Brian Connolly Biography

BIOGRAPHY

Brian Connolly was born in Hamilton, Scotland on the 5th October 1945 (although early Sweet biographies claimed he was born in 1949). He was adopted at birth and went by the name Brian McManus until he was 18, when he discovered that he was adopted and changed his surname to his mother´s, Connolly. He moved to Middlesex and joined Wainwright's Gentlemen, replacing Ian Gillan. The drummer was Mick Tucker, born on the 17th July 1947. Wainwright's Gentlemen split up in 1968 without releasing any records. Connolly and Tucker stayed together and called the band Sweetshop, later shortening the name to Sweet. They recruited guitarist Frank Torpey and bassist Steve Priest. Steve Priest was born in Hayes on February 23th 1950. They signed with Fontana as a semi-pro band, releasing one single in July 1968 called "Slow Motion", which wasn't a hit , so Fontana saw little potential in the band and dropped them. The single is now very hard to find. Torpey left the band and was replaced by Mick Stewart. The Sweet negotiated a new deal with EMI under the Parlophone label. Sweet recorded three singles for Parlaphone ( "Lollipop Man","All You'll Ever Get From Me", and "Get On The Line") but they all flopped and Mick Stewart left. His replacement Andy Scott was born on 30th June 1949 at Wrexham, Wales

Towards the end of 1970, the Sweet met up with a pair of songwriters, Nicky Chinn, born in London and Mike Chapman, who was born in Australia. Chinn & Chapman became The Sweet's managers and songwriters and got them a contract with RCA. They wrote the single Funny Funny, which entered the charts on 13th March 1971 and made no. 13. The second Chinn & Chapman single "Co Co" reached no. 2 on the charts. In 1971 The Sweet released their first album, shared by Pipkins called Gimmee Dat Ding. Their first real album, Funny How Sweet Co Co Can Be, was released in 1971. The first singles was pure bubblegum pop, but under pressure from the band Chinn and Chapman´s compositions got progressively harder. At the same time the band´s costumes and use of make-up got more and more outrageous and they became recognized as the leading band in the glam (or glitter) movement. The song "Ballroom Blitz" is generally considered glam rock´s nadir. In 1974 Sweet released an album, Sweet Fanny Adams, written almost entirely by the band and with a much harder sound than before. The album is considered a classic today - although there wasn´t released any singles from it - and it made the band confident that they could write their own songs. Later in 1974 Sweet released Desolation Boulevard, an album with only two Chinn & Chapman compositions and the band split with ChinniChap, who went on to write and produce for lots of other bands like Mud, Suzi Quatro, Smokie and Blondie. The first two singles written by the band were the big hits "Fox on the Run" and "Action", but as the band developed their harder sound (bordering on heavy metal) the hits dried up and a year later Sweet parted company with RCA. Instead Sweet signed to Polydor and and delivered the excellent album "Level Headed"(1978), which contained the worldwide hit "Love is like Oxygen". Despite the succces, on February 23th 1979, Brian Connolly announced that he had left Sweet. The band, that was in the middle of recording the LP "Cut Above The Rest", decided to go on as a trio, even though Andy Scott claims that Ronnie James Dio (ex Rainbow and Black Sabbath) offered to fill the vacant
spot.

Connolly´s leaving was commented upon by the group´s new spokesman, Steve Priest, in POSTER issue number 8, 1979: " -... Brian has been making plans for a solo career for almost three years now. He has felt unhappy with us,

and since we had our hit "Fox On The Run" in 1974 (1975, author) he hasn´t really taken part in our work or in developing what we think is our new line... - That annoyed him, not being the natural leader of the band and he started to drink." "- ...Before every tour I had stomach pains and problems with my nerves. Now are all troubles gone and I can work with my own music." Brian Connolly explained in the same article.

The Sweet released three albums without Brian and without much succes ("Cut Above The Rest", "Water´s Edge" & "Identity Crisis"). In 1982 the band split up, but in later years Andy and Mick would team up and tour as Sweet. Mick Tucker had to retire due to illness in the mid -90`s and to this day Andy Scott tours regularly as "A.S. Sweet", playing all the old hits.

When Brian left Sweet he announced his intention to get into country music, which was easier on his voice, but his solo career never took off. The reason for this was no doubt his drinking problem, which ravaged his health. Brian is said to have survived more heart attacks than any person ever, but toured as "B.C. Sweet" up till his death on February 9th, 1997.

We'll Always Remember Brian

 

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