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The Sweet bassist Steve Priest dies aged 72

The Sweet's Steve Priest performs live in 1970.
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

The Sweet founding member and bassist Steve Priest has died aged 72. No cause of death has been announced.

The news was confirmed by guitarist Andy Scott in a post on The Sweet’s Facebook page, which reads: “Then there was one! I am in pieces right now. Steve Priest has passed away. His wife Maureen and I have kept in contact and though his health was failing I never envisaged this moment. Never. My thoughts are with his family.

“He was the best bass player I ever played with. The noise we made as a band was so powerful. From that moment in the summer of 1970 when set off on our Musical Odyssey the world opened up and the rollercoaster ride started! He eventually followed his heart and moved to the USA. First New York then LA.

“Rest in Peace brother. All my love.”

Born in Hayes, UK, Priest was inspired by the Shadows, the Rolling Stones and The Who, and even built his own bass guitar in his early years.

He brought these influences to The Sweet, which formed in 1968 as a four-piece, with vocalist Brian Connolly, drummer Mick Tucker and guitarist Frank Torpey.

After a number of guitarist changes, the band settled on Andy Scott, and this line-up generated a string of hits throughout the ’70s, including The Ballroom Blitz, Wig-Wam Bam, Block Buster!, Fox on the Run, Action and Love is Like Oxygen.

Connolly departed in early 1979, leaving Priest to tackle lead vocals, until the group disbanded in 1982.

Megadeth's David Ellefson paid tribute to the late bassist, stating, “They gave me one of my earliest memories of great hard rock on the radio as a kid and Desolation Boulevard still holds up as one of rock's greatest albums from that period.

“Steve's wife was the publicist for Megadeth during much of our Capitol Records years and meeting him was one of the highlights of my professional career. His writing, vocals and bass work are without parallel. Condolences to the band and his family.”

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Digital Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World, having spent nine storied years contributing to guitar journalism and a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). He has written and edited for MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, and makes prog-ish instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.