SWEET “Level Headed” – Looking Back Fondly, On A Rock Classic


SWEET – Yes, some call them The Sweet. I prefer to call this British Rock Band by their name that appeared on 8 out of the 9 studio albums they released between 1971 and 1982, which is Sweet. Only their first album, (Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be) has “The Sweet” as their band name on the cover. Whatever, I guess. The plain fact of the Rock ‘N’ Roll matter, is that Sweet was one damn decent Rock Band of their time. Caught in the midst of a post British Invasion and winding down amongst the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, Sweet still played their unique brand of Rock… and caught my attentive ears.

The first song that caught my attention from Sweet and had me very psyched-out was – Love Is Like Oxygen. This forever memorable song is from Sweet’s sixth studio album – Level Headed, released back in January of 1978, on Polydor Records. As it always seems to go, so many songs from my Rock fan past still psyche me out like never before. This terrific song from Sweet is no exception. I actually listened to it several times, while writing this post… and I just can’t grow weary of it. Metal be thy name.

Love Is Like Oxygen carries it’s Rockin’ delight through a synthesizer intro, with a most memorable guitar riff that follows… then the combination of these and a rhythm section so bold and pronounced, unveils an all encompassing meaty sound to follow. There are those “breakdowns” in Love Is Like Oxygen, (of the keyboard and acoustic kind), that teeter on the super mellow, only this song is so refreshingly far from being an AM gold hit from yesteryear. This song was born for FM, I can’t even consider trying to recount how many times I heard it played on those cool Connecticut radio stations back then.

When I first bought Level Headed, it was on vinyl and it was stocked at my local Caldor department store. I only knew of Love Is Like Oxygen… so I took the plunge and bought the entire album that one day. It was a gatefold album cover, with a black & white band photo taking up both inside covers. I believe, from my (gasp) memory, it was the band photo that appears on the U.K. cover of Level Headed. The Level Headed cover at the top of this post is the U.S. version. Check out what that U.K. version looks like below:

California Nights is a song with a chorus that tantalizes with that “sing-along” spirit. Bass guitarist Steve Priest sings lead on this song. (Guitarist Andy Scott sings lead on Dream On and FountainBrian Connolly sings lead vocals on Love Is Like Oxygen and the remainder of the songs on Level Headed). With a song like California Nights, it came across to me with a wide open vibe of feel-good. This was a song that was tailor made for cruising with the windows down on a hot Summer night… it still is that kind of song to me in 2010.

Dream On, (no it is not a cover of the Aerosmith classic), is a ballad which resonates with an overwhelming “heartfelt” emotion. I can remember the first time this song reached my ears, as this Level Headed album spun on my turntable. Whoa. My Judas Priest and Iron Maiden albums were in full view… I felt as if I got lost and woke up in mellow, mellow land. You want to know something? I loved it. This song may have sappy lyrics and is a ballad, only it was done “right”. As I listen to this song so many years later, I love it still. Honestly, if someone like Chris Daughtry covered this song today… it would be a top ten smash on the charts. I predict it would hit #1. I’m not being a wise-guy and kidding around either. This ballad could be re-released as a single today, in all of it’s original glory and be a hit just as well.

Strong Love is a tad Funky… in a pseudo-Disco sense of the word. This is actually the one song that could be accused of sounding “dated”, the only thing it is a downright catchy listen. This song is not The Village People, so there is no need to worry, all you Classic Rock folks. Anthem, No. 1 (Lady Of The Lake) and Anthem No. II are both strong with their European sounding vibe, these two songs are significant in separating Sweet from the “American” Rock sound of those late ’70’s. The keyboards and string arrangements on both Anthem songs certainly help in providing that European and “royalty” feel.

Level Headed is a Classic Rock album that I shall always look upon very fondly. Sweet seemed to weave their way around in the ’70’s and very early ’80’s with their own style of Rock that won’t be forgotten by me. If anyone out there wants to listen to an album that is diverse with songs, Rocks with efficiency and holds up extremely well with relevance after three decades, this is an album for you.

SWEET as they appeared on Level Headed:

Andy Scott – guitar, synthesizer, lead vocals, background vocals

Brian Connolly – lead vocals, background vocals

Steve Priest – bass, lead vocals, background vocals

Mick Tucker – drums, percussion, background vocals

Track Listing For Level Headed:

California Nights

Silver Bird

Dream On

Fountain

Love Is Like Oxygen

Anthem, No. 1 (Lady Of The Lake)

Strong Love

Lettres D’Amour

Anthem, No. II

Air On ‘A’ Tape Loop

LONG LIVE THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL OF SWEET.

Rest In Peace, Brian Connolly.

Rest In Peace, Mick Tucker.

Stone.

4 Responses to “SWEET “Level Headed” – Looking Back Fondly, On A Rock Classic”

  1. All I have by this guys is a greatest hits package I need to change that soon, excellent overview

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Thanks Manny. Yeah… there are loads of great songs from Sweet besides their “greatest hits” compilations. “Fox On The Run” and “Ballroom Blitz” are household name songs for certain… yet, just like any other “quality” band out there, there are those albums and deep album cuts that need attention. You definitely know what I’m talkin’ about too! 😉

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vincent Velinov, Stone. Stone said: SWEET "Level Headed" – Looking Back Fondly, On A Rock Classic: http://wp.me/pstgc-3Rv […]

  3. Thanks. Listening to this album right now. It really is an underrated and strong album. But if you are expecting Motorhead, forget it. This is like The Eagles, but better and more musical.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: