The Sweet

  • British glam rock band formed in 1968 from London England. The 70s lineup consisted of Brian Connolly (lead vocals), Steve Priest (bass guitar, vocals), Andy Scott (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Mick Tucker (drums, vocals).
  • In 1967, Connolly and Tucker were playing in a band named Wainwright’s Gentlemen. When that band broke up early the next year, they formed a new band called The Sweetshop. They recruited Priest from another band, and Frank Torpey on guitar, and started playing at pubs in the London area. This exposure led to a recording contract. Another UK band called Sweetshop released a single at that time, so they changed their name to The Sweet.
  • Over the next 3 years, the band released 4 bubblegum rock singles, none of which charted. They went through several guitarists, and in 1970, they auditioned and hired Scott. In 1971, their first album was released in the UK – Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be. The singles Funny Funny and Co-Co were #1 and #2 songs in several European countries, but they did not chart in the U.S.
  • From late 1971 to 1973, The Sweet released 8 songs as singles that were not part of studio album2. These songs were top 10 successes in Europe, and 2 of them – Little Willy and Ballroom Blitz – became big hits in the U.S., peaking at #3 and #5 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. Ballroom Blitz was inspired by a concert in 1973 where the band was driven off the stage by a barrage of bottles thrown at them.
  • Based on their growing success, a compilation album, The Sweet, was released in the U.S. in 1973, which was their debut in the states. It contained the singles previously released in Europe, as well as Little Willy. It barely charted – true of most of the albums by the band. Fans bought the singles, but not the albums.
  • In 1975, the band released an album in the UK named Sweet Fanny Adams, now going by the name Sweet, eliminating the ‘The.’ Later that year, they released Desolation Boulevard in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. version was different than the European version, and it contained several songs from Sweet Fanny Adams, as well as new songs. The hit from this album was Fox On The Run – it peaked at #5 in the U.S. and #2 in the UK. With these records, Sweet had evolved away from bubblegum rock to their signature glam/hard rock sound and look.
  • The 1976 album Give Us A Wink and 1977’s Off The Record were less successful – of the 7 singles released, only Action had modest success, peaking at #20 in the U.S. They rebounded in 1978, with their final hit – Love Is Like Oxygen from the album Level Headed made it to #8 in the U.S. Over the next 4 years, they released 3 more albums, which nobody bought. By 1982, the group disbanded.
  • Scott and Tucker reformed the band in 1985, and this version continued to be active with live performances, with many personnel changes, even today. Scott is the only original member remaining – Tucker died in 2002 of luekemia. Connolly formed his own band, called “Brian Connolly’s Sweet”, and later “New Sweet,” in 1984, and was active until 1997, when Connolly died of liver failure and multiple heart attacks. Priest also started his own version of the band in 2008, and both Scott’s Sweet and Priest’s Sweet tour regularly, playing the same old hits. Apparently, the music world can tolerate 2 versions of the same classic glam rock!
  • I admit it – I own Desolation Boulevard, and I used to own Give Us A Wink, though I must have traded that album to someone for something better. As bad as they are, Ballroom Blitz, Little Willy and Fox On The Run are cult classics, and when I reflect on the music from my favorite decade, these songs are high on my list of the sound of the 70s. “Are you ready Steve? Andy? Mick? All right fellas…Let’s go!!!” Here’s Sweet, performing Ballroom Blitz!

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