Great Songs By Artists I Know Very Little About

And between the holidays, impending snowstorm, and my ongoing manic fury of getting everything done I need to get done before my big move, I don’t have time to find out more. But they’re good tunes, and I thought some of you all might enjoy them too.

It’s It’s…The Sweet Mix
My knowledge of Sweet begins with “Ballroom Blitz” and ends with “Fox On The Run,” so I can’t tell you any of the other songs that make up this six-minute medley. It’s catchy though, and very disco-y, were they always like that? I assumed they were more a light-glam rock thing. Maybe I’ll pick up some Sweet while I’m in Japan. I don’t know why, but they strike me as the kind of act that would be big in Japan. Maybe it’s the wacky skintight outfits. In every picture of them I’ve seen they’ve always come off as a hybrid of glam rock and the Power Rangers.

I’m The One (Dance Version)
Don’t Lose Control (Dance Version)
Material is one of Bill Laswell’s many side-projects. They started out as an entirely inaccessible “no wave” act (spoiler: I fucking hate “no wave” bullshit), but by 1982 they shifted their sound radically, and instead embraced a strong disco/funk sound. I assume this was around the time he started working with Herbie Hancock on the immortal “Rockit” but like I said, I’m way too busy/tired to do some proper research tonight. They sound like it though, as both of them (especially “Don’t Lose Control” have a heavy funk/electro sound to them that sounds very similar to Hancock’s stuff of that era. “Don’t Lose Control” even has superfluous vocoder! So it’s the best shit ever.

Seriously, if you like leftfield disco or early electronic music, check out One Down. It’ll blow you away. It even features a very early appearance by Whitney Houston!

Everyone have a splendid Thanksgiving (if you’re American, otherwise…um…enjoy your Thursday) and I’ll see next week with hopefully some posts of substance.

5 Responses to “Great Songs By Artists I Know Very Little About”

  1. Eric Schulz says:

    LOVE The Sweet! Here’s a little about them: they started as a VERY bubblegum band with songs like Wig Wam Bam, then started evolving with the help of Mike Chapman’s songwriting (Blondie) and had hits like Little Willy. They hit their peak with the Blockbuster/Action/Fox on the Run era, and had their las hit with the AMAZING Love is like Oxygen (and if you ever find the full album version, get it! The single edit DESTROYED the song!) I think three of the five original members have passed on…and be wary of the MANY re-recorded hits that various members released in the 90’s-today…

  2. Con Z says:

    It’s, It’s…The Sweet Mix comprises of:
    Teenage Rampage
    Ballroom Blitz
    Fox On The Run

    Not as many tracks as you might think.

    Sweet were/are very big in Japan – the reissues of the albums all did well, but are now deleted. If you can find them, try Desolation Boulevard and Sweet FA – both really good ‘glammy’ albums.
    Back in the day, when they were in the UK charts, they were called the Glam Dustmen, because although they had the clothes and make-up, they looked like they should have ordinary jobs.

  3. serpico009 says:

    I looked this up, these date to 1982 which is only a year before Rockit. Good luck with the move.

  4. Chris says:

    I remember Sweet very well in the early 70s. They were part of the Chapman & Chinn stable of acts, along with Suzi Quatro and Racey. Chapman went on to produce Blondie albums, most notably Parallel Lines. C&C totally controlled their acts. Sweet really wanted to be a heavy metal band and eventually broke free to make a heavy metal album but it vanished. They are still touring, mostly in Germany, and I bet they are still playing the Chapman & Chinn stuff.

  5. rubberhusband says:

    The Sweet are awesome! Glam never really caught on in The States the way it did in its native UK where it swallowed Rock’n’Roll whole for a couple of years between 1972-74. At the mention of Glam Rock, everybody thinks of David Bowie over here, or just assumes “Glam Rock” is referring to 80s Hair Metal. Glam definitely influenced that (admittedly fun) crap, but more importantly begat a strand of twisted British Pop that would twist through Punk, Postpunk, New Wave, Synthpop and Alternative Dance music. Bowie and his high-minded compatriots in Roxy Music (during the Eno years) represented a high water mark of artistry and tested the boundaries of the genre and Rock itself, and receive their critical due, for the most part, as did the more playful Marc Bolan of T. Rex.

    T. Rex was arguably more popular than Bowie in the UK, despite only having one US hit “Get It On” (which was renamed “Bang a Gong” due to hemming and hawing by skittish US radio programmers), and he also repped for a more playful and accessible brand of Glam. Most other Glam acts fall under the T. Rex umbrella of sexually charged, youth-centric, rebellious, retro Rock’n’Roll. Slade, Mud, Wizzard, Suzi Quatro, Chicory Tip, Gary Glitter, Mott the Hoople and of course The Sweet were a handful of the acts who exemplified this “Bubble Glam” approach with 70s stompers.

    After Bowie, Roxy, Rex trifecta, the greatest Glam act would have to be The Sweet. Thank you for sharing this mix. I had never heard it until now. “Teenage Rampage” and “Blockbuster” are always kinda thrilling to hear, but I agree with the above posters and you should at least get your hands on a greatest hits collection that includes the pre-Glam years as straight-up Bubblegum Pop for tweens (“Little Willy” was actually a US#3 in 1972) and was released late enough to include their self-produced masterpiece single, 1978’s “Love Is Like Oxygen”. It almost sounds like ELO in the best way possible. I agree that the LP version is vastly superior, but the brevity of the radio edit helps make the song more of-a-piece with their earlier run of memorable hits. Alas, they never tooled around very much or very successfully with Disco, but it works well with their approach.

    As someone who has read your blog for a few years, I think a lot of the stuff I also mentioned above might be adjacent to your tastes, but everybody’s different of course. Some of it definitely veers toward sleezy Cock Rock, but usually in a fun, cool way.

Leave a Reply