Kylie, and he was uncontactable.

But when Kylie arrived in London, producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (pictured L-R in 1995) were completely unaware of her after PWL boss Pete Waterman failed to tell anyone she was coming

But when Kylie arrived in London, producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (pictured L-R in 1995) were completely unaware of her after PWL boss Pete Waterman failed to tell anyone she was coming

David Howells, who was then PWL Records Managing Director, (pictured) told the A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman podcast about his frustration over Kylie being kept waiting for more than a week by the oblivious producers

David Howells, who was then PWL Records Managing Director, (pictured) told the A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman podcast about his frustration over Kylie being kept waiting for more than a week by the oblivious producers

Howells was tasked with keeping Kylie entertained and distracted as the days ticked by, in the hope that Waterman would show up and schedule studio time for her.

‘I was very, very frustrated,’ David said on the podcast.

‘My sympathy was with Kylie and her manager Terry Blamey. We’d extended this invitation to them [to make the record], we’d discussed it internally. I had to put Kylie and Terry on a Harrods tour bus to go visit Windsor, I did meals with them.

‘It was tap dancing of a high order to keep them busy, and very, very annoying,’ he explained adding that Terry was about to explode because he’d had every diversion possible in the history of music.’

On Kylie’s last day in Britain, Howell admits he confronted Stock and convinced them to get her into the studio before she returned home to Australia.

Stock and Aitken decided to make time for Kylie on her last day in Britain and wrote and recorded the song from scratch for her in just 40 minutes

Stock and Aitken decided to make time for Kylie on her last day in Britain and wrote and recorded the song from scratch for her in just 40 minutes

Stock and Aitken decided to make time for Kylie that morning and wrote and recorded the song from scratch for her in just 40 minutes. 

‘They were literally writing it as they going along, feeding the lines, and it was one of the best things they ever did,’ Howells said of I Should Be So Lucky.

‘The stress was really on Kylie, who was on this very short break from Neighbours. But out of it came this career-changing piece of music.

‘When Kylie came in, we weren’t aware of the level of her success in Australia, and she was this very modest young woman who was into crocheting and beads and stuff. But when she got in front of a microphone, she had that ability to flick the switch and become a star.’ 

'When Kylie came in, we weren't aware of the level of her success in Australia, and when she came in, she was this very modest young woman who was into crocheting and beads and stuff. But when she got in front of a microphone, she had that ability to flick the switch and become a star.'

‘When Kylie came in, we weren’t aware of the level of her success in Australia, and when she came in, she was this very modest young woman who was into crocheting and beads and stuff. But when she got in front of a microphone, she had that ability to flick the switch and become a star.’

The singer was asked to leave the studio a few times so the producers could write new verses. When she finally finished the song, she was furious.

Howells told the podcast: ‘When I saw her later in the corridor as she was coming out, she looked mad as hell. So, I said, “How did that go?”, thinking she was going to go, “Wow that was great”. She said, “I wouldn’t know, they fed me a line at a time, and I have no idea what I just did”.’

I Should Be So Lucky was put on a shelf and promptly forgotten when she flew back to Melbourne that afternoon. 

Howells told the podcast: 'When I saw her later in the corridor as she was coming out, she looked mad as hell. So, I said, 'How did that go?', thinking she was going to go, 'Wow that was great'. She said, 'I wouldn't know, they fed me a line at a time, and I have no idea what I just did.'

Howells told the podcast: ‘When I saw her later in the corridor as she was coming out, she looked mad as hell. So, I said, ‘How did that go?’, thinking she was going to go, ‘Wow that was great’. She said, ‘I wouldn’t know, they fed me a line at a time, and I have no idea what I just did.’

'They were literally writing it as they going along, feeding the lines, and it was one of the best things they ever did,' Howells said of I Should Be So Lucky. Pictured single cover art

‘They were literally writing it as they going along, feeding the lines, and it was one of the best things they ever did,’ Howells said of I Should Be So Lucky. Pictured single cover art

As the months went by, Kylie’s Australian label, Mushroom Records, began calling Waterman frantically, demanding to know what was happening with the track.

Podcast hosts Gavin Scott and Matthew Denby then revealed that Mushroom Records boss Gary Ashley threatened to fly to the UK in order to finish the track.

Waterman then told Ashley the track was great, ‘even though I hadn’t actually heard it,’ because at that stage ‘we’d really done f**k all on it’.

When the track was finished, Stock Aitken and Waterman still didn’t realise its huge hit potential.

Now enthusiastic, Stock Aitken and Waterman tried to find a UK label to release it. They were turned down by every record company in Britain and were even rejected by a young Simon Cowell, (pictured in 2001) who was desperately struggling to find hits for his Fanfare label

Now enthusiastic, Stock Aitken and Waterman tried to find a UK label to release it. They were turned down by every record company in Britain and were even rejected by a young Simon Cowell, (pictured in 2001) who was desperately struggling to find hits for his Fanfare label

Howells was awarded a toy dump truck at the producers’ 1987 office Christmas party to commemorate ‘dumping’ Kylie on Stock Aitken and Waterman. 

But when the finished song was played at the same party, everyone suddenly realised it was a potential global smash hit.

Now enthusiastic, Stock Aitken and Waterman tried to find a UK label to release it.

They were turned down by every record company in Britain and were even rejected by a young Simon Cowell, who at the time was desperately struggling to find hits for his Fanfare label.

‘We exhausted every label in Britain, they all told us to go away,’ Howells told the podcast.

Aitken and Waterman were then forced to release the record themselves, on their own tiny record label. The song flew to number one in the UK and Australia, and topped charts around the world, selling millions of copies

Aitken and Waterman were then forced to release the record themselves, on their own tiny record label. The song flew to number one in the UK and Australia, and topped charts around the world, selling millions of copies

Aitken and Waterman were then forced to release the record themselves, on their own tiny record label.

The song flew to No.1 in the UK and Australia, and topped charts around the world, selling millions of copies.

But it was then that Waterman became aware of the details of his deal with Mushroom Records to develop Kylie’s career.

He felt it was heavily in Mushroom’s favour, and the production team briefly considered not working with her again.

According to the podcast, Waterman complained that the producers ended up making about half the amount of money they thought we would.

Waterman has said: ‘We’d just sold a million records, so we just gritted our teeth and continued.’

Kylie herself was so dissatisfied with her experience in the studio recording the iconic number one track that she initially declined an offer to return to the UK and make a follow up.

Instead, Waterman says he had to fly to Australia and personally apologise.

The rest is history – with Kylie producing four hit albums with the trio and becoming be one of the biggest pop stars of her generation.

The full story is told in the A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman podcast.

The rest is history – with Kylie producing four hit albums with the trio and going on to be one of the biggest pop stars of her generation

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