From Elton John's tea boy to internationally-successful record producer, Phil Harding's extraordinary music industry career spans over 30 years - from recording The Clash in the 70s to producing number ones for East 17 and Boyzone in the 90s. From its humble beginnings in the mid-80s, Phil held a key role as mix engineer and producer at PWL Studios, Pete Waterman's vision for a 'British Motown' - alongside the legendary (and as controversial as successful) 'A-Team' producers and songwriters, Stock Aitken Waterman. From the mid-80s to the early-90s, reaching 60 staff, operating 24 hours a day, and soon earning the nickname 'The Hit Factory', PWL productions and mixes sold over 30 million units around the world, scoring 200+ hits in the UK alone, via a surprisingly diverse CV of artists, including
ABC | RICK ASTLEY | BANANARAMA | BAND AID II | BASIA | CHIC | CLIMIE FISHER | THE COOL NOTES | DEAD OR ALIVE | HAZELL DEAN | DEPECHE MODE | DIVINE | DOLLAR | JASON DONOVAN | EIGHTH WONDER | ERASURE | FIVE STAR | THE FOUR TOPS | LONNIE GORDON | DEBBIE HARRY | THELMA HOUSTON | IMAGINATION | THE JACKSON FIVE | JESUS JONES | MATT BIANCO | MEL & KIM | KYLIE MINOGUE | GARY MOORE | NITZER EBB | PET SHOP BOYS | PRINCESS | CLIFF RICHARD | DIANA ROSS | SINITTA | JIMMY SOMERVILLE | SONIA | JERMAINE STEWART | DONNA SUMMER | THE THREE DEGREES | T'PAU | JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN | VOICE OF THE BEEHIVE
Refreshingly, yet affectionately frank, 'PWL From The Factory Floor' tells the inside story of one of the most successful and fast-paced music studios of all time - which produced early hits for (amongst others) one highly-determined, unknown industry newcomer, Simon Cowell. Phil Harding's pivotal role within PWL provides a uniquely broad perspective. His experience extended right from 'the top' of the organisation (mixing many classic SAW hits - such as for Kylie, Dead Or Alive, Rick Astley, Bananarama and Mel & Kim), down to 'the bottom' (establishing the studio and training up-and-coming engineers with state-of-the-art technology and techniques), as well as covering the creative, business (and diplomatic!) aspects of being a critically-acclaimed producer in his own right (together with Ian Curnow) and developing their own music industry profile, artists and client base, under the management of Pete Waterman.
After a rapid-sell-out limited edition release in 2009, 'PWL From The Factory Floor' has undergone extensive additional research and development into a 600-page 'Expanded Edition' - and has a wealth of brand new material, to now include
- Phil's expanded, chronological, behind-the-scenes journey through the eventful rise (and subsequent fall) of PWL's unprecedented success
- KEY MIXES Commentary on the broad (and often overlooked) range of mix styles and sounds covered over PWL's history + detailed individual recollections/commentaries by Phil on revisiting many specific, classic 'key moment' PWL mixes.
- KEY ARTISTS Six in-depth interviews with Phil on what it was like working with some of the artists whose significant success spanned a number of years at PWL - Kylie Minogue, Dead Or Alive, Rick Astley, Mel & Kim, Bananarama and Hazell Dean.
- INSIDE PWL STUDIOS A comprehensive floor plan of the south London studio building and how it evolved, an A-to-Z of PWL staff and a fascinating 'day in the life' photo tour from recently-rediscovered video diary home video camera footage taken by Phil at PWL Studios in September 1988.
- PHIL HARDING PWL DISCOGRAPHY An extraordinary centrepiece to this 'Expanded Edition' - a comprehensive guide to the many hundreds of Phil Harding single and album releases up until leaving PWL in 1992. Brand new, first-hand research (including a full review of Phil Harding and Ian Curnow's extensive personal documents, archives and master tapes) also reveals, for the first time, details on many PWL Harding Curnow recordings, projects and songs written that are unreleased and previously unknown about. (Compiled by definitive discographer and researcher of PWL, Jeremy Kay).
- NEW PHIL HARDING & IAN CURNOW RETROSPECTIVE INTERVIEW Interviewed together (now a rare occasion), in person, at Ian's studios in Suffolk, with lively, highly-entertaining and insightful discussion between them both, looking back (after almost 20 years) on their time working at PWL and what led to their collaboration as production partners there in the first place.
- TECHNICAL SECTION + CASE STUDY OF HOW A KYLIE NO.1 SINGLE WAS MIXED Detailed information on, and discussion of, the cutting-edge recording technology of PWL, its equipment and studio techniques + a full, in-depth technical case study account (by Phil's then Assistant Engineer, Les Sharma), of exactly how Phil mixed SAW's composition and production, Kylie Minogue's 1989 Number One hit single, 'Hand On Your Heart'.
Along with the inclusion of many previously-unseen photographs, 'PWL From The Factory Floor - Expanded Edition' is must-read material for 80s/club/dance/pop devotees and contemporary music followers and creators alike.
Phil Harding is now a regular speaker and guest lecturer at universities
and colleges around the UK and is Chairman of Joint Audio and Media Education
Services (JAMES), the educational representative body of the MPG (Music Producers Guild) and the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services).
Publisher | Cherry Red Books
ISBN | 978 1901447521
Book & CD...
Project Producer / Book Editor / Additional text, interviews & research
Discography Sections / Additional research
/ Other projects