Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Little Willy

by

Sweet



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman - neither of whom were members of Sweet. Instead, Chinn and Chapman were a major force in the British pop music industry in the 1970s. Just as in the US, Leiber and Stoller became known for "the Brill Building sound," Chinn and Chapman in the UK became known as the "Chinnichap" sound. They produced songs for Suzi Quatro, and British bands Smokie, Mud, Racey, and The Arrows. Chapman would later produce albums for Blondie and The Knack, and along with Holly Knight, wrote Pat Benatar's hit "Love Is A Battlefield."
"Little Willy" was Sweet's biggest US hit, peaking the charts at #3 when it was re-released in 1973. It was a non-album single, but went gold in the US and UK all by itself anyway. Critics in the UK dismissed the song as "bubblegum" and referred to the lyrics as "nursery porn." Sweet wanted to shed their bubblegum/ glam-rock image and become more hardcore, so they later turned to writing their own songs.
Putting this song together, Chinn and Chapman used a pounding drum beat popularized by Slade and producer Mike Leander. They mixed in the riff from the Who song "I Can't Explain," and added the exceptionally catchy chorus, which dug into your ear and wouldn't let go. The song didn't tell any kind of story - just that Willy won't go home - but listeners didn't care and with Glam Rock, the lyrics weren't supposed to make sense anyway.
Sweet
More Sweet songs
More songs with boys' names in the title

Comments (2):

Sweet had 4 Top 10 hits in the U.S., but "Little Willy" was their first and greatest.
- Les, Joplin, MO
Little Willy was the band's 5th hit in the UK. Up to and including that song, they did not play the instruments on their A-sides but hey wrote and performed on the flips. These usually had a harder, rockier edge than the teenybopper-friendly chart fare and this schism would eventually drive some of their fans away, especially at gigs, where they tended to play lesser-known songs in favour of whatever was bothering the Hit Parade at the time...
- Zabadak, London, England
You have to to post comments.
Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredMuhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired
Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.
Desmond ChildDesmond Child
One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."
Francis Rossi of Status QuoFrancis Rossi of Status Quo
Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.
Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."