Coz I Luv You (German Re-Issue 1974)

Karussell Records 3272 107

This album was a budget label German release, cashing in on the recent success of Slade. Karussell re-issued the Polydor international release which was difficult to get in the UK. This album became a sought after release for fans because the B-Sides would never feature on any official Slade LP.

"About this record: >>Slade<< had already written Pop-History about ten years ago, when the band had short hair and wore Bovver Boots and studded Jeans. Later they prefered multi-coloured fantasy costumes, without losing the special attraction of their music. With their fueling Rock, they were often in the chart and their audience - average age 16 - loved them. The best of them on this album, in original versions." *
Jörg Lietzberg
Despite Jörg's notes, I'm confident that I purchased this particular release circa 1974. Although nobody seems to have a release year on it, the next sequential Karussell release (a Gloria Gaynor re-issue) seems to be a 1975 release which helps towards confirming my suspicion.

  • Coz I Luv You
  • Dapple Rose
  • My Life Is Natural
  • Angelina
  • Candidate
  • Sweet Box
  • Look Wot You Dun
  • Could I
  • Raven
  • Gospel According To Rasputin
  • Shape Of Things To Come
  • Get Down & Get With It



The Cover Art is here 8.36 MB

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*Thanks to Draggula for the translation. ;-)

The Auditorium, Chicago

Chicago, June 21st, 1974

The Auditorium opened in 1889 to immense critical acclaim and soon became something of a ‘white elephant’ until the 1965 when it quickly became Chicago's premier rock venue and regained its former status as 'a jewel in American history'.

Former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley gave speeches where, years later, musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Aretha Franklin, and Elton John performed. From Frank Sinatra to Itzhak Perlman, The Beach Boys to Booker T. Washington, all have graced this stage, a landmark theatre in one of the world’s greatest cities. 

In June 1974 Slade played The Auditorium and Matt Shaugnessy was there to witness the event.
"My friend Tom and I proudly displaying our tickets before heading off to the train station to see our first ever concert. And what a show it was!"

"We headed off from the front yard photo to the local trian station that would take us to downtown Chicago for the show. We were 15 years old at the time, just finished with our sophomore year in high school and quite innocent."

"It was the first concert for both of us and we were a bit anxious about heading into the big city on our own. The train ride was uneventful and after fiddling with a map for a bit we figured out a route we could walk. It was a bit over a half mile to venue and we made good time."

"The Auditorium is a grand old theatre with balconeys and boxes that holds about 3000 people and it was about 3/4 full. Upon arrival we scoped the lobby for Slade gear and or memorabilia but there was none to be had. Major disappointment as I wanted to upgrade the homemade t-shirt I had with a sewn on mini Slade fist patch to an official one. Oh well, them's the breaks."

"We headed to our seats: 7th row on JWL's side and settled in for a night to remember. But first we had to suffer through 45 minutes of 10cc. If I had been more sensitive I would have felt bad for them as they were barraged with cartcalls for Slade. Since I wasn't all that sensitive I joined right in! Once they finished the place started getting rowdy. I can't really remember how long it was until Slade began playing but whatever it was, it was too long!"
"Finally the moment came and the band was introduced:"

'Please, welcome from England, SLADE!'
Nod shouts "Take Me Bak 'ome" and they were off... and so were we. Out of our seats like a shot from a gun we were shouting along from the get go.



Nod was decked out in his plaid coat, vest, & trousers along with the iconic mirrored top hat, H was in his fish scale outfit with dollar sign boots and the SuperYob guitar, Jim was in some type of yellow get up, and Don was in his traditional striped pants & vest along with more gum than a playground full of kids.



From there the set list that followed:
Take Me Bak 'ome
Good Time Gals
Gudbuy T'Jane
Move Over
When The Lights Are Out
Darling Be Home Soon
We're Really Gonna Raise The Roof
Just A Little Bit
Let The Good Times Roll
Cum On Feel The Noize
Get Down With It
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Keep On Rockin'
 
All in all it was a great show.




As I have said in the past I much prefer Slade originals to cover tunes and would like to have had them replaced with the likes of DWSDI, How'd You Ride etc but that's just quibbling. The band was in good form; Nod had the crowd going the entire evening, H did his schtick, and Jim & Don laid down the foundation."

"If there is one overall impression I took away from the show was that Slade were f**king LOUD!! My ears rang for 3 days afterwards and Tom and I literally had to shout at each other to be heard as we headed back to the train station."

"Although I haven't seen a whole lot of concerts I have been fortunate to see Kiss, Sabbath (both line ups), Nugent, UFO, and Rainbow among others this concert remains my favorite. I'm sure the fact that it was my first show and my favorite band has something to do with it but what a way to kick it all off."

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.


Thanks to Matt Shaugnessy for his experience. Live photos by David Slania, probably not from the Chicago gig?

Cum On Feel The Noize by Julie Clarke 1974

Super Star Magazine 1974



His voice was raucous, the platform-soles seven inches of silver, covered with gold stars. Trousers reached merely down to sock level and on his head he wore a black top hat covered in mirrored discs. Around his shoulders were yards of shimmering tinsel draped for effect. He looked every inch a pop star.

He was in fact an engineer, newly apprenticed, and a Slade convert.

More than anyone else, Slade capture the imagination of their fans who faithfully have followed them and their fashions for the seventies.

When Noddy Holder chanced to comment that some "rude young lady" had thrown a pair of knickers up on stage and he'd kept them as a souvenir - thousands followed. Joined inevitably by those famous top hats, copied meticulously down to the last detail, and assorted suspender belts and bras.

And throughout it all, Swin, who is the band's personal assistant has collected every object thrown at the band after every concert and brought them backstage for the group.

Holder's mother, in fact, sometimes despairs at the amount of souvenirs her son has collected and at odd times tries to dispose of them (when she thinks he's not looking) but without much success.

"I keep 'em in large cardboard boxes" Noddy confesses "And I don't like to throw them away."
If the object for many a Slade admirer is to throw some piece of underwear or outerwear at the band, it is usually achieved.

But for a more fanatical minority the prime target is to glean a souvenir of the gig, from the band.

For this precise reason the band are well protected and guarded by a well-trained road crew and also by the aforementioned Swin who guards them jealously like a mother hen. Unless you happen to be a groupie and will stop at nothing less than the body of the person concerned, the prime prize is a lock of hair belonging to one of the group. Tactics vary for achieving this goal, but as dressing room security is extremely tight, the best way of getting the lock, is when the band are either arriving or departing from a concert.

Says Noddy:
"It's not frightening, so much as worrying and you'd be amazed at the strength that some of those fourteen year olds have. And once they get hold of you, you can't punch or fight them back. Generally they work in pairs. One of them grabs hold of you while another cuts your hair off with a pair of scissors. Then if they manage to get a chunk of hair they'll split it between them later."
Noddy, after four years of hair pulling and cutting has become philosophical about his fate.
"You know why they are doing it and it's just something you have to put up with.

But it's really impossible to stop outside a hall to sign autographs because some of them just go berserk and rip you to shreads. It can be dangerous, not only for us but for the other kids who are around. And it hurts quite a lot."
On one occasion a large burly member of the band's road crew was called in by the police for alleged assault. The charge was dropped due to extenuating circumstances. Explains Holder:
"It's a major operation just getting to gigs and on this particular occasion, two girls got hold of me and just would not let go. Rob had to push them away because they were nearly killing me."
If the Beatles were the band of the sixties, Slade will undoubtedly go down in musical history as the group of the seventies.

To date they have had four number one albums and more hit singles in the seventies than any other band. On occasions, Jim Lea, the band's violin, bass and piano player, gets somewhat narked that people seem unaware of these facts:
"Just pull out the charts and have a look - at the number ones for a start;' he says. "There have been times when I think the press have taken us for granted - maybe because we were in a sense too readily available."
While the musical press does tend to become cynical of bands who are successful, the general public (record buying that is) never tire. And as for being "readily available" it has worked in the band's favour - since heavy gigging in Britain has brought its rewards.

In the beginning it was two tours a year, now we seem to be limited to one but the band always release plenty of products on the market -whether albums or singles, and believe in promoting the songs on television. Not from them is there a sneer at programmes like Top Of The Pops.

Says Don Powell of that particular programme:
"Say what you will, it's television. It's a great programme in many ways and should not be sniffed at. Millions of people watch it and it's important if you want to sell records to do programmes like that."
It was Powell of course who suffered a near fatal accidel1t which had the national papers going bananas. It is indicative of the band's nationwide popularity that when he had his accident, the story was considered front page news. And when a while back the band were beseiged at their Holiday Inn hotel in London, again it made the headlines.

Powell's accident, ironically, brought the band closer together than ever. To begin with, reports were doomy indicating he would not live or that if he did his chances of leading a normal life (much less the life of a drummer in Slade) were slight.

Looking back now it is easy to say those reports were exaggerated, yet it appears Powell's life was in danger.

With the onset of the accident the band were faced with a difficult decision. Numb-struck by the news, they still had to think about gigs they were obligated to do. Unable to communicate with Powell who was in intensive care, they decided to bring in Lea's brother Frank, on a temporary basis, to play a couple of gigs with the band.

Frank was terrified at the prospect, but a good drummer, in that his teacher had, in fact, been Powell. And for those few gigs he proved competent but not the powerhouse behind the throne that the band were used to. Powell of course recovered and soon joined the band to complete an album in the studios.

His memory disappeared covering some months of his life before the accident but he soon regained strength. The only evidence of the accident some months after was that he had to take it easier. Going to bed and resting before the rest of the band. He was, however, in good hands - once again, the road crew and personal assistant keeping a watchful eye on him. The closeness of the band is quite amazing. The trials they have been through together seem to draw them more into each other than drive them apart. And apart from the success there have been drawbacks. Not only Powell's accident, but an occasion when

Dave Hill the guitarist broke a leg after a gig in Liverpool.

Hill's broken leg night was perhaps the one time when Noddy holder openly admits he was "petrified:' He explains his fear thus:
"That night I really thought we'd had it. We had 90 bouncers holding the crowd but even they were finding it impossible to keep them back. After we'd finished playing Dave was the first to leave the stage and he was the first to cop it. And when he went to the floor we all fell on top of him."
Car accidents, broken legs and shorn hair are almost a lifestyle for the band. They set themselves up as entertainers and as such have become used to the disadvantages this can bring. But as aforementioned it has had the effect of drawing them closer together.

