Sweet Little Mystery

"Sweet Little Mystery"
Sweet Little Mystery.jpg
Single by Wet Wet Wet
from the album Popped In Souled Out
ReleasedJuly 1987
GenreRock, pop
  • Willie Mitchell
  • Michael Baker
Wet Wet Wet singles chronology
"Wishing I Was Lucky"
"Sweet Little Mystery"
"Angel Eyes"

"Sweet Little Mystery" is a song by Scottish soft rock band Wet Wet Wet. It is the fifth single from the band's debut album Popped In Souled Out (1987), released on Phonogram Inc. Records. The success of the song drove it to number five on the weekly UK Singles Chart the same year as its release. The following year, the song became an international hit, entering the top 20 in Belgium, France, Ireland, Netherlands and New Zealand. Its peak positioning in numerous weekly charts around the globe marked its contributions to the soft-rock genre which dominated the era.[1]

"Sweet Little Mystery" is Wet Wet Wet's second biggest hit globally, with their cover of the Troggs' "Love Is All Around" being their most known song. The song endured widespread criticism and the group was later sued for copyright infringement by Van Morrison.[2] The group received further criticism for using the same song title as John Martyn's "Sweet Little Mystery" (1987). Both John Martyn and Van Morrison received co-writers' crs for the song.

Five years after the band's split in 1997, Marti Pellow recorded the song solo in his 2002 album Marti Pellow Sings the Hits of Wet Wet Wet & Smile.


The song was originally recorded as a soul piece by the band in the mid-1980s, but Phonogram Inc. said it wasn not "commercial enough for the 80s".[3] The band eventually re-recorded the single in Memphis in 1986, along with the remaining songs from the album, and transformed its composition to fit the pop-rock genre.[citation needed]


"Sweet Little Mystery" is a soft rock, pop song with a medium tempo. It contains bass, drums, guitar, keyboard and voice and was recorded in the key of C major. The vocal range of G4-G5 categorises the song in the range of the alto voice.[4] To fit into the pop-rock genre, the song was re-recorded to have an accumulative beginning, with the riff being gradual and rhythmically active. Spicer (2004) explains this as the "technique of building up a groove".[5] Marti Pellow stated in an interview that changes were made to the song's composition because producers and record labels were "trying to make Wet Wet Wet particularly radio-friendly".[6]

Graeme Clark, bass player of the band, shared the band's experience experimenting with different versions of "Sweet Little Mystery" in an interview with Paul Sinclair. "We did a Stock Aitken Waterman version of 'Sweet Little Mystery' and we never put that on there because it did … we had internal arguments about that, because I thought it should be on there, right, but the argument and the band line was it’s too much like Stock Aitken Waterman with a Marti vocal. And I don’t know if I agree with that…”[7] On the five-disc Popped in Souled Out super deluxe ion, "Sweet Little Mystery" is featured on disc three as a "Mista E remix".[8]

Music video[]

Mike Brady[disambiguation needed] directed the video for "Sweet Little Mystery", and Phonogram Inc, a subsidiary of PolyGram, produced it. Brady had also directed their single "Angel Eyes". The filming of the video took place in The Gambia in West Africa. The video opens with a young Gambian boy saying "Hello and welcome to Gambia" as the band arrives by plane into the country. The video first depicts Radio Syd broadcasting the band's fresh new single in Gambia. It contains montages, transitioning from their performing at a beach bar to dancing with the local community, displaying the many landscapes of the country.

The video released in 1987, when home video was becoming increasingly popular. Julian Petley states that, in 1979, 230 000 people in the UK owned home video, compared to 13.8 million people in 1989.[9] For the production of the "Sweet Little Mystery" video, Fowler (2017) stated he needed to adopt "the notion of performance in its fullest sense" to fit into the emerging "world of film and pop".[10] This influenced the decision in performing to a local community in Gambia.

The video was posted to YouTube by the band itself and has reached just over 2.6 million views.[11]

Live performances[]

"Sweet Little Mystery" was first performed on the Wets' Popped In Souled Out tour on 10 October 1987 at the Edinburgh Playhouse.[12] This tour took place throughout the UK. There are performances of "Sweet Little Mystery" featured on the five-disc Popped in Souled Out super deluxe ion. The DVD features the song being performed for the BBC's television program Top of The Pops on 13 August 1987 and 27 August 1987.[13] A live version of the song is also featured on Wet Wet Wet's Spotify as "Sweet Little Mystery – Live at Capital Radio". To celebrate the album's 30th anniversary, the band performed the song on a tour in 2017.[14] Soon after this tour, lead singer Marti Pellow left the band to work on a solo career.


