Found in DC++ World
Slade (originally known as The N'Betweens, then Ambrose Slade, and now Slade II) are an English glam rock band from Wolverhampton/Walsall. They rose to prominence during the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones.
The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singles enter at number one; all six of the band's chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best-selling single, "Merry Xmas Everybody", has sold in excess of one million copies.
Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade's popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival. The band later acknowledged this to have been one of the highlights of their career. The original line up split in 1992 but the band reformed later in the year as Slade II. The band has continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have now shortened the group name back to Slade.
A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including alternative rock icons Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam metal bands Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard and pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis.
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Music tells of Holder's powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill's equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles for which they became well known.
The band members of Slade grew-up in the Black Country area of the West Midlands: both the drummer Don Powell, and bass guitarist Jim Lea were born and raised in Wolverhampton, lead vocalist Noddy Holder was born and raised in the nearby town of Walsall, and lead guitarist Dave Hill was born in Devon and moved to Wolverhampton while a child.
Writings by and about Slade frequently mention The Trumpet public house in Bilston as a band meeting place, especially in their early days. Slade have released over 30 albums, three of which reached No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart. Their releases have spent a total of 531 weeks in the UK charts and they have earned 23 top 30 UK hits as of 2013.
Slade dominated the UK charts during the early 1970s, out-performing chart rivals, such as Wizzard, Sweet, T. Rex, Suzi Quatro, Mud, Smokie, Gary Glitter, Roxy Music and David Bowie. Slade achieved twelve Top 5 hit singles in the UK between 1971 and 1974, three of which went straight to #1. Of the 17 Top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976, six made No. 1, three reached No. 2 and two peaked at #3. No other UK act of the period enjoyed such consistency in the UK Top 40 and this feat was the closest any group had come to matching the Beatles' 22 Top 10 records in a single decade (1960s). Slade sold more singles in the UK than any other group of the 1970s. In 1973 alone, "Merry Xmas Everybody" sold over one million copies globally, obtaining gold disc status. They toured Europe in 1973 and the US in 1974.
Slade moved to the US in the mid-1970s, in an attempt to break into the American market and although this was largely unsuccessful, they left their mark on a number of US bands who have since cited Slade as an influence. During the late 1970s, the band returned to the UK following years of commercial failure both at home and abroad. Slade's career was unexpectedly revived when the band were asked to perform at the 1980 Reading Festival when Ozzy Osbourne pulled out at the last minute. For the next two years, the band produced material tailored towards the heavy metal scene and by 1984, they finally cracked the American market with the hits "Run Runaway" and "My Oh My." This new-found success did not last long, however, and despite a top 25 UK hit in the early '90s the band split shortly after in 1992.
Early years (1966–70)
In 1964, drummer Don Powell and guitarist Dave Hill were part of a Midland-based group called the Vendors. Regulars on the club circuit, they had also recorded a privately pressed four-track EP. At the time, Noddy Holder was playing guitar and contributing to vocals in Steve Brett & the Mavericks. Signed to Columbia Records, the band released three singles in 1965.
After listening to American blues artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson II, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf, the Vendors decided on a change of direction and name. As the 'N Betweens they gained greater recognition and began to get supporting gigs with acts such as the Hollies, the Yardbirds, Georgie Fame and Spencer Davis.
The Mavericks and the 'N Betweens were on their way to separate gigs in Germany when they met on a ferry in 1965. Powell and Hill asked Holder if he would be interested in joining The 'N Betweens but Holder declined. Later, back in their home town of Wolverhampton, the musicians met again and this time Holder agreed to join the group. Jim Lea, whose musical background and strong bass guitar skills were considered an asset, had already been recruited. Lea, who also played the piano and guitar, had been in the Staffordshire Youth Orchestra and had gained first class honours in a London music-school practical exam.
By 1966, this new version of the 'N Betweens had recorded a promo single of the Otis Redding track, "Security," and a self-penned song, "Evil Witchman," released on Highland Records. A further single, "You Better Run" was released on Columbia Records and produced by Kim Fowley. This last single was reported by Powell to have topped the regional midland charts although it failed to make any national impact.
Between 1966 and 1967, the band's performance centred on the R&B and Tamla Motown styles, while Noddy's flair for showmanship began to give the band a focus. During 1967, the band recorded the track "Delighted to See You" which remained unreleased until 1994, where it featured on the various artists compilation Psychedelia at Abbey Road. Although the group did not record again for roughly two years, they built up a respectable reputation on the live circuit.
