Always something of a schizophrenic proposition, on one hand, a bubblegummy glam act while on the other a bona fide hard rock band, Sweet was never what one might call a critics favourite. Although all four of them – Brian Connolly (Vocals), Andy Scott (Guitar), Steve Priest (Bass) and Mick Tucker (Drums) – were clearly excellent musicians, they were more often than not perceived merely as a vehicle for the songwriting talents of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn (AKA Chinnichap) – not unlike the duo’s other high profile clients: Mud, Suzi Quatro and Smokie.
Time has been kind to Sweet though. Nowadays they seem to be viewed not that harshly, musically at least. Even though the often over the top visual appearance and image might predictably still warrant the odd ridicule, the music itself rarely does now.
Pre-Chinnichap, during the late ‘60s, The Sweet recorded a few unspectacular and unsuccessful singles here and there, but by 1971 had teamed up with Chinn & Chapman and began to churn out sticky bubblegum like Funny Funny and Co-Co. At first, apart from merely providing vocals to the proceedings, the band had precious little to do with the hits. The B-sides, though, were always real opportunities for the group to show their harder rocking tendencies.
It wasn’t until the somewhat risqué Little Willy, the fifth Chinnichap Sweet single, the band actually supplied instrumental backing to the A-side. 1975’s Fox on The Run was their first self-penned & produced single and, although one of their best and universally most successful, in hindsight it also signaled the beginning of the end for the band.
By 1978 singer Brian Connolly had left Sweet and they never enjoyed another big hit after that year’s excellent Love Is Like Oxygen.
For fun, I’ve selected my Top 10 of Sweet’s singles and listed them here below with the oblibigatory links to YouTube videos. If so inclined, feel free to do the same in the comments section below, although I doubt the YouTube thing will work there.
No. 10: Little Willy (1972)
No. 9: Wig-Wam Bam (1972)
No. 8: Lies in Your Eyes (1976)
No. 7: Action (1975)
No. 6: The Ballroom Blitz (1973)
No. 5: Blockbuster (1973)
No. 4: Teenage Rampage (1974)
No. 3: Fox On The Run (1975)
No. 2: Love Is Like Oxygen (1978)
No. 1: The Six Teens (1974)