Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Freakin' Sweet

Today in Music History:

In 1986, Three fans died during an Ozzy Osbourne concert at Long Beach Arena, California after falling from a balcony.
SweetWell after theast two posts who didn't see this coming. After 210 posts, Good Rockin' has yet to showcase Sweet in their own post, although they've been mentioned a few times. After listening to HellRaiser and hearing that riff, that riff stuck in my head. I kept thinking where in the heck have I heard that before.That's when I realized that Motley Crue had used that riff in one of their songs. The Crue were obviously influenced by Sweet. When motley crue were in the process of forming they considered hiring Andy Scott(then lead singer for sweet)for their lead singer, vince neil was second choice. In fact if you look at most of the pop metal groups of the 80's, you can tell that most of them were influenced by Sweet.

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 shortened their name to the 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. A then unknown song writing team, consisting of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman were brought in by the group's management to help get the ball rolling. The duo wrote light bubblegum tunes which gave the band their first taste of success. Sweet initially attempted to combine various musical influences, including 1960s bubblegum pop groups such as the Archies and The Monkees, with more heavy rock-oriented groups such as The Who. Sweet adopted the rich vocal harmony style of The Hollies, with distorted guitars and a heavy rhythm section. This fusion of pop and hard rock would remain a central trademark of Sweet's music. Another influence on Sweet's music was 1960s drummer Sandy Nelson, who partially influenced Mick Tucker's drumming style. Sweet tracks such as Ballroom Blitz, and Man With The Golden Arm, all contain elements of Sandy Nelson's 1961 U.S. Top 10 hit, Let There Be Drums. Songs such as Funny Funny, Wig Wam Bam and Little Willy soon climbed the charts. I first became aware of them, thanks to Little Willy. The B sides to these tracks were songs written by The Sweet themselves and they were harder than Chinn and Chapman's songs, featuring crunching hard rock guitars. only served to confuse their teenage fan following. In fact, The Sweet's live performances consisted of B-sides, album tracks and various medleys of rock n roll classics, rarely were the singles played live. So the songwriting team started writing harder edged tunes for the group. It was also during this time that the band really defined the extreme glam rock look, glitter, platform boots, chain mail shirts, and makeup.

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 for the album Sweet Fanny Adams. It was also around this time that they dropped the The and just became Sweet. In the spring of 1975 Sweet had their first self written Top 10 hit with Fox on the Run, which appeared on the album Desolation Boulevard. This was also the first Sweet album homercat owned. It seemed to me the only Sweet songs you ever heard on the radio were Little Willy, Ballroom Blitz and Fox on the Run. For the remainder of their career Sweet focused on album oriented rock and their last hit came in 1978 with Love is Like Oxygen. Brian 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. Through the years various incarnations of the band would reunite and tour.

Brian Connolly died from liver failure in February 1997, aged 51, having been content in his final years, to appear in retrospective documentaries, to demonstrate the damage he had inflicted upon himself. Mick Tucker also died in February 2002 from leukaemia, aged 54.

Sweet's two remaining members are still active in the music industry. Andy Scott currently continues to tour as 'Andy Scott's Sweet'. February 2006 saw the release of a new Suzi Quatro album, "Back To The Drive", which was produced by Andy Scott. March 2006 saw the release of a new AS Sweet album, "Sweetlife".

Another interesting note, their biggest UK hit, Blockbuster!, has the same riff as one of David Bowie’s most famous songs, The Jean Genie, which was the first release from the Aladdin Sane album. There was some controversy in the UK at the time as the song was considered very similar to Sweet’s “Blockbuster!”, written and recorded at a slightly later date, but in the charts at the same time. Both Bowie and Nicky Chinn have claimed not to have heard the other’s song before writing their respective tracks. If they didn't the songs are eeriely identical. Crunchy guitars, catchy riffs, and great sing along lyrics make Sweet freakin' sweet.

New York Connection by Sweet

Need a Lot of Lovin' by Sweet

Funny Funny by The Sweet
Buy It

Funny Toon