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Sweet * Hamburg, Musikhalle 07.12. 1973
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Hamburg (Musikhalle) am 7.Dezember 1973 /// Hier Fotos Brian Connelly, der Sänger von Sweet plus Band.
Informationen ( Stand: Oktober 2009 )
Es war mein erster Abend als
Londoner. September 1975 im "Bricklayers
Arms", einem Pub in Hayes,
Middlesex. "Fox On The Run"
steckte immer noch in der
Jukebox, also drückte ich's.
"Diese Sweet da", meinte ein Typ
an der Bar zu mir, "die kamen
hier oft in voller Montur rein.
Meine Jungs hatten immer einen
Spruch drauf, weil die so irre
aussahen. Aber meine Frau hat
mich mal zu 'nem Gig von denen
mitgenommen, und spielen können
die, absolut phantastisch. Und
der Harmoniegesang, Spitze!"
Kneipengequatsche, klar, aber er
brachte es auf den Punkt, oder?
Als "Fox On The Run" aufgenommen
wurde, hatte die Band endlich
ihr Rock-Image und konnte Slade
Angst machen. Außerdem hatten
sie natürlich begonnen, ihre
eigenen A-Seiten zu schreiben.
Der Weg dahin war steinig
gewesen! Doch auch vor der
ihre Musik immer Spaß gemacht.
Man dachte einfach nicht im
Traum dran, das Radio
abzustellen, wenn Sweet liefen,
denn Action gab´s garantiert: "Wig
Wam Bam", "Blockbuster", und ihr
Blitz" sollte sogar einer
Neunziger Jahre Sweet Tribute
Band ihren Namen verleihen!
Sweet - also die Originale
natürlich - packten so viel
Entertainment in ihre drei
Minuten Sendezeit wie die
Progressiv-Fraktion auf ein
Album. Ziemlich oft ´ne Menge
mehr übrigens! Es begann alles
im Jahr des ´White Album´:
Sänger Brian Connolly
(*5.10.1945) und Schlagzeuger
Mick Tucker (*17.7.1947)
gründeten 1968 Wainwright´s
Gentlemen. Damals konnte man
sich noch - so gerade - als
lebende Jukebox über Wasser
halten, indem man gewiefte
Cover-Versionen von Soul, Blues
und dem einen oder anderen
Hippie-Titel spielte. Aber
Brian´s und Mick´s Ambitionen
gingen weiter, und zusammen mit
Steve Priest (*23.2.1948) wurden
sie Sweet. Ihre Plattenkarriere
begannen sie mit ein paar
Singles für Philips/Fontana und
EMI/Parlophone, jedoch mit wenig
Erfolg. Mehrere Gitarristen
gaben sich das Plektrum in die
Hand, ehe sich die Band 1970 für
Andy Scott entschied
(*30.6.1949). Als Sweet bei RCA
und Produzent Phil Wainman unter
Vertrag ging, gaben einige
attraktive Demos den Ausschlag,
die sie von Nicky Chinn und Mike
Chapman gehört hatten, einem
Songschreiber-Tandem, von dem
die Welt noch viel mehr hören
sollte. Die Songs, denen sie
lauschten, trugen alle den
himmlischen Hitstempel im
Refrain. Und wie Nicky sich
erinnert: "Die wollten einen
Hit!" Sie bekamen einen Hit. "Funny
Funny", eine respektable
Position 13 im Vereinigten
Königreich und Top 5 in
Deutschland. Was Sweet aber
nicht wollten, war das
Monkees-Syndrom. Denn genau so
fühlten sie sich, als Mietmucker
im Studio auftauchten, um auf
den Platten zu spielen. Wainman,
Chinn & Chapman hatten nichts
Böses im Schilde geführt, aber
sie mussten ja nun mal vorher
mit der Kohle ´rüberkommen!
Nicky heute: "Es herrschte das
Gefühl, dass Sessionmusiker
alles schneller und billiger
machen. Außerdem wussten wir
einfach nicht, wie gut Sweet
waren. Wir haben sie
Unterbewerteten fühlten sich wie
Amateure. Aber das waren sie
nicht. Sie hatten ihre Sporen
verdient, als gewachsene,
arbeitende Band. Mit viel
Live-Erfahrung und jeder Menge
eigenem Material, das übrigens -
Hut ab vor Chinnichap und der
Band - von Anfang an auf den
B-Seiten auftauchte: "You´re Not
Wrong For Loving Me", "Done Me
Wrong All Right". Solide Songs,
die repräsentativ für ihre
Sweet (referred to as The Sweet on albums before 1974 and singles before 1975) were a popular 1970s British band.
