When those of us here in the USA first generally heard music from the English band Sweet, the song was probably “Little Willie”. I remember all of on the school bus who were in elementary school rhythmically stomping our feet to that song while “singing” the song at the top of lungs. That poor, poor bus driver, Mr. Young, God rest his soul. There had to be nothing worse than a bunch of crazed-eyed, sugar-loaded pre-teens animalistically reacting to a bubblegum/Glam rock song in the manner the artists intended. As an adult, I can imagine the sight, since I lived through my own boys doing the same thing with Master P, “Baby Got Back” and Blink-182.
Finally, as an adult, I ran across an electronic collection of Sweet’s greatest hits in some packaging that seemed to be more of an individual’s compilation rather than that of a record company, which makes it all the more worthwhile. By the time I reached middle school, I was treated to perhaps Sweet’s greatest songs: “Ballroom Blitz” (which is being pimped in some of the more recent Suicide Squad movie trailers) and “Fox on the Run” (which can be heard, ever so slightly, during the movie Dazed and Confused). The only other US hit song Sweet gave us was during my sophomore year in high school when “Love Is Like Oxygen” was the band’s last hit song. That song was something of an anomaly, since it was more of a Glam ballad than the power pop, bubble metal hits of the other three.
But, what I have learned from this compilation is that Sweet’s talent went much more deep than those four hits would have ever let us believe. Let’s just straighten this out right now. Sweet only released a couple of singles that I would consider “bubblegum”. After those first couple of singles, they were releasing some of the finest examples of hard rocking Glam rock. Personally, I have always seemed to have enjoyed Glam rock, because I seem to find its DNA in the music of the late-Seventies and early-Eighties that I loved: punk, power pop, new wave, Glam metal and alternative music. Sweet’s music, while usually rocking as hard as Alice Cooper, T. Rex or the New York Dolls at the time, but you can hold them up next to Sex Pistols, Duran Duran or Quiet Riot without a loss of quality.
So, let’s raise our glasses to this band called Sweet, or should I say “The Sweet” as our British brethren call the band. I have to say that finding a Sweet album or CD will very much be worth your effort as their great mixture of Bo Diddley beats, hard rock guitars and Queen-like vocal harmonies will bring you hours of listening pleasure. Anyway, there’s nothing like a “Teenage Rampage”.