'Sluttish stars harm youngsters,' says Mike Stock

Hit Eighties' songwriter blames today's singers for taking the easy option

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The Independent Culture

Mike Stock, one third of arguably the most successful songwriting trio of all time, has branded the likes of Lady Gaga and other female pop performers as "sluttish" in a scathing attack on the sexualisation of pop music.

The songwriter, who along with Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman formed Stock, Aitken and Waterman and had more than 100 top 40 hits in the Eighties and early Nineties, says modern US performers, especially, are resorting to risqué performances and sexually-charged pop videos because they don't have much "of a sell".

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday yesterday, Stock, 60, said: "It's easy: if you haven't got much of a sell – stick some sex in the video and the job's done. It's both easy and lazy. And probably shows a lack of ability to do something else.

"Adele doesn't have to resort to the sexual thing, she's there because of the songs. It's largely the Americans, to be honest – the new breed of rap and Lady Gaga types. They're all just... sluttish. And young girls think they are someone worth emulating.

"There's nothing wrong with being sexy. It's just [an issue] if it's the only thing on offer for kids. I may be trying to revert to a purer era of 10 to 15 years ago, but what this stuff is doing is taking us back to primitive times – making it much more ugly, in my view."

A government report into sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood last year recommended age restrictions on pop videos.

Mr Stock laid the blame at the door of the record companies: "The guys in the A&R departments are just interested in sexy girls. They're not interested in the mass market."

Andrew Harrison, the editor of Q magazine, said Stock's views were outdated: "The entire point of the post rock 'n' roll era is that it's not wholesome and it's not innocent. It's always been about sex and sexuality.

"I don't think we could accuse Stock, Aitken and Waterman's people, like Jason and Kylie, as being aggressively sexual, but the music business is built on selling sexual attraction. Lady Gaga's music is not aimed at children, it's aimed at teenagers and adults who understand what she does with themes surrounding sexuality."

Risque chart


Mel and Kim Sisters Melanie and Kim Appleby were once considered edgy and provocative, but were tame by today's standards.

Sonia The flame-haired pop starlet was as sexually charged as Dame Vera Lynn.

Bananarama Known for their hit "Venus", the trio were influenced by punk and known party animals, but were largely wholesome.


Lady Gaga The controversial singer says she is "sexually empowering women" with her raunchy performances.

Rihanna Never knowingly overclad, she outraged the angry brigade by appearing on X Factor, gyrating in (most of) a schoolgirl's uniform.

Ke$ha With song titles such as "Sleazy" and "Take it off" and a wardrobe to match, she is a regular target for the moral majority.