Blockbuster

Album: Greatest Hits (1973)
Charted: 1 73

Songfacts®:

  • In December 1973, David Bowie's "The Jean Genie" peaked at #2 in the UK charts. The following month, this song went one better going all the way to #1. Both songs used the same Yardbirds riff from Bo Diddley's "I'm A Man."

    Guitarist Andy Scott recalled to Uncut the band's panicked reaction after an A&R man played them "Jean Genie." "We sat there with horrified looks on our faces. The guy asked what was wrong, and we said 'That's the same f---ing guitar riff as Blockbuster" He said, 'Well, it's quite similar isn't it?' 'It's the f---ing same!'

    I got on the blower to Nicky Chinn and said, 'We can't release this.' He said, 'Don't worry, they're completely different kinds of records and I predict this will be a number one.' I thought, 'Good luck with that.' But he was proved right. A few weeks later, we were at number one and Bowie was at number two."
  • This proved to be The Sweet's only British #1, and it stayed at the top for five weeks. Their next three releases stalled at #2: "Hell Raiser," "Ballroom Blitz" and "Teenage Rampage."
  • This song featured an air-raid siren over a decade before one was used on Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Two Tribes."
  • This was used in the 2000 film Gangster #1.
  • The team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn wrote this song. Chinn said in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "Every part of a song is important and how you get into it is especially important. You have to catch the public's attention the second that the record comes on. Look at Blockbuster with its siren. You catch the attention immediately."

Comments: 4

  • Colin Brown from Sutton Surrey Ballroom blitz was their best one and I was upset when despite entering at number two it failed to make number one.
  • David from EnglandThe lyrics to Blockbuster are about the mass-murderer, Ted Bundy - "You'd better watch out if you've got long black hair" Making light of such dark subject matter is so typical of the 1970s, and I wonder just how many parents woyld've bought this song for their children, having known what the lyrics actually referred to.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThere is a mistake in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh where they say the producer of this song is Phil Wainwright, as opposed to Wainman! Oops!
  • Mark from London, England"Ballroom Blitz" entered the chart at #2 yet still failed to reach #1. This was only the second UK chart hit to do this, after The Beatles' "Let It Be".
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