It was announced earlier today that one of the founder members of the Sweet, Steve Priest, had died aged just 72. That means only Andy Scott remains from the original classic line up. For many people around my age, the Sweet were part of our teenage years. There were times when I tried not to like them, especially when as a Bowie fan I felt that “Blockbuster” ripped off the guitar riff from Bowie’s “Jean Genie” and also kept it from number one in the UK charts. But to be fair the riff is most likely taken from the Yardbirds’ “I’m A Man” which is a cover of the Bo Diddley original from the 1950s, which in turn borrowed heavily from Howlin’ Wolf’s 1954 release “Hoochie Coochie Man”. Anyway, once I grew past my tribal loyalty to Bowie and perceived distaste for the Sweet I learned that in spite of their earlier pop successes the Sweet were real hard rockers at heart. Their album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ and many of their b-sides are a testament to this. The band’s first self-written hit was “Fox On The Run” in 1975.
While I don’t really like their out and out pop stuff that much it is hard to deny that the Nicky Chin and Mike Chapman are supreme earworm pop classics. However, the rest of Europe really adopted the Sweet as a full-on rock band, especially Germany. I love their later singles and also the ‘Desolation Boulevard’ album, which still sounds good today. I saw them live in the late 70s and they were pretty damned good. RIP Steve Priest, you will be sadly missed by pop, glam, rock fans around the world. Thank you for the music that you left us!
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