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Steve Priest, Sweet bassist, dead at 72

4 June 2020

Steve Priest, bassist and co-founder of 1970s glam rock band Sweet, has died at the age of 72.

Priest was born in Hayes, West London, in 1948, and became a musician after building his own bass guitar in his teens. After playing in bands like The Countdowns and The Army, he formed the Sweet (then known as Sweetshop) in January 1968 with vocalist Brian Connolly, drummer Mick Tucker and guitarist Frank Torpey.

Following a few line-up changes and a false start on Parlophone Records, the band signed to RCA in 1971 and teamed up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, whose bubblegum melodies and power pop riffs propelled them into the charts.

In total, they scored 13 Top 20 hits in the 1970s, with songs like Teenage Rampage, Hell Raiser, Wig-Wam Bam and the #1 single Blockbuster.

As the band became a regular fixture on Top of the Pops, Priest became the epitome of glam rock androgyny, known for his flamboyant outfits and heavy make-up.