After writing and producing a string of hits for Dead or Alive, Mel and Kim, Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue, Stock Aitken & Waterman released the first single in 1987 under their own names.
With vocals by Chyna Gordon and Dee Lewis, “Roadblock” would be a turning point for the production team, the UK music press who up until this time had championed the fresh sound and underground aesthetic of the PWL team, turned against them when they strong-armed the group M/A/R/R/S into a legal settlement over a sample that M/A/R/R/S had taken from SAW’s own recording, “Roadblock”, and used in their surprise hit “Pump Up the Volume”. Pete Waterman wrote an open letter to the music press calling such things “wholesale theft”. The press fired back that Waterman was currently using the bassline of Colonel Abrams’s “Trapped” in Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Indeed “Roadblock” itself could be described as inspired by the classic Average White Band hit “Pick Up the Pieces”. As a result, relations between PWL and much of the UK’s music underground were for a long time acrimonious. Waterman said it was a matter of principle rather than profit and promised to donate all royalties from the court case to charity.
Like most releases by PWL, “Roadblock” was released in a range of mixes but this German 12″ was interesting as it contained the only official release of the Ben Liebrand remix which also appeared on the September 1987 DMC mixes. The “Rare Dub” version on the B side comes courtesy of Mixmaster Pete Hammond.
“Roadblock” would reach #13 on the UK charts.
Roadblock (No Block ‘Til Deutschland Mix) 7:00
Roadblock (Rare Dub) 4:20