Over to Swin, who has been working with the band since before the early skin head days:

"I realise I must sound biased when I say it, but I truly believe they are as big in some ways as the Beatles and there is no way they cannot go on together.

But their main strength lies in the fact that they get on so well. I know every band makes out they' are good friends but Slade genuinely like each other - they socialise with each other and have a deep feeling for one another. From the very early days they have stuck it through - most bands would have split up before now. You've got to remember they played together for quite a few years before they became well known -they didn't always have it easy."


Coming from what is generally accepted as "working class" backgrounds, Lea insists that all the band wanted in the beginning was a "hit record. We didn't think about making lots of money. When we had a hit record we wanted a number one.

"After we'd got number ones -well, it's still important to have hits but whether it's one or not doesn't concern us so much now. We like to release the best possible material we have at the time."
From travelling to gigs in a van and later in a Ford, the band are now proud owners of their own limousines, a Rolls among them. But perhaps as a result of their working class backgrounds, spending vast amounts of money was something they avoided to begin with.

Says Lea:
"Even when we'd had several hits we were still stopping at transport cafe's on the way home. Only recently have we started to spend our money."
Certainly during interviews with the band they never seemed to have a cigarette amongst them and for an hour long session it was advisable to take two packets of twenty along if you didn't want to go short.
"I wouldn't" says Lea "say we were tight, just careful with money."


If Lea and Holder provide the musical force (they write most of the band's material) it is their manager Chas Chandler who is the business and inspirational force. Chandler, once a member of a sixties pop band, The Animals, later manager of Jimi Hendrix, saw the potential in Slade before anyone (save Swin) and intended to do something about it.

With his vast knowledge of the music industry, even he was given incredulous stares when he announced that this band were "going to be huge:' It was always his wish that the band should move to London but when the boys stuck together and preferred to stay in their home town of Wolverhampton he allowed them their wish.
"Wolverhampton" announces Dave Hill, "is where we come down to earth. We can't possibly get big headed when we go back there - it's where we come from and it's where we shall stay."
Hill made that comment some years ago and still retains a link with his home town. And it is only in recent months have Lea and Powell decided they might like to try living in London. Yet Wolverhampton, and the band's link with that town is part of the band's charm. While they were being screamed at and torn apart they were still going home, after gigs to mum and dad. Quite charming naivety which made them easy to identify with, if you happened to live at home (and most Slade fans still do).

This constant identifiability with the band helped a lot. So when Noddy and the boys realised football was such a popular thing they introduced "You'll Never Walk Alone" into their stage act. Soon, horns and scarves along with rattles were being brought to gigs.

"Ooooze yer favourite fooootbawl team?" yelled Nod and was soon rewarded for his pains by yells of Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds or Arsenal. "D000 yooo know their songs?" he'd inquire innocently and immediately thousands of voices (often off-key) would sing the strains of their local football club song.

After a suitable time had elapsed Holder, who is always in control would raise his hands in the air and announce "Very good, give yourselves a clap."

Off stage, Holder is a quiet, witty and affable person. On stage he is omnipotent. Such is his control over the crowd, were it wrongly directed it would be most frightening.

"Everybody everywhere, raise your hands in the air" he commands, and instantly the whole audience (even the ones in the back rows) raise their hands in the air. "Clap your hands, stamp your feet" - again the command is obeyed. "Get down and get with it" The place goes mad.

Inciting the audience to clap or even stamp their feet has had its drawbacks. Audiences, when they number thousands can get excited. And when they get excited, chairs get broken, barriers get crushed and bent and inevitably there is much damage done.

After their memorable Earls Court gig (where they pulled in some 18,000 people) there was a damage bill of £5,000 to be paid.

When they played the Palladium the balcony cracked, and again the band had to foot the bill.

Noddy says they reckon to payout between two and five hundred pounds a night when they tour Britain for damages.

"We are;' he adds, "insured, but the insurance people know what's going to happen so they obviously don't give us cheap insurance. But we pay up, you have to foof-the bill if you want to keep on working at these theatres. And it's not as if the kids go about wantonly destroying seats - they just get a bit excited and carried away with it all."
Apart from identifying with football - Slade have been quick to realise that a bit of naughtiness goes a long way. Knickers is a pretty inoffensive word which is used to effect throughout the act. It used to be Holder announcing "David is wearing his pink frilly knickers tonight and if you are very good he'll show them to you" before being greeted with "oohs and aahs" as the audience made out they were shocked. Now, slightly changed, Holder announces: "We'll have a minute's silence - and any girl who breaks it will have to come up on stage and take her knickers off." There is, predictably, a loud noise after this statement and a pause for a giggle.

While Wolverhampton and the tag of working class heroes may have been their grass roots, America is undoubtedly the next goal to conquer. Holder reckons
"On the first couple of tours there it was really heavy going because they hadn't heard of us before and also because we've got what is basically a very English stage act."
The football sequence for instance had to be removed and lights, a hitherto unknown thing for Slade were implemented.

Gradually the conversion has come about. It is in fact very interesting to witness Slade playing in America. Early gigs in New York were at the Academy of Music which has a capacity of around 2,000 and seems very much akin to London's Rainbow Theatre but of late they have played the more prestigious Felt Forum (capacity 5,000).

Early in the Forum gig there were maybe a few hundred converts near the front participating with hand claps and foot stomps.

Those at the middle and back watched quite astounded. Astounded for it is very un-hip in the States to really participate.

After about four numbers those in the middle part of the auditorium were clapping along with the rest. And by the end, as one might expect, the whole audience were going berserk, discovering the joys of getting one's rocks off to a British band.



After the gig, the promoter came round to congratulate the boys and commented how he'd truly never seen anything like it. "They were all clapping and waving their hands in the air. They never do that here. Are you used to that in England?"

"Yes" the manager painstakingly remarked, "it did happen like that in England - all over England in fact." Certainly for that particular night Slade had reached yet another turning point in their career. The one thing that worried the Americans regarding Slade was the possibilities of a riot.

"If they can get them to behave in such a way, well, they could incite a riot." an onlooker remarked.

Says Dave Hill:
"There were some Americans present at a gig we played in Wembley and they could not believe the reaction we got. I think they thought we were going to say "Kill the pigs, turn the cop cars over" but of course we didn't and we never would."

"You are never really aware" chips in Holder, "of the power you have over your audiences - like you say to me what's it like when everyone waves their hands in the air -well I don't really think about it. I'm just up on stage singing and talking to people I'm not aware that I wield any power."
Certain young ladies however do get affected by the power of the band. It is not unknown for a fifteen year old to tell her parents she is "staying with a friend" and endeavour to spend the night outside a hotel where Slade are staying. Or unusual for young ladies to follow the band around from gig to gig when they are on tour. Two girls once found out Holder's home address and spent the night camping out in his garden (much to his mother's annoyance!).

Musically it was at one stage easy to say the band kept to a safe style once they had their early hits. "Cum On Feel The Noize" may to some then have sounded not too dissimilar to "Gudbye T' Jane" or "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" but of late there has been a maturity in their music and they have experimented more.

"My Friend Stan" was quite a departure as was the magnificent "Everyday" showing Holder in softer vocal strains. It was also the perfect vehicle to answer the critics who seemed to believe Slade could only play loud volume rock. In America they released "When The Lights Are Out;' a track off the "Old, New, Borrowed, Blue" album featuring Jim Lea on vocals. And for many Americans this is what Slade are all about.

"Sometimes" says Lea, "I think it would suit me not to go out on the road for months but Slade is all about touring. And look at Nod, he'll be on stage singing away when he's 50. Don't you think so?"
Indeed I do, and so do the rest of the members of the band who may by that time have grown quite bald or grey but will still have their individual brand of magic.

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This article was written by Julie Clarke and is taken from the Super Star Magazine #1/2 which is entitled "Slade In Flame" and priced 30p back in 1974.

Then And Now - John Peel 1974

Super Star Magazine 1974


DISC JOCKEY JOHN PEEL TAKES AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT SLADE'S MUSIC

"Stand by" they said, "for a new group that'll really blow your mind. No kidding;' they said, "These boys are different. Wait till you hear them" they said, "then you'll know what it really means to flip” Thus spake Peter Jones in the first paragraph of his sleeve-note to a 1969 LP called "Beginnings" by Ambrose Slade. As informed folk all over the galaxy are aware, Ambrose Slade eventually became Slade, and "Beginnings" (released on Fontana STL 5492) must now be some sort of a collector's item. Certainly I had never seen or heard the album before and I had to go to the BBC's record library for the copy I did hear. "Beginnings" is a remarkable LP - not so much for the music that is on it but rather for the pointers which indicate not only what Slade have done since, but directions they may take in the future. The opening track is "Genesis" which, together with "Roach Daddy" was released as a single (Fontana TF 1015). "Genesis" starts with an electronic whine and wind noises and evolves into a fairly moody instrumental, featuring a bevy of electronic effects but displaying at once that Slade were, even at this early date, better than average on their chosen instruments. "Genesis" is followed by "Everybody's Next One”, one of two Steppenwolf songs on the LP. The other is the classic "Born To Be Wild;' which was later re-recorded for the "Slade Alive" album. On both of these there are strong indications of the Slade to come. Noddy's voice was already taking on the strong identity it has now - and this was recorded at a time when lead singers tended toward blandness and anonymity. The third track on Side 1 is "Knocking Nails Into My House" and this, a song written by Jeff Lynne who was then with Idle Race but now leads The Electric Light Orchestra, shows the band's Midland origins. The song and Ambrose Slade's treatment of it show the strong influence The Move had on popular music all through the region. There's some particularly fine guitar from Dave Hill here and the sound of nails being knocked in, Noddy yells "Look out" and the music is submerged beneath the uproar of the collapsing house. "Roach Daddy;' which follows, has a walking beat and a vaguely country-ish feel to it.

