LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Steve Priest, a founding member and bassist of the English glam-rock band The Sweet, has passed away at the age of 72.
His passing was confirmed by a statement from his bandmates, who wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce at 8:25am PT today, Steve Priest, founding member of The Sweet, passed away.” A cause of death for Priest was not disclosed.
Lead guitarist, Andy Scott, the sole surviving member of the original lineup added: “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.” Scott also described Priest as “the best bass player I ever played with.”
Priest, who was born in Hayes, Middlesex, got his start playing bass with local bands until 1968, when he formed the four-piece band with vocalist Brian Connolly, drummer Mick Tucker, and guitarist Frank Torpey that would eventually become The Sweet.
After several experiments with guitarists, the band finally settled on Andy Scott and in 1971, and began a run on the charts, starting with “Funny Funny” in 1972.
The Sweet would go on to release 13 top 20 hits in Britain, including “Ballroom Blitz,” “Fox on the Run,” “Block Buster,” “Hell Raiser,” and “Teenage Rampage.”
After Brian Connolly left The Sweet in early 1979, Priest became the main singer and continued in that role for three more years until the group disbanded in 1982.
In the mid 1980s, Priest relocated to Los Angeles, where he largely remained out of the limelight, occasioanlly collaborating with other artists or doing session work.
In 1994, he penned an autobiography “Are You Ready Steve?” and ventured into poetry, releasing a CD of his material in 2006.
Two years later, he formed a new version of Sweet, sans his former bandmates, which toured primarily in the U.S. and Canada.
Priest is survived by his wife of 39 years, music publicist Maureen O’Connor, his daughters Lisa, Danielle and Maggie, and three grandchildren.