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Blockbuster! / The Ballroom Blitz
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“Blockbuster!” is a 1973 single by The Sweet. Written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, and produced by Phil Wainman, it was the band’s sole UK No. 1 hit. Released in January 1973, it spent five weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, and also made #1 in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Ireland, and #3 in Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway. Outside Europe, it peaked at #1 in New Zealand, #29 in Australia, and at #73 on the American Billboard Hot 100.
Its Muddy Waters-inspired blues riff is markedly similar to that featured on fellow RCA act David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie”, released shortly before, but all parties maintained this was a coincidence.
Some controversy arose after the band’s performance of the song on the British television program Top of the Pops on 25 December 1973, for which bassist Steve Priest wore a swastika armband.
The B-sides “The Ballroom Blitz” is also written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The song reached number one in Canada, number two in the UK Singles Chart and the Australian Chart, and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100. It remains an enduring favourite, with more than 90 million streams on Spotify alone by the end of 2022.
The song was inspired by an incident on 27 January 1973 when the band were performing at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and were driven offstage by a bottling.
It was recorded on 11–12 June 1973 at Audio International Studio, 18 Rodmarton Street, London, and released as a single in September 1973. It appeared on the US and Canadian versions of Desolation Boulevard but never appeared on a Sweet album in the UK, other than hits compilations. The initial guitar and drum riff of the song has a similarity to a 1963 song by Bobby Comstock called “Let’s Stomp.”
A2 Need a Lot of Lovin'
AA1 The Ballroom Blitz
AA2 Rock & Roll Disgrace
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