ONE of the most enduring and influential pop bands of the glam rock era take to the stage in Preston as part of their first nationwide tour in 30 years.

The Sweet took the pop charts by storm in the '70s with their androgynous good looks and guitar crunching ditties.

They sold in excess of 30 million records and had 13 Top 20 hits, but what exactly did happen that fateful night in Belgium when -- at the height of their success -- singer Brian Connolly and drummer Mick Tucker were arrested after an "overtly obscene sexual stage performance?"

Sweet guitarist Andy Scott, 53, cast his mind over 35 years in the pop industry and said times had certainly changed.

"In those days, what we did was puerile and innocent. I used to roll around the stage with my guitar, but on the night in question two girls jumped on stage and tried to kiss Brian Connolly.

"We didn't know it, but the Belgian authorities were trying to shut down the club where we were playing and they came backstage with a policeman after the show.

"They arrested Brian and Mick, and when I tried to intervene the policeman punched me to the floor. We were bundled out of the country, while Brian and Mick faced a trumped up obscenity charge. The matter was never resolved and The Sweet never played Belgium again. It's nothing compared to what goes on these days."

The Sweet have been around since 1968, but it was in 1970, when they teamed up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, that their domination of the pop charts began.

Hits like Little Willy, Wig Wam Bam, Blockbuster, Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage and Fox On The Run still dominate any '70s disco and are as enduring as apple pie.

Andy Scott also received an Ivor Novello award for penning the band's 1978 hit Love Is Like Oxygen, which took the music world by storm and proved The Sweet were anything but a manufactured boy band.

"It's my favourite song and winning an Ivor Novello award was a great honour," Andy said. "My other favourite is The Sixteens, which was a minor hit for us but had great lyrics and was a bit before its time."

The Sweet -- now comprising Andy, Steve Grant, Bruce Bisland and Jeff Brown,

following the deaths in 1997 of Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker -- will take to the stage with Showaddywaddy and The Rubettes at the Preston Guildhall on Saturday, May 10.

It is the first time the band have taken part in a nationwide UK tour for 30 years and tickets for the Preston gig are selling fast.

Andy added: "We have constantly toured Europe, Russia, America, Canada, Australia and the Far East, and have also appeared at numerous festivals.

"I remember Preston as the gateway to the coast. I grew up in Chester and we holidayed in Blackpool several times. We used to change trains at Preston and The Sweet played there a few times.

"I've got to know the members of Showadywaddy and The Rubettes in recent years by performing with them at one-off concerts and I dare say we will be spending a lot of time during the tour reminiscing."

Glitz, Blitz & 70's Hitz! will be coming to the Preston Guild Hall on Saturday, May 10. Details from the box office on 01772 258858.