Connolly developed a significant problem with alcoholism in the mid-1970s. In 1974, Connolly was badly beaten after leaving a nightclub in Staines where he received several kicks to his throat resulting in his being unable to sing for some time and permanently losing some of his vocal range. Just as punk was discovering its glitter roots (the Damned toured with Marc Bolan and T-Rex and later recorded "Ballroom Blitz"), Sweet were playing the tax exiles, taking drugs and drinking while recording in France and Germany ("Give us a Wink" proved the double entendres were starting to wear thin). Brian Connolly, the blond lead singer with the Seventies glam-rockers Sweet, saw both sides of the coin. In 1968, along with the drummer Mick Tucker and bass-player Steve Priest, Connolly formed the psychedically named Sweetshop. The "Old Sweet" material are new recordings. He pursued a solo career to get into country music, released the album "Let's Go", which was only semi successful. This was to be a trial run, to see if a full reunion and new album could be arranged, for America's MCA Records. [4] This single is also included on the Polydor Germany "High Life" compilation album from 1980. 1 single; Johnny Marr started rehearsing with the Pretenders; Roger Daltrey announced the Who were re-forming; Beatles fans snapped up the group's co-written autobiography; and Temptations co-founder Eddie Kendricks passed away in Birmingham, Ala., Today in Music History. In 1979, Connolly left to attempt a solo career (his single "Hypnotised" didn't set the charts alight) and the others soldiered on for three years without ever recovering their former status. Connolly had reportedly stopped drinking in 1985, but separated from his wife Marilyn, divorcing in 1986. By the late Eighties, Andy Scott and Connolly were both touring with rival versions of Sweet and couldn't bury the hatchet to take advantage of the lucrative reformation offers which came to them from Germany and Japan. The identity of his father was never made public and his mother was a teenage waitress, Frances Connolly, who left him in a Glasgow hospital as an infant whilst he was possibly suffering from meningitis. The rest of the band played a show in Adelaide without him, so as not to disappoint the waiting fans. "It is with a heavy heart that we announce at 8:25am PT today, Steve Priest, founding member of The Sweet, passed away. By 1985, Connolly had sobered up, and he toured in a revamped version of the band, called The New Sweet, then later Brian Connolly’s Sweet. The 17-year old’s name, Brian Connolly, is a giveaway. The Chapman-produced reunion floundered quickly due to problems with Connolly's voice. During January 1983, Connolly supported Pat Benatar for three shows including one at Hammersmith Odeon, London. Two years later, the group changed its name to the Sweet. He visited other countries including Denmark, and continued to perform sporadically in the UK. Brian passed away in a hospital in Slough, Berkshire, late on February 9th … The music business is full of rags-to-riches stories. This event also meant the band missed out on supporting The Who at Charlton Athletic Football Ground. Brian Francis Connolly (5 October 1945 – 9 February 1997) was a British musician, best known as the lead singer of the British rock band Sweet. At the private function, for which Priest specially flew back to England, Priest and Connolly performed together. During the early 1990s, Connolly played the European "oldies" circuit and occasional outdoor festivals in Europe with his band. During 1987, Connolly again encountered Frank Torpey, the original Sweet lead guitarist from 1968 to 1969. The Home Counties were a hotbed of musical talent and Connolly soon replaced Ian Gillan (later with Deep Purple) in a Harrow-based cover band called Wainwright's Gentlemen. Musician. Personal life. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. He was also survived by his ex-wife, Marilyn, and his two-year-old son Brian (born 26 May 1995) with girlfriend Jean. In 1995, Jean succeeded in locating Connolly's biological family. Connolly and his band continued to tour, both in the UK and Europe. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Songs played included "Windy City", "Fox on the Run", "Hypnotized" and new numbers, "Sick and Tired", "Red Hair Rage" and "Burning The Candle". The young Brian was fostered by the McManus family, having been abandoned by his mother as a baby; however, when he moved to Middlesex in his teens, he dropped the surname McManus in favour of Connolly. Soon, with Sweet making numerous television appearances covered in glitter, make-up and warpaint, the rest of Europe and the United States fell for simplistic ditties like "Little Willy" and "Wig Wam Bam". [1], Connolly was born in 1945 in Govanhill, Glasgow. The group shortened its name, changed guitarists as often as it swapped record labels (Fontana, Parlophone) and only stabilised with the arrival of Andy Scott in 1970. The similarly raucous intros to "Hellraiser", "Ballroom Blitz" (complete with Brian enquiring "Are you ready, Steve, Mick, Andy?") His mother Jean married and now lives with a former band member, Glenn Williams, in Spain.[6]. He was cremated after a ceremony at Most Holy Name Roman Catholic Church at Old Mill Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire, on 17 February 1997, and his ashes were scattered over the water by his daughters Nicola and Michelle. In something of a truce, both parties agreed to distinguish their group's name to help promoters and fans. and was cremated after a ceremony at Most Holy Name Roman Catholic Church at Old Mill Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire. Steve Priest, the original bass guitarist and backup vocalist for the glam rock band the Sweet, died June 4, 2020, at 72. In 2013, Connolly's son, Brian Jr., competed in the television talent show The X Factor. