Jimmy Lea & Louise Ganner were childhood sweethearts, right from the time Louise was twelve and Jimmy thirteen. Their's is a lovely story.
"We met at school. I guess it was love at first sight. There's never been any other girl for me."
"To me Louise is everything a girl should be: beautiful, sweet, kind, tolerant and affectionate. All my friends adore her - I'm sure they're very jealous!"
Like Jim, Louise is a native of Wolverhampton and when they married both agreed that they didn't want to move away from that area.
"We've got a beautiful house in a suburb of Wolverhampton. Louise loves it and enjoys keeping it tidy. What I love about her is that she's content to be a housewife - she doesn't want any limelight herself. She leaves that to me."
Although Jim knew he would marry her one day, neither wanted to hurry into it.
"We knew it would be sensible for us to wait until we had enough money, so we decided to hang on until Slade had made it. Now I can afford to give Louise anything she wants. Even before we were married we were able to see each other quite frequently because I lived with my parents at that time. At every opportunity I'd take her to a club or restaurant and we'd catch up on what had been happening."
Their wedding, on February 10, 1973, was a great occasion.
"We had a marvellous time. All the boys were there, not to mention our parents and millions of relatives. What a party!"
Jimmy was worried that his fans might be upset when they heard about his marriage but couldn't believe it when many of them wrote wishing him luck.
"They wrote such lovely letters and some even sent us wedding presents. I don't know why but I'd felt sure they'd react in a strange way. I guess it was very unfair of me because they were lovely about it. I still get as much mail as I used to. And I need that - it's great to know you're liked."
"Another good thing about the fans is that they hardly ever bother me at home. That's really nice. They realise I want to be alone with Louise when I can."
Jimmy has finally managed to get the house decorated properly.
"It took time but we've done it at last. All the junk from the garden has been cleared and I managed to get the wallpaper to stay on the walls. It took a bit of persuasion, mind you!"
Looks like everything's roses in the Lea household. They certainly deserve it after hanging on so long to be married. Eight years is a long wait.
On 23rd Feb Slade released and, for the first time, entered the charts at the top spot with "Cum On Feel The Noize". It entered at the top slot in both the UK and Irish charts, which was quite a rare feat at the time and was the first occasion this had happened since The Beatles' "Get Back" in 1969. It spent four weeks at the top of the chart in March 1973. Upon release, the single sold 500,000 copies in only three weeks of release. As a result, the pressing factory were completely out of stock for a few days.
The single had half a million pre-orders on the days leading up to the release. This was Slade's first attempt to recreate and write about the atmosphere at their gigs. Originally, the song was titled "Cum On Hear the Noize"; Holder revised the title when he recalled, "...how I had felt the sound of the crowd pounding in my chest", though other sources state that it was Jim Lea who suggested the change in words. Holder's "Baby baby baaaby" introduction was actually just a microphone test.
"I was at a Chuck Berry gig in '72 and everybody was singing his tunes. He kept stopping and letting the crowd sing and it wasn't just a few people, it was everyone. It was amazing and I thought why not write the crowd into the songs, and so of course, the next one was 'Take Me Bak 'Ome' then 'Gudbuy T'Jane' but then we got round to 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' and 'Cum On Feel the Noize' and all the chants were written into the tunes."
Jim Lea: Record Mirror, December 1984
"The song was based around audiences and things that were happening to us. They were just experiences. Obviously, when you are on the road, you are writing about being on the road, you're writing about what's going on."
Dave Hill: Slade International Fan Club, March - April - May 1986
More than any of their previous singles, this encapsulates the band’s party-time ethos and Wolverhampton cheek (“So you think my singing’s out of time. Well it makes me money”). A primal rock ‘n’ roll howler written to celebrate the feeling of being the biggest band in Britain and produced to sound like a live wall-of-noise stomp-along. They were in a position of power and were having the biggest sales in their career. Typical of Slade's releases at the time, it flopped in the USA, where it would only peak at #98 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Chandler came up with the idea that they should record three or four new singles and release them week after week. This would mean that they would have their records entering the charts at No. 1, only to be knocked off the following week by another of their new records. He argued that this would make history with an achievement surpassing all feats created by the Beatles. However, the group were undecided by the plan and after much discussion it didn't go ahead!
In March 1973, a survey in Northern Greece placed 'Slayed' alongside Deep Purple and Grand Funk, as their most popular international albums.
Dave and Jan married in Tijuana, Mexico in 1973.
"I think it happened when the band were on a break from touring - and Dave and Jan drove down to Mexico. Chas didn't like the fact that Dave had got married - as it might put off girl fans from liking the band. Therefore there was a "block" on him talking about it. I remember that Alison Hillmen from Wigan had worked it out early on - she saw an article in the Sunday People that showed Dave's new house in Solihull. He was sharing his round bath with a "friend". Alison used her magnifying glass and could see the wedding ring on the lady's finger. If she wasn't married to Dave - then what married man would have let his wife share a bath with Dave?"Dave Kemp
Dave's commented at the time, about his suggestions of marriage, "I might sing "Mama Weer All Crazee Now - but I'm not that crazy!".
Chas Chandler had heard Lea playing a melody on the piano at his home and persuaded him to complete the song. When Holder wrote lyrics for 'My Friend Stan', they were full of innuendo which was typical Slade but quite risque for the time. During the recording, Don Powell was walking with the aid of a stick and had to be lifted on to his drum kit.
Jimmy Lea once told Dave Kemp that when Slade were due to release "My Friend Stan", Chas took a call from David Cassidy's management team. Team Cassidy were concerned that they had organised a promotional trip to the UK to promote his next release, "Daydreamer". However, when they realised that Slade were due to put out a new single around the same time. They were concerned that David would be kept off No. 1 and it might be a wasted trip. Financial incentives were therefore offered to Slade to change their release date by a few weeks.
Chas told them point blank, Slade would not budge, the two acts would therefore go head-to-head. Chas had good reason not to budge, Slade having had massive sales with their last two singles "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me", both of which had entered the charts at No. 1.
Shortly before release, Polydor records had to import 100,000 copies of the single into the UK, due to the phenomenal demand of the record. However, as it transpired, "My Friend Stan" was a very much a change of style for Slade and it only entered the chart at the "lowly" No.3 position, climbing the following week to it's peak position of No.2. It earned them a silver disc.
Cassidy actually released a week after Slade. He promoted "Daydreamer" on the same 500th Top Of The Pops special as Slade with footage showing him landing a private jet at Heathrow, performing on the tarmac. David, of course, made the No1 spot.
Chris Charlesworth, Dave Kemp, Ashley Smith