HE was behind some of the biggest hits of the 1980s, songs that became the soundtrack to so many people’s lives.

And now Pete Waterman is getting ready to bring those days back when the Hit Factory takes over the main stage at Blackpool’s Livewire Festival this summer.

Pete - one third of record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman and the man behind the PWL record label - will introduce Jason Donovan, Sinitta, Pepsi and Shirlie, Go West and Samantha Fox at the festival on the headland opposite Blackpool’s famous Tower.

“I still feel that going to Blackpool is a bit of a treat,” said Pete. “I think that’s because of my age.

“It was such a big deal when I was a kid, it was a magical place.

“I remember when I started work in 1962 we’d save up all year for a weekend in Blackpool. You put your two bob away in the fund with your mates and they’d book the hotel then you’d go up there on a Friday and be back on a Sunday.

“Blackpool that had all these big names you’d only every heard on radio or saw on TV. It was everything in one place, it was like going to Las Vegas.”

But for Pete there was also an added attraction.

“The real magic of Blackpool for me was the railway station,” he said. “It was at the heart of the most amazing railway network and for me, a lad from Coventry and a train spotter, it was just phenomenal.

“There were so many excursions to Blackpool, you would spend the day running around the engine sheds which were just full of trains.”

Pete’s passion for railways, particularly the days of steam, is well documented. He has been involved in major restoration projects and even set up a company manufacturing model railways.

But it’s his involvement with and passion for music which will be taking him back to Blackpool over the August Bank Holiday.

“Crikey, I haven’t done this for about 20 years apart from a one-off show at the O2 in London as part of the Olympics celebrations in 2012,” he said. “But there is so much interest in the Eighties now. People do want to celebrate the music. That’s fine – you want it, I’ll turn up!”

Pete has been responsible for a staggering 500 million record sales around the world in his career and now, aged 70, his enthusiasm is as keen as ever.

“What I find amazing is that the audience can be anything from 65-year-olds to young kids,” he said. “I wake up every morning and thank God for all those songs - they are better than your pension fund!

“But it’s the enjoyment we had and the memories which are the most important.

“One memory I shall never forget is when we did the Hit Man and Her from the Palace in Blackpool,” he said.

Hit Man and Her saw Pete and Michaela Strachan presenting a late night show live from clubs around the UK which became cult viewing in the late Eighties.

“It was Kylie’s first ever UK TV appearance,” said Pete. “We flew the poor girl in from Sydney. She’d been on a plane for 24 hour, then we put her on a plane at Heathrow to get her to Blackpool.

“It was November and the wind was blowing off the North Sea and I was trying desperately to explain to her what she was doing in Blackpool on this crazy TV show.

“When she arrived, she lay on the dressing room, wrapped a blanket round herself and went to sleep.

“Then when the show started they fetched her out and the place went nuts. The cameraman said ‘that girl is going to be enormous. I saw her 20 minutes ago and you would never have believed there was that performance in her’.

“I loved every minute we did on that show. I was being the DJ I had been for 15 years for Mecca only this time I was being paid decent money. I was playing to an audience I knew inside out so of course I was having a ball.”

It’s a phrase which Pete uses often when discussing his life in music.

“We were three guys in a little independent company who didn’t care what anybody else said,” he said. “We just did our own thing and we loved every minute of it.

“Talk about being DIY, we really were.

“But I believed that the time was right for pure entertainment where people came and listened and enjoyed themselves. You just turned up and had three or four hours entertainment.”

Pete would take his artists out on tour as a package playing venues around the country.

“I remember one night we did a show on a Sunday after the chart had been announced and we had seven of the top 10 on that stage that night. That was unbelievable if you think about it.

“It will never happen again, certainly not for a pound!”

Pete Waterman introduces the Hit Factory, Livewire Festival, Blackpool, Saturday, August 26. Livewire features The Jacksons on Friday, August 25 and Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff on Sunday, August 27. Details from www.livewirefestival.co.uk or 0871 220 0260.