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How 'Sweet' it is at Penn's Peak

  • Sweet, which recorded hits like "Little Willy" and "Fox on the Run," will be performing Thursday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
    Sweet, which recorded hits like "Little Willy" and "Fox on the Run," will be performing Thursday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
Published July 20. 2011 05:01PM

We all remember the "Little Willy" fun song from the 70s and the lyrics:

"Little Willy, Willy won't, go home. 'but you can't push Willy around, Willy won't go."

Sweet, the band that had a hit with the song, will be making a stop tomorrow night at Penn's Peak, performing in concert at 8 o'clock.

Tickets, just $25, will be on sale at the door.

For Sweet, this might possibly be their first time making an Eastern Pa. appearance.

The band, which also had hits with "Fox on the Run," "Love is Like Oxygen," and "Ballroom Blitz," originally hails from the United Kingdom.

Steve Priest, a founder of the band in 1968 who is still a member, said in a phone interview his management company didn't want the band touring in the U.S. when "Little Willy" was a hit.

"It was strange to have a hit in the states," said Priest, referring to "Little Willy." He added, "We should have come over here."

Priest has since moved to the United States and lives in New York.

"Willy" was the first charted song in America for Sweet. Priest said the band has been touring the U.S. and Canada. It also has done shows recently in Germany and South Africa.

Two of the band's founders, Priest and vocalist Brian Connolly, split in 1979 over differences in the direction of the band.

In 2008, Priest put together a new version of the band consisting of Stuart Smith on guitar and vocals, Richie Onori on drums, Joe Retta on vocals, and Steve Stewart on keyboards.

Since that formation, the lineup has remained intact and has taken on a busy touring schedule.

The band even put together a new CD two years ago, "Sweet Live In America." It's Sweet's first new CD in two decades.

All the band's hits are on the CD as well as some new numbers.

Priest explained of the breakup, "Brian left, but we wanted to continue doing our own stuff. He wanted to do country music."

In 1979, Priest made the decision to move to the United States.

One of the trademarks of Sweet has always been its colorful outfits. Priest said that hasn't changed.

He added, "We don't just stand around on the stage. We put on a very good show. We put everything into it."

He assured that hits like "Little Willie" and "Fox on the Run" will be part of the set list.

Asked if he ever tires of singing these songs, Priest said, "No. When we see the audience react, when we see their reaction, it's a great feeling."

He said "Little Willy" is one of those songs where you can be assured that almost everybody in the audience will be singing along.

The new Sweet band recorded a cover version of the Beatle's "Ticket to Ride," which was included on "Abbey Road," a Fab Four tribute CD released in March 2009.

"We're looking forward to coming to Jim Thorpe," said Priest. "It's going to be a fun night."

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