The Missing Album

Slade Papers: Oct/Nov 1971 Fan Club Newsletter

.....Coz I Love You is to be released Oct. 8th......
Good News
On Oct. 19th, 20th & 21st, there will be a free showing of Slade while they record.....
General News

.... Unfortunately, the new album still hasn't been finalised....."

OK, so they're arranging for the Slade Alive recording session but their new album is having problems getting released. Play It Loud was released 28/11/1970 so that was well old and Slade Alive would not get released until 24/03/1972 and it wasn't even recorded yet. The fan club letters were sent, I believe, earlier than the months they represented otherwise the crowd at the Command Theatre would have really sucked?

This means that in the summer of 1971, Slade had a whole album ready to go. What does 'not finalised' in a fan newsletter mean. I would read that as
"we have a new studio album recorded but Chas ain't confident about releasing it yet."
Note that September was skipped in the newsletters with some pants excuse, I think Chas pulled it at the last minute.

Chances are it could have had:

Coz I Love You
Wonderin' Y
My Life Is Natural

Get Down & Get With It

Hear Me Calling
Look Wot You Dun
In Like A Shot From My Gun
Comin' Home
Keep On Rockin'

That would have been one tough album but my guess is it would have sunk like Play It Loud before Slade Alive and it was certainly not right after Coz I Love You's chart success. Of course, I'm only thinking of the obscure early tracks that I like but I guess it could have had a whole collection of 'never heard of' tracks. Unfortunately, it's far more likely to be Coz I Luv You, which for some reason never got a British release but was released in Holland?

September 1971

The Slade Papers
are a very interesting source of Slade research. It's a collection of the group's fanclub newsletters from May 1971 to April 1976 but you have to bear in mind that it's full of 'what they want the fans to think' and also, the fans are young. The whole point of the fanclub newsletters was to focus their fans thinking and mold them into what the management wanted 'Slade Fans' to be. Unfortunately, the letters start from July/August 1971 but I think it's very telling that September 1971 is missing.

The general party line back in 1971 was one of "Chas is encouraging Nod & Jim to write their own material. We have no idea what songs will go on the new album coz the lads are still trying to write them." but to my mind the Fan Club Newsletter is not the place to 'brainstorm' and show your general disarray?

July/August 1971 is full of Get Down And Get With It and how well it seems to be doing (it hasn't hit the Top 20 yet mind?) and the band are so busy they don't have time for a holiday. A competition announces the winner will receive a new Slade album. You have until 15th August 1971... To win a new copy of Play It Loud that was almost a year old. Surely that would read 'will receive a copy of Slade's album' as they did not have another? But then the only people that bought Play It Loud before 1972 were probably the members of this fan club?

Throughout July, Get Down And Get With It slowly crept into the Top 40 (an awesome event in the early life of a breaking band) and in August it had climbed through the Twenties and into the Teens. Surprisingly, the beginning of September is when it started to fall from it's Top 20 peak of number 16.

Bearing in mind that the newsletter went out earlier than the months it addressed, I would guess that July/August probably got written up in early June. Get Down And Get With It was released 21/05/1971 and then re-released 08/06/1971 as Get Down With It. I would have expected the Sept/Oct newsletter to be a fervid bundle of excitement, busting at the seams with hyperbole.

Instead, it gets cancelled. The next issue is dated Oct/Nov 1971 with a lame excuse of...
"the stickers were not ready and we thought it would be nicer to have a Xmas letter."
Now, fair enough, the stickers were an important part of the awareness campaign but the more important reasons are hinted at in the paragraph written by Chas.

"...the delay in releasing the new single which was due to the success of Get Down And Get With It. They were so busy they were unable to go to the studio to finish it off."
Another line states
"...we did not know the exact date of the boys studio times..."
The December issue is ambiguous in its address of the Slade Alive album. In the part supposedly written by 'The Boys', it says
"...look out for our LP 'Slade Alive'."
and yet in the 'other news' under the heading ALBUM we are told
"The boys new album has still not been released, or even given a release date..."
Almost as if we have been waiting forever. Slade Alive would not get a release until 24/03/1972.

I would expect the hyperbole key word to be used at every opportunity in THAT newsletter?


Beat Instrumental

September 1971

For at least two years there has been an air of despair in the music business. Everyone agrees the scene becoming stagnant and everyone has been waiting for something new to break. Meanwhile. a new buyer is growing up and growing tired of the choice between their older brothers' and sisters' music played by men about thirty years old and the synthetic stuff turned out by session via Top of the Pops.

Sooner or later this generation is going to throw up a new generation of groups, and maybe it's just beginning. Grand Funk Railroad, universally put down by the generation that grew up with the Stones as an abominable noise, are really big with the fourteen year-olds in the States. These kids want to move and groove to their music, not sit down and appreciate it.
In Britain too, the same situation is arising and a new wave of groups are sure to appear from nowhere. Slade hope that they will be riding on the crest of this wave. They are all about twenty years old. About two years ago they were projected as a skinhead group in a world of longhaired bands but nothing much happened.

But now with Get Down and Get With It in the charts here they see themselves as the first of these new groups. It's a Chuck Berry/Little Richard sort of song with a 'stomp your feet' bit in the middle. With the full weight of twenty-four years behind me I can cynically say ''I've heard it all before." And so I have, but the fifteen year-olds haven't.

Slade are Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jimmy Lea who takes most of the lead vocals and plays bass and electric violin, Noddy Holder on guitar and vocals and drummer Don Powell. Says Noddy, "We're not just a rock band but Get Down and Get With It is typical of the sort of excitement we get going. 

We get real audience involvement and that's what the record's based on. We don't just get one group of people at our gigs either. We get skins and hairies and they all rave together without any hustles. All the kids want to do is jump around and dance."

Slade criticise the established scene. Says Noddy, "They're getting very involved with their music, which is OK, but they are forgetting about the audience."

Jimmy: "We got into music during the Beatles era. We heard our elder brothers' records, but we haven't heard the old rockers. I'd never heard of Carl Perkins until the other week when Chas played me one of his records."

Chas is Chas Chandler, their manager. He told me how he'd played a track off a Fats Domino album at his flat the other night and Jimmy had asked who the record was by. Chas told him and he asked: "Who is Fats Domino? When on earth was that stuff made]" Chas looked at the label and told him: 1955. "I was three then!" exclaimed Jimmy.

Jimmy continued:

"Everything is coming to a dead end. There are no new people breaking. The Stones and the Beatles are old men now."

Added Dave, "The kids don't want to know about that stuff. I appreciate what the Stones and the Beatles have done in the past but they ought to step down and give someone else a chance."

Slade say they had a hard time getting gigs at first. Promoters had never seen a skinhead band before and they didn't want to know. They also met a lot of prejudice from colleges and universities and when they were booked they didn't always get good receptions. Now, however, they find that college students aren't as hostile and they have built up a large following in the colleges as well as the clubs. They have been getting radio plays and have received help from John Peel. Mike Harding and Alan Freeman, amongst others.

So Slade have just about arrived and whether they go on to become an established group or not only time will tell but they do seem to be the spearhead of the new attack on the stagnant established scene. And good luck to them.

The pdf download link is here .

Beat Instrumental was a monthly UK music mag for a music industry audience which first published in May 1963. It was a contender with the music magazines of the day with chart positions and articles about sales in addition to the usual record reviews and industry gossip. Published by Beat Publications LTD. started by Sean O'Mahoney the magazine billed itself as "The World's First Group & Instrumental Magazine" and it differed from the run of the mill in that the interviews conducted with musicians often talked about the gear they used and the business environment with equipment reviews, unheard of outside of trade magazines.

In the late 60's the mag became more and more rock orientated with less pop content and in the mid 70's it was so deeply involved with progressive rock that it almost bordered on obsession, this makes the magazine collectable amongst prog-rock fans but must have made it less interesting in its day to those involved with pop music. The magazine disappears somewhere around 1980, Beat Publications surviving into 2003.

My thanks to David E. Miller at David's Rock Scrapbook.