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? In 1995, Connolly released a new album, Let's Go, backed up with merchandising. He only came to life when appearing on stage at Butlin's to sing "Blockbuster". He appeared at the Galleria Theatre, Hyatt Regency. It contained demos of four new songs, totaling about 20 mixes. In 1988, Connolly reunited in Los Angeles, California, with former band members Mick Tucker, Steve Priest and Andy Scott, to rework studio versions of "Action" and "The Ballroom Blitz". In 1990, he reunited with the original Sweet line-up for the promotion of a music video documentary in London at Tower Records. Connolly and Sweet parted company in 1979. After news of his leaving Sweet broke, Connolly was interviewed by the German music magazine Bravo, in which he said he was taking time off to be with his family, and considering a new musical direction (countrified rock). His ashes were scattered over the water by his daughters Nicola and Michelle. He died late in the evening of 9 February 1997, from renal failure, liver failure and repeated heart attacks, attributed to his previous chronic alcoholism. The band's most famous line-up consisted of bassist Steve, lead vocalist Brian Connolly, guitarist Andy Scott and drummer Mick Tucker. Plans suffered a small setback on 22 March 1992, when a heavy-duty tape recorder was stolen from the band's van whilst at a gig in the Bristol Hippodrome with Mud. Sweet were made up of four members, the other two being lead singer Brian Connolly and Andy Scott, who was also on vocals, keyboard and guitar. Connolly's next release was "Don't You Know A Lady", composed by Roger Greenaway, was also recorded by British four-piece band Brooks shortly after Connolly's release. The original plan was to have a completed album out by August 1983, but this never materialised. Tucker and Connolly left Wainwright's Gentlemen in late 1967 and recruited guitarist Frank Torpey, and bassist Steve Priest, naming their new band The Sweetshop. He was married twice: to Pauline until her death in 1979, and to Janet until his death. His health was permanently affected with some paralysis on his left side which would later develop into a nervous system condition. Based on a wailing siren and a classic guitar riff (very similar to David Bowie's "Jean Genie", which also came out on RCA in January 1973), the song reached No 1. He was 51 years old.[5]. He died on February 14, 2002, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England. It was issued as Connolly's first solo single during 1980, by Polydor. The show revealed Connolly's ill health, but also that he was continuing with his concert dates at Butlins, where Connolly and his band had appeared a number of times on tour during the early 1990s. Sweet missed out on a support slot with The Who at Charlton Football Ground in the mid-Seventies which could have confirmed their move towards a more credible status. In a radio interview, Connolly reported that singing was a large part of growing up since there was no television, and that he was regularly called upon to sing for family and friends. His partner Jean, whom he had met a few years earlier, gave birth to a son that year. He occasionally played in exotic locations like Bahrain and Dubai, but his version of Sweet mainly eked out a living appearing at festivals, resorts (embarrassingly, Butlins holiday camps), and small clubs. He played his last British show with the classic Sweet line-up at Hammersmith Odeon, London on 24 February 1978. Connolly went back to England and his band appeared on The Bob Downe Christmas Show, on 18 December 1990. Torpey subsequently invited Connolly to go into the recording studio with him, as an informal project. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. He died less than three years after Taggart star McManus was killed by liver failure at the age of 59. As the band's lead singer, he performed hit singles such as "Little Willy" (1972), "Wig-Wam Bam" (1972), "Block Buster!" Connolly's family and friends were at his bedside in a Berkshire hospital when he died. At the age of 12, Connolly moved to Harefield, Greater London, where he attended the local secondary modern school. The Sweet were formed in … After inadvertently discovering his lineage, he eventually reverted to the name Connolly. Money was raised for a plaque dedicated to Connolly at Breakspear Crematorium, Breakspear Road, Ruislip, Middlesex. He also performed in Bahrain. During 1977, when no tours were undertaken and two of Sweet's most successful albums were recorded, the power struggle within the band became even more apparent. Summary. Brian Francis Connolly (5 October 1945 – 9 or 10 February 1997) was a Scottish-born singer-songwriter, musician and actor, best known as the lead singer between 1968 and 1979 of the British glam rock band The Sweet. Brian Connolly was born; Olivia Newton-John had her first U.S. No. An aunt in Ontario, Canada, revealed that Connolly's true birth mother had died in 1989. One of the tracks "Take Away The Music" was re-recorded the following year, with then Polydor producer Pip Williams, at the Marquee Studios, in London. No cause of death was revealed. Connolly sold his house to pay his share of the tax bill. His departure was not made public until March 1979. and "Teenage Rampage" provoked many a stampede towards crowded dancefloors and Sweet's saucy stage antics earned them a ban from the Mecca night-club circuit. On 28 July 1973, he married his first wife, Pauline, at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Ruislip, Middlesex. The lineup featured Connolly on vocals, Chris Eldridge and Lee Mordecai on guitars, Mark Conway (bass) and drummer Martin Lass. In early 1978, a switch from RCA to Polydor saw the band back in the charts with the progressive "Love is Like Oxygen". American success also came at a price; Kiss