In the years following the song's release, the Wets endured widespread criticism, acquiring the reputation of being "the Scottish pop robbers", for using lyrics from Van Morrison's "A Sense of Wonder".[15] Morrison sued the band for copyright infringement and claimed a co-writer's cr on the song.[16] Whilst Morrison sued the band, lead singer Marti Pellow stated they used two lines from "A Sense of Wonder" "to pay homage to him – Van the Man was a big influence on us".[17] The band also shares co-writing cr for "Sweet Little Mystery" with British singer John Martyn, as their choruses share similarities.[18]

Track listings[]

MC 1:

  1. "Sweet Little Mystery"
  2. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"

MC 2:

  1. "Sweet Little Mystery" (12-inch version)
  2. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely"
  3. "World in Another"


  1. "Sweet Little Mystery"
  2. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"

12-inch 1:

  1. "Sweet Little Mystery"
  2. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"
  3. "World in Another"

12-inch 2:

  1. "Sweet Little Mystery"
  2. "Heaven Help Us All"
  3. "May You Never" (live)



Certifications for "Sweet Little Misery"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

In popular culture[]

"Sweet Little Mystery" became the band's first single to reach peak position in the charts, making the band known to be in the high rankings of Scotland's most famous acts.[33] The song was known to have consistent airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio Clyde.[34]


  1. ^ Regev, Motti (2013). Pop-rock music: aesthetic cosmopolitanism in late modernity. Polity Press.
  2. ^ Cameron, Samuel (2020). An Economic Approach to the Plagiarism of Music. Springer International Publishing.
  3. ^ "WET WET WET". Eonmusic.
  4. ^ Henrich, Nathalie (2011). "Vocal tract resonances in singing: Strategies used by sopranos, altos, tenors, and baritones". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2 (129): 1024.
  5. ^ Spicer, Mark (2004). "(Ac)cumulative Form in Pop-Rock Music". Twentieth-Century Music. 1 (1): 29–64.
  6. ^ Brown, Len (1987). "Wet Wet Wet: Scream! Scream! Scream!". NME.
  7. ^ Sinclair, Paul. "Graeme Clark on Wet Wet Wet and Popped in Souled Out's 30th birthday". Super Deluxe Edition.
  8. ^ Sinclair, Paul. "Graeme Clark on Wet Wet Wet and Popped in Souled Out's 30th birthday". Super Deluxe Edition.
  9. ^ Petley, Julian (2011). Film and video censorship in contemporary Britain. Edinburgh University Press. p. 71.
  10. ^ Fowler, William (2017). "The Occult Roots of MTV: British Music Video and Underground Film-Making in the 1980". Music, Sound and the Moving Image. 1 (11): 63–77.
  11. ^ wetwetwetmusic. "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery". Retrieved 3 April 2022 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Touring Archive". No Half Measures.
  13. ^ Sinclair, Paul. "Graeme Clark on Wet Wet Wet and Popped in Souled Out's 30th birthday". Super Deluxe Edition.
  14. ^ "Wet Wet Wet playing This Time on tour Celebrating 30 years of Popped In Souled Out". Guestspectacular.
  15. ^ Sutcliffe, Paul (1988). "Wet Wet Wet: Going For Broke". Q.
  16. ^ Cameron, Samuel (2020). An Economic Approach to the Plagiarism of Music. Springer International Publishing.
  17. ^ Sutcliffe, Paul (1988). "Wet Wet Wet: Going For Broke". Q.
  18. ^ Cameron, Samuel (2020). An Economic Approach to the Plagiarism of Music. Springer International Publishing.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 335. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  20. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  21. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 4, no. 35. 5 September 1987. p. 16.
  22. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sweet Little Mystery". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1988" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  26. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  27. ^ "Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  29. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Gallup Year End Charts 1987: Singles". Record Mirror. 23 January 1988. p. 36.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1988". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  33. ^ Stahl, Geoff; Percival, J.Mark (2019). Bloomsbury handbook of popular music and place (1 ed.). USA: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 178.
  34. ^ Blain, Neil; Hutchison, David (2008). The media in Scotland. Edinburgh University Press. p. 176.