The vocals are a bit hesitant and this has to be one of the least satisfying tracks on "Beginnings” Ambrose Slade next turn their attention to "Ain't Got No Heart”, a nifty wee piece written by the curious Frank Zappa, leader of the Mothers of Invention. Zappa numbers are never easy things to play, involving numerous musical changes and vocal stylings which are often odd, to say the least. The embryo Slade acquit themselves well here and by this stage of the LP the impression is growing that the band and producer Roger Wake are anxious to prove that this is a group with the ability to work successfully on a wide range of material. "Pity The Mother;' which ends Side 1, heightens this suspicion. A Holder/Lea composition, it features more excellent guitar work and a basinful of tricky drumming from Don Powell. Side 2 opens with a number more representative of Slade as they are today. It's called "Mad Dog Cole;' all four members of the band took up their pencils to write it, and it's a solid rocker. There's an interesting section in which someone sings falsetto along with the lead guitar, following Dave's fast playing note for note. Not an easy thing to do and for this reason, and for Jimmy Lea's crunching bass playing, this is, for me, the best and the most interesting track on the LP. Ambrose Slade ring the changes yet again for the next track, which is another song written and performed by a major Midlands band, the Moody Blues. It's Justin Hayward's "Fly Me High" and the main interest here comes from the band's flexibility, their skill and from the fact that, briefly, Noddy sounds like Rod Stewart. Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine" follows but it is not a success. The sleeve-note to "Beginnings" claims that Ambrose Slade give Lennon/McCartney's "Martha My Dear;' which comes after "If This World Were Mine;' "a somewhat astonishing new treatment” Despite featuring Jimmy Lea at the controls of his violin, the band stick fairly closely to the Beatles' original. "Born To Be Wild" is next, Noddy giving the lyrics, written by the extraordinarily named Mars Bonfire, a fair old going over. The quartet sound at their happiest on rockers and they end with another highlight, "Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind” This was originally performed by the American Amboy Dukes -at this period (1969) personal favourites of mine - and the Ambrose Slade version of "Journey" is no less hairy than the original.

"Beginnings" is an extraordinary LP -I wish I didn't have to return this copy to the BBC -because it shows so clearly all those features that were to lead, several years later, to the string of huge successes that Slade have to their credit. I'm slightly embarrassed that so-called experts like myself failed to notice the signs.

Also released in 1969 but produced now by Chas Chandler, was the single "Wild Winds Are Blowing" backed with "One Way Hotel” Both tracks are, of course, on the "Sladest" LP. Chas put more emphasis on Jimmy Lea's bass guitar and this new emphasis brings the sound of "The Slade" (as they're described on the label) closer to their 1974 sound. In addition to the mighty bass playing, there's also a load of highly inventive guitar from Dave. The song, however, isn't that great. In fact, the "B" side, a Holder, Lea, Powell composition, is a lot better. The playing on "One Way Hotel" is a revelation, showing that when Slade became a successful band in the singles market, that area of music that was until recently described as "progressive" may well have been the loser. "Hotel" is a most impressive performance, beautifully put together, with Noddy singing with real feeling and with each musician contributing strongly to the track. When I played this in an office at the BBC several friends who were present were hugely impressed and were not persuaded that this was indeed Slade recorded in 1969 until I showed them the label.

The following year (1970), the band lead off with "The Shape Of Things To Come" and "C'mon, C'mon” The" A" side, also on "Sladest” again demonstrates just how good Noddy, Don, Dave and Jimmy were becoming on their various instruments. It all drives along beautifully, the energy and the vitality of it all again causing me to wonder why so few people were paying attention to Slade at that time. Also in 1970 was released "Know Who You Are" and "Dapple Rose” The latter is a melancholy little number, a sort of horse's equivalent of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby” It's a story of common neglect, of the waning interest of a once-proud owner in a horse that has become "cold and old and slow” As a man who has been known to cry at a Tom and Jerry cartoon (there's photographic evidence to the fact) I was profoundly depressed by "Dapple Rose” "Know Who You Are" is a different pan of fish. It's dramatic stuff, opening softly but with an atmosphere of menace. Noddy's vocals are delivered with rare power and style before the band crunches into some great choruses. Again the guitar playing here is excellent, owing something to the Yardbirds and those two masters of the electric guitar, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. The band show a fine sense of dynamics and there's more of the falsetto-with-guitar singing that we remarked on "Mad Dog Cole”, "Know Who You Are" is another tour-de-force for Slade, another major step in their musical development.

Both "Know Who You Are" and "Dapple Rose" are on the 1970 LP, "Play It Loud”. So is "The Shape Of Things To Come” Throughout "Play It Loud" there are countless examples of Slade's skill. Also their self-penned songs are improving all the time. They are well constructed, perhaps slightly over-elaborate at times, but showing clearly the strong melody lines that distinguish the most raucous Slade rockers and make these rockers more durable and more listen-able than the drab and colourless offerings of Slade's rivals. Some of the lyrics tend towards being rather poetic but in 1970 this was the fashion and none of the words sound as embarrassing as the lyrics written by ... well, I'd better not say, but there were a lot of bad songs written in 1970. The musicianship throughout "Play It Loud" is of a remarkably high standard. Don's drumming is varied, exciting and always apt. He is always contributing to the record, never content to just sit back and whack out the basic rhythm needed to keep the music rolling forward. The bass-playing is again an important feature - if you have the LP handy, then listen to "See Us Here" and you'll understand what I mean. Also, with Chas' help, the band's sound has improved, become clearer and brighter. The tracks on the LP may, in the main, be too complex to dance to very easily, but they make for pleasant listening. "Could I" has the sort of sing-a-long chorus that has distinguished Slade's greatest hits, while Dave plays some beautiful singing lead guitar. "I Remember" is another indication of the good things to come, with Noddy peeling layers of skin off his throat as he roars his way through the words, and the band rocking as though there were no tomorrow.

"Pouk Hill" is a glance back to the Midlands tradition of Idle Race and Move records, a sometimes tender, sometimes fey, little song of real charm. "Dirty Joker" is something of a curiosity, opening, as it does, with the type of guitar, bass, drums sound that distinguishes the best dance records coming from Black America in 1974. Both this track and “Sweet Box” which follows and also closes the LP, illustrate yet again the powers of invention within the band. The sudden shifts of emphasis, the impressive skills, are of the type that have made such bands as Yes and Genesis so widely popular with the LP buying audience. The only complaint that could be made against "Play It Loud" is that the songs and arrangements may have been too complicated. This complaint would have been erased with some violence by the next single release, the epic "Get Down And Get With It”

In some 27 years of buying records I cannot remember having ever sat down and listened to a band's entire recorded output as I have done with Slade's today. Hearing the early material for the first time and hearing the great hits again after a year or two, I'm genuinely impressed with the part the band have played in making the 1970s such an exciting musical era. And I don't say that because I'm paid to say it either. Looking back to "Get Down And Get With It" from the wet end of 1974, I'm amazed at the effect it's had on our charts since its release in the summer of 1971. The thunderous, very simple, beat and Noddy's exhortations to the listener to join in, to participate, have been echoed in countless records since. Each week's record releases bring more examples of this, although recently they've begun to sound rather flat and dated. Slade themselves have, naturally, moved on to other things, but their "Get Down And Get With It" still sounds just fine after nearly 3+ years. I am amazed to observe that the record rose no higher than 15th in the charts. I doubt that many of the 14 records that were above it still sound half as good. Of course, "Get Down And Get With It" was one side of a maxi-single. The other side is every bit as interesting and I must admit that, until yesterday, I'd never heard it. "Do You Want Me" has the same sort of lean and sensual accompaniment that has recently seen David Essex in the charts with "Rock On" and similar records. The difference is that "Do You Want Me" has a much stronger tune than "Rock On" and it was released 2 years earlier. Amazing! Also pretty amazing is "Gospel According To Rasputin" which completes the maxi-single. The playing here is incredible, the vocal harmonies majestic. Slade doing everything that Yes can do but doing it with energy and brevity. In 4 minutes and 20 seconds and without ever forgetting that this music is supposed to excite and stimulate, Slade get down more good music than you'll find on many fashionable triple-albums. By now we're moving into Slade's continuing golden period. All the records from Down And Get With It" are as well known to a whole generation of record buyers as their own names. Nevertheless I'd like to slither through the list with you for various reasons which may or may not emerge as I drone on.



Special Secret
October, 1971, brought us "'Cos I Love You" and "My Life Is Natural” The" A" side combined a great Holder/Lea tune with a backing that had all the power and drive of the Faces, my own favourite band. There's a special secret to the very best of rock 'n' roll, a sort of magic ingredient. Somehow, while putting down a storming beat, the very best rock musicians manage to inject a certain lightness, some subtlety of phrasing, that makes the whole sound of the band dance. In his day Chuck Berry could do it, the Stones and Faces still can - and Slade showed with "'Cos I Love You" that they too shared the secret. Slade have never been content with throwaway "B" sides either. "My Life Is Natural" boasts more stunning harmonies and deft playing. The same is true of "Candidate;' the "B" side of "Look Wot You Dun;' which followed in January of 1972. Clarity, simplicity and tunefulness were again the keys. It is sometimes easy to forget just how good those early records were - perhaps the shrillness of Slade's competition has diverted our attention somewhat. Instrumentally Slade invariably give the lie to Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore, who is quoted in the sleeve of "Slade Alive" as saying, "they don't care about the notes”

"Take Me Bak 'Ome" has endured the passage of time slightly less well. It's a more obvious crowd-pleaser - not that there's much wrong with that - with a less worthy tune. Nevertheless, even now many bands and producers seek the same sound, the raucous and echo-ey vocals, the massed hand clapping. The "B" side, "Wonderin' Y" is a surprising change of pace, a song of McCartney-esque poignancy and grandeur. A lovely tune. "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" is another of the greats. Released in August, 1972, it moved back· to the great dance beat of "Get Down” It had a great tune and a superior roar-along chorus too. The same was true of the November follow-up, "Gudbuy T’Jane”. Chas Chandler and Slade continued to cling to the central spirit of rock 'n' roll -simplicity. No half-baked suites, no famous friends sitting in on guitar. Although I have no doubt they'll continue to develop, Slade will, I reckon, always avoid these pitfalls, pitfalls into which lesser talents are all too keen to fling themselves, smiling softly.

February, 1973, and "Cum On Feel The Noize” Prior to this the LP "Slayed" had been released, and earlier still "Slade Alive” The latter is, at best, a souvenir of the band's gigs and "Slayed" brought together some of the singles and a few new numbers but generally suffered from a lack of variety. Two of the best tracks were Janis Joplin's "Move Over" and Shirley & Lee's "Let The Good Times Roll” Slade performed these, together with "Take Me Bak 'Ome;' "Darling Be Home Soon" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now;' on a memorable session for one of my own BBC radio programmes. Note the small plug for me. "Cum On Feel The Noize" is another hit that doesn't sound quite as good now. Nevertheless and despite the curious spellings of the titles, it's to the group's credit that their lyrics have never sunk to the "shang-a-lang-a-yep-yep" level. Agreed that they may not be particularly deep (for which I'm grateful) but they always mean something and have some basic relevance.

"Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me” released in June 1973, continued the hit tradition. As a record reviewer I was beginning to ask whether, as Noddy continued to inflict injuries and insults upon his throat with every release, Slade would ever adjust slightly from storming rockers and try something a mite different. They did this in September of the same year with "My Friend Stan;' released a week after the LP "Sladest”, "My Friend Stan" remains my lady wife's favourite record and for months she tormented me by bellowing the chorus, with severe inaccuracies of both lyric and tune, as she went about the house. Nevertheless "Stan" is one of the greats, less raucous perhaps but still exciting. A demonstration that the best songwriters have this ability to pluck a great song out of the air and leave you wondering how you never discovered it first.

At the end of 1973 Slade, in company with Elton John, re-introduced one of the great pop traditions -the Christmas single. It marked another step in Slade's progress towards a more controlled, more durable style. Still, the more melodic approach never caused the drive of the single to slacken and it is this facility for combining energy with simple and memorable tunes that will ensure Slade's survival. The "B" side of "Merry Xmas Everybody" was "Don't Blame Me", like David Bowie's "Jean Genie", a nod back to the British rhythm 'n' blues boom in the early 1960s, a time during which producer Chas Chandler must have played, as a member of The Animals, numbers similar in spirit to the Holder/Lea composition. This again displays the range of the band's talents; also featuring some rather fine noises that could well have come from a guitar.

Early 1974 and the LP "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" together with "Everyday" and subsequent singles are probably too fresh in the mind to merit discussion. Suffice to say that in "Everyday" and "Far Far Away" they have two of the year's best pop songs and in "Bangin' Man" one of the year's best rockers. The expanding talents of Noddy, Jimmy, Don and Dave have been on public display now for nearly five years. Listening to the records again brought me new pleasures I'd hardly expected. When the dust and glitter has cleared, I'm confident that we'll be able to look back at the 1970s and say, without fear of contradiction, that Slade have been responsible for the very best of British popular music. I expect too that they'll still be making great records in the 1980s. I certainly hope they will. Peter Jones concluded his notes to "Beginnings" by writing "Ambrose Slade Is For Real” Amend that to "Slade Is For Real" and I'm with you all the way.



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This article was written by John Peel and is taken from the Super Star Magazine #1/2 which is entitled "Slade In Flame" and priced 30p back in 1974.

SuperSlade 1974


1974

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'...
The headline screamed out its message ... 
"SLADE: Easily The Most Important Band Of The Seventies"
Just another accolade in an award-studded career. Just another slap in the teeth for the knockers who have been trying to write off the fantastic foursome since the very first chart-busting record. 

Actually the knockers started their vicious, reputation-denting campaign even BEFORE the boys hit the Top 20 with 'Get Down And Get With It'. .. all because of their skinhead image. The crew-cut hair, the bower boots, and sundry other accessories such as braces and fierce facial expressions got the group a thoroughly undeserved reputation as punch-up provokers and general trouble makers. 

But Slade have outlasted most of their rivals, silenced their critics, conquered the whole pop playing world ... and from here it looks as if they'll go on for ever. 

Millions of words have been written about Slade, but now we'll bring the whole incredible story bang up to date. And the first thing to be said is that Noddy and Jim, Dave and Don have not allowed the super big time to make them big-time. 

Corny though it may sound, they really are the same down-to-earth, amiable, loyal blokes they were before fame reached out and grabbed them by the scruffs of their respective necks. 

But in updating the continuing story of Slade's Travels through the world of pop, it's necessary just to recap on the history of the individual heroes.

Noddy Holder Slade: - real name Neville, lead vocalist and guitarist, born in Walsall ... wanted to become a teacher and got his fair share of '0' levels but was most interested in geography, geology and biology... formed a group at school... turned professional with Steve Brett and the Mavericks ... met up with Don and Dave when they were with the In Betweens... is now one of the most accomplished crowd-rouser's in the world. 

Jim Lea Slade: - otherwise James Whild Lea, bass guitarist, born in a public-house in Wolverhampton ... started on violin and gained first-class honours in a London music-school practical examination ... was good at art, music and French at school ... played with Nick and the Axemen ... and played classical stuff with the Staffordshire Youth Orchestra ... then answered an ad for a bassist from his then idols the In Betweens. 

Don Powell Slade: - more officially Donald George Powell, drummer, born in Bilston ... was very into boxing and athletics as a kid ... but got his interest in drums from the Boy Scouts' band ... his first pair of drumsticks came from the stem of an artificial Christmas tree ... and joined a band called Johnny Travail and the Vendors ... and he's the tallest and quietest of the Slade lot . . . and he once worked in a small foundry and he's glad he's not likely to have to go back there... and he wishes he could write songs like Harry Nilsson. 

Dave Hill Slade: - David John Hill to be completely accurate, born at Fleet Castle in Devon, into a musical family in that his grandfather was a Doctor of Music... was good at metal work at school, and learned guitar from a friend ... his mum wanted him to go into a nice safe office job, but he played with Don in the Vendors ... and now he admires all kinds of artists from Greta Garbo to Omar Sharif, to Paul McCartney and the old-time song writing team of Rodgers and Hart. 
Four young men who have turned the pop world upside down and have brought back the real meaning of entertainment and show business to the industry. 

You can delve into the mere statistics of a group and not really get anywhere near an understanding of just what makes them tick. 

But in the case of Slade, certain achievements are so startling that it's worth stressing the facts and figures. 

"Coz I Luv You" went to the top of the charts, and stayed there for four weeks. And inevitably the knockers said that it was a flash-in-the-pan performance and that Slade, these noisy, rough, rude upstarts from the Midlands would be lucky if they even got into the Top Ten again, never mind the number one spot. 

So Noddy and his merry men instantly hit back with the huge-selling "Look Wot You Dun", to a few angry cries from school teachers who felt Slade were setting back standards of spelling in the classroom by some hundred years or so! 

And "Take Me Bak 'Ome", no better spelt but riotously successful, roared into the number one spot. That was their third Silver Disc ... you win a "silver" for selling 250,000 copies of a single in Britain alone. 

Then came "Mama Weer All Crazee Now", another number one, and it was in that exalted spot for three successive weeks. By now the knocking cynics had given up. 

Next was "Gudbuy TJane", which went "silver", was thirteen weeks in the charts, but missed the top spot. Still no gloating for the anti-Slade brigade, though... it was a number TWO hit. 

On to "Cum On Feel The Noize", which went straight to number one ... STRAIGHT to number one. In other words out one week and at the chart summit the next. A fantastic silver-earning achievement, which even the keenest Slade supporters felt, could probably not be done again. 

Except it did happen with the very next single, which was "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me”, straight into top spot, and staying there for three weeks in succession and obviously hitting "silver" again. 

And then came "My Friend Stan". Spelt correctly this time, except that the letters "n" were reversed. Another clever scheme to ensure that a Slade record title stood out, no matter where it was on display. 

The boy’s next achievement really took the biscuit. "Merry Christmas Everybody", was not only THE Christmas '73 record, but it also went straight in at number one, a double smash that must be unique in pop history. The record went on to sell one million copies in the UK alone, and became the third Slade single to go straight to the number one spot in a year. 

Parallel to this succession of amazing singles is a string of albums no less impressive. 

The first Polydor album "Play It Loud" is still selling steadily. "Slade Alive" went "gold" with 60 weeks in the charts, to be followed by "Slayed" - gold again. "Sladest", a compilation of goodies, entered the charts at number one, and also struck "gold". 

Slade's latest album "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" achieved an amazing advance sales figure of 300,000 and qualified for a "gold" disc two weeks before it actually reached the shops ... and needless to say made the coveted number one spot in the album charts. 

Now is a good time to talk nostalgically about the clever man BEHIND this clever group ... that's manager, friend. mentor, occasional kicker of backsides, and wise man of the ways of pop ... Chas Chandler

Chas has one helluva record in pop music, but he's not keen on talking about himself much ... and he's hefty enough and so much a walking skyscraper that it's not worth trying to argue with him. His view is that people don't want to know about the managers ... they want to know about the artists. 

Nevertheless, Chas was once an artist. 

Brian James Chandler was bass guitarist of the famous Animals - a group from the North-East who first hit the headlines with their treatment of 'House Of The Rising Sun'. They had their hits, with stars like Alan Price and Eric Burdon in the ranks, but in the end they split. Just a question of different musical tastes emerging, and anyway Pricey just hated flying ... and the Animals were a high flying pack. 

So Chas "discovered" a guitarist-singer in a Greenwich Village nightclub, brought him to Britain, nursed him along and finally allowed him to explode upon the unsuspecting public. The new star was ... Jimi Hendrix, destined, alas, not to live long, but also destined to burn so brightly before his death on September 18th, 1970. 

A brilliant guitarist, a master showman, who believed that music needed to put the SHOW back into show-business, otherwise there wouldn't be any "business" to show. 

The experiences that Chas tasted with the Jimi Hendrix Experience have paid off with the Slade - the recent triumphs of Slade in America reflect this fact. Chas has always appreciated that you've got to crack the American market if you are going to really count as a super-group. Slade, in 1973, really did crack that market. They positively lambasted the fans there, broke box-office records ... and their triumph was all the greater because when they first went there, they were way down the bill ... despite their hit records bak 'ome in Britain. 

Beat a moneymaking trail through America ... one lesson learned by Chas. And another was to insist that a new super-group put on a real show on stage. Jimi Hendrix did this almost intuitively ... playing his guitar with his teeth, cavorting with the microphone, using every fibre of his body to add visual strength to the sheer magic of his musicianship. 

Chas knew Slade had that kind of crowd rousing, riot-inciting talent as soon as he saw them in the Rasputin Club in London. 

They were young, but they were slowly proving that they had the style and talent to earn reasonable money. 

And Chas knew that in his mind they were better musicians than the Animals had been in the beginning. A modest man, Chas says "I could never hope to be able to play bass as well as Jim Lea"
So he had the raw material. He also quickly proved that he had the know-how when it came to exploiting that raw talent. 

Maybe because he's known what it's like to be conned out of your wages, Chas states his aim as manager is to get as much money and as much success for his acts ... as quickly as possible. There are so many hazards in pop music, and so many careers are cut off in mid-stream ... and nobody's fault, just the sheer unpredictability of the .business. 

So Slade and Chas Chandler were made for each other, if they'll pardon the expression. That the success and the money came 

SO quickly probably surprised both group and boss. 

