Sweet, Desolation Boulevard (1974/1975)

This was the first album I ever bought.  It was 1976, and I was a 10-year-old kid who had recently discovered Top 40 radio, with which I was positively obsessed.  My favorite song at the time was "Action" by Sweet (and it's still a damn great song, not even a guilty pleasure, just great).  I'd saved up my allowance, and my dad took me to the nearby Sears one night.  I was going to buy the new Sweet album, Give Us A Wink, which featured "Action," but the display case also had copies of their prior album, Desolation Boulevard, which actually included two songs I knew from the radio -- "Fox On The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz."  And I figured that, given my limited means, buying the record with twice as many familiar songs was the wiser investment.

(This was the 1975 US version of the LP, which had a pretty different song line-up than the 1974 UK version.)

Now, any album that includes "Fox On The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz" is going to sound awesome to a 10-year-old boy.  (And, frankly, those songs still sound pretty great to this 52-year-old man, so what can I say?)  And there were other fun songs as well.  I really liked "A.C.D.C.," even though I didn't understand it -- when the singer sang that his girlfriend had "some other woman as well as me," I was kinda befuddled.  And it had "The Six Teens," a mini-romance about, uh, six teens.  It had this killer chorus, "And life goes on, you know you know it ain't easy..."  

The album managed to fall in that sweet spot (pardon the pun) between glam and hard rock and pure bubblegum pop, which was catnip for a pre-teen boy.  But what really set the album apart is that it was the first music I listened to that my parents truly hated.  They were willing to indulge my AM radio fixation, most of which was pretty harmless, but this thing pushed their buttons.  They didn't like the songs, they didn't like the fact that I insisted on playing it incredibly loud on my dad's stereo, they definitely didn't like those skeevy-looking guys on the front cover.

All of which, for reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on just yet, made it feel dangerous.  The true power of rock and roll had been revealed to me, and there was no turning back...

Here's "Fox On The Run":
...and "Ballroom Blitz":




Buy it on Amazon.

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