Known as one of the most recognisable bands of the glam rock movement in the late 70’s, they originated from the Black Country in the West Midlands,the band started out as: N’Betweens in 1966. They had little success, except for local shows. Things started to pick up towards the end of the 1960’s and the band changed their name to Ambrose Slade.
• The band met manager: Chas Chandler (ex manager of Jimi Hendrix) In a London Club called "Rasputin" who offered to take over management. Following this, the band changed their name again for the last time to just ‘ Slade’.
• The band sported a skin-head look as a gimmick and to create publicity for what was then to become a newsworthy fashion trend. The connotations and stereotypes attached to the Skinhead look made the band revert back to wanting long hair, so unsurprisingly let it grow again.
• With a full head of hair and just in time for the glam rock movement, the band released deliberately mis-spelt songs with a black-country style.
• In 1971, Slade began to have recognition with their first UK top 20 hit entitled: ‘Get Down and Get With It’ and ending the year on a high note with song ‘Coz I Luv You’.
• Written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, Merry Xmas everybody was released December 1973, now one of the most iconic songs used in the UK.
• A string of massive hits followed including no 1 char toppers ‘Look Wot You Dun’, ‘Muma Weer All Crazee Now’, ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ and ‘Skweeze Me Pleeze Me’.
• Not only were Slade conquering the singles charts, they also topped the album charts with: number one albums: ‘Slayed?’ ‘Sladest’ and ‘Old New Borrowed Blue’.
• Slade were the most successful band since the Beatles.
• On the 4th July 1973, Don had a terrible car accident which pronounced the death of his girlfriend, and Don himself found himself in a deep coma. Dom recovered physically, but still to this day struggles with his memory.
• In 1976, Slade turn their attention over to across the pond. Cracking America is always a huge step for anyone, and this was to be proven. Slade moved to New York for 2 years, and supported world renowned bands Aerosmith and Kiss on their tours. Unfortunately they failed to receive any success from doing so. With this in mind, Slade returned back to the UK.
• Upon returning to the UK, they realised that a lot had changed and moved on without them. Slade were no longer recognised, and had to play the smaller venues again to re-establish themselves within the music scene. This was a real shock for members Dave and Don who relied upon touring money to survive, as they were not receiving any royalties from any of the songs.
• Dave left the band, and decided to earn a living out of his Rolls Royce that he owned, by renting it out for weddings and special occasions.
• August 1980, Slade were offered to play what was Ozzy Ozbourne’s Reading Festival slot, as Ozzy had dropped out at last minute. Dave rejoined for the gig, and played to an astonishing 50,000 people. Slade stole the show!
• With Slade back in business and ever popular, they used this to their advantage and released another album entitled: ’We’ll Bring The House Down’ which reached number 25 in the charts.
• In 1983, Slade reached number 2 in the UK charts with the single ‘My Oh My’ and then in 1984 they released the album: ‘The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome’ which reached 49 in the UK charts and for their first time ever, also charted in the US at no.33.
• Releasing several more singles and albums, success was no longer on the books so Noddy and Jim took the decision to quit and pursue other career opportunities. Dave and Don continue to tour with ‘Slade II’. Jim is now a physiotherapist and Noddy has become a recognised face within Radio and TV as a presenter.
The excellent new double album ‘SLADE-LIVE AT THE BBC’ is out now on Salvo records.
Words: Chloe Gillard
Photos: Barry Plummer
“Slade was certainly our greatest influence; not only in the crafting of rock songs but also as performers. Before lade, no one really knew shit about how to make an audience riot. We really got off on that. There would probably nevebe us without them.” Gene Simmons (Kiss)
"I spent most of the early 70s listening to Slade Alive thinking to myself,"Wow - this is what I want to do.I want to make that kind of intensity for myself." A couple of years later I found myself at CBGB's doing my best Noddy Holder." Joey Ramone
" When Slade broke in 1972, I began to get really nervous. Here I am killing myself to write the next incredible riff (and then I see) these four blokes pounding out four chords over and over and loving every minute of it. I bought all of their albums and thought maybe I wanted to join the band. (Bands like) Slade really inspired me to get back to my root of inspiration: heavy, intelligent but fun rock and roll." Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple)
"Slade never compromised. We always had the feeling that they were on our side. I don't know but I think we were right." Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols)
"If you notice, around 1972 I started doing very different music. I couldn't do the heavy rock thing anymore. Noddy Holder was around kicking every singer in the ass. I never wanted to be a pop singer. Christ, how I hated Noddy!" Tom Jones
“Slade was the coolest band in England. They were the kind of guys that would push your car out of a ditch.” Alice Cooper
"Slade was never pretentious. It was just music to them. Pop, rock, soul....it was all the same to Slade. They wrote great songs. And, besides, I'd like to raid their wardrobe." Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
"The whole punk rock thing really happened because of bands such as Slade and the like; rock bands that wouldn't back off." Paul Weller
"Absolutely. Slade! A band that would never bend over." Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
"Whatever happened to bands that rocked liked Slade? Y'know, that no-bullshit, fuck you, in your face, we're bad-as-hell-and-we-know-it kind of band?" David Coverdale (Whitesnake)
"The truth is, for this (New Musical Express) compilation (album) of cover songs, I wanted to record my version of Slade's How Does It Feel more than anything. Yet, Oasis had already chosen Cum On Feel The Noize . NME feels that too much Slade is not a good thing. Really? I had to settle for the divine Mr. David Bowie. I did my best with second best! ha!" Roland Orzabal (Tears For Fears)
"I judge a good rock and roll 'encyclopedia' by whether or not Slade is included." Robert Christau (Rolling Stone & The Village Voice)