Merry Xmas Everybody

 New Musical Express, Xmas 1972

1972 was a good year for Slade and December closed it well for them. As well as their sell out UK tour, a Far East tour in a few weeks and a request from the Prime Minister to headline the 'Fanfare For Europe', they also had the UK charts firmly under their belt. Their album and the latest single both sat high in the Top Ten of the NME charts over the Xmas weeks. Gudbuy T'Jane would only manage #2 in the official chart but #1 in the NME Singles Chart was more than good enough.

December 23rd, 1972

The group took a full page to thank their fans and bestow 'Seasonal Greetings' and plug their wares. Notice Play It Loud it not available in tape format.

The end of the year saw Slayed sitting at the top of the NME album chart and Slade Alive! has also re-entered the Top 30. Slayed would have to wait until the 13th January to take the same position in the official UK album chart but clearly, Slade had taken ownership of the Pop Scene. 

December 30th, 1972




SLADE EMERGE as top band and leading recording act of '72 in the NME annual chart survey compiled this week. 

In a closely contested year, they emerge marginal winners of the 1.972 Chart Points Championship, finishing a mere 20 points ahead of last year's champions T. Rex. 

And to complete their triumphant year, Slade's “Alive" set is runner-up in the Album Points Table, second only to the perennial Simon and Garfunkel LP "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

The closeness of the race for the title of Chart Champions of the Year is shown by the fact that Slade's score of 727 points is the lowest winning total ever recorded - one point less than Fleetwood Mac's score in '69. 

The New Seekers looked certain whiners for most of the year, and were only overtaken four weeks ago when new singles by Slade and T. Rex entered the chart. 

The current weenyboppper cult is strongly reflected in the Points Table, with Donny Osmond placed at No.4 (overtaking Gilbert O'Sullivan only in the final week), Michael Jackson at 6, and David Cassidy at 9. Elvis Pressley's consistency is maintained with an eighth placing. 

The Points Table is based on the weekly Top Thirty published in N M E - with 30 points awarded for a No. 1 position, 29 points for No.2 and so on down to one point for No. 30. The first ten artists for 1972, together with their joint totals, are: 

 1 SLADE                                          727 
 2 T. REX                                           707 
 3 NEW SEEKERS                          630 
 4 DONNY OSMOND                       612 
 5 GILBERT O'SULLIVAN             608 
 6 MICHAEL JACKSON                 582 
 7 DON McLEAN                              541 
 8 ELVIS PRESLEY                        498 
 9 DAVID CASSIDY                         462 
10 SWEET                                        435 

A further 118 points were scored by Tyrannosaurus Rex. But since this was a completely different act from the present T. Rex, and their reissues this year were disowned by Marc Bolan, their score has not been included in the T. Rex total. 

The next ten positions are filled by: 

Top album of the year, for an incredible third year running, was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - almost 300 points ahead of Slade's live set. 

Top ten albums of 1912, based on points system, are: 

 1 "Bridge Over Troubled Water" 
(SIMON and GARFUNKEL)         1065 
 2 "SLADE Alive!”                            767 
Greatest Hits"                                   711 
 4 "Himself" 
(GILBERT O'SULLIVAN)                691 
 5 “American Pie" 
(DON McLEAN)                                685 
 6 "Never A Dull Moment" 
(ROD STEWART)                            629 
 7 "Fog On The Tyne" 
(LINDISFARNE)                               622 
 8 "Teaser And The Firecat" 
(CAT STEVENS)                              593 
 9 "Harvest" 
(NEil YOUNG)                                   567 
10 "Electric Warrior" 
(T. REX)                                             557 

Full singles points table and top 50 albums will be printed in next week's NME

I Left My Heart In Scotland

DISC, December 16th, 1972

Don Powell... Plays like King Kong

TONY BENNETT may have left his heart in San Fnancisco, but I left mine in Scotland last week. Glasgow,for instance, has had so much bad publicity over the years, especially lately, that I honestly entered it fearing for my life.

