The Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet – 1973

The Sweet’s 1973 hit Ballroom Blitz is, by some, considered the best Glam Rock song ever.

name dropping

So, there I am, just yesterday, interviewing Shane for a newspaper article. Now, many of you won’t know who Shane is but down this part of the world he was THE man in late 60s and early 70s rock ‘n’ roll. Scoring a number of hits, he earned a gold record for St Paul, a song about Paul McCartney.

Anyway, turns out Shane, who’s still rockin’ strong, is a 70s music encyclopaedia. We talked about everyone. He told me about touring with The Bee Gees (who he said were wonderful people and musicians), he told me about losing his gold record (never seen again), and then we began talking about Glam Rock. And we talked about who is THE Glam Rock band.

Of Course, I opted for Marc Bolan but Shane insists it was The Sweet (sometimes just called, Sweet). I bit my tongue but, maybe Shane is correct because, on the way home, I heard The Ballroom Blitz on the radio – could it be the Glam Rock gods were speaking to me?

the sweet

Originally known as The Sweetshop, Sweet formed in the UK in 1968. Having started life as a bubblegum band, they morphed to harder rock and, by the 70s, they’d bought platform shoes, sparkly shirts and teamed up with prolific songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.

They went on to have 13 top 20 UK hits including;

  • Block Buster! – 1973 – #1
  • Ballroom Blitz – 1973 – #2
  • Hell Raiser – 1973 – #2
  • Teenage Rampage – 1974 – #2
  • Fox on the Run – 1975 – #2
  • Their last top 10 hit was Love is Like Oxygen in 1978.

In 1979 lead singer, Brian Connolly, left to pursue a solo career. The band continued as a threesome for a short while but disbanded in 1981.

but you can’t keep a good sweet down

Since then two members of The Sweet have died. Brian Connolly, according to my new mate, Shane, lived a tragic life due to chronic alcoholism which killed him in 1997. Drummer Mick Tucker died of leukaemia, in 2002.

Today the two remaining members tour in different versions of the band. Andy Scott’s band is based in the UK, while Steve Priest’s is based in the USA.

the ballroom blitz fax

  • The Ballroom Blitz (sometimes called Ballroom Blitz) was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.
  • Ballroom Blitz was released in 1973 – it never appeared on an album in the UK – nor did their #1 single, Blockbuster!
  • Ballroom Blitz hit #1 in Australia and entered the UK chart at #2 where it peaked.
  • In the USA and Canada, Ballroom Blitz was included on the USA/Canadian version of Desolation Boulevard. It hit #1 in Canada and #5 in the US.
  • Inspiration for Ballroom Blitz came from a performance the band gave in Kilmarnock, Scotland where they were driven offstage by a barrage of bottles.
  • Artists to have covered the song include: The Les Humphries Singers (1975), The Damned (1979), Beastie Boys (a sample on Hey Ladies), and My Chemical Romance (they mimic the “sound-off” introduction to the song).
  • In 2000, Ballroom Blitz was used in a French movie called, La Vie Ne Me Fait Pas Peur. It’s about a group of girls who don’t speak English – the only words they know are “Ballroom Blitz.”
  • Quentin Tarantino considered using this song in the ear scene in his movie Reservoir Dogs but chose Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You.
  • Ballroom Blitz lyrics.

the ballroom blitz – the sweet – 1973 – video

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6 Responses to The Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet – 1973

  1. MIKI says:

    Oops, I always thought they were singing BAR room blitz!!

    • Greg.K. says:

      Ha! We ALL have songs we have misheard and sung along blindly to. Check out http://www.kissthisguy.com.
      It has a list of misheard lyrics. The name of the site comes from Jimi Hendrix; “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky.”
      Someone misheard it as “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.”
      🙂

  2. Marie says:

    Wow – this brings back the memories. You shoulda seen the boys at the roller rink skating to this song back in the day – going insanely fast, doing all kind of cannonball tricks and whatnot. Those were good times indeed. Hmmm…I think there’s a post in that!

    I’m glad I’ve rediscovered your blog – it is really outstanding – so informative and detailed. 🙂

    Marie

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