Monsters Of Rock Festival 1981

Castle Donnington, August 22nd, 1981

The crowd had been soaked to the skin twice already before Slade came on, which was not a good start, as they must have felt thoroughly damp and miserable by now!

But, Slade did what they do best and delivered the following Setlist to the best of their abilities:-
Dizzy Mamma
When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'
Take Me Bak 'Ome
Lock Up Your Daughters - (premiere!)

Everyday
Pistol Packin' Mama
Gudbuy T' Jane
We'll Bring The House Down
Get Down And Get With It
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Cum On Feel The Noize
Born To Be Wild
Merry Xmas Everybody
With such miserable weather dampening the events, it would be easy to hold damp memories of the gig, too?

However, Jim Lea does recall the band’s celebrated performance at Donington in 1981 with great pride.

“It actually started the year before, when we replaced Ozzy Osbourne on the bill for the Reading Festival (August 24). We were really all over at that point and were about to split up. I remember Tommy Vance coming into our dressing room beforehand, and saying, ‘I know what you can do. You know what you can do. So do it’. We went out there, and no word of a lie we stole the whole festival. It was incredible. Afterwards so many musicians wanted to slap us on the back and buy us drinks. It was amazing.
“I know Def Leppard followed us and had a really hard time. They got jeered and bottled, which was a little unfair.

“Anyway, Maurice Jones, who used to manage us and promoted Monsters Of Rock, was there that day. He offered us the chance to play at Donington the next year (August 22), and we had another great day. I recall that half the PA didn’t work when we were on, but I really don’t think (headliners) AC/DC sabotaged us. Why would they? At the time they were the biggest rock band in the world.
For an in-depth review of the gig, read Carol Clerk's first-hand account on Slade In England.
To play and view the entire Setlist, click on here.











;




BACK IИ BLACK?
Ironically, Noddy Holder had been Angus Young's first choice for AC/DC's replacement lead vocalist, after the untimely demise of Bon Scott in 1980!
But, when asked if he wanted to join the band, only a year before, Nod replied, "I've got a band!" (*)
However, Nod was a fan of AC/DC, so one has to wonder what their comeback album would have sounded like, had they not had settled on their second choice, Geordie's Brian Johnson?

And.....Nod could have been headlining!


(*) = as legend would have it!

Wheels Ain't Comin' Down

UK, 27th March, 1981


Cheapskate Records - CHEAP-21

Wheels Ain't Comin' Down was released as a 7" single in 1981 from the album We'll Bring The House Down although it was originally featured as an album track on Return To Base..... The track, highly thought of by many of the fans, was considerably lighter than the previous hit single, We'll Bring The House Down

It was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. The lyrics were based on a flight that they took in America, the line "Me and Midlands Misery" referring to Lea's nickname within the group. The landing gear failed and the plane looked as though it would need to crash land.. 
"Probably one of the worst flights we had was, flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco, as we were coming in to land at San Francisco the wheels wouldn't come down on the plane. So we had to go back to Los Angeles, we had another hours flight and we knew we were going to crash at the end of it. They had to land on a runway that went out to sea, the idea being that, if they had to crash, the planes didn't break up so easily?"
Noddy Holder: Does The Team Think 2009
Holder's memory is probably sketchy here, the lyrics suggest San Francisco is the divert. It's a shame that the group didn't listen to Chas Chandler on this release. Having parted company as manager and producer, the band were producing themselves and making their own decisions. Chas was still advising and looking after their affairs (financial, I suspect?) and most of what they'd done, prior to Reading, was of no great import but now, they had another chance. With no margin for error, Chas tried his best to dissuade the band from releasing this single but they were adamant.


Slade's comeback at the Reading Festival in 1980 attracted many Heavy Metal fans and the group adopted the style. Having decided upon the heavy rock stance, it was undoubtedly an error in judgement to release this song, recorded 18 months earlier for an album of contemporary pop, to represent the Slade of 1981. The track's failure was inevitable, it's sound and style in no way reflecting the renewed interest in the band.  The single peaked at #60 in April, spending 3 weeks on the chart before disappearing into oblivion. 

Ironically, the song on the B-side, also an original 1979 release (the flip-side to Sign Of The Times), would probably have fared better with the Heavy Metal fans. Not Tonight Josephine is basically a re-write of Something Else. Musically, it reminds me of the Sex Pistols doing C'mon Everybody, and it certainly does not represent the awesome rock band of the past decade.

  • Wheels Ain't Comin' Down
  • Not Tonight Josephine








next page

Wheels Ain't Coming Down
(Neville Holder & James Whild Lea)

We were leaving L.A. airport
Me and Midland's misery
On an early morning plane flight out
To some radio XYZ

Was a 1950's prob job
That had seen much better days
When we came on into the last appoach
Saw the runway through a haze

And the wheels ain't coming down
All in mind our lives passed before my eyes
And the wheels ain't coming down
And you realize you wanna stay alive
You wanna stay alive

Women weeping, children playing
As we roared into a climb
Men was praying, we was drinking lots
And it never cost a dime

Altered course for San Francisco
Standing by on a red alert
Gonna chance a landing on the sea
Hoping nobody gets hurt

And the wheels ain't coming down
All in mind our lives passed before my eyes
And the wheels ain't coming down
And you realize you wanna stay alive
You wanna stay alive

Wanna stay alive
Stay alive

We aborted joked the captain
When our feet had touched the ground
And I won't forget the moment he said
"It's OK folks the wheels are coming down"

And the wheels they're coming down
Did you realize it's good to be alive
And the wheels they're coming down
Did you realize you're gonna just survive
It's good to be alive

It's good to be alive
They're coming down
They're coming on down
They're coming on down
They're coming on down


Not Tonight Josephine
(Neville Holder & James Whild Lea)


Not tonight Josephine
Don't be so mean
I like the way you look
But now I've got a date with the Duke


Not tonight Josephine
Don't be so mean
I'll stand on my heels for you
But now I've got a date at Waterloo


I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
I wanna welcome home when I come home again
I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home when I come home again


Not tonight Cleopatra
You know what I'm after
But wait until I get back home
And now I got a date in Rome


Not tonight Guinevere
You whisper in my ear
Be ready willing and able
But now I got a date at the table


I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
I wanna welcome home when I come home again
I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home when I come home again


Go a-little queenie


Oh you're gonna get it tonight
You're gonna get it tonight
You're gonna get it tonight
You're gonna get it tonight
Your all gonna be the Queens of the ball


Tonights the night for Josephine, Cleopatra, Guinevere
They're all gonna be the Queens of the ball


So keep it safe and keep it warm don't you let it stray
A little bit of loving goes a long long way
Cool, calm, collected, erected and injected
Have no fear my pretty one you'll get what is expected


I wanna welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home, a welcome home
A welcome home when I come home again
I wanna welcome, I wanna welcome, I wanna welcome
I gonna get you pretty one, I'm gonna get you all alone
I wanna welcome, I wanna welcome
I wanna welcome home when I come home again