Instead, I found it a warm, friendly town filled with the nicest people I have met in years. Why is it no one ever thinks to mention that? Let me start at the beginning. As pop columnist for the New York Sunday News (which at 5 million has the biggest readership of any paper in the US) I had the opportunity a few months ago to pass an opinion on a new album called "Slade Alive." I heard those opening three notes and I knew immediately what it was going to be - album of the year. 

I loved it and also loved the band when they came here for their short tour. American audiences also loved them, but not quite enough, the boys grumbled. One or two, for instance, didn't stamp along every single moment and occasionally their were some people actually sitting down! "If you saw us at home you'd know what we meant," the boys explained, which is how I came to see them not just in England where I know they are very popular, but in Scotland where they are downright royalty.

I deliberately chose the Glasgow and Edinburgh gigs over Liverpool and Brighton and others for several reasons. One, I'd never been to Scotland and I wanted to see it. I was once engaged to a Scotsman and I wondered if there were any more like him up there. Two, I wanted to see Slade at their absolute best and I had a hunch, totally justified later,  that their love affair with Scotland was one of the romances of the century. Three, I wanted to check out for myself the recent reports that the Scots audiences are made up of ill-mannered louts and dangerous roughnecks. So, here's what I discovered - one, there are more at home like him. Two, Slade were fantastic. Three, Scots audiences are rowdy and exuberant and very demanding but they are lovely. In my whole life I have never felt such electricity and excitement in a room or such total audience involvement. No one works harder than Slade at any time, but in Scotland they apparently always outdo themselves and for good reason - because the audience works hard for them.

For Slade, it's a dream audience, always giving as good as it's getting, matching every one of Noddy's impertinences with an impertinence all of it's own. At one stage in the evening of the Glasgow show I was so knocked out by the vibes and the energy that the audience were giving out that I found myself close to tears. The performance? Well you don't need me to tell you what Slade does or how well they do it. Everyone in those audiences was up and stamping even before the shows began and they didn't stop till well over the last encore.

Now I know what you've heard about broken seats in Scotland. That's just the Scots having a good time. This is not an angry or bad mannered audience, just a happy one. Besides, to be honest, the seats are so old and shaky that I don't wonder they break easily. I stood up for just one moment and to my great shame and embarrassment there was a loud crack as one of the legs went. (A few days later in Southampton the chairs being newer and more expensive stood up well to being jumped on).

You would not think so, but in good old formal Edinburgh the audience was just a little rowdier than the infamous Glasgow. The bouncers kept trying to get people to sit down. Sit down? At a Slade concert? Noddy was visibly upset. He told them it was all right to stand up as long as they didn't stand on the seats. Even the promoter, Mel Bush, who is a much more gentlemanly version of the promoters I know in the US, agreed people should not be asked to sit down.

One thing that struck me about Scotland generally was the natural beauty of the girls at the concerts. They are not particularly tall but they have perfect, even features, nice smiles and a gorgeous sprinkling of freckles. They were friendly and kind to me and also well informed and intelligent. I loved talking to them, I see so many sleazy groupie scenes in New York that I found it hard to accept that these nice girls were coming round to see the band as friends and were welcomed by the band in the same way.

At the North British Hotel in Glasgow and the Carlton in Edinburgh those cool and collected waiters and desk clerks totally lost their cool at the sight of Slade and had the boys signing autographs non-stop for hours. Outside the Carlton a girl recognised Dave as he was hobbling into the car and rushed up to kiss him. "Aren't you going to kiss the others?" I asked. "I only like him." she said. Dave looked very pleased with himself.

The whole excursion gave me a good opportunity to study Slade as people as well as musicians and entertainers. All four are extremely friendly and know exactly how to handle newspaper people. They treat them like old pals. Dave is the most outwardly sophisticated and confident. Noddy, when thinks no one is looking, always looks sad and worried. I suspect he is the one who feels things most deeply. But when we were all watching TV his comments were the funniest. He definitely should be in movies. Onstage he looks like a marvellous drawing.