virtually borrowed Sweet's sound and look wholesale, adding even more gimmicks and eventually stealing the British group's thunder. These three tracks are available on a bootleg 7" single and CD. However, during the very long flight to Australia, Connolly's health had suffered and he was hospitalised temporarily in Adelaide Hospital, ostensibly for dehydration and related problems. Brian Francis Connolly (5 October 1945 – 9 or 10 February 1997) was a Scottish singer-songwriter, musician and actor. Steve Priest, bassist and singer for long-running glam-era rock band The Sweet, has died, according to statements from the band and Priest’s family. Brian Connolly, singer and songwriter: born Hamilton, Lanarkshire 5 October 1945; married (two daughters; marriage dissolved; one son by Jean Dibble); died Slough 10 February 1997. It’s the same as his Scots father, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock superstars Sweet, who tragically died 16 years ago. Connolly's Encore, included most of the members of Verity (fronted by ex-Argent guitarist John Verity) and Terry Uttley, bass player from Smokie. By mid- to late 1979 he had recorded a few new tracks at Chipping Norton Recording Studios, in Oxfordshire, with the assistance of friend and producer Mick Angus. On 2 November 1996, British TV network Channel 4 aired a programme Don't Leave Me This Way, which examined Connolly's time as a pop star with The Sweet, the subsequent decline in the band's popularity, and the impact on the band members. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. During January 1997, Connolly had another heart attack and he was hospitalised in Slough. Connolly eventually replaced singer Ian Gillan (later of Deep Purple fame) in a band called Wainwright's Gentlemen, which included drummer Mick Tucker. Priest, who was born in England and lived in Los Angeles, had been performing with his own edition of Sweet in recent years. As time progressed issues between Connolly and other members of Sweet developed and he would find the band excluding him from decisions. Gigs, big ones, were blown by his sloppy, tragic performances. On the eve of releasing their debut single, Slow Motion, in July 1968, the band shortened their name to The Sweet. Still clinging to his memorabilia and his dyed blond hair, the vocalist appeared as a shadow of his former self, shaking constantly and walking with a limp. The Inland Revenue served Connolly and the other members of the Sweet with a multimillion-pound tax assessment for the income earned from their hit records. He checked himself out of the hospital and died of renal failure the following month, on February 9 at the age of 51. He died age 51 in Slough, England. Connolly's chronic alcohol abuse further compromised his role with the band as his voice began showing the impact in recordings and on stage during Sweet's 1978 US tour. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? The Sweet Fanny Adams (1974) and Desolation Boulevard (1974) albums were full of the band's own compositions (the infectious "Fox on the Run" - a million-seller in the United States - and the catchy "Action" later covered by Def Leppard) and heralded a rather successful change of style. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Connolly, lead singer with 70s glam rock group Sweet, suffered kidney failure on Sunday night. Andy Scott is the main man behind The Sweet, the legendary 1970s glam rock outfit which gave us hits like Fox on the Run, Ballroom Blitz and the likes. Further to recent questions and enquiries from Sweet fans and friends, I write to confirm the thoughts of the family on the use of the name ‘BC Sweet’ or ‘Brian Connolly Sweet’ or ‘Brian Connolly’ or any variation thereof by the musicians who worked with my father in the months preceding his death. It was 1981, and things were not looking good for The Sweet. His death on Thursday morning, the cause of which is not yet known, was announced by … They then moved into a house in Beverley Road, Ruislip. In 1982 with his Polydor contract having expired, Connolly signed with French independent label, Carrere Records. 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The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Born in Hamilton, near Glasgow, in 1949, Connolly was probably the half- brother of the actor Mark McManus (who played the Scottish television detective Taggart). Brian Francis Connolly (5 October 1945 – 9 or 10 February 1997) was a Scottish-born singer-songwriter, musician and actor, best known as the lead singer between 1968 and 1979 of the British glam rock band The Sweet. In 1995 Brian entered the studio to re-record an album of Sweet hits and at the time of his death, was talking about reforming the original band for a large concert next year to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Formed in London in 1968, and originally called Sweetshop, they went on to achieve their first hit in 1971 with Funny Funny. Connolly returned to The New Sweet. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Photograph: Cine Text / Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd. / Allstar Steve Priest, bassist and vocalist with glam rock band the … (Rumours persisted that his father was "Mark's dad. According to Torpey, Connolly was seeking a German recording deal. Pretty soon, "Funny Funny", "Co-Co" and "Poppa Joe" were nudging into the British charts. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. This time there was little more that could be done. Brian Connolly, singer and songwriter: born Hamilton, Lanarkshire 5 October 1945; married (two daughters; marriage dissolved; one son by Jean Dibble); died Slough 10 February 1997. After dominating the charts in the UK during the height of the glitter rock era, the band had been on a devastating downward spiral ever since.
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