Sweet, Seger and WMMS photos
Cleveland figures significantly with the national success of both acts.
We did not played Sweet’s first hit, “Little Willy.” It was too bubblegum-sounding for us. Sweet, taking advantage of the popularity of glam/glitter rock gradually and cautiously evolved into a band that appealed to an adult rock audience and broke out of Cleveland and Los Angeles with their Desolation Boulevard album.
I remember that evening with Sweet, post-concert, as a heavy-drinking night, which can be attested by the condition of some of those in that photo.
Cleveland was one of the first cities that provided Seger the traction to break nationally. Tracks like “Heavy Music” and “Get Out of Denver” established Seger to the WMMS audience but it took 1975’s Beautiful Loser album to transform him from cult favorite to a most-requested, mainstream artist. By summer, “Beautiful Loser,” “Katmandu,” “Travelin’ Man,” and his cover of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits” were among our most requested and played album tracks. Though the album hit #131 nationally, it was a top-ten selling album in Cleveland from spring through fall.
Shortly after that photo was taken, Seger poured the contents of the bottle of wine he was holding down Leo’s back. Somewhere a photo exists of that, too, though it hasn’t been unearthed yet.
Our label connection with both acts was Bruce Ravid, who managed regional promotion for Capitol Records, which included the Cleveland market, prior to his best-known position as an Artist & Repertoire executive for the label. Bruce was instrumental in signing Duran Duran, Missing Persons, the Motels, The Church, and Thomas Dolby, among others.
Today, he produces and hosts Rave’s Raves, a nationally syndicated radio show, which features new and up and coming talent.
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