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Nov 07

SWEET SENSATION – “Sad Sweet Dreamer”

FT + Popular57 comments • 8,470 views

#358, 19th October 1974

Rueful soft soul comforted by great pillowing banks of Philly-style orchestration, industrial quantities of it: never mind the quality, feel the gloss (and enjoy the louche brass while you’re at it). The production on “Sad Sweet Dreamer” lacks a sureness of touch when it comes to scale and smothers any emotion in the chorus until it comes out mostly as a shrug. Marcel King’s quavering, boyish vocals give the record some needed character but in the end this drifts pleasantly out of pop history having made terribly little impression.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Waldo on 5 Dec 2007 #

    Charles Hawtrey as Neil Young?…
    Sorry, Mr Carlin. Just wrong. Breslaw would be more appreciative of “free birds”, one of whom inevitably being the sublime Anita H, whose reappearance on this thread has been long overdue.

    Bernie: I dreamt about you last night, nurse.
    Anita: Did you?
    Bernie: Naw. You didn’t let me!

    If only I could write stuff like that.

  2. 27
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Dec 2007 #

    That Talbot Rothwell went to Oxford you know.

  3. 28
    Waldo on 5 Dec 2007 #

    That’s nothing, mate. Sid Waddell went to Cambridge…

    “Ahhh! Bristow!”

  4. 29
    Marcello Carlin on 6 Dec 2007 #

    “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer – Bristow’s only 27!”

    Peerless.

  5. 30
    Erithian on 6 Dec 2007 #

    “You couldn’t get more excitement if Elvis walked in eating a chip butty!”

  6. 31
    Marcello Carlin on 6 Dec 2007 #

    “Steve Beaton – he’s not Adonis – he’s THE Donis!”

  7. 32
    Waldo on 6 Dec 2007 #

    Oh dear God. What have I started!!!

  8. 33
    Marcello Carlin on 6 Dec 2007 #

    “Eat your heart out, Harold Pinter – it’s capital D for Drama here in Essex!”

  9. 34
    Waldo on 6 Dec 2007 #

    STOP IT!!!!!

  10. 35
    Marcello Carlin on 6 Dec 2007 #

    “Keith Deller’s not just an underdog, he’s an underpuppy!”

  11. 36
    Waldo on 6 Dec 2007 #

    I MEAN IT…I’M GONNA JUMP…….

  12. 37
    Caledonianne on 8 Dec 2007 #

    Jocky Wilson said….;-)

  13. 38
    intothefireuk on 20 Apr 2008 #

    Sweet Sensation – Until fairly recently I had completely forgotten that they were a product of New Faces, which I must admit doesn’t exactly endear me to it. However, that aside, I actually really like this. The Jacksonesque lead vocal is excellent and, for me, makes the track. It is hampered a little by a stiffer than necessary arrangement but overall it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.

    Isn’t there another New Faces/Op Knox type act with a brit-soul number one in the not too distant future ?

  14. 39
    richard thompson on 10 May 2008 #

    This tune reminds me of school days, I think Marcel King was 16 or 18, it wasn’t a cover and has never been covered with a karaoke type version which also was a big hit like a lot of these songs have.

  15. 40
    pip daye on 24 Jan 2009 #

    Leroy Smith keyboards of Sweet Sensation passed away on the 6/01/2008 age 56 in Manchester. Funeral service will take place at Our Ladies Church Alexandra Park Estate Mosside M/c on Tuesday 3rd Feb 12noon
    R.I.P Leroy
    Pip Daye
    More info on YouTube keyword “Sad Sweet Dreamer”

  16. 41
    Billy Smart on 13 Feb 2009 #

    NMEWatch: 28 September 1974, Charlie Gillett again quite perceptive;

    “I heard this three times on the radio before I realised this wasn’t the Jackson Five’s best record yet. Spies tell us that Sweet Sensation come from Liverpool, and the label shows that Tony hatch (of Petula Clark fame) was co-producer along with Des Parton. But no amount of humdrum information can take away the fact that the lead singer is as good as you’ll find anywhere, even Philadelphia. If the sun keeps shining for three more weeks, this could glide into the top ten.”

    Gillett awarded the record runner-up status behind his single of the week, ‘Farewell’ by Rod Stewart. Also reviewed in a rather good week;

    Ohio Players – Skin Tight
    Dave Edmunds – Need A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues
    Hall & Oates – She’s Gone
    Ace – How Long
    Barry Blue – Hot Shot
    David Essex – Gonna Make You A Star

  17. 42
    Billy Smart on 6 Mar 2009 #

    The use of this in the first part of the Channel 4 adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding novels last night has now added a new element of abject terror to my reading of this songs mood of wistful defeat.

