Stock, Aitken, Waterman were one of the most successful British song writing partnerships of all time.

Between them they sold 40 million records.

One day, Pete Waterman was sitting in the recording studio when the phone rang.

His partner said Kylie Minogue wanted them to write a song for her.

Pete Waterman asked what she wanted it to be about.

His partner said she’d leave that up to them.

Pete Waterman said “Well we need a bit more than that. Tell her to get her arse over the studio”.

His partner said “She can’t do that, she’s in Australia”.

Pete Waterman said “Sunny Australia instead of cold, wet Warrington? She should be so lucky”.

Then a little sound went ‘ping’ in his head.

And he started to write.

He wrote “I Should Be So Lucky” for Kylie Minogue.

She recorded it.

It was a massive hit.

Number one in the UK, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Israel, and Hong Kong.

The follow-up album spent a year in the UK album charts and went gold in the USA.

It’s very important to pay attention to the little ‘ping’ when it goes off in your head.

Curtis Mayfield was part of a group called the Impressions.

They’d been playing the clubs around Chicago for years.

They’d made a few records but it just wasn’t happening for them.

One night they were taking a break, sitting in the car park behind the club, trying to cheer each other up.

One of them said “When we make it, we’ll have lots of money”.

And they all said “WELL ALRIGHT”.

Another one of them said “We’re gonna have fine cars”.

And they all said “WELL ALRIGHT”.

Another one said “And fine women”.

And they all said “WELL ALRIGHT”.

And a little sound went ‘ping’ in Curtis Mayfield’s head.

And he wrote a track with that as the chorus.

It was called “It’s Alright”.

It became a huge hit for the group.

Curtis Mayfield eventually went solo, he launched his own label, and had artists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight recording his songs.

Just by listening to the ‘ping’.

I often find it’s the same with ads

For instance, when I was at BMP I was passing Gordon Smith and Pat Woodward’s office.

They were working on Bergasol sun tan lotion.

I asked them what the brief was, they said it stopped you burning.

We kicked some lines around for a bit but everyone was getting bored.

Gordon got up to leave.

He said “Fuck it, what about: ‘Burn Your Bra Not Your Tits’?”

Everyone laughed, but I heard the little ‘ping’ noise.

I said “Hold on, we can clean that up”.

And I did.

The ad that ran showed a model sunbathing topless, with the headline: “The Only Thing A Woman Should Burn Is Her Bra”.

That ad won a silver at D&AD that year.

It’s very important to pay attention to what’s going on around you.


And listen for the little ‘ping’ noise.