Beginnings Of Slade 1975

Contour Records 6870-678

"Today, Slade are an acknowledged teen phenomenon with a string of hit singles, the successful movie "Slade in Flame" behind them, and a fan following of fanatical intensity.

Back in 1969 they were Ambrose Slade, one of the many emerging young rock groups, not sure which direction to take both in music and image, as the acid rock/psychedelic/flower-power syndrome was almost over, and nobody could tell what would come next...."
Roger St. Pierre
Slade were at their peak when they released the movie Flame and that was when Contour Records famously released the budget pressing The Beginnings Of Slade. It was the Beginnings album with new packaging, reflecting the groups current image and a pointless shuffle of the tracklist which puts the groups 'regular finisher' in the opening position and follows it with an slow building instrumental. Clearly the work of a 'chancer' trying to catch the eye, not the ear.

The release was 'pulled' from the shelves, within days due to copyright issues. This resulted in creating a rarity that is now as collectable as the 'original' release. There are undoubtedly a few thousand copies boxed up in a warehouse somewhere?

In a moment of true irony, I can clearly remember seeing the album in an Upton Park (East London) 'bargain bin' and giving it a look of disgust because I was a true fan and had 'the real thing' and this was a cheap and tacky rip off. This copy cost me £85 and it was a bargain.

  • Born To Be Wild
  • Genesis
  • Martha My Dear
  • Ain't Got No Heart
  • Roach Daddy
  • Everybody's Next One
  • Fly Me High
  • If This World Were Mine
  • Pity The Mother
  • Knocking Nails Into My House
  • Mad Dog Cole
  • Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind

has been re-issued several times over the years, officially and unofficially. I am by no means an authority on the subject but I am trying to find out as much as is possible.

I owned the authentic original, purchased in 1972 for the extortionate price of £11 by my wonderful Dad as my Christmas present. I reluctantly parted with it for £120 in 1982 (an executive decision made by the Wife) in order to cover a mortgage payment while I experienced a brief period of the unemployment. My cousin also returned from a visit to the US with a copy of Ballzy in 1975 and I am confident that the copy supplied by Scott Samuels is 100% genuine.

I know, for sure, that Beginnings was bootlegged in the groups 'golden years' when it was selling for a £100 plus. They created a good counterfeit copy which they tried to pass off as the original but they were unable to get the Fontana labels right. I guess in the mid 70's, printing was a great deal more complex than it is nowadays. White on Black was do-able, Silver on Black was a lot more difficult. Not really a problem if your customer hasn't seen the original and most Slade fans hadn't seen the album in the flesh, so to speak.

Another forgery attempt was made at a later date, in the early 80's, that had a matt finish cover (rather than gloss) and the picture on the back was darker than the original.

The run out groove (the bit between the end of the last track and the label) on the fake is much wider than the original. Etched into this run out, the counterfeit is engraved with the number STL 5492 but the original is engraved 886 766. This is believed to be a constant but is based on a few authentic copies discussed between a handful of enthusiasts.

The print on the label of the counterfeit is not as sharp, the sleeve has no information on the spine and it has no copyright warning on the rear. The general quality of printing and colours is not as good, i.e. the group name on the rear should be red but is printed in black. Look at my Beginnings rear cover closely and you'll understand why I suspect an even later counterfeit that made an almost perfect replica. Of course, the reality of Sixties print-shop procedure would not have guaranteed 100% consistency and it could simply be a print error?

I seem to recall hearing that there was also a 'semi-official' re-issue but cannot confirm this. So, does anybody have any real info on the various legal and illegal releases of Beginnings?

An authentic copy of Beginnings of Slade recently sold for £85 on Ebay, it has sold for £500 in the past. My thanks to Chris Selby for sharing his knowledge and media.

1 comment:

  1. There was also a Bootleg cassette of Beginnings doing the rounds during the mid-eighties.