Tag Archives: Sweet

Sweet – The Most Underrated Band Of The 70s, Releases Their Final Hit, Love Is Like Oxygen, 40 Years Ago

Sweet – The 1970s Band That Should Have Been As Big As Anyone.  They Released Their Final Hit In January 1978 – Love Is Like Oxygen

A Story of Sweet Success And Missed Opportunities

Sweet in their glam band outfits circa 1973. From l-r Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Andy Scott and drummer Mick Tucker holding guitar.

If you were to name a rock band that should have had long-lasting, international success and made a major musical impact but didn’t, one of the top contenders would have to be Sweet.

In the pantheon of great rock bands, Sweet has been forgotten.

There are many reasons for this amnesiac neglect. Possibly the reasons add up like this: a series of bad breaks; not being taken seriously by a dismissive, indifferent critical press; an insufficient amount of American touring and radio exposure; and unsure musical direction. But certainly not because of a lack of producing great rock music.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sweet’s final hit Love Is Like Oxygen which was released  in January 1978. We’ll discuss the song at the end of this article, but here is an abbreviated version from the TV program Top of The Pops.

A very similar band from the same time, Queen, became, a juggernaut, filling arenas and stadiums, having tens of millions of album sales and critical acclaim – all things Sweet seemed destined to achieve, but didn’t.

And if you don’t think Queen was heavily influenced by Sweet, then maybe you should have a listen.

Despite over 35 million album sales and moderate touring success around Europe, Sweet never lived up to their potential. With the exception of a handful of songs, Sweet was rarely played on American radio, hampering whatever breakthrough success they deserved.

Today, younger listeners unfamiliar with Sweet during their heyday, will rarely be able to name the band when they hear them. They recognize the songs, but often mistake the band’s music for that of E.L.O., the Bee Gees, Queen or some other band.

In the 1970s, Sweet, an English glam pop band, morphed into a serious hard rock band with a long list of hits in the United States and England. Originally they recorded songs written by others, primarily their managers and main songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn.

But Sweet was more than just a Three Dog Night, Grass Roots or Monkees sort of band. Those bands could barely get by playing an instrument live and never or rarely wrote any of their own songs.

Sweet’s bass player Steve Priest, drummer Mick Tucker, guitarist Andy Scott and lead vocalist Brian Connolly were all accomplished musicians who could write and play their own music and do it damn well.

What made Sweet stand out was their vocal harmonies.

Frequently featured on the weekly British music show Top of the Pops, Sweet would, as the custom was at the time, go on stage and lip synch what they had done on record. Their disdain for lip synching was apparent and they would often make a mockery of their own performances.

Their early “hits,” all written by Chapman and Chinn, were simple but immensely catchy ditties, in the genre known as “bubblegum rock.” Innocent lyrics with just a bit of double entendre intended for a teen audience.

Blockbuster, Wig Wam Bam, Funny Funny, and the American crossover hit Little Willy were just a few of their early chart successes. These were followed by more hits Hell Raiser, No You Don’t, AC-DC, Turn It Down and Sweet’s most famous song The Ballroom Blitz. Continue reading

Rarely Seen Live Rock Videos From The 1970s

10 Rarely Seen 1970s Live Music Videos – featuring Blondie, Sweet, The Cars, Cheap Trick, The Clash, Rush and others.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

At least that’s how the musically schizophrenic 1970s felt to me. The era that gave us timeless music from bands like Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd and Queen, gave way in popularity in the mid 70s to the monotonous 4/4 beat of disco. As The Who sang in Long Live Rock “rock is dead.”

The Clash 1979 - photo: Bob Gruen featuring Rare 1970s Live Rock Videos

The Clash 1979 – photo: Bob Gruen

But towards the end of the decade, new rock bands emerged with aplomb; The Ramones, Elvis Costello, The Clash and Blondie being among them. The foundations for the emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) would be laid by 1970s hard rock bands like Sweet, UFO and Rainbow.

You’ve got to love Youtube. Without it, how would you discover video that you never knew existed?

Youtube is a strange world, where there have been over two billion views for Psy and Gangam Style, while Sweet’s 1974 live version of No You Don’t has about 21,000 views. Crazy isn’t it? With millions of music videos to sort through, it can be difficult to find the great ones, kind of like plucking gems from a vault.

For most of the videos we selected, some have viewership not in the millions, but incredibly just in the thousands.

We’ve selected ten live, rarely seen rock videos from Youtube from between 1974 – 1979 that hopefully don’t get pulled down from the site.

Five videos are from the late, great Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. There are over 100 complete concerts that have been released in the past year from that storied rock venue.

Rock n’ roll may be dead, at least to the 2016 generation, but in the 1970s it was relevant, alive and kicking.

First off, Cheap Trick plays Auf Wiedersehen in 1978 with a Nirvana-like energy

Next, Blondie from 1978 with a terrific version of Hangin’ on the Telephone

The Clash I Fought The Law Live in London at The Lyceum Theatre 1979 {Update – You Tube removed this video so here from 1980 (we’re cheating now with the date) Live at The Capitol Theatre}

Sweet from 1974 perform No You Don’t on Musikladen in Germany. Pat Benitar’s cover version is more well known than Sweet’s hard rock original.

Continue reading

The Worst Vegas Lounge Act – EVER!

Jon Thor Covering (Butchering) Sweet’s Hard Rock Classic “Action”

What is the worst cover song of all time? Of course that is subjective and debatable, but this may be it.

If you can stay with this five minute video, it will be worth it for its jaw dropping kitschiness.

On national television, with Merv Griffin doing the introduction, from 1976, here is Jon Thor straight from the Aladdin Hotel’s Red, Hot and Blue Show doing his “Muscle Rock” rendition of Action.

For those who do not know what the original song sounds like, because any resemblance of Jon Thor’s version to a real rock song is purely coincidental, here is Sweet’s original version recorded in 1975.

If you are wondering whatever happened to Jon Thor, in the early 1980’s he eventually transformed his act into “Thor,” a quasi-metal act that is still active today according to his web site.

Jimmy Savile, Long Time “Top of the Pops” Host (And Pervert) Is Dead at 84

Jimmy Savile, Zany British TV Host (and pervert – see update at end of article.)

Jimmy Savile was found dead at his home in Leeds October 29. He was just two days shy of turning 85.

In the United States Jimmy Savile is a relatively unknown name except to die-hard music fans or those who might have spent time in the United Kingdom.

In the UK you could not help but know Jimmy Savile. For twenty years, from its inception in 1964, Savile hosted Top of the Pops, a television music countdown show featuring hit singles.   Think of a British version of a cross between Casey Kasem’s radio program American Top 40 and Dick Clark’s television show American Bandstand and that was, Top of The Pops. Savile ended his reign as a regular host in 1984. Continue reading