Although Sweet were largely known for their glam rock image, and several hit singles — many of them being so-called teenage anthems — they also released several albums throughout a ten year career.
Sweet's origins go back to 1965, with UK soul band Wainwright's Gentlemen, which included drummer Mick Tucker and vocalist Ian Gillan. The group were limited to small UK clubs playing a mixture of R&B and psychedelia. Gillan quit in May 1965 to join Episode Six, and, later, Deep Purple. Gillan's replacement was vocalist Brian Connolly. Tucker and Connolly remained with the band until 1968.
In January 1968, Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker left Wainwright's Gentlemen to form another band, calling themselves The Sweetshop. They recruited a bass guitarist/lead vocalist named Steve Priest from a local band called The Army, having previously played with another local band The Countdowns. Frank Torpey, a friend of Tucker's, was recruited to play guitar. It didn't take long for Sweetshop to develop a following on the pub circuit, and they were signed to the Fontana label. At the time, another UK band released a single under the same name Sweetshop, so the band shortened the name to Sweet. Their debut single "Slow Motion" (July 1968) failed to chart. Sweet was released from the contract, and Frank Torpey left. Steve Priest in his autobiography says Gordon Fairminer was approached to play for them when Torpey decided to leave but turned the gig down as they were only receiving £15.00 per week at the time.
New line-up and new record deal
In 1969 guitarist Mick Stewart joined, and Sweet signed a new record contract with EMI's Parlophone Label. Three more bubblegum pop singles were released, "Lollipop Man" (September 1969), "All You'll Ever Get From Me" (January 1970), and Archies cover, "Get On The Line" (June, 1970), which all failed to chart. Stewart then quit, and was replaced by ex-Scaffold, Mayfield's Mule, and Elastic Band guitarist Andy Scott.
Out of all the members, Andy Scott had the most professional experience. As a member of the Elastic Band, he had played guitar on two singles for Decca "Think Of You Baby" and "Do Unto Others". He also appeared on the band's lone album release, Expansions On Life.
With the new line-up now in place, a management deal was secured with a newly formed, and unknown song writing team, consisting of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Phil Wainman was the executive producer. This management deal also included a worldwide (except U.S.A.) record contract with RCA.
Sweet initially attempted to combine various musical influences, including 1960s bubblegum pop groups such as the Archies and The Monkees, with more heavy rock-oriented groups such as The Who. Sweet adopted the rich vocal harmony style of The Hollies, with distorted guitars and a heavy rhythm section. This fusion of pop and hard rock would remain a central trademark of Sweet's music.
Another influence on Sweet's music was 1960s drummer Sandy Nelson, who partially influenced Mick Tucker's drumming style. In particular, Sweet tracks such as "Ballroom Blitz" and "Man With The Golden Arm" contain elements of Sandy Nelson's 1961 U.S. Top 10 hit, "Let There Be Drums".
Sweet's first album appearance was on a 'Music For Pleasure' record release: the Sweet had one side, The Pipkins (after whose sole hit, "Gimme Dat Ding", the LP was titled) had the other. The LP features the A and B sides of the three commercially unsuccessful Parlophone singles before Sweet finally found success with "Funny Funny", which was the band's first single release for RCA. Despite the album cover shot of Sweet featuring Andy Scott, he wasn't actually a band member until "Funny Funny" and does not feature on any of these recordings. The band's guitarist then was Mick Stewart and wrote two of the featured B-sides on this compilation. The official release date was December, 1970.
In January 1971, Sweet made their UK television debut on a pop show called Lift Off, performing "Funny Funny".
In March 1971, "Funny Funny" became their first international hit, climbing to the Top 20 on many of the world's charts. Although the next single, "All You'll Ever Get From Me" (May 1971) failed to chart, "Co-Co" (June 1971) became a big hit (UK #2). But the following single, "Alexander Graham Bell" (October, 1971) was only a minor hit (UK #33).
Sweet's first official LP titled Funny How Sweet Coco Can Be was released towards the end of 1971, but failed to chart. An oddly endearing collection of Chinn/Chapman novelty tunes (including "Chop Chop" and "TomTom Turnaround") and ill-fitting pop covers (such as the Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream" and the Supremes' "Reflections"), the album on reflection stands fairly well now for devoted Sweet fans, but on release wasn't a serious contender on the charts. As the LP faded into obscurity, Sweet found themselves being labelled by music critics as nothing more than a Top 40 singles band. Furthermore, Chinn and Chapman hindered the band's chance of respectability by bringing in session musicians, a la The Monkees, to play on the records, even though the members of Sweet were competent musically.
