Synopsis of Pop Music
“Then the man at the back said ‘everyone attack!’,
And it turned into a ballroom blitz….”
Glam rock was an English phenomenon in early to mid-70’s. It consisted of bands with a colorful, often androgynous image playing catchy songs that wedded pop melodies and harmonies to the guitar-driven crunch of hard rock. Although glam rock never really caught on in the U.S., Sweet was one of the few glam-rock bands to score on the U.S. pop charts. By the end of the 70’s, they had racked up four Top-10 hits.
Sweet’s members were all club-band veterans by the time they teamed up with British songwriter/producers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman in 1971. They had just penned a bubblegum ditty called “Funny Funny” and presented it to Sweet. The group recorded the song, which made great use of their Queen-like vocal harmonies, and promoted it in glittery outfits and outrageous makeup that set the tone for future glam-rockers.
The result was the first of a string of Chinn/Chapman-penned U.K. hits that would also include songs like “Wig-Wam Bam,” “Blockbuster” and “Teenage Rampage.” Over time, the group moved from a pure bubblegum sound to the cool hybrid of heavy metal and pop that would become known as the ‘glam’ sound. The group also penned their own B-sides for these singles, which rocked hard from the very beginning.
Sweet got their first taste of American chart success in 1974 with a song called “Little Willy.” This tune, which chronicled the adventures of an irrepressible party man, was a catchy sing-along built on a rhythm section groove with plenty of percussion. Of course, there were some serious power chords ringing out in the background, too. It went to #4 on the pop charts. “Willy” was followed the next year by “Ballroom Blitz,” a riff-driven rocker about a group of club-goers going dance-crazy. It became a #5 hit and Desolation Boulevard, the album that featured it, went Top-30 on the album charts.
By 1976, Sweet were writing and producing their own albums, and the band was soon rewarded with a huge hit single in the form of “Fox On The Run.” This song, which matched up power chords with burbling synthesizers, became a #2 hit in the U.K. and a #5 hit in the U.S. The band also had a Top-20 U.S. hit that year with “Action,” a dazzling rocker with an echo-drenched chorus and a well-timed ‘cash register’ sound effect in the mix. They scored another Top-10 hit in 1978 with a surprising change of pace, a piano-driven romantic lament called “Love Is Like Oxygen.”
Lead vocalist Brian Connolly left Sweet in 1978 to pursue a solo career. Sweet continued to record and tour as a trio and released another three albums before separating in 1982. However, all the members of the group remained active in music and occasionally reunited to tour under the ‘Sweet’ banner before Connolly's death in 1997. Their periodic concerts were an excellent reminder that Sweet’s synthesis of pop hooks and metal riffs paved the way for future pop metal merchants like Poison and Def Leppard.
Artist Release History1970 - Gimme Dat Ding (1 Side)
1971 - Funny How Sweet Coco Can Be
1973 - Sweet
1974 - Sweet Fanny Adams
1974 - Desolation Boulevard
1975 - Strung Up
1976 - Give Us a Wink
1977 - Off the Record
1978 - Level Headed
1978 - Short & Sweet
1979 - Cut Above the Rest
1980 - VI
1980 - Waters Edge
1982 - Identity Crisis
1984 - Sweet 16 (compilation)
1993 - The Best of Sweet
1994 - A
Pop Sub Categoriesrock
Essential Music AlbumsThe Best of Sweet (Capitol)
Desolation Boulevard (Capitol)
Band MembersBrian Connolly vocals
Andy Scott vocals, guitar, keyboards
Steve Priest bass
Mick Tucker drums