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The Sweet - The Ballroom Blitz

The Sweet - The Ballroom Blitz

‘The Ballroom Blitz’ is a song by the British glam rock band The Sweet. It is also popularly known as ‘Ballroom Blitz’. The glam rock hit was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, and released as a single in September 1973. The loud, rocky song soon hit No. 1 in Canada, No. 2 in the UK Singles and Australian Record Charts, and No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Label:   RCA (UK), Capitol (US)
Songwriters:   Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
Producer:   Phil Wainman

SOME INTERESTING FACTS

The Ballroom Blitz was co-written by successful hit writers, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Many of the pair’s tunes became major glam rock and pop hits, such as Sweet's ‘Blockbuster’, Suzi Quatro's ‘Devil Gate Drive’ and Tony Basil's ‘Mickey’.

The band have admitted that the song’s initial guitar and drum riff draws from a 1963 song by Bobby Comstock called ‘Let's Stomp’.

The lyrics of The Ballroom Blitz paint a scene of live music mayhem, where a band’s performance is abruptly interrupted by the wild, and aggressive behavior of the audience. The inspiration for the lyrics and accompanying punchy tune comes from the band’s experience in 1973, at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock, Scotland, where they really were caught in the center of an actual ballroom blitz, also being the apparent target and cause of the crowd’s angry state.

It seems that the tough and rough Scottish lads and their rocker lassies were not too happy with the pretty, overly-effeminate appearance of, what was supposed to be a rock band. The members’ recollections include tales of men spitting, women screaming out loud, trying to drown out the music and, finally bottles being thrown at the band, until they eventually left the stage.

It was the story of this scary experience that caught the imaginations of songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who used it as the main focus of the song.

There have been many covers of The Ballroom Blitz, the more notable ones being by:

  • The Les Humphries Singers in 1974 This was the first German single to reach #1 in New Zealand,
  • The Damned in 1979, with Lemmy from Motörhead on bass guitar,
  • Krokus in 1984,
  • The Surf Punks in 1988. The lyrics section of the cover jacket of their album Oh No! Not Them Again simply reads, "You should know the words by now",
  • Tia Carrere in 1992 as part of the soundtrack for the movie Wayne's World. The song features a back track with Tommy Nickerson.

The song has also had many appearances in both movies and TV shows over the years, including:

  • In 1997 in the movie Bordello of Blood, starring Dennis Miller and Corey Feldman,
  • In 2003, in the Eddie Murphy movie Daddy Day Care,
  • In 2004 it was used in the trailer for Kung Fu Hustle,
  • In 2006, in the opening of Series 1, Episode 3 of the retro police series Life on Mars, set in the 70’s,
  • In 2007, in The Sandlot: Heading Home,
  • In 2012, in the Australian movie A Few Best Men, starring Olivia Newton-John,

SONG LYRICS

[Intro]
Are you ready, Steve?
"Uh-huh"
Andy?
"Yeah"
Mick?
"Okay"
Alright, fellas, let's go!
 
[Verse 1]
Oh, it's been getting so hard
Living with the things you do to me, ah-ha
My dreams are getting so strange
I'd like to tell you everything I see
 
[Refrain]
Oh, I see a man at the back
As a matter of fact, his eyes are as red as a sun
And a girl in the corner, let no one ignore her
'Cause she thinks she's the passionate one
 
[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, yeah, it was like lightning
Everybody was frightening
And the music was soothing
And they all started grooving
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
[Chorus]
And the man at the back said, "Everyone attack"
And it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said, "Boy, I wanna warn ya"
"It'll turn into a ballroom blitz"

[Post-Chorus]
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
 
[Verse 2]
I'm reaching out for something
Touching nothing is all I ever do
Oh, I softly call you over
When you appear there's nothing left of you, ah-ha
 
[Refrain]
Now the man in the back is ready to crack
As he raises his hands to the sky
And the girl in the corner is everyone's mourner
She could kill you with a wink of her eye
 
[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, yeah, it was electric
So frantically hectic
And the band started leaving
'Cause they all stopped breathing
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
[Chorus]
And the man at the back said, "Everyone attack"
And it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said, "Boy, I wanna warn ya"
"It'll turn into a ballroom blitz"
 
[Post-Chorus]
Ballroom blitz
(Ballroom blitz)
 
[Bridge]
Oh, yeah, it was like lightning
Everybody was frightening
And the music was soothing
And they all started grooving
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
[Chorus]
And the man at the back said, "Everyone attack"
And it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said, "Boy, I wanna warn ya"
"It'll turn into a ballroom blitz"
 
[Post-Chorus]
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz
 
[Outro]
Ooh, it's, it's a ballroom blitz
It's, it's a ballroom blitz
It's, it's a ballroom blitz
Yeah, it's a ballroom blitz
 

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