It’s been no secret that I just love the whole 70’s Glam/Glitter Rock period. How I wish that I can go back in time! Okay, so I can’t, but here’s one band from that time period definitely worth mentioning.
Sweet had all the makings of the perfect rock group of that time period. They had the hair, the charming good looks, the stage presence, the perfect platforms, the glittery clothes, they had the songs, and most importantly, they knew how to rock. Here in the US, they are most famous for "Ballroom Blitz" but throughout the Sweet’s career they had various successful singles.
They first burst upon the charts with tunes created by the 1970’s bubblegum songwriting team of Nicky Finn and Mike Chapman. With their Magnum Opus released in the bicentennial year of ’76, titled "Desolation Boulevard", The Sweet proved that they were just as talented penning their own songs.
Sweet continued to rock harder with "Give Us A Wink", then mellowed out a bit with 1978’s "Level Headed."That LP contained the FM oldie staple (and one of my all-time favorite songs) "Love Like Oxygen." Alas, 1979 wasn’t as we shall say so "sweet", as blonde vocalist Brian Connolly departed to peruse the solo path. Sweet continued to carry on but it wasn’t the same and soon broke up afterwards.
The song "Ballroom Blitz" has been covered many times and indeed there was a slight resurgence in the early 1990s. The comedy "Wayne’s World" starring a pre-Austin Powers Mike Myers (For those who don’t know or too young to remember it, "Wanye’s World" was a feature on the NBC show "Saturday Night Live"; party on dude!) featured that classic. In fact, the female star of that flick did a cover of “Ballroom Blitz” (if anyone remembers) but it sadly fell flat on its soul-less face. With that lesson learned, let’s say that some things should never be touched…
Sadly also was the passing of Brian Connelly in 1997, and more recently Mick Tucker on February 14, 2002. Sweet’s legacy still carries on, and I’m sure that both Brian and Mick are looking down from the rock n’ roll heavens and feeling mighty proud. I was going to do a more concise history of this awesome group, but that’s already been done with some great websites dedicated to all things "Sweet." (For example, I did not know that there was two different versions of "Desolation Boulevard"...the European version and the North American version. Thanks guys!) So if you’re interested, check the following links listed below and tell them that some crazy chick who need to be "committed" sent ya…
Giving you a wink indeed...
In a world where glitter and glitz mixed with bubble-gum flavored bump-and-grind rock n’ roll…pantomime mixed with platforms…and oh, those platforms!
However, zipping up a pair of knee-high plats doesn’t necessary make one a “glam-rocker”…it’s all in the attitude baby. Hey…if you don’t have the attitude, then you don’t have nothing.
I personally prefer the 1970’s Glam above anything else. I couldn’t care less about the later 80’s Glam stuff like Poison. Give me Ziggy Stardust, T-Rex, Roxy Music, Sweet, Slade...even their American counterparts like early KISS (shout it out loud!) and Alice Cooper. Just as that line in that Mott the Hoople song went - "who needs TV when I got T-Rex."
The Todd Haynes film "The Velvet Goldmine" released in 1999 (currently available on video/DVD) is a brilliant film, but alas…it gives only a taste of glam essence.
Here’s a mini-"glam" gallery for your viewing pleasure. So get it on…bang a gong…get it on. Yeah.
Meet one of Joan Jett's biggest influnces. Better known to US television audiences as a recurring character on the 1970's sitcom "Happy Days." She actually had a successful career as a singer/musican who was probably not aware that she was trail blazer for female rockers everywhere. Rock on Suzi!
Here is the one and only Marc Bolan from T-Rex. This "Metal Guru" was and still is an inspriation to many bands. A working class hero covered in post-hippie glitter. Bauhaus later did a cover of "Telegram Sam." Siouxsie and the Banshees in the beginning of thier recording career remade "20 Century Boy." That one can be found on one of thier early singles.
I've heard that his son Rolan Bolan has decided to carry the flame, becoming a singer in his own right.
Oh but of course, no true "glam" gallery would be complete without the one and only "leather messiah" himself-Ziggy Stardust! They said that he played guitar...