ANDY SCOTT Says RONNIE JAMES DIO Almost Joined THE SWEET In 1979
June 19, 2023
In a new interview with Rock History Music, THE SWEET guitarist Andy Scott confirmed that Ronnie James Dio was in consideration to join the band after original lead singer Brian Connolly left THE SWEET in 1979. Andy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "People have said to me, that moment when Brian had left the band and we were starting to pick the bones out of the record that he should have been on, the 'Cut Above The Rest' album where we ended up being a three-piece band… And Ronnie James Dio was up for the gig, to replace Brian, 'cause he and I got on really well. And I'd already made the decision for everybody. I said, 'Look, this is not a decision that I'm gonna make or two of us are gonna make. It's the three of us or nothing. If the three of us don't agree that this is the right way to go…' It can't be a two-to-one [split vote], 'cause then there's always this [makes grumbling sound]. And of course, [THE SWEET's founding bassist] Steve [Priest] didn't wanna do it. He said, 'I think we can do it just as a three-piece.' And I don't think he was probably wrong. Adding a singer might have changed the dynamic again. 'Cause SWEET were used to having a frontman."
Andy continued: "It's got nothing to do with the fact that we could all sing. It's that focal point. It's that VAN HALEN moment. The fact that if you changed the dynamic of VAN HALEN and added another [singer] — like they did with Sammy [Hagar], who was a good mate of mine at the time. It was never quite the same as it was with David Lee Roth, was it? But musically, it was great. You can't put your finger on it. You change the dynamic."
In a 2009 interview with Let It Rock, Priest denied that Ronnie was ever in talks to join THE SWEET. "It never was true," he said.
Scott is the sole surviving member of THE SWEET, which dominated the charts in the 1970s.
Connolly died in 1997, drummer Mick Tucker five years later and Priest in June 2020. Scott and his own version of THE SWEET regularly tour Europe.
By the early 1970s, THE SWEET was arguably the hottest ticket in town with a string of Top 10 records in Europe including "Blockbuster", "Hellraiser", "Ballroom Blitz", "Teenage Rampage" and "The Sixteens".
In 1975, the USA had discovered the band, with "Fox On The Run" hitting the No. 3 spot in the Billboard 100. Another self-penned hit "Action" followed in 1976, firmly establishing THE SWEET in the U.S. charts.
On the face of it, THE SWEET was primarily a singles band. However, with the landmark albums including "Desolation Boulevard" (1975) and "Give Us A Wink" (1976),the band displayed a much harder-rocking sound. The album "Level Headed", released in 1978, brought with it another award-winning million-selling worldwide hit with "Love Is Like Oxygen" written by Scott.
In 1979, Connolly left the original lineup, leaving Scott, Priest and Tucker to continue as a three-piece.
In 2008, Priest assembled his own version of THE SWEET in Los Angeles. He reportedly owned the name and logo in Canada and the U.S., while Scott owns THE SWEET name and the logo in the U.K. and Australia.
"If we go anywhere that he owns his version of THE SWEET, I have to call it STEVE PRIEST'S SWEET," Priest told the Phoenix New Times in a 2018 interview. "Or SP SWEET."
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