4-The Sweet- This was a band, I pretty much had to discover on my own. I don't remember many, if any, of my friends that were in to them. I do remember that back in Middle School or Junior High, depending on your area of reference, where it was required to take Phys. Ed. classes, that any day it was raining, and the gym was being used for other reasons, our coaches would just let us sit and listen to records they would bring. This was my first exposure to Sweet, as one of the coaches, absolutely LOVED the song "Little Willy" and would play it frequently. Now, at this time, I was very heavily entrenched in all things Elvis, I hadn't even "discovered" The Beatles yet. So, while the melody of the song attracted me, it was too "hard" for me, distorted guitars were not a part of my musical lexicon, if you know what I mean. Which seems funny now, seeing how far we've come in that area, "Little Willy", just wasn't that big of a Metal song. But, at the time, I just couldn't "hear" it, you know? I also find it funny now, that "Little Willy" has been dumped into the category of "Bubble Gum", and hell, maybe it is, it certainly has all the elements, the melody, the overtly, but well hidden, sexual connotations, that all the best "Bubble Gum" music had (which, I will secretly confide only to you, that "Bubble Gum" music has become a very "guilty pleasure" of mine, I absolutely love it!, and bear in mind, I am an 80's Metal Kid), But I think the song was WAY more important than that, it introduced, a much harder sound to AM radio, by it's virtue of being such a BIG hit. This was a time, when people were still trying to come to grips with FM radio, where all the more "cerebral" Hard Rock, like Steppenwolf, and Hendrix, and many others had found a home, many, in fact MOST kids still got their musical nutrition from AM radio, and "Little Willy", busted the AM barrier on Hard Rock wide open, to say the least.
The problem is, Sweet, never seems to get the "respect" they so richly deserve. Every major city has a "Classic Rock" station, and usually an "Oldies" station, but Sweet never seems to fall in the play list for either. On the Classic station, you can hear Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, The Stones, The Beatles...etc, all day long, but Sweet never seemed "respectable" enough, to be played, unless they are doing a "History of Rock" kind of thing. And apparently, Sweet are just too "Hard Rock" to get played on the "Oldies" station. What A rip. The only time I've heard Sweet played on the radio, at any time in the last 5 years, was when the Soft Rock (SOFT ROCK?!?!?!?!) station a friend of mine was listening to one day, played "Love Is Like Oxygen", which is Quite possibly, the biggest piece of Shit, Sweet ever recorded! Holy BatShit, Batman indeed!!!!
Anyway, One day, I heard, quite by accident, "Ballroom Blitz", at an early girlfriend's house. She's playing records, while I'm more interested in trying to get a hand under her bra. I mean, I AM focused, every time she sits down to listen, I'm getting more of a hand under there, having to work it slowly, you know, with all the kissing, and keeping her in the mood, and just when I'm ALMOST there, the song ends and she gets up to put on another, come back, sits down, and I have to start all the FUCK over !!!!! So anyway, after about 15 rounds of this, every nerve ending I have is standing on edge, and at attention...lol. I'm like Superman, with the super hearing all geared up and ready, and then a loud bell goes off, can you imagine? Well, in my case, the "loud bell" was the opening drums in "Ballroom Blitz" They are so BIG, so powerful, so primal, they just shocked me into a state of being nothing but "listening", I couldn't stop listening, it was so sexual, you could not believe it. I kept asking her to play it over and over, and here she was expecting me each time to be trying to feel her tits, but I'm enthralled with the music, it got so bad for her, that she literally PUT my hand under her bra to get my attention back on her, well that worked of course, but as soon as I could get to a store, I spent my allowance on getting that record, man, believe it!
I have since become a MAJOR Sweet fan. And since, none of my circle of friends seemed into them, it was like they were mine alone, you know? They have so many great songs, their sense of POP melodies in a Hard Rock format, just boggles my mind everytime I listen to them. They have in my opinion, one of THEE best albums of ALL time with "Desolation Boulevard", every song on this album is a keeper, I mean an absolute KEEPER, not one song on this album would qualify as "filler". I think it says alot, that EVERY song on this album has been covered by one major artist or another. And "Action" which isn't even on this album has been covered by no less than 5 major acts that I know of, including Def Leppard. Check out the influences of any of the big Metal bands of the 80's, and Sweet will be listed in there somewhere. Hell, Vince Neil, of Motley Crue, was "discovered" by Nikki Sixx, playing in a Sweet Tribute band called "Hard Rock Candy"...lol
And yes, They have become a big influence on my writing and playing as well. These guys are a big part of my musical lexicon. What I find funny, is that while I was being laughed at for being such a huge Kiss fan, Nobody, But NOBODY, seemed to know who Sweet were, but that now, whenever I am in a place that sells music, looking to see if they have anything by them (and it is criminal in my opinion, that most everything by them here in the states has to be a fucking import), there will always be at least one other guy doing the same thing. They always ask "you like Sweet?" When, I say "yes", they always say "thank God, I thought I was the only one" or something similiar. Fans of their's seem to be rabid about them. They scoop up every import that hits the stores over here. We just can't seem to get enough of them. The companies have even started putting out "official" bootlegs, to try and appease us......lol.
Any hope of a reunion of the original 4, has sadly gone by the wayside with the death of Brian Connelly a couple years ago. The other three tried to make a go of it a few years before that with a Connelly sound alike, but it just didn't work. And now sadly, Brian is gone, so it will never be as it was. (And in reviewing this to post here, I have to put in that Mick Tucker, the drummer "The Man With The Golden Arm" has also "left the building")
Two other things that Brian contributed to Rock; He was very good friends with Keyboardist Jon Lord, they were in "Wainwrights Gentlemen" together, one day Jon comes to Brian and says "Hey, there is this brand new band, with a very good guitar player, that is looking for Keys and a singer, you interested?" Brian declines, but tells Jon, that if the guitarist is THAT good, he (Jon) oughta give it a shot, So Jon quits, and joins the other band, their name? Well, you might have heard of them..........Deep Purple.
And later, when Purple needed to replace the singer Ian Gillen, Brian talked David Coverdale into taking the spot.
One other thing that reenforced my faith in this band: In the early 90's, a retrospective was being done how American Bandstand had impacted music, and in one of the segments they had a couple dancing to a song representing each decade from the 50's on, and in the 70's decade you would have expected what, a Disco song? A new Wave Song? any of a hundred thousand they could have chose, and the song they chose to represent the 70's was Sweet's "Fox On The Run" I was in extacy.
And to this day, I can't hear "Ballroom Blitz" and not remember getting my first feel of a bare nipple.....lol