And Chas, who has said he came out of his spell with the Animals with only £1,400 in his pocket, was determined that his group would fare much better in terms of the rewards of stardom. 
1971, through 1972… that first tour of America. On through 1973 - no doubt the memories have come flooding back to Dave and Noddy, Jim and Don as they've barnstormed to ever-greater achievements. The dismay they surely felt as going to the States first as merely "supporting players" made them aware that in that country at least they were starting at the bottom all over again. 

But in the autumn of 1973, as news of their bill-topping efforts screamed back to Britain, there were bands coming up described as "the new" Slade, who said their aim was to create the same kind of excitement as Slade. 

Hear Noddy: "The time is right for us. The mass audiences want what we do. We'd always done the same act but the audiences didn't want it before. They just wanted to be cool and sit down and dig the music and read deep things into it. But finally everybody got sick of that." 

That's part of the sleeve-note on the "Sladest" album ... "the right band at the right time playing for the right audiences. Slade emerged from their Wolverhampton fastness like Attila the Hun high-tailing it down the Appian Way towards a moribund and defenceless Rome." 

And there's Dave Hill saying: "We built up a following with our stage reputation long before we had a hit. So when we did have a hit, it brought more and more people in to see us." 

And they've been called The Working Class Heroes, and there's Don saying: "I'm very conscious that I'm a working class bloke. In this business you meet a-lot of people who are not working class and you know that you're different. Your outlook on life is different to what theirs is. You either decide you want to be part of that clique. Or you don't. And I don't." 

Actually that "Sladest" album was an excellent production in every way. Informative sleeve notes, and the background of those giant hits. Important, too, because it meant that Slade had really earned a "best of the hits" type of album. We learned how some of the songs were written... like "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and "Cum On Feel The Noize" coming from what the Slade boys heard and saw at some of their riotous concert dates. 

And we learned of the deep-down fear of a successful band looking for the follow-up to a giant hit. It's always the most difficult song to find in any group's repertoire. In the Slade's case the song was "Coz I Luv You". And Jimmy says: 'This was honestly the first time we deliberately sat down to write a commercial song. We hadn't had to worry about follow-ups before... we hadn't had any hit singles. Still, we wrote this one in about half-an-hour. We just got the right feel early on. We'd found the right formula in one go... the right sort of simplicity and atmosphere." 

Some of their songs are almost biographical... nostalgic. Like "Pouk Hill" is a beauty spot near where Noddy lives. The brilliant idea of a photographer was to get the lads up on the hill to get some sleeve shots. He insisted they stripped to the waist in all the thick snow. They subsequently got 'flu, and are still complaining that when the pictures appeared you couldn't even see the snow! 

But Slade, non-stop rampaging Slade, have also found that even where there is success there is also near-tragedy. The pop industry, with its endless travelling and rushing hither and thither, has an appalling list of fatalities in road and plane crashes. Don Powell, drummer extraordinaire, was so nearly another statistic in the roll call of horror... 
That dreadful crash which claimed the life of his fiancée, and which put Don in hospital, literally at death's door, hit the pop scene with all the awful starkness of a bomb outrage. Fans sent messages of good luck to Don in hospital, but for weeks it looked as if Don would never drum again. And if he didn't... what would become of Slade? 

But there's a show-must-go-on tradition in pop music, and there was the concert in the Isle of Man, in the July of 1973, when Slade went on stage in front of 4,000 fans, with a stand-in drummer... Frank Lea, brother of Jim. 

There had been a triumphant show at Earls Court. And then the smash. As Don lay unconscious, and the other three group members were holding a conference in Jim's Wolverhampton flat, Frank, 18, was re-piping a dish-washing machine in the next room. 

Despite his lack of experience, he volunteered to act as deputy drummer for the show in the Isle of Man. 

It took considerable courage on his part. 

He knew, too, that the chances were that it would be an all-to-brief taste of fame ... just one gig and then back to work as a plumber. But he settled down to the task with good heart... rehearsed all day Friday, felt reasonably confident when the weekend arrived. 

Frank Lea, Slade-for-a-day. He'd learned his stick-work from Don Powell, so he'd been well taught. And up there, on stage, he learned the good news, along with the others, that Don was going to pull through. That it might be a long job of convalescence, but that he would drum again. 

Again the odd knocker said that they should have cancelled out the show, out of respect for Don ... yet Don was the first to say, when he had recovered and was getting back in harness, that it was only right that the show did go on. Paul McCartneyBeatlestar, recalled that the same thing had happened in the hey-day of HIS group ... when Ringo couldn't make a tour of Australia and a deputy went in.

Naturally the fans, who'd expected that the show might be called off, were ecstatic with delight that Slade had gone on, blown a beaut of a show ... and there was a special barrage of applause for Frank Lea, up there at the back. They gave Frank a day off next day. But he was back fixing taps, handling spanners not drumsticks, the following Tuesday ... and so another dramatic chapter of pop history was written. 

Some groups tend to take new honours, new awards, for granted. But Slade are always grateful for each new expression of devotion from the fans. They've won countless popularity polls - Best Group, Best Live Band, Leading Recording Act... Pop magazines have headlined Slade triumphs... but each time the boys wind up number one they really mean it when they say... 
'Thanks a million - much obliged - hope we can keep up the good work!" 
When they were booked into the famed London Palladium for a January 1973 Sunday night concert, there were those who shook their heads sadly and predicted that this was NOT the right venue for a rumbustious pop group like Slade. The show incidentally was promoted as part of the celebrations to mark Britain's entry into the Common Market

Not the right venue? Originally booked for just one show, the box-office reported a sell-out after only two hours so Chas Chandler decided to hold another one in the afternoon of the same day. Failure... an eagle-eyed person actually spotted one empty seat down in the stalls when the boys started their act. Turned out that the seat-holder had just slipped out to answer an urgent call of nature. 

The thing about Slade is that they're so downright natural and amiable that even the highest sections of authority and the Establishment like them. 

Recently at the Lyceum Ballroom in London Slade were presented with the Carl Alan award for the 'Top Group', for the second year running - by no less a person than H. R. H. Princess Margaret, who later invited the boys to join her at her table. There they joked and laughed for some considerable time, and it is also believed that the Princess confessed to being a big fan of Slade! 

In the Melody Maker, Chris Charlesworth wrote: 'The group was born about six years ago in Wolverhampton. But the four young men who make up the group are among the most down to earth of any successful pop musicians. It seems almost unbelievable that they still live at their parents' homes in Wolverhampton and when possible travel back to Wolverhampton after a gig rather than stay in a hotel. Apart from Noddy Holder, they are all on the telephone and the numbers are in the phone book making it easy for local fans to contact them. Fans constantly wait on their doorsteps..." 

That piece was written in September 1972. Later on, the boys were to get their own homes ... splashing out, they called it. And they bought their own cars, and they learned that it was common sense to stay at the best hotels and enjoy a real night's rest rather than make do in near doss-house conditions. 

But underneath those material possessions, behind the writing of a few big cheques, they remained the same likeable blokes on and off stage. Noddy's voice has, if anything, got louder and more powerful over the years. Dave has got more energetic and his guitar solos more ambitious. Jim looks more and more the serious musician, the man who got his training in a youth symphony orchestra, no less. And Don sweats more and more as he grinds out that excruciatingly powerful and unremitting beat which is so much a part of the Slade sound. 

Each has found individuality. Each has a separate role to play. Talk to Jim and he jokes about being the one that nobody knows about, but in fact his vital statistics are embedded in the heart of umpteen thousands of fans. 

Still he says: "I had a fantastic life 'as an infant, in a country village. And my mother was so keen on music that she gave me every encouragement to play violin. But my interest in art clashed with my interest in music. That's not all ... my interest in pop music nearly caused a family split!" 

"It was because of my idols, the In Beetweens ... they'd auditioned me, and offered me a job, but it meant turning professional. At the same time my acceptances came through for several different art colleges I'd written to. I said yes to the group job ... and my mum didn't speak to me for a whole month." 

But it's been worth it, hasn't it? And Jim grins, because there are a whole lot of things he can talk to his mum about these days ... 

Especially about the way the fans react to some typical Noddy Holder riot-raising. His dialogue changes from venue to venue, but the impact is just the same ... 
"Are you all having a good time?" ... cheers. "We hear there's a lot of sporting' girls in this town"... cheers. "Hands up all the girls with white knickers" ... hands flutter. "Hands up the girls with no knickers"... gigantic roars, and more hands flutter. And some more of the party spirit with: 
"We want all the fellows and all the girls to stand nice and close during this next romantic number... we want all of you to get a good feel of each other"... shuffle, shuffle, laugh, and more cheers. 
Noddy knows just how far to take it. There have been extrovert whippers-up of audiences before in pop music, but Noddy is the guv'nor. He's the one who demands that hands be waved in the air. The one who controls perfectly organised yelling matches between males and females. He stomps and cavorts, and grins, and leers. He's perhaps best of all at leering. A Noddy Holder leer is something to behold. 
To get that kind of instant reaction you also need the very best of sound equipment. No good demanding audience participation if the audience can't hear your demands. So Slade have forked out for the best gear ... for the first few years of stardom, they ploughed just about every penny they made back into the group's equipment. 

Every last detail is checked out. And that, again shows the ever-present influence of Chas Chandler, who believes in leaving nothing to chance. 

Naturally, the sheer firepower of a Slade performance has led to comparisons with other bands ... some of whom having been established for a long time. The Who - often mentioned in the same context as Slade. The Rolling Stones, too. But the boys believe that these comparisons really are odious. 
Says Noddy: "The thing is that we know people are trying to be complimentary when they liken us to someone else. But they keep harking back to the 1960's, and we're convinced we're essentially a band of the Seventies. We want to be thought of as trend-setters, not followers. When those guys during the progressive scene, went up there on stage, spent half-an-hour just tuning up, then their turned their backs on the audience while they played great long solos ... when they did that, they were setting up a reaction among the fans.  
"The fans were saying: 'To hell with all this boring stuff. We want to be entertained. We pay good money to see a group, and we want them to make some kind of effort to put on a show: That's where we came in ... we could put on a show." 
"We get fed up with the people who say that the fans haven't got taste ... specially if they send our records up to the top of the charts in double-quick time. Who is to say what is taste; or who should buy what? Those fans will only spend their bread on stuff THEY think is good. You just try letting your standards slip, and they'll soon show you what they think of you. Getting complacent is the worst thing that can happen to a chart band."  
"And you won't catch us making snide remarks about other people getting hits. There's just gotta be room for all kinds of music in this business." 
It's been said that Slade, particularly during the hectic year of 1973, have developed a knack of getting audiences to react in the same way that football-club supporters behave ... the in-time clapping, the chanting as if on some special cue, and the whole atmosphere of competitive enthusiasm. 

