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The nucleus of The Sweet came together in 1966, when drummer Michael Thomas Tucker (b. 17 July 1947, Harlesden, London, England) and vocalist Brian Francis Connolly (b. 5 October 1945, Hamilton, Scotland) played together in Wainwright's Gentlemen, a small-time club circuit band whose repertoire comprised a mixture of Motown, R&B and psychedelia. The pair broke away to form Sweetshop, later shortened to just Sweet, with Steve Norman Priest (b. 23 February 1950, Hayes, Middlesex) on bass and Frank Torpey on guitar. After releasing four unsuccessful singles on Fontana and EMI, Torpey was replaced by first Mick Stewart, and then Mick by Andrew David Scott (b. 30 June 1949, Wrexham, Wales) and the new line-up signed to RCA. The band were introduced to the writing partnership of Chinn and Chapman, who were 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 Little Willy. However, the band were writing their own hard-rock numbers on the b-sides of these hits. This resulted in Chinn/Chapman coming up with heavier pop-rock numbers, most notably the powerful Blockbuster, which reached number 1 in the UK at the beginning of 1973. The group's determinedly effete, glam-rock image was reinforced by a succession of Top 10 hits, including Hell Raiser, Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage and The Six Teens.
Sweet decided to take greater control of their own destiny in 1974
and recorded the album Sweet Fanny Adams without the assistance of
Chinn and Chapman. The album charted at number 27, but disappeared
again after just two weeks. The work marked a significant departure
from their commercially-minded singles on which they had built their
reputation. Set Me Free, Restless and Sweet F.A. epitomized their
no-frills hard-rock style. Desolation Boulevard included the
self-penned Fox On The Run which was to hit number 2 in the UK singles
chart. This gave the band confidence and renewed RCA's faith in the
band as a commercial proposition. However, as Sweet became more of an
albums band, the hit singles began to dry up, with 1978's Love Is Like
Oxygen being their last Top 10 hit. Following a move to Polydor, they
cut four albums with each release making less impact than its
predecessor. Their brand of melodic rock, infused with infectious hooks
and brutal riffs, now failed to satisfy both the teenybopper and the
more mature rock fan.
Since 1982, various incarnations of the band have
appeared from time to time, with up to two of the original members in
any one line-up. The most recent of these was in 1986, when they
recorded a live album at London's Marquee Club, with Paul Mario Day
(ex-More) handling the vocals. Brian Connolly now suffers from a
muscular disorder, however, his grim situation was warmed in 1992 with
the incredible success of the film Wayne's World and the subsequent
renewed interest in the Sweet, due to the track in the film Ballroom
Blitz. Since then, the two current versions of the band, Andy Scott's
Sweet, and Brian Connolly's Sweet, have been regularly touring and
gigging, and even producing their own new material (which will be
detailed in this site as it expands).
Brian Francis Connolly dies in hospital on Sunday February 9th 1997, aged 52.
Official Homepage: www.thesweet.com
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