Slade was formed on Wolverhampton and they became bigger during the glam rock era in the early 1970s, achieving 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones on the UK Singles Chart. 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 have three singles enter the charts at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. As of 2006, 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 re-formed later in the year as Slade II. The band have continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have shortened the group name back to Slade.
And they remain as one of the most underrated rock bands of all time, unfortunately, they remain, specially out of the UK a not very known band. So, in order to spread
they great music around the world, here are they 10 essential songs!
Check it out:
“Get Down and Get With It” by Slade
“Get Down With It” is a song by American R&B singer-songwriter Bobby Marchan, first released as the B-Side to his 1964 single “Half a Mind”. In 1967, American singer Little Richard would record his own version, which was released as a single. In 1971, Slade recorded a version of the song based on Little Richard’s version, which gave the band their first UK chart hit.
After the commercial failure of their 1970 album Play It Loud, Slade and their manager Chas Chandler began considering the band’s next career move. Deciding to drop the skinhead image they had adopted in 1969, the band and Chandler felt that the best way to make a commercial breakthrough would be to capture the band’s strong reputation as a live act onto record.
The chosen song was “Get Down and Get with It”, which the band frequently played live to great success. Released in May 1971, the song successfully broke the band into the UK and Europe. It reached No. 16 in the UK and would be the first of seventeen consecutive Top 20 hits for the band, which included six number ones.
Prior to recording the song in the studio, the band had established “Get Down and Get with It” as a popular number in their live-set, based on Little Richard’s version. In the band’s 1984 biography Feel the Noize!
Holder recalled: “The first time we heard that was at the Connaught in Wolverhampton and whenever the DJ used to play it, it went down a storm. We started doing it and the skinheads used to love that bit at the finish where you put your hands in the air and take your boots off and all that. It was just right for our tempo and they loved it so much, it took any thoughts of aggravation out of them”.
“Mama Weer All Crazee Now” by Slade
After achieving their breakthrough hit with “Get Down and Get With It” in 1971, Slade would continue to achieve further success with their follow-up singles “Coz I Luv You”, “Look Wot You Dun” and “Take Me Bak ‘Ome”. The 1972 live album Slade Alive! also gave the band their first success on the albums chart, reaching No. 2.
During 1972, the band recorded their third studio album Slayed?, with the lead single “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, being released in August 1972. It reached No. 1 in the UK and Ireland, and was a hit across Europe and beyond.
This was originally the work of bassist Jim Lea; it was the first tune he wrote completely on his own. However, his writing partner Noddy Holder was responsible for the lyrics, standing on the stage after a typically boisterous London show and surveying the smashed seating left in the auditorium. “I thought everyone must have been crazy tonight,” he later said.
The song was originally titled “My My We’re All Crazy Now.” The title was changed by their manager Chas Chandler, and the intentional misspelling became a Slade trademark years before Prince adopted a similar convention. Some of their other hits were “Look wot You Dun,” “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Skweeze Me Pleeze Me.”
“Gudbuy T’Jane” by Slade
“Gudbuy T’Jane” was Slade’s follow up to their hit single “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. In his autobiography Who’s Crazee Now?, guitarist and lead vocalist Noddy Holder explained the inspiration for the song.
Jane was the co-host of a TV chat show in San Francisco they met on their US tour. They wrote the song in about half an hour, “one of the easiest songs we ever recorded”. The line “Got a kick from her ’40s trip boots” is a reference to her kicking Holder up the backside when the band were having a laugh at her expense.
Jane had bought a pair of platform shoes which she called her ’40s trip boots, and somehow managed to lose them. “She thought they were original ’40s shoes and she told us that she had paid a fortune for them”, he said, adding “She was a real loony, a typical San Francisco hippy”.
“Cum On Feel The Noize” by Slade
Jim Lea and Noddy Holder wrote this song, and it was produced by Chas Chandler, who managed Jimi Hendrix before working with Slade. The song entered the UK charts at #1, becoming the first to do so since The Beatles “Get Back” in 1969.
The song was the band’s attempt to write about the atmosphere found at their concerts. Originally titled “Cum On Hear the Noize”, Holder changed the title after recalling one of the band’s 1972 UK concerts, where he “felt the sound of the crowd pounding in (his) chest”.
The song’s introduction of Holder shouting “Baby, baby, baby” had just been a microphone test and was not intended for the finished recording.
In 1983, the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot recorded their own version of the song, which was a million selling hit single in the United States, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Most Americans know this song from the Quiet Riot cover, which went to #5 in 1983 and helped their album Metal Health become the first metal album to hit #1 on the Billboard 200. It was the band’s producer, Spencer Proffer, who asked them to cover the song; lead singer Kevin DuBrow wanted nothing to do with it, since he wanted the band to write every song on the album. He and the band cooked up a plan to sabotage the song, but it failed.
“Far, Far Away” by Slade
Slade In Flame (1974)
The song was released in 1974 as the lead single from the band’s first soundtrack album and fifth studio album Slade in Flame, in promotion of the upcoming film of the same name. The song was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It reached No. 2 in the UK, remaining in the charts for six weeks. The song was certified UK Silver by BPI in November 1974.
By 1974, Slade had become a big success in the UK, Europe and beyond, however the band felt that continuing to provide ‘more of the same’ was not what they wanted to do. The band’s manager Chas Chandler suggested Slade do a movie, to which the band agreed. Rather than producing a film portraying the band’s “happy-go-lucky” image, the subject matter was based on the gritty tale of the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s group called Flame.
