Forgotten series: The Sweet – Sweet Fanny Adams (1974)

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by Beverly Paterson

In the beginning, the Sweet were looked upon as a true-blue bubblegum band, as they assaulted the charts with the tooth-decaying treats like “Funny Funny,” “Wig Wam” and “Little Willy.” Although apparitions of the Ohio Express and the Archies may have visited their songs, they were actually hard and heavy rockers.

Citing acts such as the Who, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as mentors, the Sweet, in an attempt to convey their real motivations, regularly slipped loud and lusty numbers into their live performances. Constantly at odds with management, who shaped their identity and dictated what they recorded, the band eventually gained a bit of control of the smothering situation. Initially released in 1974, Sweet Fanny Adams is often thought of as the first genuine Sweet album. It was here the British band was finally able to write and play the material of their choice.

Assembled of punishing riffs and bone-rattling rhythms, Sweet Fanny Adams definitely did mark a departure for the Sweet. But amid the driving jamming, the band still retained a nip of a pop consciousness. And that was a wise move, because most of the Sweet’s original fans readily accepted their supposedly new image. The hooks were just as punchy as ever, while the harmonies were downright explosive. A nice touch of glitter rock also lined Sweet Fanny Adams, but no way could the band be excused of following trends, considering they were one of the pioneers of the genre. There’s not a stitch of filler to be found on this record. Every song is as solid as a brick of cement, and screams with size, power and determination. Not an ounce of fat can be detected either. The Sweet kept things tight, compact and economical.

Some of these tunes, particularly “Set Me Free,” “Rebel Rouser,” and “ACDC” can almost be described as speed metal, and you have to remember Sweet Fanny Adams came out before the format even existed. Fast and furious but no mindless noodling. Lead singer Brian Connolly’s vocals are positively chilling, as he hits those high notes with amazing perfection and precision, while the band continually roars, reels and soars on the same wavelength. The Sweet’s chemistry is absolutely flawless, implying what a remarkably great band they were.

A 2005 reissue from Sony BMG Music Entertainment saw several bonus tracks hurled into the mix, including “Burning,” “Hell Raiser,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Need A Lot of Lovin,’” “Blockbuster,” and “Rock and Roll Disgrace.” Overamplified pop rock in all its bright and shiny glory, Sweet Fanny Adams is stuffed to the core with brash and brutal dynamics.

Many folks say the Sweet nicked their style from Queen, but perhaps it was the other way around. And there’s no argument the group’s influence emerged in the music of the Ramones and Motorhead, as well as various power pop bands and hair metal warriors.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Beverly Paterson
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