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Off The Record: Sweet Facts!
"Give Us A Wink"

By the time the self penned and produced "Fox On The Run"was peaking on the Billboard charts in mid 1975, Sweet decided they wanted to head into a more rock oriented direction. Their first move was to dispense with the services of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who had written and produced many of Sweet's earlier "bubblegum" songs such as "Little Willy", "Co Co", and "Funny Funny".

With the freedom now to write, produce and record an album all on their own, they left for Spain to write material, then off to the Arabella Hotel in Munich, Germany to record.

The Arabella Hotel had a 24 track studio in the basement, next door to a large hallway in which equipment was loaded through.

One day when they were recording a back track, someone accidentally opened the connecting door to the hallway. The band, fascinated with the thunderous sound of Mick's drums echoing throughout the basement, amplified his drums through two speakers outside the studio to capture the echoing effect of Mick's drums on tape, creating the very powerful drum sound you hear on the appropriately titled "Give Us A Wink".

This offering produced many of Sweet's finest tracks to date, including "Action", "Lies In Your Eyes", and "White Mice".

One of the heaviest and most intense songs on this album is "Yesterday's Rain". Steve Priest on the songs inception:

"Yesterday's Rain" came from a line that Burl Ives used in a TV series called "Alias Smith & Jones", in which Burl's character replies to someone trying to con him, "I didn't come down with Yesterday's rain!".

Another stand out track on "GUAW" is the powerful and raunchy-edged "Cockroach". Steve:

"The line: You got a mouth like a DC10 came from when we were all sitting around one day writing the song on the roof of the Arabella hotel, and this jet flew over. Lucky it did as we were stuck for lyrics!

The album cover design was this: A partial human face accenting a pair of big green eyes, (one you could actually make open and close creating a "winking" effect.), over the top of a brick wall background containing "graffiti" that read such one liners as "Wink Off", and "Kilroy Winked Here!". Steve on the album cover:

The album cover was a play on words, and I don't think you have to be a rocket scientist to translate it.

I did like the concept of the cover, but I thought it was going a bit far by having "Queen are a bunch of winkers", on the wall. They weren't that bad. Really!

The album "Give Us A Wink" remains a favorite of many Sweet fans, including this one. To date, I have heard at least three songs covered by other bands from this album.

Excerpts from this web page were taken from Steve Priest's documentary novel, "Are You Ready, Steve?"

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