And Nod and the others won't disagree. 

In fact, he has said that it wouldn't surprise him if 75 percent of the Slade fans were soccer fans, too. Nod himself used to go to watch Walsall and Wolverhampton Wanderers when he was a kid, and he says that one of the most emotional things he's experienced was watching a film on television of the Liverpool FC Kop supporters swaying, arms linked, and singing "You'll Never Walk Alone". The scarves raised in supplication to their red-shirted heroes ... it stuck firmly in Noddy's mind. And that's why he so much enjoys including that song in the Slade act of today. 
He adds: "You'd be surprised how many letters we get linking us with some football club. Like 'All we have in life is Slade and Manchester United' ... or whatever club is involved." 
Predictably Slade are also inundated with letters from fans - there were 14,000 in one particular week. Some of the fans ask for help over private and personal matters. Slade, as a group, are flattered, but they try not to commit themselves in replies. They have a highly organised fan club, but they don't want to set themselves up as psychologists and psychiatrists as well. "We have enough things on our own minds", they say. But you can see that they are genuinely concerned about their fans who find themselves in trouble. 

Maybe Slade will never entirely lose their links with their own origins. Certainly it is true that Noddy, even after three giant hit singles, carried on with his original holiday plans of a few days in Ireland, hitch-hiking with a rucksack on his back. And never, ever, letting on, who he was to any of the motorists who gave him a lift. To have been treated like a pop celebrity, instead of just another lonely walker, would have spoilt the whole idea. 


The down-to-earth ness was well illustrated at the time the Slade gang moved off to America in April of 1973. There were so many good wishes travelling with the so-called "Superyobs" as they steamed off via a British Caledonian jet from Gatwick airport. 

They had been before, as we've seen, way down the bill, but preparing the ground for this, the real test of their ability to adapt for American audiences. They'd talked plans right through the night ... how to change football chants for baseball calls, and how they realised it was what you did out there on stage that mattered, not merely ballyhoo advertising in the newspapers. 

They'd even kitted Dave Hill out with a special costume, featuring the padded shoulders as worn by the typical American football star. Dave has always been the one to wear the make-up and the flash clothes. He collects the expected ribald remarks from the others, but he has learned that a thick skin is the best defence against the mickey takers. 

Slade used the trip to record in the States, and again Chas Chandler's know-how paid off big dividends. As for their earthy, British style humour, well, Slade were determined not to allow American audiences make them change all that. "We're what we are", said Noddy, adding "For better or worse. Just a bunch of English Superyobs." 

They worried themselves sick, but they didn't admit it. And once they'd got into the run of the American way of pop, they realised they had nothing to worry about. On the most important series of gigs in their career together, they triumphed. Or to put it another way: America was SLAYED. 

And they were introduced as Britain's number one rock and roll band, and Dave carted those shoulders of his out to mid-stage, and Noddy wore his usual gear and exhorting the fans in an even broader accent than usual ... "get together, get those feet going, put the boots in" ... instant communication. A few American fans, looking a trifle uncertain, gawked. But the mass of the audience got together, got those feet going, put the boots in hard on the floor. 

They were suitably, comprehensively, slayed. 
Journalists covering the first concerts of this magnificent flag-waving tour were somewhat surprised to hear Noddy deliver some of his direct threats.... "If any of you don't get in singing with us, I'll be down among you and kicking a few backsides." 

Slade can feel dead whacked from travelling thousands of miles. They can be sharing some discomfort, or bad news, or just be feeling ill. But once it's a shout of "get down and get with it ... S-L-A-D-E ..." then they turn on the fire-power and energy. Enough to fire off a space ship. Enough to power an ocean-going liner ... or so it seems. 

Umpteen people have tried to analyse what there is so special about the Slade brand of music. You can ask a dozen critics and they'll come up with a dozen different answers. But ask Jim, and he reckons it's all down to the basic fact of ... simplicity. 
Says he: "I used to write a lot of really complicated things for the group, and then be surprised when nobody took much notice. But it's obvious that if you want to communicate musically to the greatest number of people, then you have to find a basic simplicity ... not try to talk, musically, miles over your head. 
"You listen to a Tschaikovsky piano concerto, and underneath it all is simplicity. The heavier guys just leave everybody behind. I could play it by my so-called trained-ear... write songs that are absolutely correct in every detail, but I'd be running the risk of leaving all the listeners behind. There's nothing clever in that. So I've thrown away the musical rulebook. I go for simplicity. And Nod and I find the songs just keep on coming." 
Why, one wonders, do so many critics take delight in putting down Slade? Probably it's just a matter of success, and the inevitable jealousy that it brings in its wake. A critic doesn't get the adulation or the money, so he gets his kicks out of putting down the successful. 

Fair-minded critics; and there ARE some, have revised their views ... from just thinking Slade to be a noisy rabble-rousing band they've accepted the tremendous musicianship of the group. But Slade, like many another top group, know that critics are unpredictable. They've had rave reviews when they know for some reason (say Noddy’s sore throat) they have played badly. 

And they've been panned into the ground when they know perfectly well they've given a top-value, grade A performance. 

All they ask is that they are an act, a show business entertainment, as well as a group. They go on stage because they like to entertain, and are confident in their own showmanship. If they didn't have that confidence, then they'd just stick to making records in the studios and you'd hardly be aware of what they looked like. 
Maybe you'd think that Slade have now seen everything, and are surprised by nothing. Well, they were certainly surprised by the activities of the Groupies in the States. The boys explained, wide-eyed with astonishment: 'They really are something. 

They have their own handout sheets ... like photographs and personal details. And they don't like being called groupies any more - they describe themselves as friends of the groups. And they have their own cars and flats, and they get your phone number and just ring through and say they want to see you. 
"In most hotels you have trouble getting in and out because they are continuously patrolling the lobbies. You tell them you want to go back to your room on your own... and they just don't believe you. Won't accept it without a helluva argument." 
But touring, especially in the States, is a hectic business and more often than not Slade had interviews and photo-calls as well as the on-stage shows ... so they were able to plead total exhaustion. 
And when they finally did get back to Britain, after their three American tours, they were more than happy to get back to Wolverhampton and a bit of peace and quiet. They've always been impressed with the way that the locals bak 'ome refuse to treat their superstars as anything more than just good mates. 

In Wolverhampton there are the memories. Memories of playing as the In Betweens in a working man's club in Nottingham, and getting booed off because they were playing too loud, and the master of ceremonies roaring into the microphone, as the lads scampered off: 'The committee insisted on having a Wolverhampton group and now we've had 'em, we can send 'em back home." 

There's the local boozer, called The Strumpet (sic), and characters that abound.... like one Reg Keirle, a pianist-entertainer who is unlikely to dislodge Elton John from his pinnacle but nevertheless entertains enthusiastically with wittily re-written versions of familiar airs. 
And there's no doubting the pride the boys feel in their home-town ... they refuse to allow Dave to regard himself as a Devonian any more, but have recruited him as a full-time Black-Countryman. They are, of course, known everywhere. 

Known to one Philip Husban, a man of the church, who has long encouraged local musicians, and used to provide rehearsal rooms for the Slade as beginners. A great man, say the boys. Great because though he's pushing on a bit, he's really in touch with what young people are thinking and, more to the point, what they like to listen to. And he believes he can tell within a few bars whether a new record is going to be a hit or not. That's the kind of talent, which could make a fortune in Tin Pan Alley ... 
Says Don: "There are plenty of clubs and pubs in Wolverhampton where you can go for a pint and a chat, and nobody to disturb you. They'll call you all kinds of names, but it's all in good part, and maybe it's just to cover any kind of embarrassment. They don't give you the big-star treatment, and believe me it makes a nice change." 

But, alas, there aren't many places in the area where a superstar band can actually go out and play. Slade will never forget their early-days fans, but they sometimes regret that they can't make more concert appearances for them. 

Walk round Wolverhampton with Slade and you are aware of an instant feeling of mutual admiration and respect. It's a nice feeling ... 

As far as the money side goes, Slade take things very carefully. After they'd had a hit record, Chas Chandler had to persuade them to pay an extra five bob a head so they could stay in better bed and breakfast hotels. They chortle with delight when they recall the hotel manageress who said they'd have to share a room ... and they all said they didn't mind seeing as how they were all good friends, and they went upstairs and found the room, opened the door ... and found they were expected to share with half-a-dozen assorted Irish navvies, all of whom were already snoring their heads off. 

A hit record, financially speaking, means income from royalties, but some groups tail off in their personal appearances as the money comes in ... they grow careless, forget details, don't bother, turn up late - or, at very best, simply cut back on the length of the act. 
Slade, though, seem to work harder and harder to please. 
Says Noddy: "We don't think of ourselves as a short-term thing. We want the people who come to have a good time at one of our shows today to be coming to have a good time in five years' time... ten, maybe. If you really care what you give your fans then they'll stick with you." 
Says Noddy: "You remember little things. Like I remember the first pair of knickers ever thrown up at us on stage. They were smallish and orange and white. I've kept them. In fact, I wouldn't clean me guitar with anything else ... " 

You know he means it when he says: 
"Seeing an audience having a good time is what it's all about. I'll get an audience going it if kills me. It may take a couple of numbers, but I'll get 'em going. Right from the time I was a sergeant in the Cadet Corps I've had this confidence that I can handle other people. I was in a gang, the Beachdale Mob (sic), and we had a pretty lively reputation, one way and another. 
'Thing is that we've learned so much just by sticking together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so that we've been able to build up our act on that knowledge. So it figures that the longer we ARE together the better the act must become. But ... we want to stay a working-class working band, and that means that we have to keep in touch with ordinary working-class folk." 

Dave has been asked many times about his silver glitter - girl fans assume a superstar must inevitably pay superstar prices for it. They're generally astounded to learn that they'll only have to fork out 4p, and invest in a hairspray if they want to get the right effect on their hair ... first spray the hair, then immediately sprinkle some glitter over it ... acting fast so that the hairspray will still be sticky, then leave for a minute or two until the spray is dry, then brush through lightly to spread the glitter evenly. 

From such a simple manoeuvre comes a great new pop-music trend. 
And despite horoscopes and predictions and whatever, they still get dozens of letters weekly asking for the boys' birthdays. 

And the short snappy answer is: Don on September 10, Jim on June 14, Nod on the following day, June 15, and Dave nearly an April Fool-er on April 4. 