Jimmy is such a powerful bass player that I was surprised to find him shy and unspoilt. Don, who in the conventional sense, is the handsomest, is also surprisingly quiet and modest for someone who plays the drums like King Kong. The group even have a good looking road manager, Graham Swinnerton, who could double for Mick Jagger. Come to think of it Chas Chandler, a former teenage idol himself, isn't too bad. I can't see how the Slade crew can fail to win friends in the United States. I think they will be particularly popular with younger audiences who are not afraid to get down and get with it. In fact, I would like to see Slade do a whole bunch of matinees in America for the under-17's who are often not allowed out at night. Just to check out my reflexes and make sure I hadn't been dazzled by Scotland, I took in the Southampton show taking with me a colleague, Tony Scaduto, the American author of "Bob Dylan." He almost fell off his seat, which he was standing on by the way. I kept telling him this was tame besides Scotland, but he had no idea what I was talking about. "Can't you see?" I said. "Some people aren't singing." He still had no idea what I was talking about. "Some people are sitting down." I said. He still looked puzzled. Next time Slade go to Glasgow or Edinburgh they'd better take him with them.

Many thanks to Chris Selby for supplying this one. Lillian Roxon  'Mother Of Rock' (8 February 1932 - 10 August 1973) was a noted Australian journalist and author. In 1959 she moved to New York, becoming the first Australian female overseas correspondent and the first Australian journalist to establish a high profile in America. She became one of the leading lights of the scene centred the New York music club Max's Kansas City, which was frequented by members of the Andy Warhol circle, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, Jim Morrison and many others. One of Roxon's last print articles reported on the landmark New York concerts at Max's Kansas City by Iggy Pop and The Stooges and her final piece, filed in early August, was on rising British glam rock star Marc Bolan.

Fanfare For Europe

New Musical Express, December 9th, 1972
Common Market Palladium gig
Prime Minister Edward Heath bestowed the seal of Government approval on rock this week with the booking of Slade for their first ever appearance at the London Palladium on January 7. The gig celebrates the successful bid to take Britain into the Common Market.
This is the first event to be announced in a special two-week festival of major concerts - all in the first half of January and under the heading "Fanfare For Europe". They cover every aspect of music. Further details page 3.

Into the Common Market with
SLADE are to headline in concert at the London Palladium - the first time they have ever appeared at the world's most famous variety theatre - on Sunday, January 7, at the special request of the British Government. The event is being promoted by Great Western Festivals in conjunction with the Arts Council, on behalf of the Government, as part of the celebrations to mark this country's entry into the Common Market. The concert starts at 7.30 p.m., and the box-office opens next Tuesday (12) with tickets priced from 60p to £2.
This is the first event to be announced in the fortnight-long festival celebrating Britain's entry into Europe. A series of big name concerts is being organised, covering the whole musical spectrum, under the heading of "Fanfare For Europe;" Plans are in an advanced stage to book more leading pop and rock acts at other venues, as part of the festival, and details will be revealed next week.
Slade flew to Europe yesterday (Wednesday) for TV engagements in Germany, Holland and Belgium. When they return, they take a month's holiday, interrupted only by the palladium gig. Two new concerts have been set for the group at Weston-super-Mare Winter Gardens (January 13) and London Edmonton Sundown (15). They then fly to Australia, where they open their Far East tour in Sydney on January 23. 

Slade's Knockers

New Musical Express, December 2nd, 1972

a new target for the knockers

A FEW MONTHS back a derogatory mention of Marc Bolan would bring a few cheers for any band on stage. Now it's Slade coming in for the knocks. But like Marc Bolan, they too can laugh all the way to the bank.

At Wishbone Ash's London Rainbow gig drummer Steve Upton referred to the Wolverhampton Ravers and likened them to four dancing Christmas trees.

And Slade's Noddy Holder, being Noddy, just laughed when he heard, and said: "I think that's funny."

This has been Slade's year - everything has gone their way, except for minor mishaps like Holder's charge for alleged obscenity in Scotland, and Dave Hill breaking his ankle.

