Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet -- "Fox on the Run" (1975)

You . . . you talk about just every band 
But the names you drop are secondhand
I've heard it all before 
Sweet's Desolation Boulevard album was released in the fall of 1974, shortly after I started law school. 

Desolation Boulevard

"Fox on the Run" was released as a single in March 1975, while the band's other big hit -- "Ballroom Blitz" -- was released in May of that year.  Oddly, both singles were #1 hits in Australia, both hit #2 on the British charts, and both topped out at #5 in the US.  The band's biggest hit in the US was "Little Willy," which made it all the way to #3 in 1973.

I was tempted to feature "Ballroom Blitz" in this post, but I chose "Fox on the Run" for two reasons.  First, I think it is less familiar.  Second, it was featured in the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. 

"Fox on the Run" is about groupies.  Not the most original concept for a 1970's rock song, is it?  The first line of the song is "I . . . don't wanna know your name."  At least the band was honest.

Sweet (who were usually (but incorrectly) referred to as The Sweet) admired the Who -- they recorded "My Generation" and played a medley of  Who songs in their live sets for a number of years -- and Pete Townshend praised the band in 1974.  But Desolation Boulevard sounds more like T. Rex, Gary Glitter, and other British glam-rockers than the Who.

Desolation Boulevard was a top 25 album in the US, hit #13 in Australia, and reached the top 10 in Germany and Canada.  Sweet's next album did about as well, but the band's following LP sold poorly.  Sweet switched labels and switched musical styles as well.  Their final hit single -- "Love Is like Oxygen" (which made it into the top 10 in the US, UK, and a number of other countries) -- sounds more like ELO than ELO does.

The story of the band's subsequent downward spiral is a familiar one.  Lead singer Brian Connolly's drinking problem got out of hand, and the rest of the band weren't exactly poster children for sobriety. 

I don't know if the creators of This Is Spinal Tap had any particular band in mind, but it wouldn't surprise me if Sweet was one of the groups that inspired that great mockumentary.

It's a little embarrassing to admit that I bought Desolation Boulevard.  The music is unbelievably dated, although only about half as dated as the band's clothing and haircuts are.

The haircuts are really appalling.  Actually, that's not fair -- the haircuts would be beautiful if they were on girls.  If you had put Sweet's members in dresses and dropped them off at a singles bar, I guarantee you they would have gotten hit on by half the guys there.

Here's "Fox on the Run":

Here's a link you can use to order from Amazon:  

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