A local promoter, Roger Allen spotted the group in 1969 and alerted the head of A&R at Philips Records, Jack Baverstock. The group spent a week in the Philips studio at Stanhope Place recording an album, after which Baverstock offered to sign the group to Fontana Records if they changed their name and obtained London-based management. The band were initially hesitant because of the reputation gained as the 'N Betweens' but eventually agreed to Ambrose Slade, a name inspired by Baverstock's secretary, who had named her handbag Ambrose and her shoes Slade. Baverstock also found the group an agent, John Gunnel, who had previously worked with the entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood.
The band's debut album Beginnings, released in mid-1969, was a commercial failure as was the instrumental single "Genesis" and follow up single "Wild Winds Are Blowing". While the album was being recorded, the band were visited by Gunnel and his business partner, Animals' bassist, Chas Chandler. Chandler was impressed with what he heard in the studio, and after seeing the band live the following day, offered to manage them. As Chandler had previous managerial experience with Jimi Hendrix, the band accepted.
Chandler was not pleased with the debut album and thought the band would benefit from writing their own material and a change of image. The band adopted a skinhead look as an attempt to gain publicity from what was a newsworthy youth fashion trend but this also added an unwelcome association with football hooliganism. Noddy Holder and Don Powell were particularly tough individuals already, and the skinhead look exacerbated the disturbing effect of having "toughs" in the band. In 1970, the band shortened their name to Slade and released a new single, a cover of Shape of Things to Come which despite a performance on United Kingdom music show Top of the Pops, failed to chart.
Chandler moved Slade to Polydor Records, believing a higher profile label would boost sales. The instrumental "Genesis" from the band's debut album, had lyrics added and was released as "Know Who You Are," but again, the single failed to make any impression on the UK chart as did the album Play It Loud, released in late 1970 and produced by Chandler himself. Later though, the album would be retrospectively well received by fans and critics.
Success and peak (1971–74)
Chandler had been managing the band for almost two years without success when he suggested releasing a version of the Bobby Marchan song, "Get Down and Get With It", originally performed by Little Richard. Slade still enjoyed a good reputation as a live act and the song had been used in their performances for many years. Always popular, the song's lyrics demanded audience participation and it was hoped that the feeling of a live gig would be projected into the studio recording. The song was released in mid-1971, and by August the single had entered the top 20 in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 16.
The band members grew their hair long and allied themselves to the glam rock movement of the early '70s. Hill's stage costumes also became notable during this period. Many of Holder's costumes during this period, including the trademark Mirror Top Hat, were made by Dorothy "Dolly" Annakin – a sister of Holder's friend Ron Annakin. Chandler now demanded the band write a follow-up single themselves which led to Lea and Holder writing Coz I Luv You. The song was written in half an hour and started a writing partnership which would continue throughout Slade's career.
Upon hearing the track played to him acoustically, a pleased Chandler predicted the song would make number one. While recording, the band felt the song's sound to be too soft and so clapping was added. The song's misspelled title also became a trademark for Slade while causing a furore among British school teachers. The attendant appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops brought Slade to a wider audience as well as pushing "Coz I Luv You" to number one in the UK charts. In November 1971, NME reported that Slade had turned down a multi-million dollar campaign, including a television series and a heavily promoted tour of the US. "But", commented Holder, "acceptance would have meant the cancellation of many commitments here – and the last thing we want to do is to mess around [with] the people who have put us where we are".
A second single entitled "Look Wot You Dun", was released at the start of 1972, peaking at number four and a live album was released in March. The album Slade Alive! proved to be successful, spending 52 weeks in the UK Album charts, peaking at number two. It also did well abroad, topping the Australian charts and giving the band their first chart entry in America. The album was recorded over three nights at a newly built studio in Piccadilly in front of 300 fan-club members. Today the album is regarded as one of the finest live albums ever made.
Two months later, the band released "Take Me Bak 'Ome". The single became Slade's second UK number one and charted in a number of other countries, including America where it reached number 97 in the Billboard singles chart. Slade achieved their third number one when "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" was released later that year, pushing the band towards greater recognition. The song became a popular live number and is today, one of Slade's more recognised singles.
Released in November 1972, the album Slayed? peaked at number one both in the UK and Australia, where it relegated Slade Alive to the second spot; and reaching number 69 in America. Both Slade Alive! and Slayed? are widely considered to be two of the finest albums of the Glam Rock era. The final single of 1972, "Gudbuy T' Jane", was released shortly after, peaking at number two in the UK being kept from the top spot by Chuck Berry's single "My Ding-A-Ling". The single was a big worldwide hit but only managed to reach number 68 in the American Billboard Chart.
In early 1973, "Cum on Feel the Noize" was released and went straight to number one, the first time a single had done so since The Beatles' "Get Back" in 1969.
Another worldwide hit for Slade, the single again failed to impress in America where it made number 98. The follow-up single "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me", again went straight to number one but reports were later made that the song was recorded as a joke and was not intended for release. Despite being a hit single, "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me" was never performed on Top of the Pops because the producers of the show would not allow Slade to perform as a three-piece band. A promotional video with dancers was shown instead. Slade quickly disowned it and have not performed it live since.
