When the Sweet isn’t sweet and the Vogues aren’t in vogue.

Yesterday’s announcement of the “Alive at 5” summer concert series in Albany’s Corning Park caught my attention – especially the notice of July 13th’s “Classic Rock Night” featuring headliners The Sweet.

You remember The Sweet, don’t you? All those big hits – “Fox on the Run,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Love is Like Oxygen,” “Little Willy,” all of those? Yeah, great songs.

Meanwhile, on July 29th at Albany’s Palace Theater, there’s a package tour featuring several 60’s-era acts as part of the “Happy Together” tour. One of the groups in the touring package is The Vogues.

You remember The Vogues, don’t you? All those big hits – “Five O’Clock World,” “Turn Around, Look At Me,” “You’re The One,” “My Special Angel,” all of those? Yeah, great songs.

Funny thing, though … I went to the Sweet’s website – it was linked to the “Alive at Five” online press release – and apparently The Sweet are performing a European tour this summer, with a show in Sweden on July 13th.

Oh, and as for the lineup of “The Sweet” – if you’re thinking it’s the same as the lyrics to “Ballroom Blitz,” you know, “Ready, Steve? Uh-huh, Andy? Yeah. Mick? Okay, All right fellas, let’s go-o-o-o-o!” – I should update you that Steve Priest, Mick Tucker AND Brian Connolly – three of the four core members of the 1970’s Sweet lineup – have passed away. The last remaining member, Andy Scott, has been touring with “Andy Scott’s Sweet” throughout Europe. So this Sweet that’s playing Albany in July MIGHT be Steve Priest’s Sweet (apparently when bandmembers left the core group, they formed their own Sweet iterations), but since Steve Priest has passed away, this Sweet is currently performing with NO members who played on the original songs.

Which … maybe … someone should mention.

Meanwhile, back to the Vogues. The 1960’s lineup consisted of Bill Burkette, Don Miller, Hugh Geyer and Chuck Blasko. Those were the four men from Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania who were the singers on all of those classic 60’s hits. But eventually, the trademark for the name “The Vogues” was sold to someone else, and that someone else tours with his own set of Vogues – sometimes with one or two of the original lineup, sometimes not. Chuck Blasko tours with his own Vogues, but can only legally call his band “The Vogues” when they perform in 14 Western Pennsylvania counties; while the other “Vogues” can tour across the country and do as they please.

I should also note that of the original lineup, Bill Burkette and Don Miller have passed away, and Hugh Geyer is in retirement. And the Vogues’ current website lists the lineup as a trio who look younger than the songs they’re performing.

I’ve seen this more often than I like. At one point in time, there were touring bands calling themselves “The Drifters” or “The Coasters” or “The Platters” or “The Marvelettes” without a single original member in their lineup – essentially these were either hired singers performing the songs under the band name, or they were people who performed with the originals at one time, but not now.

This is not unusual. And, in fact, it’s quite troubling. You think you’re spending money to see your favorite classic artists of your youth performing today – but you’re getting performances that are essentially indistinguishable from hiring the local oldies cover band.

And it’s not just limited to doo-wop groups and oldies acts. The three core members of Little River Band – Graeme Goble, Beeb Birtles and Glenn Shorrock – can not perform under their band name any more, because someone else – who only has a tangentially faint connection to the original lineup – currently tours America with his own Little River Band.

Think about this for a second. Many of these artists from the 1950’s and 1960’s are already 60-70 years removed from their original recordings – and even if they were barely in their teens when they recorded those classic songs, they’re pushing the higher part of 70 or 80 today. So if the lineup for an oldies group who claim to be the original members averages in their mid-40’s … take that into consideration.

Oh, and another thing. All these bands have to do is simply put in their advertising that they are either trademark-holders of a group (with no original members) or that their show is a “tribute to” or “sounds of” group. Be honest in your advertising.

In final words … if you want to go to these concerts and enjoy the music, that’s fine. Just understand that the performers on stage most likely weren’t the ones performing on those original records.

Don’t let them tell you that they did.