Every birthday about half-a-ton of chewing gum arrives for Don. It's chewing that keeps him going... 

Slade Around The World….

One day they'll write a movie-script about what happens to today’s Slade as they roar round the world on gigs. Maybe the true story will come across as a work of fiction, but for sure the boys will HAVE to play themselves. They'll be ideally cast to enact scenes like the time they had to use a police Black Maria van to escape from the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth... using a second van as a decoy. 

Like Dave working it out that he throws about five quid's worth of glitter at fans every week. Like being called BACK on stage at the Paris Olympia by the police to calm down a frenzied audience. Like Dave becoming an avid collector of clocks, yet still often not being sure what time or day it is . 

Like a casual afternoon's shopping in Todd's, Kensington Market, for high-platform shoes leading to a new fashion with the Bata shoe shop chain selling Slade-styled footwear... and like Dave forgetting he was wearing platform shoes and tripping, breaking a leg, and ending up well plastered. Like Don, on a promotional film, being "shot" with a fish in his mouth, and having to assure the authorities that it REALLY was a dead one, about to be fed to some sea lions. Like the fire brigade being called in Holland to support a balcony in a theatre while fans climbed down to safety - the Slade good vibes had proved too much for it. 

In fact, there's something weird happening just about every day. Latest thing is the large number of letters coming in about the Slade's roadie crew ... these hard-grafting back-room boys are getting their own share of hero-worship from fans. 

There's Swin, alias Graham Swinnerton, also known by the Slade as Mr. Immaculate for his sartorial elegance. And there is sound mixer, "Charlie", otherwise Ian Newham who is reputed to be an expert at driving down roads in the wrong direction. Roadie Rob, apparently unknown by any other name, except sometimes as Paddy, and on other occasions "a thunderin' Scottish drunk". 

Slade men talk of their staff in light-hearted tones, but that hides not the fact that the backroom boys are very essential to the smooth running of the outfit. 
"You can say they are indispensable", says Nod. "And if you don't say it, you can be sure they'll say it for themselves." 
However the noble art of roadie work has developed over the years. The roadie has to have a very good knowledge of all kinds of subjects... electricity, cars, map-reading etiquette, diplomacy. And the ability to help Dave get a YOB I number plate for his silver Jensen. 

One other-side-of-the-world highlight in the Slade book of memories was in Melbourne when they played to a crowd of some 45,000 fans in a thunderstorm. Seems the drought-affected Aussies had been praying for two things: rain AND the Slade. 

Slade turned up, did a little dance at the airport and down came the rain. Many groups would have scrubbed the gig, because there can be very real danger in using electronic equipment in a thunderstorm, but Slade, as ever, were determined not to let the fans down. 
And, again, this kind of devotion to duty stems from Chas Chandler. There's no doubt at all that he's the number one Slade fan. He really digs the boys, defends them from criticism, deals with intruders in one of two ways - (a) with gentle persuasion and Newcastle-type wit or (b) with heavy insistence, backed up by his giant stature. He encourages changes but an "outside" critic gets short change from him. 

Truth is, of course, that Chas really does know more about rock and roll than most people, so there's not much dividend in crossing swords with him. 

There's no real point dwelling, here, on the spell of Slade-ism when things were NOT going too well ... that is during their skinhead era. It didn't last long, but the "disguise" they had to wear took some adjusting. They stripped off their hair and wore it shaving brush style ... about an inch long. 

They were representatives of the skinhead scene, and were idolised therefore by the mods who wore bower boots, braces and so on. But it did react against Slade for a while, because they were unfairly associated with the violence that some skinheads indulged in. 

The fearsome posters of Slade scattered round the country didn't help much, because Don, though a gentle chap beneath it all, was quite capable of putting an expression fierce enough to make strong men quail. Slade as a group didn't mind the skinheads because they were the ones who really enjoyed dancing - and to be a real Slade fan you've got to enjoy dancing. 

It was an era soon over. It's rarely talked about now, but it has to be mentioned, even if just in passing, in any comprehensive survey of what made Slade what they are today. But Noddy admits, perhaps still a little ruefully, that for a time promoters were reluctant to use Slade in their halls because they anticipated nothing but trouble once the skinhead fans got weaving. 

Now the Slade gentlemen are copied, aped, cribbed from and mimicked by umpteen other groups. There are Slade T-shirts, stickers, everything. But it was interesting to check out with Noddy Holder on the kind of bands that really turned him on when he was but a youngster. 
He admits right away: "First time I saw a band live, saw that singer up there in the spotlight, I was into the glamour thing. I knew it was what I wanted to do. You never could dream of it being like it has been ... America, hit records and that ... but I had the idea that it'd be a quick way to fame, to the fast cars and the birds and all that sort of thing. Then when you're getting the hits, those things don't seem so important." 
"But I was really into the shows put on by the Rolling Stones - oh yeah, and the Kinks. I remember first time I saw the Who, with Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon. And the Small Faces, as they were then ... I -really enjoyed their shows. You'd hardly believe some of the package deals that hit Wolverhampton in the early days ... like Jimi Hendrix, Englebert Humperrdinck, the Walker Brothers and Cat Stevens, all on the same show. Funny about Hendrix, how we're managed by the guy who took him to the top." 
"Pop was exciting in those days. Then some of the excitement slipped away, and then it came back again. I'm dead chuffed that we've had a bit to do with bringing back that excitement." 
To the people who write to Noddy imploring him to take things easier otherwise he might wreck his voice for good, here's an important message. Dave Hill thinks Nod's voice is actually getting better all the time ... sort of building muscles on the tonsils and hitting match fitness all the time. But lots of fans HAVE been very concerned about the amount of whoa-whoa-ing Nod gets through in an average concert. 

But the boys DO get tired, and they do sometimes genuinely look on the point of exhaustion. It's so easy for the fans to demand too much from their heroes. Some star names can just turn off, be abrupt to the point of rudeness, but Slade are 'built differently ... and it's obvious that they will have to watch the amount of public-image work they put in. 

Yet they say they get bored if they don't have enough to do... that getting out there in front of a responsive audience is reward enough for all the ligging about they have to do. 

And the hits will surely continue as long as Jim and Nod want them to. Says Noddy: 
"Until we'd done the Slade Alive album we didn't really realise that a combination like ours could possibly work.  
"I mean there's Jim who knows what it's all about, and there's me, just playing it by ear. But suddenly there it was - exactly right for the two of us. We just sat down and the hits started coming out." 
Slade now are established as just about the most exciting live band in the whole wide pop-listening world. Some of their early work is now much in demand... fans offer to pay large sums of money for the old Ambrose Slade albums, like Beginnings, and Genesis, a single on the old Philips label. And a first off Polydor single, Know Who You Are, out first in September 1970, has also been deleted. 

They joke about those old records, but accept that even the hopeful-hopeless flops have been very much part of the development of the group. As were the meals they used to get from Mrs. Swinnerton, mother of their back-room "genius" Swin - great lumps of bread pudding to give them strength to go out on a poorly-paid gig... when now they can afford the most expensive grub in the most pricey and exclusive restaurants. 

Talk to the parents of the individual Slade men and you are talking to very proud folk indeed. They love to recall little incidents about days gone by... such as when Jim played truant from school and crashed slap into his mum in the local supermarket, only to be marched back, by the left ear to the classroom. . 

Christmas is obviously one of the happiest times of the year. For pop groups the period that runs from one year into the next is important as well as happy - it's the time of the annual battle to see which singer or band gets the hit record tied in with the festive season... and it's the time when the popularity poll results are printed in the pop papers. 

Take Slade's scene stage by stage. Slade's commemorative single was the rampaging "Merry Christmas Everybody" which once again zoomed into the charts straight to the number one spot. And they had a considerable amount of big-name competition against them ... like Roy Wood's Wizzard and Elton John. But Slade proved their fanatical fan support by having THE big Christmas hit of the year. 

And the poll results. Top British band, and by a mile, in the Record and Radio Mirror Poll. They had nigh on four times as many votes as second group T. Rex, who'd actually won the title the year before. 

Noddy was voted second top singer, and he hadn't even made the top ten the year before. Dave Hill came out as top guitarist, and Jimmy Lea got a top ten rating in that division, too. Jim was also in the top ten keyboard men as well. Don Powell was a very comfortable winner in the top drummer section, and both he and Jim were rated in the miscellaneous section.

More awards came in the Disc Music Poll Awards for 1974. Slade came out Top British group, and fourth in the world. They were the best live group... and the amazing Mr. Holder beat the likes of Cliff Richard, Marc Bolan and Gary Glitter in the top British male singer division. 
In that paper there was a fascinating interview in which Dave Hill and his dad talked about things generally, and Slade in particular. Seems Mr. Hill Senior actually likes classical music, especially by Bach, and then goes for the lush orchestral material of James Last ... but his pride and joy, music apart, is the lads of Slade. 

In the front room of the council house in Wolverhampton is a collection of Gold Discs. Next-door is a school for 500 lucky girls... except that they have been warned by their headmaster not to talk to Dave or try to get into his house. 
Says Dave: "They really are a good bunch of girls. They do try to leave me alone so I can relax here with my parents when I'm not in my own home. Still our values have always been more in people, than in things, so I dig living up this way and ignoring what they call the big bright lights of London." 
As for the "Merry Christmas Everybody" single... well, there was talk about why they'd brought it out so soon with "My Friend Stan" still high in the charts. But Noddy pointed out that it would have been stupid wishing people a merry Christmas in the middle of March... and anyway: 
"We really did want to thank our fans everywhere wanted to give them a special message hoping they'd have a good time over Christmas and wishing them all the best for the New Year. Simple as that - a special Christmas card, which just happened to be in the shape of a record." 
One of the great highlights of Slade's year was their gig at Earls Court, where eighteen thousand fans were packed in... everybody having a ball and really feeling the Noize! They took film of that show and it is being worked into a semi-documentary movie, which will dig deep into just WHAT makes Slade such a standout live band. 