The relationship between Sweet and Chinn / Chapman was becoming increasingly tense. One major reason was that Sweet were not happy with the 'bubblegum' image that was being cast on them. At the bands insistence and as a conscious contrast, their B-sides got heavier with each release; for example, Done Me Wrong All Right, the self-penned B-side of Co-Co amazed some listeners who had hated the pop sound but loved their rock style and realised there was more to the band than they had thought. This dichotomy of bubblegum A-sides and heavy rock B-sides only served to confuse their teenage fan following. Indeed, The Sweet's live performances consisted of B-sides, album tracks and various medleys of rock n roll classics; rarely were the singles played live.
In February 1972, Poppa Joe was released and stopped at the gates of the British Top 10, at number 11. The next two singles of the year, "Little Willy" and "Wig-Wam Bam" both peaked at #4 on the UK charts. Although "Wig-Wam Bam" remained largely true to the style of Sweet's previous recordings, the vocals and guitars had a harder, more rock-oriented sound - largely because it was the first Sweet single on which the real members of Sweet played. It was in many ways, a transition single, paving the way for the change of musical emphasis that came in January 1973 with "Block Buster" (an imperative to "block Buster", later falsely often contracted to "Blockbuster", alluding with wailing siren sounds to Blockbuster bombs of WW2), Sweet's first chart-topping single, which quickly reached #1 on the UK singles chart. "Hell Raiser" was released in May and reached position #2, the success of which was repeated by the subsequent singles, "Ballroom Blitz" (September, 1973) and "Teenage Rampage" (January, 1974).
As the group's popularity grew, Sweet put in a heavy schedule of UK and European TV promotional appearances, including numerous Top Of The Pops and Supersonic slots. Sweet soon picked up a large teenage audience. In one performance of Block Buster on Top of the Pops, Priest aroused complaints after he appeared wearing a Nazi uniform and displaying a swastika armband. The band also capitalised on the Glam explosion, rivalling Gary Glitter, T. Rex, Queen, Wizzard, and Slade for outrageous stage clothing.
Forming a new image
By 1974, Sweet had grown tired of the artistic control Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman exerted over their career, hence the group and Phil Wainman decided to record without the duo. The resulting album, Sweet Fanny Adams, was their first UK Top 40 chart album. Sweet's technical proficiency was demonstrated for the first time on self-penned hard rock tracks such as "Sweet FA" and "Set Me Free". Sweet also dropped their glam image in favour of a more conventional hard rock appearance. In response to UK music critics, Sweet concentrated on proving their musical talents with self-written, hard rock/pop album tracks.
The Sweet Fanny Adams album (first for the band as Sweet) also featured compressed high-pitched backing vocal harmonies, which was a trend that continued on all of Sweet's albums. Sweet, and contemporary UK band Queen, were both recognised as one of the main exponents of high-pitched harmonies during the 1970s.
A second album was released during 1974, called Desolation Boulevard. One of the tracks off this album was a cover of The Who's "My Generation" (not on the U.S. version of the album). Sweet received public praise from The Who's guitarist, Pete Townshend. Sweet also frequently cited The Who as being one of their main influences. At Townshend's invitation, Sweet were invited to support The Who, who were playing at Charlton Athletic's football ground, The Valley. Unfortunately, in June of 1974, Brian Connolly was attacked before the group went on as support, and he took time out from singing as his throat was badly bruised. Some critics maintain that Connolly's voice never really recovered after this incident, and he was unable to sing with the strength and purity he had on their album and single releases prior to Desolation Boulevard. The first single from the LP, the heavy-melodic "The Six Teens" (July, 1974) was a Top 10 hit in UK, Germany and the Netherlands. However, the subsequent single release, "Turn It Down" (November, 1974) reached only #41 on the British charts. "Turn It Down" received minimal airplay on UK radio and was banned by some radio stations because of certain lyrical content - "god-awful sound" and "For god's sakes, turn it down" - which were deemed 'unsuitable for family listening'.
The Sweet Singles Album
In 1975, RCA released a compilation album titled The Sweet Singles Album (only issued in Australia and New Zealand). This LP featured 1972-73 single recordings, including the hits "Ballroom Blitz", "Teenage Rampage", "Block Buster" and "Hell Raiser". The album coincided with their Australian tour and was a huge seller. A double album Strung Up was released in November, which contained one live disc, recorded in Great Britain in December 1973, and the other disc being a compilation of previously released A and B side singles (plus a new song by Chinn and Chapman - "I Wanna Be Committed"). Also at the end of the year Andy Scott released his first solo single titled "Lady Starlight". This was accompanied by a solo video clip of Andy playing the song. A subsequent alternative version was later added to the Japanese and U.S. versions of the 1976 Give Us A Wink album, and to the Andy Scott '30 Years' CD with an alternate version. This song also appeared on the Desolation Boulevard album but with a softer mix.
