Mick Tucker

Last updated

Mick Tucker
Born(1947-07-17)17 July 1947
Kingsbury, North West London
Died14 February 2002(2002-02-14) (aged 54)
Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England
Instruments Vocals, drums
Associated acts Sweet

Michael Thomas "Mick" Tucker (17 July 1947 – 14 February 2002) was an English musician, best known as the drummer and backing vocalist of the glam rock and hard rock band [1] Sweet.



Mick Tucker was born on July 17, 1947, in Kingsbury, North West London, the son of Hubert and Ellen Tucker. He was married twice: to Pauline until her death in 1979, and to Janet until his death. He died on February 14, 2002, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England.

Personal life

On 28 July 1973, he married his first wife, Pauline, at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Ruislip, Middlesex. They then moved into a house in Beverley Road, Ruislip.

In the basement, Mick Tucker installed a sound studio. He also had a music room with silver and gold albums awarded from all over the world on the walls.


By the age of 19 (1965), Tucker had embarked on a career in pop music, playing around pubs and clubs in a band called Wainwright's Gentlemen and was later joined by vocalist Brian Connolly playing a mixture of R&B, Motown, and early psychedelic sounds. The band split in 1968. There are a number of recordings in existence including a cover of The Coasters/The Hollies hit "Ain't That Just Like Me", which was officially released in February 2011 on a compilation CD "Rare Mod, Volume 3" on the Acid Jazz label (AJXCD 238). The track features Tucker on drums and, according to band bassist Jan Frewer, is thought to have been recorded in 1965.

He was a founding member of the band Sweetshop in January 1968 along with Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, and Frank Torpey (born 30 April 1947, Kilburn, North West London), who was later replaced by Mick Stewart, who was himself succeeded by Andy Scott. "Sweetshop" was shortened to "The Sweet" in 1968.

Drumming style

As a boy, his first interest was drawing art. By fourteen he had changed his interest to the drums, influenced by Sandy Nelson, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa. Tucker's father offered him a drum kit but only if he would take drumming seriously. Hubert Tucker encouraged his son, even getting him his first gig, sitting in for Brian Bennett of legendary British beat group the Shadows at a local workingman's club. "He did well," says Tucker's wife, Janet, "If he had known who he was replacing, he would have been so scared!"

A self-taught drummer, Tucker excelled, and by age eighteen he was playing in the band Wainwright's Gentlemen. When Tucker was fired in January 1968 for being "too flamboyant", singer Brian Connolly said "I am leaving as well." The two looked for new band-mates, and the band Sweetshop was soon formed.

According to Steve Priest's 1994 autobiography, Are You Ready, Steve?, Tucker offered his feedback while recording "The Six Teens," and songwriter/producer Mike Chapman said, "We don't f**king need you anyway, Mick!" Tucker ended the argument by saying, "If you don't need us, why don't you just put that tape player on 'record' and erase the whole track?" He was serious when it came to making music, and he stood up for his band's integrity when necessary. [2] [3]

Tucker was a talented drummer with a range of complex rhythms who could have helped any band considerably. Steve Priest said of Tucker, "He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England... He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, but he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing." [1]

Drum kit

From late 1972 onward, Tucker used the same drum kit, a Ludwig Chrome over wood eight piece set. The twirl of his sticks were as much a trademark as the drum kit itself. Tucker used a five piece Ludwig while on tour in Belgium. After the tour ended, he added the set to the existing Ludwig four piece set he already had. He then re-wrapped them all in chrome. The Ludwig set contained:

Cymbals Paiste (Formula 602):

The drum sticks he used from the early 80′s were the Promark American Hickory 419. Tucker had his sticks printed with the Sweet logo and his autograph. [4]

Drum solos

Tucker was able to improvise tirelessly and played a seemingly never-ending flow of creative solos. He began and ended his drum solos with his rendition of Elmer Bernstein's theme from the 1955 film The Man With the Golden Arm .

Tucker also used two projection screens that were above his drum riser. One screen played a video of him playing the drums, and simultaneously the other video showed him playing timpani. He would trade off solos with these videos, then come out front and play the timpani along with a fast Christmas-style recording. Just before the band would come back, he would play the Bernstein melody on tubular bells and timpani. Tucker tried to make sure his solos appealed to all of the audience. Tucker understood that a great performance consisted of great playing technique and presentation in equal doses. [2]

Tucker said of his band Sweet, "At gigs, Andy would mince onstage swinging a handbag and call himself Andre. Steven became Stephanie and I changed my name to Michelle. Brian was the only one who never really went along with the make-up thing." [5]

Underrated drummer

Guitarist Andy Scott said "Mick Tucker was the best drummer around in the '70s. I played in the same band as him and was proud to do so. I feel extreme sadness therefore that he has now left us and my heart goes out to Janet and Aiston with their sad loss." [6]

Sweet bass player Steve Priest said about Tucker: "He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England. He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvellous. His timing was impeccable but he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing."

Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos remembered that Sweet opened for Cheap Trick in 1979. "On most nights we went side stage and watched them,. They were rockin' live, and Mick was fun to watch. His style reminded me of an early Keith Moon. Mick was one of the few double bass drummers that didn't let the second bass drum get in the way of a swinging tune like 'Ballroom Blitz.' He had a great feel on double bass, played them effortlessly... [2] And those guys knew how to have fun," Carlos said. "We'd call them back on stage during our encores and jam on 'Let It Rock.' Mick would play my kit with the 26" bass drum and just rock out with us. I'd hop up on the riser with him, playing guitar and watching him play. We had some great times together." [2]

Other drummers who were influenced by Tucker fans are Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Wallflowers), Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate), and Jason Hartless (Ted Nugent).

Irons stated of Tucker, "Mick was a great drummer... He had that fluid, '60s/'70s rock 'n' roll freedom. His drumming was super-tight and musical, technical, and rocking." [2]

Shaw said of Tucker, "Mick's tastefulness, precision, and strong signature put him at the very top of the list of drumming heroes I had when I was trying to master the profession," he says. ″Technically, he was right up there with Ian Paice and John Bonham. Like a kid in a candy store, I devoured his selection of trademark tricks and licks, which he delivered so musically, and with conviction and grace like no one else. It may have been Peter Criss who first got me into drums, but it was Mick Tucker whose drumming most influenced me and who taught me how to play music." [2]


Tucker died on 14 February 2002 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire from leukemia, aged 54. His funeral took place on 25 February 2002. His wife Janet, his daughter Aiston and his niece Angela were at his bedside when he died. [7] He is buried in an unmarked grave in Chorleywood House cemetery. A wooden bench with a brass plaque funded by fans as a dedication to Tucker is also positioned in the grave's vicinity. [8]

Five years previously, Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother to combat his leukemia. He had recurring infections before succumbing to the illness at the hospital in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England.

“He went into remission after the operation, but he’s never been that strong since,” band bassist Steve Priest said. “This has taken everyone by surprise.” [1] Bassist Steve Priest commented: "He was the best drummer England ever produced and it is a sad loss to the music world. It was a little bit sudden, to be honest. He was on the verge of leukaemia five years ago but had a bone marrow transplant from his brother, which stopped him getting it, but he was never the same."

He left behind a widow, Janet, and a daughter, Aiston from his first wife Pauline. Pauline had died in 1979.

Related Research Articles

John Bonham English rock musician

John Henry Bonham was an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer for the English rock band Led Zeppelin. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast bass drumming, distinctive sound, and feel for the groove, he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock drummers in history.

The Sweet British glam-rock band

The Sweet are a British glam rock band that rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s. Their best known line-up consisted of lead vocalist Brian Connolly, bass player Steve Priest, guitarist Andy Scott, and drummer Mick Tucker. The group was originally called Sweetshop.

Carl Palmer English drummer

Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer is an English drummer and percussionist, credited as one of the most respected rock drummers to emerge from the 1960s. He is a veteran of a number of famous English bands: the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Asia. Inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1989, he was awarded "Prog God" at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards.

Scott Travis American drummer

Mark Scott Travis is an American rock musician, best known as the drummer for the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, and the American heavy metal band Racer X.

Topper Headon British drummer, percussionist, songwriter

Nicholas Bowen "Topper" Headon, known as Topper Headon – originally owing to his resemblance to Mickey the Monkey from the Topper comic – is an English drummer, best known as the drummer of punk rock band the Clash.

Ludwig Drums company

Ludwig Drums is a US musical instruments manufacturers, focused on percussion. The brand achieved significant popularity in the 1960s due to the endorsement of the Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

Brian Connolly British musician

Brian Francis Connolly was a Scottish singer-songwriter, musician and actor, best known as the lead singer between 1968 and 1979 of the British glam rock band The Sweet.

Stephen Norman "Steve" Priest is a British bass player known as the lead and backing vocalist of the glam rock band Sweet.

Janet Weiss American drummer

Janet Lee Weiss is a rock drummer, best known as a former member of Sleater-Kinney and a current member of Quasi. She was the drummer for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, leaving after the album Mirror Traffic, and contributed to the Shins' fourth studio album, Port of Morrow (2012). She was also the drummer for the supergroup Wild Flag.

<i>Sweet Fanny Adams</i> (album) 1974 studio album by The Sweet

Sweet Fanny Adams is the second album by Sweet, their first of two released in 1974, and also their first album simply as Sweet. The album was a turning point and change in the band's sound. It featured more of a hard rock sound than their previous pop records.