It's understandable that sometimes Slade wonder what there is left for them to do... each new triumph has them closer to dominating the scene. Maybe the one thing is just to be accepted as THE greatest band in the world - accepted by everybody everywhere. And sometimes, judging by the piles of fan-mail stamped with the stamps of all nationalities, it seems they've already achieved just that. 
Maybe the world-tour scene is a bit worrying for Slade fans in Britain; possibly they might think their heroes are gradually deserting them. Not so. The Mighty Mister Holder has said, over and over again: 
"This country, Britain, is our bread and butter. It's our home and we love it. We'd never leave it. After all, it took five long years of very hard work. So in 1973 we spent more time abroad than ever before, and there's more to come right through to 1975, but there will always be at least one major tour a year in Britain ... we'll always come Bak 'Ome." 
As for the knockers ... well, they can just go on moaning. Slade know there's no pleasing SOME people. Towards the end of January and February this year, several critics said that if they'd only stop the fooling around on stage, then Slade would really qualify as a first-rate rock band... as if they didn't already. 
Says Dave about that: "We're not a band for people to watch, sit and listen to - our act is up there on stage, and we want to get all our fans into it as much as possible. I honestly believe we're giving people what they want, so to hell with the critics ... every time we playa hall, I'm certain we go away with a few hundred more genuine followers." 
"And if through no fault of our own, some fans get carried away and do a bit of damage... well, we try to put it right. But seeing fans really enjoying themselves is something else ... we get a real kick out of seeing 'em coming down the M6 for a London gig and waving their scarves and their top hats and so on. Just like a football crowd on the way to a match, only it's just for the four of us." 
 It's the attention to detail, the determination to please and the sheer hundred per cent get-up-and-go that keeps Slade on top. As each year goes by, the nigglers assume that the Slade bubble will burst. It won't. And believe us, the boys have got a lot of real surprises up their colourful sleeves for the future. 

As you read this, Slade are sitting on top of the pop world. As you read this, Slade are no doubt remembering that they had to fight very hard to make the grade. That's why they still take nothing for granted... not even worldwide popularity. 

Truly a super-class supergroup. And truly a team of infinite talent.


Watergate…Iggy…lifts and Alcatraz!!
Andrew Birkin looks at Slade's successful US tour.

Some time in New York City. A girl hovered round the foyer of a Manhattan hotel, clutching a brown paper bag beneath her coat. Two bomb scares had headlined the papers that morning, and the receptionist eyed her parcel with suspicion. "Is Dave Hill here?" The receptionist shook her head without taking her eyes off the parcel.· "They checked out an hour ago. Can I help you?" The girl gave a resigned, dejected sigh. "You see the thing is that I've been up since five getting this stuff for Dave. I had to go miles to get the right stuff." Adding "He's very particular, you know." The girl opened the bag to reveal the precious contents - two pounds of finest multi-coloured glitter. "Cost me over ten dollars. I mean it's not the bread, it's just that..." She turned towards the exit doors. "Oh, Dave - why do I do it for you?" 

Dave Hill stood with his arms outstretched, legs apart, while an Airport Security man checked him over.
"Hey, watch what you're doing down there. I'm feeling very sensitive this morning!" 
On the plane to Toledo, an all-American car salesman from Detroit subjected Don Powell to a lecture in defence of Nixon and the Watergate tapes. "What's so special about Watergate, huh? I mean what's so darned special about buggin', huh?" Don nodded vaguely. "I do it all the time." He clamped on a pair of headphones, but the salesman continued undeterred. "I mean, what do you think about it all, huh?" Don fiddled with the volume switch. "Sounds great in stereo..." 

This was Slade's third U. S. tour, and the rigours of inter-city flights were being met with all the sleepy indifference of the seasoned traveller. Noddy and Jim kicked round vague ideas for a new number between mouthfuls of homogenized sandwiches, while Chas Chandler settled back to his eighth sci-fi paperback in ten days. Dave stared blankly out at the snowy wastes of Northern Ohio and then leaned across to Swin.
"Hey you didn't see that bird with the glitter, did you?" 
The Toledo Sports Centre was thronged with 4,000 blue-jeaned kids, watching Iggy and the Stooges in stony silence. Slade's reputation as a live act had built up over the two previous tours, and the crowd were beginning to get impatient. A chorus of "We Want Slade" spread from the front rows as Iggy pranced about the stage in his Y Fronts, waving the mike stand at a gaggle of girls holding up a "Cum On And Feel The Noize" (sic) banner. Back in the dressing room Chas settled into a corner with his book, surrounded by coke-filled litterbins and boxes of half-eaten Kentucky fried chicken. Noddy had sought sanctuary in the shower room, and was sitting on an upturned beer crate, swathed in a heavy black overcoat and patiently tuning his guitar. On stage Iggy launched into a last attempt to work up enthusiasm for his act, hurling himself half naked into the front rows. A moment later, Slade marched on stage like victors from a cup final. Dave strutted across to the far mike, his shadow rising over the vast arena roof like some Tolkien phantom. From the moment they walked on stage, the fans were with them all the way through to the end. But then Toledo was like home ground; other gigs had not been so easy. Like London, Ontario, a hundred miles north of the border in Canada. This was a first time appearance, and for the first ten minutes the audience gazed at Slade like Zombies, mouths open, as if they'd been expecting to see a performance of "Swan Lake". But like a political orator, Noddy was quick to adapt to the situation. 
"You've gotta suss them out. Audiences are like women - you've gotta find their weaknesses. If they start playing hard to get, you've gotta coax them till you feel the right moment." 
The moment came when somebody threw a bottle on the stage. Noddy picked it up, then walked slowly back to the mike. He'd seen the boy who'd thrown it, and pointed straight at him.
"We didn't come here for a punch up, but if that's what you want, that's what we'll give you... after the show. Alright:' 
There was a dead hush, followed by a sweep of applause. From that moment, Slade could do no wrong, and by the end the kids were up on the seats, shouting and cheering through three encores. When Slade left for the last time it took six roadies to hold back the crowds from the stage. 
"Anyone seen Dave?" - Noddy and Don looked up as Chas came into the restaurant. The Detroit concert was due to start in half- an-hour, and Jim had already left with Swin. "He's probably taking a kip", said Noddy, finished off his hamburger. 

Chas called his room again, but there was no answer. Then came the message - the lift had stuck between two floors. Needless to say, Dave was inside, hammering on the doors while his only companion, the bell-boy, sat quaking on the floor in a stage of advanced panic. "Come on, boy - where's that stiff upper lip?" 

But Dave's attempt to restore a sense of British command was sadly wasted. The bellboy could only mumble something about having had prunes for breakfast which rapidly transformed the lift into a gas chamber! The rest of the group waited in the lobby, not knowing whether to cancel the gig, write out the funeral invitations - or both. After frantic efforts from the hotel management, Dave emerged from the lift ten minutes later, his hand clasped to his mouth and nose. 
From the 20,000 seater at the Philadelphia Spectrum, Slade now travailed 3,000 miles to keep a date with the little town of Fresno, California. They have always preferred playing small gigs where there is less of a barrier between audience and group, and in Fresno they had already won a dedicated following. On the night of the concert, the tiny Rainbow Club was packed, with hundreds more crowding the entrance in hope of tickets. After the show, many of the kids followed Slade up to San Francisco to see the concert a second time around. While Slade were on stage, Chas got an unexpected visit from two traffic police. It turned out that one of the roadies had been caught speeding on the free-way between Fresno and San Francisco, and was currently languishing in a California jail. After an hour of hard bargaining, Chas managed to get him a temporary release - on condition that the roadie would fly back to Fresno from New York at the end of the tour, serve out a week in jail, then fly on direct to Australia to join up with Slade for their tour of the Far East! To find out what the unfortunate roadie might be experiencing in an American jail, Don joined a sightseeing tour of Alcatraz the following day. The prison had only been open to the public for the past month, but already hundreds had made the boat-trip across San Francisco Bay to the former State Penitentiary. The party were given a long lecture during the guided tour, and at the end they were asked if they had any questions. Don put up his hand. "Where's the electric chair?". He was somewhat disappointed to hear that there had never been one at Alcatraz, and went off to sulk in the Birdman's solitary confinement cell. Unfortunately, he slammed the cell door behind him, and it took all of ten minutes before he could be released!
From San Francisco, the group flew south to Los Angeles to appear at the Hollywood Palladium. Noddy was a bit apprehensive. 

Their earlier tour had come unstuck when the equipment had packed up halfway through the concert due to a power cut. The group settled back for the hour-long flight and Chas took out his 14th paper-back. Suddenly the emergency lights started flashing, followed by the Captain's voice over the loudspeaker. "This is your Captain, Archibald Nixon, speaking. We appear to have a slight fault with the landing gear, and are now returning to San Francisco to check out the problem, following fuel ejection procedure." Fuel ejection constituted the bizarre spectacle of watching 5,000 gallons of fuel being dumped from the wing tips over San Francisco Bay. So much for the Energy Crisis! Don and Jim looked nervously out of the window at the lines of ambulances and fire engines taking up their positions of the tarmac, but Chas remained unperturbed by such minor incidents as he breezed on through Chapter 10. 
Noddy's premonitions for the Los Angeles concert proves unfounded, in fact it turned out to be one of the most successful gigs of the whole tour. Only one person seemed upset. He stood at the back of the audience glancing at his watch. "What time do Emerson, Lake and Palmer come on?" "You've got the wrong place, fella - they're twenty miles down the road in Anaheim!" 

He was about to leave when the lights dimmed, and Noddy gave them a track from Slade's new album "Everyday". By the end of the concert, he was raving along with the rest of them. Somebody saw him later on. "I thought you were going to that ELP concert?" He hesitated. "Yeah? Well, everyone can make a mistake, can't they? By the way, where can I get one of those Slade T-Shirts?" 

A week later, Slade were on their way home for a brief stop-over in Wolverhampton before starting yet another tour - this time the Far East. "How do you think it went, Chas?" asked one of the P R men. Chas looked up from his 18th paperback. "Judge for yourself," handing him one of the trade magazines. "Goodtime Gals" (sic) had only been released in America the week before. It was already at No.18 ... and moving fast towards the top ten. 

Production by CCT International (UK), Production Dept. P. O. Box 15, Stanmore, Middx., England, Tel: 01-958-3236, Telex: 923930, © 1974 CCT International (UK), Produced in co-operation with Barn Productions, 13 South Molton Street, London W1. This magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of the publisher. Published by CCT International (UK), P. O. Box 15, Stannmore, Middx. Tel: 01-958-3236, Telex: 923930. Distributors: New English Library Ltd., Barnard's Inn, London EC1 N2JR, Tel: 014614. Advertisement Rate No.1 from 1 st January 1974 on request. Printed in West Germany. Pics-Colour: Gered Mankowitz, B/W: Andrew Birkin & S.K.R. International. .




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Many thanks to Lincoln's finest, Mark Johnson, who supplied me with the magazine, my copy went missing many years ago,