Writing their own material
In 1975, Sweet went back into the studio to re-arrange and record a more pop oriented version of track "Fox On The Run", which originally appeared on the 1974 Desolation Boulevard LP. Sweet's first self-written and produced single, "Fox On The Run" (March, 1975) was released worldwide and instantly became their biggest selling hit, reaching number one in Germany and Australia, number two in Great Britain and the Netherlands and number five in the U.S.A. (1976 release). The following single issue, "Action" (July, 1975) peaked at UK #15 (Since 1975, all subsequent RCA and Polydor single releases were now referred to as simply Sweet).
Now confident in their own songwriting and production abilities, Sweet spent the latter half of 1975 in Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany, where they recorded the Give Us A Wink album with German sound engineer Reinhold Mack (aka Mack), who later recorded with Electric Light Orchestra and co-produced Queen.
Decline in popularity
January 1976 saw the release of "The Lies In Your Eyes". This single was not very successful around the world, except parts of Europe and Australia. As a result of its success, Australia was the only country to get the follow up single "4th Of July". The next single was the world-wide release of "Lost Angels". This single was only popular in Germany. "Give Us A Wink", Sweet's first fully produced and written LP was released in March 1976.
During 1976, Sweet attempted to gain popularity in America by promoting new material from their Give Us A Wink album, with a heavy schedule of more than fifty concert dates. During an appearance at Santa Monica Civic Center on 24th March, Sweet played "All Right Now" with Ritchie Blackmore in a tribute to mark the death of Free guitarist Paul Kossoff. The second single from the LP, "The Lies In Your Eyes" went into the Top 10 in Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, but only reached #35 on the UK charts.
Between October 1976 and January 1977, Sweet wrote and recorded new material at Kingsway Recorders and Audio International London studios for their next album. In April 1977, Off The Record was released, which was Sweet's final RCA album release. The first single from the album, "Fever of Love", represented the band heading in a somewhat more Europop hard rock direction. On this album, Sweet again worked with Give Us A Wink engineer Louie Austin, who would later engineer Def Leppard's On Through The Night 1980 debut album.
The 1976 and 1977 years featured Sweet as a more album oriented, glam metal act. Albums such as Give Us a Wink and Off the Record were undoubtedly Sweet's heaviest studio albums. Indeed, U.S. Top 20 chart entry "Action" was the group's hardest rocking hit single. "Stairway To The Stars" was Sweet's final single release for RCA.
Split from RCA
Sweet split from RCA in late 1977. The first album for new label Polydor, Level Headed, found Sweet experimenting by combining rock and classical sounds "a-la clavesin", an approach similar to UK band ELO -- indeed "Love Is Like Oxygen" is often wrongly credited to ELO. The resulting Level Headed album represented a new musical direction with its Led Zeppelin influenced rock style, interspersed with ballads accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra. With the addition of session and touring musicians keyboardist Gary Moberley and guitarist Nico Ramsden, Sweet undertook a successful British tour in February 1978. However, "Love Is Like Oxygen" (January 1978) was their last UK, U.S. and German Top 10 hit. Andy Scott was also nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for co-composing "Love Is Like Oxygen". One more single from the album, "California Nights" (May, 1978) only peaked at #23 on the German charts.
Departure of Brian Connolly
In late 1978, Sweet stayed at The Town House studio, Shepherds Bush, London, to write new material for their next album. Just before Brian Connolly announced his departure, his vocals were erased from the recorded material for the ensuing album Cut Above The Rest. Two album tracks titled "That Girl" and "Stay With Me" featuring Connolly on lead vocals remain from the late 1978 Cut Above The Rest recording sessions.
On February 23, 1979, Brian Connolly left the band under acrimonious circumstances, and neither he, nor the band, fully recovered. Connolly was particularly suffering from the effects of heavy alcohol drinking. Alhough all the Sweet members lived the extreme rock lifestyle during the 70s - with alcohol, drugs, and women, among other things - the others weren't as severely affected as Brian. After Connolly's departure, Sweet continued as a trio, with Scott and Priest now both handling lead vocals. Keyboard player Gary Moberley completed the four-piece line-up. Two more studio albums, Water's Edge, and Identity Crisis were recorded in 1979 and 1980 before the group finally disbanded in 1981. Sweet performed their last live show at Glasgow University on March 20, 1981. In 1982, Identity Crisis was only released in Germany.
