Little Willy

Album: The Sweet's Biggest Hits (1972)
Charted: 4 3

Songfacts®:

  • 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.

Comments: 8

  • Cliff Scowen from LondonI always thought it was about a stray cat that hung around the recording studios.
  • Gilly Setterfield from Milford Haven Sweet were great, all their songs were classics
  • Shannon from Usa This song is definitely about someone's penis, right?!
  • Joe from HereHow is this song NOT about anything but cocaine?
  • Leo from Mclean, VirginiaI thought this was about a teen who always had a boner wherever he went. The song says u cant push it down and it is everywhere so idk
  • Charlie from BostonI always assumed that this song referred to some kid's boner that wouldn't subside. You know, the old adolescent erection at the most awkward time and place?
  • Les from Joplin, MoSweet had 4 Top 10 hits in the U.S., but "Little Willy" was their first and greatest.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandLittle 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...
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