<i>Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be</i> 1971 studio album by The Sweet

Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be is the English glam rock band The Sweet's debut album, released in November 1971 on RCA Records in the UK. The album contained two singles which were hits in the UK: "Funny Funny" and "Co-Co". In the United States, only "Co-Co" dented the chart, reaching No. 99 in October.

<i>Level Headed</i> 1978 studio album by Sweet

Level Headed is the sixth studio album by British glam rock band Sweet. Different versions were released by Polydor in Europe and by Capitol in the US, Canada and Japan. The album features "Love Is Like Oxygen", the band's last single to hit the top 40, peaking at #8 in the US and #9 in the UK. The single version of "Love Is Like Oxygen" is substantially shorter than the album version. A second single, "California Nights", was released from the album but only reached #76 in the US.

<i>Identity Crisis</i> (Sweet album) 1982 studio album by Sweet

Identity Crisis is the ninth and final studio album by English glam rock band Sweet. Originally released only in Germany and Mexico via Polydor Records, it was recorded from 1980–81 and finally released after the band's break-up in 1981.

<i>Cut Above the Rest</i> 1979 studio album by Sweet

Cut Above the Rest is the seventh studio album by the English glam rock band Sweet, released on Polydor Records in October 1979. It was their first album release following the departure of their original lead vocalist Brian Connolly. Connolly had begun recording this album with the band at the TownHouse Studio in Shepherd's Bush, London, but his vocals were subsequently wiped and replaced by vocals from bass player Steve Priest and guitarist Andy Scott. Original outtakes of "Play All Night" and "Stay With Me" featuring Connolly's vocals have been recovered and were released on the rarities CD Platinum Rare.

Andy Scott (guitarist) British musician and songwriter

Andrew David "Andy" Scott is a Welsh musician and songwriter. He is best known for being the lead guitarist and a backing vocalist in the band Sweet.

The Velvet Underground American rock band

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise. The band was initially active between 1965 and 1973, and was briefly managed by the pop artist Andy Warhol, serving as the house band at the Factory and Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from 1966 to 1967. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was released in 1967 to critical indifference and poor sales but has become critically acclaimed; in 2003, Rolling Stone called it the "most prophetic rock album ever made."

Jason Hartless American born drummer

Jason Hartless is an American born drummer, best known for being the drummer for guitarist and fellow Detroit native, Ted Nugent. Hartless has also performed with Mitch Ryder and Joe Lynn Turner. Since the age of 12, Hartless has also toured as the support act with bands such as Mötley Crüe, Godsmack, Ted Nugent, Theory of a Deadman, Drowning Pool, Rev Theory, Mountain (band), Warrior Soul and Cavo. Jason’s influences include: Corky Laing, Jeff Porcaro, Buddy Rich, Todd Sucherman, Keith Moon, Zak Starkey, Bernie Dresel, Anton Fig, Eric Singer, Stewart Copeland, Mick Tucker, Steve Smith (musician), and Vinnie Colaiuta.

Little Willy (song) Sweet song

"Little Willy" is a song written by songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman and performed by the British glam rock band The Sweet, released in 1972 as a non-album single in the UK, peaking at #4 in the best seller charts. It was released in the US in September 1972 and also appeared on their US debut album The Sweet and became their biggest hit in the US, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the No. 18 song for 1973.

Wig-Wam Bam Sweet song

"Wig-Wam Bam" is a song by British glam rock band The Sweet, written by songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, released as a single in September 1972. It was the first Sweet single on which the band members played their instruments, as previous singles featured producer Phil Wainman on drums, and session musicians John Roberts and Pip Williams on bass and guitars respectively.

"The Six Teens" is a 1974 song by British glam rock band Sweet, written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, appearing on Sweet's album Desolation Boulevard. The song was Sweet's first single simply as "Sweet".


  1. 1 2 3 "Mick Tucker Of Glam-Rock Icons The Sweet Dies". MTV. 15 February 2002. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "MICK TUCKER - It's entirely appropriate that Sweet's drummer played the theme to the film The Man With the Golden... - Modern Drummer : MD". Readperiodicals.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. Ames, Denise (5 June 2014). "One-on-One with Sweet's Steve Priest". Tolucantimes.info. Archived from the original on 24 February 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. "Mick's Gear | Mick Tucker Drums | A Tribute to Mick Tucker". Mick Tucker Drums. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  5. "Rock Journalist". Dave Ling. 25 August 2004. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  6. "The Sweet Drummer Mick Tucker Dies". Nme.com. 15 February 2002. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  7. "Mick Tucker". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  8. "In Memory Of Mick Tucker - The Ultimate Sweet Fan Site - The Sweet". Thesweetweb.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016.