Slade is a Glam Rock/Hard Rock band that was formed in 1966, who had major success in the 70s and 80s with pop rock lyrics, stage costuming, defiant attitudes, and vocal mastery. The group consisted of Noddy Holder (lead vocals and guitar), Dave Hill (lead guitar), Jim Lea (bass guitar), and Don Powell (drums). This Glam Rock band originally started out as “N’Betweens”, changed their name to “Ambrose Slade” and then just “Slade”. In the late 1960s, they connected with manager Chas Chandler, who had been bassist for the 60s rock group, The Animals
, and is also credited with discovering Jimi Hendrix
. According to Wikipedia, Slade had a veritable number of hits in the U.K., outperforming other Glam rock artists such as Wizzard, Sweet, T-Rex, Suzi Quatro, Smokie and even David Bowie. In the U.K., they had 12 top five hits from 1971 to 1974 and 17 top twenty hits between 1971 and 1976. According to Wikipedia, no other U.K. group had such consistency of hits, and Slade came closest to The Beatles’
record of 22 Top Ten hits in a single decade. Origins of Slade are that in 1964 drummer Don Powell and guitarist Dave Hill were part of a group called “The Vendors”; Noddy Holder was part of a group called “Steve Brett and the Mavericks”. The groups met at “The Trumpet” house in Bilston, England and formed the group that ultimately became Slade. Chas Chandler is cited as the link that helped Ambrose Slade become a success, by advising them to write their own songs. The name was also changed from “Ambrose Slade” to “The Slade” and then just “Slade”. The name “Ambrose Slade” came from one of the record company’s (Phillips Records in London) secretaries who had the habit of naming her apparel; she had named her handbag “Ambrose” and her shoes “Slade”!
The first album that Slade released was Play It Loud. What occurred next was that Chandler managed the group for two years without commercial success; simultaneously, the band began to grow their hair long, adding glitter to their performances, in time to become one of the leaders of Glam Rock beginnings in the 1970s (see Wikipedia and YouTube videos “Top of the Pops”). Chas Chandler began making specific song suggestions to the band, and requested “Get Down and Get With It”, originally performed by American artist Little Richard. Lea and Holder penned their first song together, “Coz I Luv You” and this established the writing partnership that would continue through the band’s history. Also, as hard as it is to believe now, the purposeful misspellings that the band utilized in their song hits, “Look Wot You Dun” (1972), “Gudby T’Jane” (1972), “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1972), and “Cum on Feel the Noise” (1973) caused a furor among British schoolteachers who thought it would lead youth astray!
Chas Chandler decided the band should record a live album and booked Slade for three consecutive nights at Piccadilly, which resulted in Slade Alive, (1972) regarded as one of the greatest live albums ever. (For this and information to follow, see Wikipedia). In 1973, “Cum on Feel the Noise” went straight to #1 on the first week of release, an event not accomplished since The Beatles. Drummer Don Powell was critically injured in a car crash in 1973, and his 20y.o. girlfriend Angela Morris was killed. Powell recovered and rejoined the band weeks later in New York to record “Merry Xmas Everybody”. Powell still suffers from short-term memory loss and sensory problems.
Slade’s popularity began to wane in the late 70s, as the band attempted to break into the American music scene, constantly touring with American rock groups Aerosmith, ZZ Top, and Black Sabbath. The album Nobody’s Fool was released in 1976 and failed to make an impact. Meanwhile, U.K. fans felt deserted, and accused the band of selling out. Slade began to make a comeback in the late 1980s when they were asked to fill in for Ozzy Osbourne, who cancelled his set at The Reading Festival. Slade became the smash success of the rock festival and were able to use this to revitalize their dormant music career. Slade found a new audience of heavy metal fans and had success with the album We’ll Bring Down the House (1981) and Keep Your Hands off my Power Supply (1984). In late 1983, American glam metal band Quiet Riot recorded a cover of “Cum on Feel the Noise”, which catapulted Quiet Riot to fame. Slade still records and tours today, but their last huge-selling album was You Boyz Make Big Noise. Watch the video of this stellar band, and revisit this page to hear the next Podcast, featuring Slade, the New York Dolls, and Quiet Riot.