Sweet

Ballroom Blitz

Song Review by

At the apex of the glam rock era, Sweet hit Top Ten in the summer of 1975 with "Ballroom Blitz." It's a frenetic slice of pop: choirboy vocals (à la Queen) kick against firecracker drums, dueling guitars, and an overall mood that screams Rocky Horror Picture Show. If it wasn't punk, well, then it was certainly prescient. Penned by the songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Michael Chapman (they churned out hits like "Fox on the Run," "No You Don't," and "A.C.D.C" for the band), they plied a sound known as British bubblegum and stuck to a formula: keep it sticky sweet, throw in a couple of double entendres, and add some drama with abrupt time changes and vocal histrionic shades of T. Rex and David Bowie. They incorporated some heavy metal elements, like buzz saw guitars, as well. Sweet may have been so successful because they had the unlikely ability to deliver dross like "Ballroom Blitz" with a wink. The public embraced the watered-down glam, leaving its artier originators to cult status, but, critically, Sweet was mostly reviled. As the '80s found a new generation of musicians reclaiming the music of their youth, Sweet found a place among lovers of kitsch and just plain good songwriting; the hits were reprised by new wave disco DJs, college radio programmers, and college rock bands who pegged "Ballroom Blitz" as their own so-called nugget. In 1985, "Ballroom Blitz" reappeared as part of the "Sweet Mix," a disco medley of hits. In 2000, the song was used to great effect in a French film about a group of girlfriends in the '70s, La Vie Ne Me Fait Pas Peur; though they didn't speak English, the girls knew two words: ballroom blitz.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Desolation Boulevard 1974 Capitol 4:06
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock Hits 2012
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 0:00
No Image
Various Artists
Capitol 4:02