To accompany the film, Holder and Lea began writing material for a soundtrack album, which would continue to see the band break out of their successful formula and try different musical ideas. “Far Far Away” was selected as the album’s lead single and was released in October 1974, reaching No. 2 in the UK.
“How Does It Feel” by Slade
Slade In Flame (1974)
It was released as the second single from the band’s 1974’s first soundtrack album and fifth studio album Slade in Flame, in promotion of the upcoming film of the same name. The song was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It reached No. 15 in the UK, remaining in the charts for seven weeks.
The melody of “How Does It Feel” was the first Lea had ever written back in circa 1963 while he was still in school.
He came up with the idea on an old piano which he later described as having half the keys missing. Although the tune never developed any further at that time, Lea later revisited it for use as the theme tune for Flame. Holder wrote the song’s lyrics and it became “How Does It Feel”. The song featured a brass section, performed by members of Gonzalez.
In the band’s 1984 biography Feel the Noize!, Lea recalled: “The DJ’s loved it. It was an old song that I’d written and Nod put some great lyrics to it. Tommy Vance said that it was good but that we were in for a hard time. But it didn’t matter to me whether it was number one or number 15… to me it was a much better record than we’d made before and that was all I cared about.
“Rock And Roll Preacher” by Slade
Till Deaf Do Us Part (1982)
This heavy and awesome song was released in 1982 as the fourth and final single from their tenth studio album Till Deaf Do Us Part. It was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Slade. The song was released as a single in Germany only, where it peaked at No. 49.
Following their revival after their performance at the 1980 Reading Festival, Slade signed a deal with RCA Records the following year. In November 1981, the band released the album Till Deaf Do Us Part. After the March 1982 release of the third single, “Ruby Red”, RCA and the band chose to release “Rock and Roll Preacher (Hallelujah I’m on Fire)” as a single in Germany only.
For its release as a single, the near-six-minute album version of the song was cut down to just over three minutes. The editing of the song was handled by Lea, Holder and drummer Don Powell in January 1982. For Slade’s live-shows, the song would become the band’s regular opener and would later appear as the opening track on the band’s 1982 live album Slade on Stage.
“Merry Xmas Everybody!” by Slade
The song was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bass guitarist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It was the band’s sixth and final number-one single in the UK.
Earning the UK Christmas Number One slot in December 1973, the song beat another Christmas-themed song, Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”, which reached fourth place. It remained in the charts for nine weeks until February 1974.
“Merry Xmas Everybody” was Slade’s best-selling single, released at the peak of their popularity, and sold over a million copies upon its first release. It is Slade’s last number-one single, and by far their most successful. It has been released during every decade since 1973, and has been covered by numerous artists.
The single was certified UK Platinum by BPI in December 1980. Since 2007 and the advent of downloads counting towards the UK Singles Chart, it has re-entered the charts each December. As of December 2012, it has sold 1.21 million copies in the UK. In a 2007 poll, “Merry Xmas Everybody” was voted the UK’s most popular Christmas song.
According to the Fan Club Newsletter for January and February 1974, the song was rewarded a Silver Disc for pre-order sales. Within the first week of release, the single had sold 500,000 copies. Also, according to the same newsletter, “Merry Xmas Everybody” was in such big demand that Polydor records had to make special arrangements to have 250,000 discs sent from Los Angeles, as well as 30,000 copies a day they were receiving from Germany.
“Oh La La in L.a” by Slade
You Boyz Make Big Noize (1987)
The song was released in 1987 as the third single from their fourteenth studio album “You Boyz Make Big Noize”. The song was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by John Punter.
Following the moderate success of the band’s 1985 albums “Rogues Gallery and Crackers: The Christmas Party Album”, Slade began writing and recording material for their next album in 1986. The band hoped to record a hit album that would put them back in the public eye. Released in 1987, You Boyz Make Big Noize and its singles “Still the Same” and “That’s What Friends Are For” all failed to achieve the expected level of commercial success.
During the summer of 1987, “Ooh La La in L.A.” was released as the album’s third single, but mainly in Germany only, with CBS also releasing it in America as a promotional single. It was not a commercial success in Germany and did not achieve enough airplay on American radio, except in Los Angeles, to warrant CBS giving it a full release. The song would be Slade’s last release through RCA Records.
“Radio Wall Of Sound” by Slade
Wall of Hits (1991)
The first single of the band’s compilation album “Wall Of Hits”, “Radio Wall of Sound” is a song was released in 1991. It was written and produced by bassist Jim Lea. The song reached No. 21 in the UK, remaining in the charts for five weeks. It was the band’s last hit single, discounting later chartings of “Merry Xmas Everybody”.
After the commercial failure of the band’s 1987 album You Boyz Make Big Noize, and the end of their contract with RCA, Slade decided to take an eighteen-month break. Although the band announced their intentions to record a new album, these plans did not materialise.
Later in 1991, the band’s former 1970s label Polydor Records approached the band with the idea of recording two new singles to promote a new compilation album Wall of Hits.
The two singles, “Radio Wall of Sound” and “Universe”, were soon completed, with “Radio Wall of Sound” being released in October 1991. It reached No. 21 in the UK, earning the band their twenty-fourth Top 40 single and their first Top 40 hit since 1984. It was voted the “Single of the Week” by listeners on Simon Mayo’s BBC Radio 1 show.
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