Sweet Sensation won tv's New Faces, with judge Tony Hatch signing them to Pye Records.
Their first single "Snow Fire" flopped but their second release, "Sad Sweet Dreamer", became an international hit.
This soul ballad, which was heavily influenced by The Stylistics, featured 16-year-old lead vocalist Marcel King's falsetto.
Sweet Sensation only had one more hit: "Purely By Coincidence," which reached #11 in the UK before disappearing. In 1977 they represented the UK in that year's Eurovision Song Contest. Their song "You're My Sweet Sensation" ended only in eighth place out of twelve in the British final and they were dropped by Pye and disbanded soon after.
Marcel King tried to resurrect a solo career in 1985 and signed to Factory Records. Bernard Sumner of New Order produced "Reach For Love" without success, even though labelmate Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays has said it was one of his favorite records.
Sadly, Marcel King died of a brain hemorrhage in 1995.
Keyboard player, Leroy Smith, another of the founder members died in January 2009 aged 56. He was found all alone in his Manchester flat where he had died of bronchopneumonia. A sad end for someone who must have felt on top of the world in the 70s when the band had it's brief period of fame.
I was working at Leech Manufacturing - a serious speaker cabinet business started by Jo Olenski - in Salford having left Wasp Music in Rusholme after I had met Jo who used to come in there a lot. I was Leech's first employee back in 1973.
These guys used to visit us a lot because Jo and his business partner Keith Whittaker knew Leroy very well; Leroy was the only guy from the Moss Side gang the music shops would readily do business with. They (Sweet Sensation) used to drive around in an ex-Brooke Bond Transit that had a side door with a Yale lock on it.
We had these pneumatic staple guns for tacking speaker cloth onto the baffle boards and Marcel picked one up and turned it round to look down the muzzle then pulled the trigger and fired a staple out but he was wearing specs so he kept his sight. We all fell about! Health and Safety or what?
Later on, Leroy ran security for pubs and clubs and nobody messed with him. The last time I saw him he was on the door of a bistro on the Downs in Altrincham about fifteen years ago - there was live jazz that night - and he remembered me. I was really pleased.
One great guy! RIP.
I worked with Sweet Sensation and also with Leroy on some of his solo stuff, he became a mate mine in the end, gentle giant! you can find a piccy of him dancing at Bootleg to a song we were recording at the time. Here is a link:
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