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Guest blogger Mark Hetherington takes a look at one of his favourite bands.The Sweet, if they are remembered at all today, are generally thought of as one of the giants of the British Glam Rock explosion of the early 1970s. Some people may remember their earlier bubble-gum pop sound but here are five songs that might make you think again about the Sweet, and what they might have been.
How It Started In A Nutshell
Set Me Free
Burn on the Flame
In the early days Chapman and Chinn wouldn’t let the band write their own songs. Eventually they relented and began to let them write first the ‘B’ sides to their singles and then album tracks before the band finally took control of their own output. Burn on the Flame was the band’s composition and the hard rocking ‘B’ side to ‘The Six Teens,’ the penultimate single written for the band by Chapman and Chinn. Lyrically it’s a simple love song, but at the same time it is a powerhouse rock song which even now, 48 years later, still has the audiences bouncing!
It's a strange thing that despite their undoubted success, Sweet never quite lived up to their full potential. Their management’s insistence on top 40 single success meant that their albums, with the band’s own compositions weren’t given the attention they deserved. The music press saw them as just another teeny bopper band and didn’t take them their albums seriously and an incident which saw singer Brian Connolly being kicked in the throat meant they couldn’t play a stadium gig which Pete Townshend of the Who had personally invited them to. This incident also Connolly losing some of his vocal range, resulting in a loss of confidence and turning to alcohol. Sweet’s first album was a collection of the more poppy songs such as Coco and Poppa Joe but the band’s next three were more statements of what they wanted to be and are stone cold classics. However, when those weren’t received as had been hoped, they tried a wider variety of tunes and ended up watering down their rock band leanings and while the later albums all have something worth listening to on them, they were never as good as on ‘Desolation Boulevard,’ ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ (both 1974) and ‘Give Us a Wink’ (1976).