Sweet were the quintessential '70s glam rock band, bringing the androgynous looks and crunchy guitar pop of Queen and T. Rex to the masses. Though never huge in America, Sweet was immensely popular in Britain and Europe, and is credited with influencing many '80s pop-metal bands and '90s power pop groups. The roots of Sweet extend back to 1966, when vocalist Brian Connolly and drummer Michael Thomas Tucker played together in the amateur band Wainwright's Gentlemen.
Within a few years, they quit the Gentlemen and formed their own band, Sweetshop, with guitarist Frank Torpey and bassist Steve Priest. By 1970 Sweetshop had shortened its name to Sweet, and Torpey was replaced by Andrew Scott; the quartet signed to RCA Records, which paired them with the songwriting duo of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, known for penning bubblegum pop ditties. Sure enough, the Sweet scored their first hit the following year with Chinn and Chapman's "Funny Funny," quickly followed by "Little Willy," "Poppa Joe," "Wig-Wam Bam" and "Co-Co" -- all sappy pop tunes.
You will possibly remember the slashing guitars, rebel-yell lyrics, feverishly high-pitched vocals and doubletime drumming together with their spectacular image, outrageous costumes, make-up and a fast-living lifestyle.
The group demanded harder rock numbers, and Chinn and Chapman responded with 1973's "Blockbuster," which, true to its name, hit No. 1 in the U.K. Their next few singles singles -- "Hell Raiser," "Ballroom Blitz," "The Six Teens" and "Teenage Rampage" -- all reached the U.K. Top 10, with "Ballroom Blitz" becoming a delayed U.S. Top 10 hit in mid-1975.Determined to take control over their music, Sweet fired Chinn and Chapman in 1974 and began writing their own songs, making their songwriting debut on 1974's Sweet Fanny Adams LP, which debuted in the U.K. Top 30. The harder-rocking follow-up album Desolation Boulevard spawned their biggest self-written hit yet, "Fox on the Run," which reached No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 10 in the U.S.
Their subsequent albums were less singles-oriented and more cohesive, and maintained the glam-rock edge that their fluffy early material lacked; as a result, their fan base shifted from fickle young teens to an older, cult audience.During the late '70s frontman Brian Connolly left the band. Following a move to Polydor Records, 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. The revamped group was not as popular as in the past, and finally called it quits in 1981. Throughout the '80s, however, there were assorted Sweet reunions involving various original and new members of the band, the most notable being a 1986 reunion with ex-More vocalist Mario Day fronting the group.
In 1992 there was renewed interest in Sweet when "Ballroom Blitz" appeared on the hit Wayne's World soundtrack and new power pop bands like Material Issue publicly cited Sweet as an influence; unfortunately, frontman Brian Connolly was suffering from a degenerative muscular disorder and his version of Sweet, Brian Connolly's Sweet, only lasted a few years before he was permanently disabled. Connolly finally passed away from liver failure in 1997, and Mick Tucker died from leukaemia five years later, but Sweet guitarist Andy Scott continues on with Sweet touring, making new music and keeps the name alive and The Sweet of today are still a guarantee for the high quality and the recognizable Sweet sound.