A car crash in Wolverhampton on 4 July 1973 left Powell in a coma and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Angela Morris, dead. The band's future was left in the balance as Slade refused to continue without their drummer although Lea's brother, Frank, covered Powell's position at the Isle of Wight Festival to avoid disappointing fans. Powell, who'd suffered breaks to both ankles and five ribs, successfully recovered after surgery and was able to rejoin the band ten weeks later in New York, where they recorded "Merry Xmas Everybody" – in the middle of an August heatwave. Powell still suffers with acute short-term memory loss and sensory problems as a result of the accident. Whilst Powell was recovering, and in an attempt to keep up momentum, the band released a compilation album Sladest, which topped the UK and Australian charts in the first week of its release. A new single, "My Friend Stan", was also released. It marked a change from previous records, being more piano based and sounding more like a novelty song. During the recording sessions, Powell who was walking with the aid of a stick, had to be lifted up to his drum kit. The single was successful, peaking at number two in the UK and number one in Ireland.
The Christmas-themed song "Merry Xmas Everybody" was Slade's last single of 1973 and became the band's last ever number one in the UK. Based on melodies from discarded songs written six years previously, it became Slade's best-selling single ever. The song has remained popular and has been released many times since, charting on a number of occasions.
The band began to experiment with different musical styles, moving away from their usual successful rock anthems. Following the success of "My Friend Stan", Slade released the album Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, in February 1974 which went to number one in the UK Re-titled "Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet", the album was another disappointment in the US, failing to break into the top 100. The following month saw a new single released. "Everyday" was a piano led ballad which made number three in the UK charts. The next single, "The Bangin' Man" saw a return to a more guitar-based sound, again reaching the number three position.
By mid-1975, the band had become disillusioned with their lack of success in America. Feeling that they were becoming stale and had achieved all they could in Europe, Slade decided to a make a permanent move to the States and try to build a solid reputation from live performances; just as they had previously done in the UK. According to the Slade Fan Club newsletter of August and September 1975, the band took twelve tons of equipment, worth approximately £45,000 at the time.
Throughout the remainder of 1975 and 1976, Slade toured the US, often with other bands such as Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Black Sabbath, only returning to the UK for TV performances of new singles.
Between tours Holder and Lea began writing for a new album which was heavily influenced by American artists and aimed at an American audience.
The group booked themselves into New York's Record Plant Studios in mid-1975 to record the album Nobody's Fools.
Featuring backing vocals from Tasha Thomas, it contained elements of soul, country and funk music.
The first two singles from the new album, "In For a Penny" and "Let's Call It Quits" were released in November 1975 and January 1976 respectively, both made number 11 in the UK charts although the latter made no impression outside of the UK.
The album, released in March 1976, failed to make any impact in America and was also a disappointment in the UK where it peaked at number 14 and dropped out of the charts completely after only 4 weeks.
The final track from the album was the title track "Nobody's Fool". Released in April, it failed to chart at all, the first to do so since the band's rise to fame in 1971. Fans within the UK accused the band of 'selling out' and forgetting about their fan base at home.
♦ Noddy Holder – Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar
♦ Dave Hill – Guitar, Vocals, Bass Guitar
♦ Jim Lea – Bass Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Violin, Guitar
♦ Don Powell – Drums, Percussion
Slade - Golders Green Hippodrome, London 1972.05.28 FM Broadcast
01. Hear Me Calling 05.18
02. Like A Shot From My Gun 03.22
03. Look Wot You Dun 03.34
04. Keep On Rocking 03.50
05. Move Over Baby o4.36
06. Mama We Are All Crazy Now 03.25
07. Lady Be Good 01.02
08. Coz I Luv You 05.22
09. Take Me Back `Ome 04.16
10. Get Down And Get With It 06.43
11. Good Golly Miss Molly 03.49
Slade - New Victoria Theatre, London 1975.04.24 BBC Broadcast
01. Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing 05.01
02. The Bangin' Man 04.49
03. Gudbuy T'Jane 04.43
04. Far Far Away 04.27
05. Thanks for the Memory 05.28
06. How Does It Feel 05.13
07. Just a Little Bit 07.30
08. Everyday 04.43
09. OK Yesterday Was Yesterday 05.04
10. Raining in My Champagne 06.14
11. Let the Good Times Roll 06.42
12. Mama Weer All Crazee Now 04.30
Part 1: Slade 1972 & 1975
Part 2: Slade 1972 & 1975
Part 1: Slade 1972 & 1975
Part 2: Slade 1972 & 1975
Part 1: Slade 1972 & 1975
Part 2: Slade 1972 & 1975