It's significant that last week their single was the highest new entry to the chart. While the singles chart is not always indicative of who is happening, in Slade's case the entry underlines their undoubted popularity.

In the last 18 months their money has gone up. You'll have to pay 10 times more to hire them now. And still a promoter is guaranteed of getting his money's worth.

No one could ever describe Slade as a lazy band. On stage they work hard.

But one might imagine that the time has come for a change in the band's musical policy. After all, their singles this year - while undoubtedly strong and commercial - are rather similar in concept. Loud, raucous, thumping stompers are great for a time, but how long will it be before people tire?

"Slade are shrewd people.'' Elton John commented a few months back. "Shrewd enough to change with their next single." True, they are shrewd. yet "Gudbuy T'Jane" is along the same lines as their other singles. I asked bassist Jimmy Lea about this.
“It isn't time to change yet. If we brought out anything we couldn't put it over with plenty of guts. On stage, it wouldn't be any good. They don't want to hear it - we don't want to play it. We have stacks of stuff that's different but the time isn't right yet.”
‘Gudbuy T’Jane' was conceived and written in a very small space of time - in about 10 minutes after we came back from America. We wrote it on a Friday and played it on Saturday'. Chas (their manager) heard it on Sunday and we recorded it on Monday in one take".
The lyrics could hardly be described as meaningful. Comments Lea: "We write them cause they sound good when you sing them".

However successful a band proves to be in Britain, the ultimate goal is always the States. Slade are huge on the Continent. and this year paid their first promotional visit to America.
"It was a tremendous challenge - it's always good to fight against complacency."
Needless to say the band go back there next year, yet at the same time they obviously hope to retain their magical hold in Britain.
"We're not going to die off. It's stupid even to think that way. In this business you don't have to give a damn… we're not trying to prove anything, never have done."
Slade fans can be stroppy, rude and exuberant but they are at least loyal.
"We don't want the Osmond type of thing," says Lea, "with fans wailing at airports. We get the right reaction where it counts - on stage where it's all happening. The Osmond crowd are a whole lot younger anyway".
Perhaps the largest difference between Osmond and Slade fans is that while Osmond admirers wave posters, Slade people wave football scarves. The Osmonds might have sweets or pictures thrown at them. Slade fans chuck everything from Noddy-type hats to the flimsiest bras and knickers.

Noddy still treasures the first pair of knickers they ever had thrown on stage.
"Orange and white they are - I wouldn't clean me guitar with anything else."
Of course knickers and bras arc mainly brought to gigs tucked in a handbag or pocket, with a request drawn or embroidered on them, yet of late young ladies have been seen to get carried away and take 'em off during the evening before flinging them stagewards.

At Newcastle - the opening date of the Slade tour - one very young lady had ripped her bra off and flashed her boobs at Dave Hill. Hill comments:
"There was nothing nasty about it. It wasn’t a sexual thing - she'd probably never had sex in her life. Just that she was caught up in the excitement. That's the kind of fan we like, the ones who enjoy themselves and have a good time. They are the kind of people who stay with you for years."
Holder affirmed this.
"The kids who come and see us will, I hope, stay with us for say five years at least. We'll keep going for 10 years if we can keep up the pace."
Keeping up the pace must be one of the major bang ups for any band. Last year, drummer Don Powell collapsed after a gig and had to rest up - and bassist Lea commented: 
"I'm the weakest one; it tells on me more than the others."
So how do they manage to keep themselves from flagging?
"Once we get on stage we get a buzz of the audience. It's always been like that. As soon as you're up there, everything comes above tiredness."
Perhaps the most frightening thing to witness at a Slade’s gig is the almost Svengali- like power Holder has over the crowd. You feel if he told them all to go out and paint the town with red paint, they'd break into a shop, steal the paint and start right away.
"I don't see it myself," says Nod. "I push them to enjoy themselves so when they leave they arc too knackered to do anything else. Certainly too knackered to be violent."

Slade also announce a second night at the Edmonton Sundown (they are already booked there for the 17th) on December 18th as part of their sell out tour. 16th at Brixton Sundown had already been added.