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Sweet

In some ways, the Sweet epitomized all the tacky hubris and garish silliness of the early '70s. Fusing bubblegum melodies with crunching, fuzzy guitars, the band looked a heavy metal band, but were as tame as any pop group. It was a dichotomy that served them well, as they racked up a number of hits in both the U.K. and the U.S. Most of those hits were written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, a pair of British songwriters that had a way with silly, simple, and catchy hooks. Chinn/Chapman and Sweet were smart enough to latch on to the British glam rock fad, building a safer, radio-friendly and teen-oriented version of Queen, T. Rex, and Gary Glitter. By the end of the '70s, the group's time at the top of the charts had expired but their hit singles lived on not only as cultural artifacts, but also as the predecessors for the pop-metal of the '80s.

Originally, the Sweet were called the Sweetshop and consisted of Brian Connolly (vocals), Mick Tucker (vocals, drums), Frank Torpey (guitar), and Steve Priest (bass). In 1970, the group truncated their name to Sweet and signed a record contract with Fontana/EMI, releasing four unsuccessful singles. Following the failure of the four singles, Torpey left the group and was replaced by Andy Scott. The new lineup of Sweet signed to RCA Records in 1971, where they were placed under the direction of songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Chinn and Chapman wrote a number of light bubblegum pop songs for the group, the first of which, "Funny Funny," reached number 13 on the U.K. charts. Following "Funny Funny," the duo wrote five more Top 40 hits for the group -- including "Little Willy" and "Wig-Wam Bam" -- which were all lightweight bubblegum numbers loaded with double entendres. During this time, Sweet were writing their own B-sides and album tracks. All of the group's compositions were harder than Chinn and Chapman's songs, featuring crunching hard rock guitars. Consequently, the duo decided to write tougher songs for the group. "Blockbuster," the first result of Chinn and Chapman's neo-glam rock approach, was the biggest hit Sweet ever had in the U.K., reaching number one on the charts in early 1973 and eventually going platinum. For the next two years, Sweet continued to chart with Chinn and Chapman compositions, including the Top Ten hits "Hell Raiser," "Ballroom Blitz," "Teenage Rampage," and "The Six Teens."

By the summer of 1974, the members of Sweet had grown tired of the control Chinn and Chapman exerted over their career and decided to record without the duo. The resulting album, Sweet Fanny Adams, reached number 27 in the U.K., but it yielded no hits. In the spring of 1975, Sweet had their first self-penned hit with "Fox on the Run," which reached the Top Ten in both the U.K. and the U.S. "Fox on the Run" appeared on the collection Desolation Boulevard; in America, it's release helped "Ballroom Blitz" reach the Top Ten in the summer of 1975. Strung Up, released in the fall of 1975, continued the group's move toward album-oriented rock. For the rest of the decade, the group continued to churn out albums, which were all less successful than their predecessor. Sweet bounced back into the charts in 1978 with "Love Is Like Oxygen," but the single proved to be their last gasp; they never reached the Top Ten again, neither in the U.S. or the U.K.

Connolly left the band after "Love Is Like Oxygen" and the group replaced him with keyboardist Gary Moberley. The group carried on for three more years, releasing three more albums that all achieved little success. After several years of little success or attention, Sweet broke up in 1982. In the decade following their breakup, Sweet reunited on various occasions. In 1985, a dance club medley of their hits called "It's the Sweet Mix" became a British Top 50 hit and, following the single's success, the group re-formed for a tour that proved to be less anticipated than expected. Later in the decade, Scott toured as part of the group Paddy Goes to Holyhead. In 1989, Scott and Tucker re-formed Sweet to record a live album at London's Marquee Club. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

