Saturday, 6 June 2020

We just haven’t got a clue WHAT to do!

It seems bizarre that I only mentioned the Sweet in my post about Suzi Quatro's 70th on Wednesday, and on Thursday came the sad news that the band's bassist and showman Steve Priest has left for Fabulon, glitter platform boots and all.

According to Alex Petridis in The Guardian:
Almost every [Glam Rock] band had a member whose lot it was to take the excesses of their look one step further – Slade’s self-styled “super-yob” Dave Hill; Mud’s Rob Davies, visibly uncomfortable in his dangly earrings and chiffon – but Steve Priest entered into the role with astonishing gusto. He slathered himself in so much slap that, in Priest’s telling, Bowie himself felt impelled to intervene backstage at Top of the Pops – “He said, ‘You know you really are putting much too much makeup on?’” – and camped up his performances with a cartoonish relentlessness...

...Priest’s onstage persona impacted not just on the way the Sweet looked but on how they sounded. Songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn and producer Phil Wainman packed their singles with special effects – air-raid sirens, explosions, timpani, stamping feet, fans chanting “We want Sweet!” – but the most striking were Priest’s hysterical vocal interjections. The most famous is his cry of: “We just haven’t got a clue WHAT to do!” on Block Buster, which he invariably delivered to camera with a pout and one finger querulously placed against his chin.
From the moment, at 9 years old, I first set eyes on these glittering creatures on Top of The Pops, and particularly Steve Priest in his eyeliner and lipstick, I was smitten. Was it merely because he was "funny", or maybe all that campery awoke something latent in a little budding gayer in Wales like moi?

Who knows, but I certainly have loved Sweet - archetypal Glam-era "dockers in drag" or not - ever since.

Here are three reasons why...

RIP, Stephen Norman Priest (23rd February 1948 – 4th June 2020).

Yet another piece of my childhood, gone.


  1. Same here!!! They were the first band that I was drawn to, and I was about 6 or 7!! I was sad to read of his demise.

    1. I've been chanting "Are you ready, Steve?" "Ah-ha!" in my head ever since I heard the news... Jx

  2. I remember WigWamBam and Little Willy.And one of the Chinn family was a director of the place I earned my crust.

    1. Judging by those trousers I imagine "Little Willy" was not necessarily the most accurate of songs... Jx


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