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Re: Priest

September 13, 2020 07:27AM
Steve Priest [1948-2020]

I rediscovered Sweet sometime last year, and that led to digging up interviews with bassist Priest. The cut-up of the band, he was the one that pushed them toward glam while simultaneously presenting it as a send-up. Just about any live interview entertains and any live vid demonstrates his talent within the band (writing/singing/bass).

Sweet came to public awareness as the studio band for a pair of songwriters who chiefly penned bubblegum. This resulted in a string of oddly lopsided singles, with the band-penned hard rock numbers B-sided. That changed in their golden era (late '73 to mid '75) when they gained enough control to present a solid album, '74's Sweet Fanny Adams and it's immediate follow-up Desolation Boulevard.

Guitarist Andy Scott is now the sole living member. Why does he matter? This era of the band is full of guitar cliches. Or, what BECAME cliches. Because Scott created some of these. The architecture for the first several KISS albums is here, as is some of Queen and a few others I noted that lifted freely from Sweet. These are figures and moves that were no-nos in indie rock (the milieu in which I learned to play) of the '80s/'90s. But time circles and I was quite surprised to revisit this stuff from a mature perspective. Desolation Boulevard was one of the first LPs that marked my move from singles, and it was all still ingrained. But in the US, though it had the same cover, it was a compilation LP, stretching two years and containing singles plus most of SWEET FANNY ADAMS

They were a tight, powerhouse live, with arrangements complex to pull off. Regardless of the glam look and the bubblegum history, the live gig was hard rock with a touch of prog, led by a one of a kind front man. So, was bummed to hear the news re: Priest.

I made two chronological discs from said period, one hour each. There are also scattered highlights on the next few albums (which you will remember from their cover art if naught else), but that's a rainy day of a different forecast.
The songs are:
9/73 Ballroom Blitz + Rock and Roll Disgrace
1/74 Teenage Rampage + Own Up Take a Look at Yourself
4/74 SWEET FANNY ADAMS [UK album - 9 tracks]
7/74 The Six Teens + Burn On the Flame [inter-album single, A-side also added to next LP]

11/74 Turn it Down + Someone Else Will
3/75 Fox on the Run + Miss Demeanor [A-side is the US single version, not the UK album version]
7/75 DESOLATION BOULEVARD [US comp adds 2 prev unr: I Wanna Be Committed + US version of Solid Gold Brass]
7/75 Action [original UK single version 3:17; no unique B-side]

*the B-sides are generally better than A-sides
*time capsule from the height of cock rock & groupies: played live Someone Else Will featured the lyric "If we don't fuck you someone else will". For the single this was changed to the supposed-innocuous but worse "If you don't go down on me someone else will"!
*Scott's compositions tend to be the most adventurous/elaborate/guitar-heavy
*Fox on the Run uses the Hendrix-to-'70s euphemism, but check the cover by Scorpions who changed it to a fox literally pursued by a hunter
*they had no control over their packaging in the US. Their first US hit, Little Willy, broke a year after it's UK run. Ballroom Blitz, their biggest US hit, broke two years after its UK release. Their biggest homeland hit, Block Buster, earned no notice stateside and has long been cleared of Genie-ing from Bowie
EDIT:: better format; more typos? WTF!

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2020 07:42AM by Paganizer.
Re: Priest
September 13, 2020 02:20PM
When I bought the UK CDs of SWEET FANNY ADAMS & DESOLATION BOULEVARD, I was surprised that the US version of DESOLATION BOULEVARD was spread across them.

Queen did a lot of obvious borrowing from them, but the Ramones were huge fans too. Their combo of hard rock and bubblegum often sounded proto-punk.

As cock-rock excess goes, "if she don't spread, I'll bust her head" is worse than the lyrics you quoted!
Re: Priest
December 11, 2020 12:18PM
steevee Wrote:

> As cock-rock excess goes, "if she don't spread,
> I'll bust her head" is worse than the lyrics you
> quoted!

True. Though I take that as said in character.

The new discoveries for me were Rock and Roll Disgrace & Take a Look at Yourself
era/genre classics
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