That air raid siren can only mean one thing Blockbuster' s coming for you!
The members of the band somewhat resented the Chinn and Chapman penned tunes because they wanted to be a harder rock outfit. You can hear the battle on Desolation Blvd. Side One is Chinn/Chapma n penned songs while Side B is the stuff they wrote.
A band way ahead of its time. Desolation Boulevard is absolutely a must have for rock fans.
Great drummer so underated
1224012991
Love little willy for sure! My fav!
wags484
Desolation Boulevard was the first album I bought when I was 10. I remember singing A.C/D.C around the house and my mom was like what did you just say? Lol. Still love Sweet to this day and agree they are very underrated.
mick tucker was truly one of the best drummers EVER!
I wonder if any of the people saying the Sweet were too soft or poppy ever took a boot to the throat like Brian Connolly did (which probably helped shorten his life a good deal). These guys, even in their bubblegum phase-were always hard as nails. Anyone who doubts this needs to grab a copy of Give Us A Wink-one of the most relentlessly furious records I've ever heard. And Windy City, from the follow-up, Off The Record, is one of the heaviest songs you'll ever hear.
steve is cute
ericvivienne
LOVE THIS SONG........ . E V E R SINCE THE 70S!!!!
stayoutofmym a i l b o x
most really hard rock bands of the time tried what sweet did all the time and had great hits from it. think kiss and their song beth. about the only song of theirs i listen to still, on the VERY rare times its on.
stayoutofmym a i l b o x
i think they listen to the lyrics and hear fairly uplifting stuff there and its a bit soft for 70's hard rock. good, i just listened to this on my channel: love is like oxygen. :) hard has its place and its got plenty of adherents. leave us sweet for something a little soft in the lyrics, not the sound.
No way, get f**ked ,f**k off !!!!! C/O. The angels and doc neeson
When Sweet delved into hard rock -i.e. when they wanted to sound like Deep Purple- they were outstanding. Turn this one up a bit!
krudd3
Bubble-gum pop, because oft he simply and catchy guitar hooks? Really? Sweet made a lot of good music that may sound poppy today, but it wasn't considered that when it came out as hard rock, with a bit of glam thrown in. Whenever they do pop up on the radio, I stay with the station to hear the song. Lots of fans of Sweet out here!
Since when are simple and catchy guitar hooks silly?
There are hundreds of thousands of songwriters that would die to be this silly...
Hey..I grew up in Australia believing this was a song written by an Aussie band called The Angels and sung by Doc Neeson???? What's up with that?
mpwatts5
Desolation Boulevard and Give us a Wink are two albums by Sweet to own, if you like classic hard rock with a different sound. I like the fact they were never over-played
The Sweet rocked....Ch e c k out Set Me Free. It rocks at high speed Turn it up and enjoy the Sweet Guitar Solo.
It would be Justin, except for the fact they they were highly UNDERRATED!
Wish more of their catalog were available.
for ever glam...!..
Somehow missed out on Sweet in their heyday, but I was young. I accidentally discovered them a couple of months ago thanks to youtube and Fox on the Run. Now I can't get enough. Just goes to show you that great music lives on.
my first 45 was Fox on the Run, and the B side was Burn on the Flame (but that song isnt on pandora...)
mgrnovi
Desolation Boulevard is the first LP I ever bought. Bought it for "Fox On The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz", but loved the rest of the album, especially "The Six-Teens", "No You Don't", and "A.C./D.C." I remember the enclosed lyric sheet was full of typos, which I proceeded to correct with a green marker.
Give Us A Wink is a great album.....Lo v e Is Like Oxygen is their Bohemian Rhapsody.
erbnsd
Y'all are right on.... Desolation Blvd one of the greatest albums of all time........
I thought Desolation Blvd was an awesome album and still is. I also bought Give Us a Wink which was released afterwards and it's funny there is no mention of that album.
mark.ryherd
These guys were so underrated in thier time, late 70's. The album Desolation Blvd. is one of my favorites. Give it a whirl. ROCK ON!
The Biography info above is incorrect; before naming themselves the sweetshop, the band called themselves The Wainsright Gentlemen
Cause little willy won't go home but you can't Push willy round willy won't Go try telling everybody but oh no little willy won't Go Home


Imagine peace 4eva
I totally agree on Desolation Blvd, 'Into the Night' is a great example of that!
Desolation Blvd. Was before its time. Just listening to the heavy riffs and drums and not to mention remakes of a number of songs off the album. Very underrated band..
Sweet is an amazing band. It pisses me off that they aren't given credit for how amazing they are. Everyone should know about Sweet and how true talented they were. LOVE SWEET!!!!
Steve is amazing. lol
They are....... I can't explain. BALROOM BLITZ RAWKS!!!!!!! ! ! ! 1 1
This song takes me back I love this sh#$
One of the very best bands that never really made real popular in America. There music would be popular is it was being played today.

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