The nucleus of Sweet came together in 1966, when drummer Michael "Mick" Tucker and vocalist Brian Connolly played together in Wainwright's Gentlemen. The pair broke away to form Sweetshop, later shortened to The Sweet, and ultimately just Sweet. Together with guitarist Andy Scott and bassist Steve Priest, this line-up would sing with RCA Records in 1971 and become the band's most successful and well known lineup. It was at this time that the band were introduced to the writing partnership of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who would help to provide the band with a string of hit singles. Their initial success was down to bubblegum pop anthems such as "Funny Funny," "Co-Co," "Poppa Joe" and one of their most well known hits "Little Willy." The band began writing harder edge pop rock and garnered the band several more hits including "Blockbuster" and one of the most covered songs in heavy metal "Ballroom Blitz". Eventually the band parted ways with Chinn and Chapman and began writing on their own. Once again they were successful with hits like "Action and "Fox on the Run". Sweet were also well known for the glam look, inspiring on a look that would become very popular in the 1980's glam scene.
Thomas Tucker (born July 16, 1947), died on Feb 14th, 2002.
Sweet - Desolation Boulevard (Capitol) 1974
1. "Ballroom Blitz"
A classic album from Sweet. This was probably their most popular album, and certainly one of their hardest rocking. Big hooks, silly choruses, crunchy guitars and loads of melody. This one contained no less than three hits including the hugely popular "Ballroom Blitz", which has been covered by about every metal and rock band influenced by British rock. "The 6-Teens" and "Fox on the Run" were equally big hits. Perhaps it's nostalgia, or maybe this album just really stands the test of time well, but I still thorougly enjoy listening to this album from beginning to end. It has an infectious "bop" that always get my feet to tapping and head to boppin'.
Sweet - Give Us A Wink! (Repatoire) 1976
1. "The Lies In Your
"Give Us A Wink!" was the follow-up to the outstanding "Desolation Boulevard" and one where the band had full artistic control. The band continued using the same formula of hard rock, heavy metal and pop to create what would be an album that would equal, if not top "Desolation Boulevard". Still, without being forced to record shorter pop songs, the band was able to record songs with longer instrumental passages and flex their musical muscle a bit. This gave Andy Scott a bit more freedom to let loose and show the world he was a more than competent guitarist. "Action" gave the band yet another top 10 hit and rightly so. This song is without a doubt one of their finest metal numbers and one that they would never be able to top, in my opinion. "Lies In Your Eyes" was also released as a single, but didn't fare quite as well despite being an excellent rocker. "Fox On the Run", a song about groupies, would also give the band a hit and is most certainly one of the band's finest moments. Songs like "Cockroach" and "Yesterday's Rain" are genuine 1970's heavy metal. As a matter of fact, the whole vibe of this album isn't unlike the 1980's sleaze, pop metal scene, although this album pre-dates that movement by over a decade. "Give Us A Wink!" is arguably the high point of Sweet's career and most certainly their darkest, most aggressive and most consistant.
There are several different versions of this CD available, some better than others. Several of the more recent remasters leave off tracks on this CD such as "Lady Starlight" and "Miss Demeanor".
Sweet - Live at the Marquee (Maze) 1989
1. "Action" (4:37)
There is something about live recordings that make a band heavier, more aggressive and less sterile. That was the case with some of the greatest live albums of all time; like Thin Lizzy's "Live & Dangerous", Kiss' "Alive" and Judas Priest's "Unleashed in the East." That is also the case with Sweet's "Live at the Marquee." The heavy guitars along with a spirited performance really bring out these songs and show why a 70's pop band like Sweet had such an impact on 80's and 90's heavy metal. Missing from the band is lead vocalist Brian Connoly, who is replaced with former More singer Paul Manio, who certainly does a fine job behind the mic. At times he sounds very much like Brian. All the hits are here and performed with a pleasant intensity and energy. Rockers like "Sweet F.A.," "No You Don't," "Ballroom Blitz," and "Fox on the Run" are all awesome. The extended version of "Love is Like Oxygen" is also quite good. Oh, and what would a live album be without drum and guitar solos? Sweet doesn't disappoint here either. The four studio tracks tacked on the end are a nice additions as well.
Sweet - The Best of Sweet (Capitol) 1993
1. "Little Willy"
So what is Sweet doing on a heavy metal page? Well, first of all, I like them, so that is reason enough. However, despite the fact that Sweet were more of an early 70's pop rock band, than anything heavy or metallic, they were a precursor to heavy metal and glam. Over the years, and especially in the 80's, several popular metal bands have covered Sweet songs. Their songs have enough hooks to catch a whale. This is the type of stuff that sticks in your brain like bubblegum to the bottom of a shoe. Some of my favorite Sweet songs are on this 'hits' collection; "Fox on the Run", "Action", "Teenage Rampage" and "Love is Like Oxygen." Raven pulled off a smokin' cover of "Action", as did Black 'n Blue and Def Leppard. "Ballroom Blitz" is probably the band's biggest hit. Several bands have covered this song including Krokus and Nuclear Assault, among many others. Audiovision recorded a cover of "Love Is Like Oxygen". A good CD to tide me over till I find the band's two heaviest CDs, "Desolation Boulevard" and "Give Us a Wink." For some reason "Set Me Free," a song that I hoped would be on this compilation, was left off.