Connolly's solo career
Since leaving Sweet in 1979, Connolly issued two solo singles for Polydor. "Take Away The Music" and "Don't You Know A Lady" were both minor hits in Germany in 1980. Connolly's other single was titled "Hypnotised" released in 1982.
Scott's solo career
Andy Scott releases his second solo single titled "Krugerrands". This 1983 release failed to chart, except in South Africa where it was a top 10 hit . In 1984, Scott released two more solo singles, "Let Her Dance" and "Invisible". His only real solo musical achievement, however, was the lovely "Lady Starlight."
In 1985, Andy Scott and Mick Tucker re-formed Sweet with various new vocalists and bass players, the most notable being a 1986 reunion featuring Paul Mario Day (the first singer of Iron Maiden), keyboardist Phil Lanzon, and bass player Malcolm McNulty (who is now lead singer for fellow glam rock band Slade). Steve Priest was asked to join Tucker and Scott for the 1985 Australian tour, but declined at the last moment. Vocalist and bass player Jeff Brown joined in 1988. In 1991, Mick Tucker departed due to ill health, leaving Andy Scott as the only original member. He was replaced by German Bodo Schopf. After Tucker's departure, Andy Scott changed the band's name to 'Andy Scott's Sweet'. In 2003, Tony O'Hora replaced Jeff Brown as lead vocalist, who left to join BC Sweet along with Sweet's touring keyboard player Gary Moberley. Both Gary Moberley and Jeff Brown left BC Sweet by the end of 2005, with Kev Moore replacing Jeff (who joined The Tremeloes) as Lead Vocalist. As of 2006, the line-up consists of Andy Scott, Bruce Bisland, Steve Grant and ex-Sailor vocalist Peter Lincoln.
Despite serious health problems, Connolly toured the UK and European circuit on a regular basis during the 1980s and 1990s, backed by his New Sweet and Brian Connolly's Sweet backing bands, playing a mixture of Sweet hits and cover versions.
In 1988, Connolly, Scott, Priest, and Tucker briefly reformed to record music for the first time in nine years. Some reworked studio versions of "Action", and "Ballroom Blitz", were recorded in Los Angeles. However, Connolly's vocals were deemed unsatisfactory by the three other group members, hence the reunion was brief.
In 1990, all four members were again re-united for the promotion of a video music documentary, titled "Sweet's Ballroom Blitz". This UK release, which contained UK television performances from the 1970s, including current-day interviews, was released at Tower Records, London.
Brian Francis [McManus] Connolly died from liver failure and repeated heart attacks, attributed to his chronic alcoholism, February 9, 1997, aged 51, having been content in his final years to appear in retrospective documentaries demonstrating the damage he had inflicted upon himself. He was cremated after a ceremony at Most Holy Name Roman Catholic Church at Old Mill Lane, Denham, Buckinghamshire and his ashes were scattered over the water by his adult daughters Nicola and Michelle. He also left an ex-wife, Marilyn, and a two-year-old son called Brian Junior (BJ) by his girlfriend Jean.
Michael Thomas (Mick) Tucker died February 14, 2002 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire from leukemia, aged 54; his funeral took place February 25, 2002. He is buried in an un-named grave in Chorleywood House cemetery. It is marked by a sleeping angel. A wooden bench with a brass plaque funded by fans as a dedication to Mick is also positioned in the grave's vicinity.  He left behind a widow, Jan, and a daughter Ayston from his first marriage to Pauline (†1979). According to Steve Priest: "He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England. He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvellous. His timing was impeccable, but he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing."
At least one of Sweet's two remaining members is still active in the music industry. Andy Scott currently continues to tour as 'Andy Scott's Sweet'. February 2006 saw the release of a new Suzi Quatro album, "Back To The Drive", which was produced by Andy Scott. March 2006 saw the US release of a new AS Sweet album, "Sweetlife" from 2002.   In October 2006, Scott staged a performance of AS Sweet to help save his home town football team, which was experiencing serious financial difficulty.
Steve Priest resides with his family in Los Angeles, CA. He has published his autobiography "Are You Ready Steve?" which was a raw expose of his time with Sweet and in 2006 released "Priest's Precious Poems", a CD of tracks largely comprised of his more recent material.
The version of Sweet today with Andy Scott as a guarantee for the quality and Sweet sound is touring all over and keeps the name alive. This band has played together for many years now.
New Fanny Adams Revisited tour 2007: From 26 April to 13 May 2007 Sweet played in Germany, Belgium, Austria and Italy. On this tour Sweet played songs from the Sweet Fanny Adams album including some of their other hits and a similar tour is confirmed for 2008.
Session and touring musicians
Albums (up to 1982)
Cover versions of Sweet material
Famous cover versions
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