  18. 43
    Erithian on 6 Mar 2009 #

    It worked well, didn’t it? Mind you he knew what he was getting into. Seemed to be an endless round of shag the baddie’s wife, get beaten up, go after the baddie, get beaten up again, shag his wife again…

  19. 44
    SUSAN HALL on 17 Apr 2009 #

    I HAD A LOVELY DATE WITH SINCLAIR, A MEMBER OF SWEET SENSATION, AND THEN THE BAND WENT OVER TO DENMARK AND I STARTED TO GO OUT WITH A GOOD FRIEND OF THE BAND. I WILL NEVER FORGET HOW AWFUL I FELT WHEN THEY RETURNED AND I HAD TO “FINISH” WITH SINCLAIR AND CONTINUE TO SEE HIM WHILST STILL GOING OUT WITH HIS MATE. sAD SWEET DREAMER WAS A LOVELY BALLAD OF THE SEVENTIES AND I THANK THE TIME SPENT AT “EXPLOSION” IN MANCHESTER WATCHING THEM PRACTICE THEIR TUNES. (THE JAMES BROWN COVERS WERE ALAYS THE BEST) – SUE

  20. 45
    teddy_turbo on 20 Jun 2011 #

    sad sweetdreamer,,listen to it,,dont rip it apart and compare it to philly,,just enjoy,,i love it

  21. 46
    Paulito on 20 Jun 2011 #

    This song is crying out for a bridge.

  22. 47
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2011 #

    It’s got a bridge!

  23. 48
    Paulito on 22 Jun 2011 #

    Sorry, I meant a transitional bridge i.e. between the verse and chorus. A pre-chorus, if you prefer.

  24. 49
    wichita lineman on 22 Jun 2011 #

    You’re right. That sleazy sax doesn’t cut it, knocks off at least one point.

    The bridge is my favourite part of the song.

    This felt to me like a ‘filler’ number one at the time, slightly fortunate to get there. See also Ms Grace, My Camera Never Lies… All good records but, unlike almost all number ones pre-late 90s, don’t feel with hindsight like they were obviously going to get there.

  25. 50
    Lazarus on 17 Aug 2012 #

    Yeah and you could say the same for ‘January’ – good song ‘n’ all, but in hindsight sounds more like a number 4 or 5. I have it on a car tape and my 30-something colleague/passenger had never heard the song before, which may be telling.

  26. 51
    Mark G on 17 Aug 2012 #

    Dunno, it seemed a sure-fire number one at the time… (“January” I mean..)

  27. 52
    wichita lineman on 19 Aug 2012 #

    Re 49: I meant I really like the MIDDLE EIGHT. No, it doesn’t have a bridge.

    When did people start using the term ‘pre chorus’? I don’t remember hearing it til 3 or 4 years ago.

    Re 50/51 January felt like a soft no.1 at the time to me – not a patch on Magic, an oldies radio fixture, even though it only got to no.11.

  28. 53
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 19 Aug 2012 #

    don’t pre-bore us, get to the pre-chorus

  29. 54
    swanstep on 20 Aug 2012 #

    I’ve completely given up on ‘bridge’ because some people use it to refer to middle eights. As for ‘pre-chorus’, I find it both easier and more flexible to start labeling A, B, C… sections or patterns, so in a straightforward/formulaic song (something by Katy Perry say) the simple pre-chorus is just the B-section. For more complicated songs (e.g., ‘The Name of the Game’) you need A…F at least to get a handle on the structure.

    In other nomenclature news, I confess to being a little perturbed by phrases such as ‘third 400m semifinal’ that we often heard throughout the Olympics. I’d always thought of ‘semi-‘ as referring to the geometric structure of the draw so that there’d always have to be precisely two of ’em, but, no, it was being used synonymously with ‘pre-final’. (I imagine FreakyTrigger Radiohead skeptics using this opportunity to characterize Kid A as when Radiohead changed from being semi-boring to being pre-boring!)

  30. 55
    Paulito on 21 Aug 2012 #

    Re 54: “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison also has an (entirely seamless) A-F structure, with no section repeated. An incredible song, and one that demonstrates that the Big O was as talented at writing tunes as he was at singing them.

  31. 56
    swanstep on 21 Aug 2012 #

    @Paulito, 55. That’s a great example. Thanks.

  32. 57
    mapman132 on 13 Apr 2014 #

    A completely different and unrelated Sweet Sensation had a US #1 in 1990 with “If Wishes Came True”. They were a Latino girl group from New York and had a few other minor US hits. I believe this is the only case of two different groups with the same name having #1 hits on different sides of the Atlantic.

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