By Lyndsey Parker, Yahoo Music | Steve Priest, bassist and founding member of ‘70s glam band the Sweet, has died at age 72. While a cause of death has not yet been revealed, Priest’s health had been failing for some time. On March 12, a post on the Sweet’s official Facebook page stated that he was in a Los Angeles hospital “receiving the best possible care,” but did not offer any other details.
The news of Priest’s passing was confirmed Thursday by the Sweet’s lone surviving core member, lead guitarist Andy Scott, who wrote, “Then there was one! I am in pieces right now. Steve Priest has passed away. His wife Maureen and I have kept in contact and though his health was failing I never envisaged this moment. Never. My thoughts are with his family.” Scott also described Priest as “the best bass player I ever played with.”
Priest was born in Hayes, Middlesex, England, on Feb. 23, 1948, and formed the Sweet (originally called the Sweetshop; later shortened to just “Sweet” with no “the”) with lead singer Brian Connolly, drummer Mick Tucker, and guitarist Frank Torpey. After Scott replaced Torpey in 1970 to solidify the classic lineup, the Sweet went on to become sensations of the glam-rock movement alongside acts like Wizzard, Mud, and Suzi Quatro, scoring 13 top 20 hits in Britain including “Block Buster,” “Hell Raiser,” and “Teenage Rampage.” In America, they had four top 10 hits: “Little Willy,” “Fox on the Run,” “Love Is Like Oxygen,” and their signature song, “The Ballroom Blitz” (No. 2 in the U.K., No. 5 in the U.S.).
“The Ballroom Blitz,” which was sampled in the Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies” and appeared in multiple movies including Wayne’s World, became a sports anthem that is still heard at stadiums around the world today. Ironically, though, the jock song was inspired by a 1973 riot that broke out at a Sweet gig in Scotland when audience members became outraged by the band members’ glittery, gender-bending image — according to Priest’s 1994 autobiography Are You Ready Steve?, which took its title from “The Ballroom Blitz’s” namechecking intro.
While the band members began writing their own material starting with 1975’s “Fox on the Run” as they took control of their bubblegum-pop image, their association with the production/songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who penned their early hits, kept them from being taken seriously by the music press. Connolly eventually left the Sweet in 1979, after which Priest, whose distinctive high-pitched backing vocals had always been a key part of the Sweet’s sound, took over as frontman . . .
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Read all of Steve’s bio/obit here:
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
The deaths that are listed from Wikipedia are those of musicians or who have ties to the music business from all over the world. These are our brothers and sisters. It is so sad to see the listing of just “famous people” who have died from COVID-19, not only musicians but other artists, sports figures, politicians, actors, jurists and so many more. Please stay home – keep YOUR names and those of your loved ones from being added to this list.
10: Rosita Fornés, 97, Cuban-American actress (Musical Romance, The Desire, The Unknown Mariachi) and singer, complications from emphysema.
9: Paul Chapman, 66, Welsh rock guitarist (UFO, Lone Star); Pau Donés, 53, Spanish singer-songwriter (Jarabe de Palo) and guitarist, cancer; Benny Likumahuwa, 73, Indonesian musician; Gigi Marga, 91, Romanian-American singer.
8: James Hand, 67, American country music singer-songwriter; Bonnie Pointer, 69, American singer (The Pointer Sisters), cardiac arrest; Daniel Stolper, 85, American oboist.
7: Frank Bey, 74, American blues singer; Edith Thallaug, 90, Norwegian actress and operatic singer; Tran Quang Loc, 74–75, Vietnamese musician, cancer.
6: Allan Evans, 64, American record producer and musicologist; Marjan, 72, Iranian singer and actress.
5: Rupert Hine, 72, English musician (Quantum Jump), songwriter and record producer (The Fixx, Howard Jones), cancer.
4: Marcello Abbado, 93, Italian pianist and composer; Fabiana Anastácio, 45, Brazilian CCM singer, COVID-19; Dulce Nunes, 90, Brazilian artist, composer, singer and music producer, COVID-19; Steve Priest, 72, British bassist and singer (The Sweet).