Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sweet anthology due out in April and band on tour

A new two-CD set featuring songs never before available on CD in the U.S., Action: The Sweet Anthology is the definitive Sweet collection. Action features 30 tracks, including every U.S. and UK hit, including the Top 10 U.S. hits “Little Willy (#3),” “Ballroom Blitz (#5),” “Fox On The Run (#5)” and “Love Is Like Oxygen (#8).” This collection was remastered from the original tapes by Bill Inglot.

Sweet is on tour in 2009, having just announced new dates in America and Canada. For more details, go to

Listening to this anthology one is struck by bassist Steve Priest and drummer Mick Tucker’s phenomenal rhythm teamwork, of Andy Scott’s guitar wizardry, and singer Brian Connolly’s passion and vocal power.

“Little Willy” and “Wig-Wam Bam” were among Sweet’s first big hits, with “Little Willy” going Top 10 in the U.S., and marked the inception of what is considered to be the band’s bubblegum period, with memorable hooks, strong melodies and a definitive teen target audience. As the years passed, Sweet’s harmonies, multi-tracked guitar work and layered sound would arguably have an impact on other bands such as Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, and in later decades, Def Leppard.

“Teenage Rampage” continued the band’s winning streak in 1974, a year of transition for Sweet, which found them signing with Capitol Records in the U.S. and moving on from their songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. Their next album, the gold certified Desolation Boulevard, had monster singles in the million-selling “Fox On The Run,” and “Ballroom Blitz,” both climbing to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Ballroom Blitz” evokes the sights and sounds of its era, affectionately called ‘Glam” – with its requisite sense of fashion, glitter and bombastic anthems. It was a scene ruled by Bowie, Gary Glitter, T-Rex, Slade and Roxy Music, but there was a special place reserved for the Sweet. The single “Fox On The Run” was one of their very best records, and would become one of the biggest Sweet hits, giving the band members the confidence to assume songwriting and production duties permanently.

Sweet’s Give Us A Wink! in 1976 and the following year’s Off The Record were entirely written and produced by the band. One stand out cut from Give Us A Wink, “Action” was a Top 20 hit in the U.S. and U.K., and is a perfect showcase of the group’s musical weaponry. “The Lies In Your Eyes,” “4th Of July,” “Fever Of Love” and “Stairway To The Stars” added lush keyboards and synthesizers to the mix, blending classical flourishes to the heavy rock foundation and creating Sweet’s distinct UK brand of arena rock.

Level Headed (1978) was a largely successful experiment with the kind of power pop prog-rock that ELO, Supertramp and 10cc were known for at the time. It gave them their last worldwide Top 10 single with “Love Is Like Oxygen,” as well as a track that paid homage to their days and nights in the U.S. west coast, “California Nights.”

Connolly departed Sweet after Level Headed. Lead vocals were now delegated to Scott and Priest and keyboardist Gary Moberley was added to the studio sessions. The group released three more albums but went their separate ways in 1982. Later attempts to reunite the original quartet were hampered by Connolly’s health, and the singer passed away in 1997, followed by Mick Tucker’s untimely death just five years later. Steve Priest and Andy Scott have remained active as writers, producers and performers.

If the Sweet name is not as prominent as some of their peers in the rock and pop annals, as their track record suggests it should be, they’ve probably been penalized for the musical twists and turns that makes their story so compelling. With Anthology, we can finally appreciate the richness of the entire Sweet tapestry.

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Sweet Tour Dates:
*denotes new tour date
February 26 Mae Wilson Theatre Moosejaw, SK
February 27 Casino Regina Regina, SK
*March 13 The Canyon Club Agoura Hills, CA
*April 9 The Woodlands Inn & Resort Grand Ballroom Scanton/Wilkes Barre, PA
*May 16 Wolf Den/Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville, CT
July 17 Nakusp Music Fest – Saddle Mountain High Nakusp, BC
*August 8 Rocking The Rivers Three Forks, MT
*August 28 The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Santa Cruz, CA

Current touring lineup:
Steve Priest Bass/Vocals
Stuart Smith Guitar
Joe Retta Lead Vocals
Richie Onori Drums
Stevie Stewart Keyboardist

Action: The Sweet Anthology
Distributed by Sony BMG
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Selection No.: 826663-11202
Suggested List Price: 24.98

Disc One:
1. Funny Funny
2. You’re Not Wrong For Loving Me
3. Co-Co
4. Alexander Graham Bell
5. Poppa Joe
6. Little Willy
7. Wig-Wam Bam
8. Blockbuster
9. Hell Raiser
10. Ballroom Blitz
11. Teenage Rampage
12. The 6-Teens
13. Rebel Rouser
14. Turn It Down
15. A.C.D.C.
16. Fox On The Run

Disc Two:
1. Action
2. Sweet F.A.
3. The Lies In Your Eyes
4. No You Don’t
5. 4th Of July
6. Lost Angels
7. Funk It Up (David’s Song)
8. Fever Of Love
9. Stairway To The Stars
10. Love Is Like Oxygen (Album Version)
11. Cover Girl
12. California Nights
13. Call Me
14. Big Apple Waltz
15. Give The Lady Some Respect
16. Sixties Man

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