Album:100 Hits: 70s Classics
You might think this is about the play or film Sweeney Todd. But no, there was a Canadian band Sweeney Todd that topped the Canadian charts in 1975 with Roxy Roller. Lead singer and main songwriter Nick Gilder would go on to success as a solo artist. Gilder was born in England but he grew up in Vancouver. While still in high school, Gilder joined the band Rasputin. Guitarist Jim McCullough was also in that band and Rasputin became Sweeney Todd. Other members were Dan Gaudin on keyboards, Budd Marr on bass and John Booth on drums. The band was heavily influenced by glam rock which was popular at the time. Producer Martin Shaer saw Sweeney Todd play in a high school gym and got them a record deal with London Records in Canada. Shaer produced the 1975 album Sweeney Todd. This is where things get a little confusing. Roxy Roller topped the Canadian charts in 1975. But then Gilder left Sweeney Todd to record solo with Chrysalis Records. He took McCullouch with him. That should have killed the band because Gilder was lead singer and wrote all the songs. But Shaer tried to keep the band going and hired Clark Perry to replace Gilder and Skip Prest to replace McCullouch. Perry didn't last long and was soon replaced by a teenaged Bryan Adams. Yes, THAT Bryan Adams. Sweeney Todd recorded an unsuccessful album and split up. Meanwhile Gilder re-recorded Roxy Roller and his version topped the Canadian charts in 1976. Gilder would then top the US charts in 1978 with Hot Child In The City. And he has had a lot of success as a songwriter. I don't think the Sweeney Todd version of Roxy Roller is available. But the Nick Gilder version is on some various artists comps including this 5CD British comp. Gilder's version is also on the soundtrack of The Runaways so fans of that film should pick that up. Normally I prefer the original recording but it probably doesn't matter in this case and Gilder's version was a bigger hit. Gilder reformed Sweeney Todd in 2008 and they still tour today. Here's a video for Roxy Roller by Sweeney Todd.