Sweet: “Fox on the Run”
For me, the band Sweet is somewhere just on the respectable side of a guilty pleasure. They were one of the most successful glam bands of the early ’70s, but to some degree weren’t that far removed from the crappy “hair metal” bands that littered the airwaves throughout the ’80s and pre-Nirvana early ’90s (in fact, they probably deserve a decent amount of credit/blame as the blueprint for those bands). They started life as a covers band before becoming “Sweet,” and for their first few years used outside songwriters for most of their hit singles (the band wrote most of the other album tracks). They were the biggest singles group in Great Britain during the early ’70s (according to the liner notes of their Best of Sweet compilation, anyway), but although they were certainly an actual band in terms of musicianship and singing, they earned a bit of a reputation as an “artificial” band. Deserved or not, they responded by writing and producing more of their own songs, including “Fox on the Run,” on 1975’s Desolation Boulevard — it became their biggest hit single (surpassing such previous hits as “Little Willy” and “Ballroom Blitz”).
I distinctly remember when “Fox on the Run” first hit the airwaves during my 4th grade year — well, not the first time I heard it, exactly, but more precisely, the excitement that came with it. It was by far the most loved song of the day by my classmates — the song’s initial buildup, followed by the blast of energetic guitars and snarled vocals, was one of the coolest things going at the time (at least when the kids weren’t listening to “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night,” by the Bay City Rollers). I loved the song, and it ended up being one of the songs that I would continue to look back most fondly at in later school years. Later, before it became an “oldie,” and before there was such a thing as the Classic Rock radio format, it didn’t get played that much in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and I didn’t own a Sweet album for much of that time, so it was always a special event to hear the song. I did eventually end up buying Desolation Boulevard, specifically for “Fox on the Run,” so it became easier to hear it, but even then the song never wore thin for me — and to this day, I still love it (although I have to admit it does seem notably sillier than it used to).