Thursday, February 16, 2012

In The 1970s Sweet

You may have called them Sweet or The Sweet, they answer to both and had records as both too. It was in 1968 when the group formed under the control of pop moguls Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The lead vocalist for Sweet was Brian Connolly who was the Scottish vocalist born in 1944 and died in 1997 aged only 51 from heart problems and renal problems.All down to his huge drinking problems during his hectic life. Brian was also half brother to Mark McManus who starred as Taggart in the UK.
The first single hit was in 1971 with Funny Funny which was a cute bubblegum record of the time.



Of course there is no way this can be called a classic, but it certainly launched the group to the UK audiences. Bass player Steve Priest was born in 1948 in Middlesex and Andy Scott from Wales was born in 1949 who won Opportunity Knocks in the 1960s with another band.Mick Tucker from London who was the drummer died in 2002 from Leukemia.

The groups next hit in 1971 was the very memorable Co Co.


The last single hit of 1971 was Alexander Graham Bell. It was not a big hit, so we had to wait until 1972 for the next big batch of songs in the 1970s.  The first single was Poppa Joe which got to No. 11 in the UK charts.

The next single was the one that had everyone smiling at school, and the BBC not sure if they should play it or not as it was called Little Willy. Was it naughty or not?


That single reached No. 4, and the follow up also reached No. 4 too.Wig Wam Bam which was  Written by Glam Rock architects Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, the song was described in Bomp magazine as "a monument to ultra commercial rock & roll triviality."

But it would be 1973 when Sweet would go nuclear with three huge hits. Reaching No. 1 was Blockbuster which like most of the groups early stuff was written by Chin and Chapman. This song featured an air-raid siren over a decade before one was used on Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax.


This was the time of REAL glam with the group. At this point they were competing with other Glam icons including Mud, Bowie, T.Rex and a host of others. But this just made them work harder and look more and more glam. Blockbuster was their only No. 1 single in the UK, but 1973 was still a great year for them. The next release was Hell Raiser getting as high as No. 2. The next single also stalled at No.2 and was called The Ballroom Blitz. The song actually comes out of a Scottish concerts the group did, and they were pelted with empty bottles.



     


The year is now 1974, and it was around this time that the lead singer was badly beaten up and could not sing for a longtime. During this time they canceled concerts and joint tours, and other members of the group had to sometime front the group until Brian could sing again. The year started well with regards to hits as the next single to go top ten was Teenage Rampage which peaked again at No.2. Keeping to the subject of teenage angst the groups next single was called The Sixteens which seemed to start the slow pull away from glam chart style music.

   

Two more singles were released that year but failed to chart. So in 1975 the group needed a big hit to get them back on the TV show Top Of The Pops, and they did just that with a great NON GLAM pop single called Fox On The Run. Again yet ANOTHER Chinn and Chapman single.

   

The follow up was the slightly similar Action reaching No. 15.Six more singles were release over the next two years and all six failed to chart. Sweet were not the big group anymore, or were they? Amazingly in 1977 they had one more hit called Love Is Like Oxygen.Guitarist Andy Scott wrote this and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for the composition, but it lost to Baker Street.

  



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