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I don't think we have ever had a band like Slade since Slade were big and 'on the scene' with the classic line-up of Noddy Holder, Dave Hill, Jim Lea and Don Powell. They were loud and raucous without being overbearing and unlistenable. They really had a distinct '70s glam pop sound. Dave Hill's guitar was straighforward rock, Jim Lea's bass drove it along nicely along with Don Powell's simple but precise drums. Then there was Noddy's lead vocal. Loud, rasping but surprisingly clear. The studio always gave it a distinct slapback echo effect. Slade had their own sound.
You will recall sitting on the bus on a Saturday, sometime in Nineteen-Seventy-Something. Maybe you were with your mum. Maybe you had just been into Aberdeen town centre or Aberystwyth, or wherever you lived as a youngster. You had just spent 47 pence on a thing calles a single, or maybe you called it a 45, or simply a record. You might recall having no patience and getting the single out of paper bag with Woolworth's plastered all over it. It would be in its red cover with the distinctive red label stating Polydor. And you would look at the title of the record by the band called Slade and wonder "what is the point in these spelling lessons at school".
Coz I Luv You
Take Me Bak 'Ome
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Gudbuy T' Jane
Cum on Feel the Noize
Skweeze Me Pleeze Me
The mispelt titles became one of those signifiers by which you could identify Slade. I think it was a Birmingham thing - maybe someone in the know can tell me.
Fast forward a little. You were one of the first in the street to get one of these new fangled CD player, your record player got damaged moving to student digs (or it could have been trashed at a party - you really can't remember your student days were a haze). The records got dumped coz (hee hee) you no longer had a record player (really, you were afraid your trendy mates would find them).
Fast forward a little more, and your on the bus again but it is 2009. This time you are patient. In your bag is Slade Greatest Hits. You've been feeling all nostalgic, so you went out and bought a copy, coz you can't find your Slade albums (you got shot of them, remember?).
How good is this album?
It is a great album if you liked Slade in the 1970s. It is even better if you liked Slade in the lull they had in the late 1970s and at its best if you liked Slade's resurrected 1980s period. For those of you who have never heard of Slade, you will have been on Mars if you have never heard Merry Xmas Everybody. Everyone has heard it and that is exactly what to expect of Slade. They were a whole lot of fun. Some of their songs though did have serious moments (or as I call them 'minor key moments').
I expect this album will be bought by nostalgic forty- or fifty-somethings, but if you have ever listened to MErry Xmas Everybody and actually though it was a great song in its own right, and not just a bit of a knees-up Christmas ditty, you should get yourself a copy of this Greatest Hits album - and you won't need a record player!
If, like me, you reached your teens in the early seventies then you will know Slade and all the songs on this album. Although most of the songs are three decades old, they are still as fresh and exciting as they were the first time I heard them on the radio.
One of the biggest glam rock bands of the seventies, Slade have always had a reputation for producing loud foot stomping songs, and this is a well deserved reputation. With lead singer Noddy Holder belting out songs like "Cum On Feel The Noize", "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" with his distinctive accent, and guitarists Dave Hill and Jimmy Lea playing for all they are worth and drummer Don Powell belting those drums like there's no tomorrow who can fail to stomp their feet, waive their arms in the air and sing along for all they are worth?
But That's not the only side to Slade, listen to songs like "How Does It Feel", "Coz I Luv You" and "Take Me Bak 'ome" and you will see a softer, more philosophical side to the band. They are still rocking, but now the lyrics have a little more meaning and they have toned it down a bit. It's almost as if they want you to actually listen to the lyrics rather than sing them out loud. Even so, you can't listen to these songs without singing them out loud. In my opinion all Slade songs are meant to be sung, not listened to.
No review of a Slade's Greatest Hits Album could be complete without a mention of one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time, Merry Christmas Everybody. Surely there can't be anyone who hasn't heard this, either the original sung by Slade or one of the many covers. This song has been a Christmas classic for 3 decades, and will continue to be a Christmas classic for decades to come.
So, we come to which is my favourites Slade song. Well, for most of the time I will tell you it's which ever Slade song I am singing at the time, they are all my favourites. But if I had to choose, not counting the Christmas classic, it would probably come down to two. "My Oh My" and "Everyday".
My Oh My because it came out at a time when I thought Slade were dead and would never release anything new. And then they released My Oh My which was just a fantastic song. Especially as it came at a time when My wife had just given birth to out daughter and I was so loved up it was unbelievable. I have to say that I think there is a little too much instrumentals in between the verses, and I get the impression they couldn't quite stretch the lyrics to fir the tune. Then again, maybe that's just me thinking all Slade songs are meant to be sung and feel a little lost when there are no words.
Everyday, what can I say! My first "real" girlfriend bought me this single on the day it was released, in fact she had pre-ordered it. Neither of us had heard it the song when she gave me the single, but I fell in love with it the first tie I played it. It was completely different to any Slade songs that had gone before, and not what I was expecting. But the lyrics fitted so well to our circumstances it was unreal. Sadly, the song stayed in the top ten longer than we stayed together, but thirty odd years later that song still has a special place in my heart. I can't hear it without singing along and thinking of the days when love came fast, and had a short but very intense life.
The songs on this album may be decades old, but that means you can pick it up at a bargain price. And it will be well worth it, whether you are an old Slade fan from way back, or someone who has never heard of them, you will enjoy this album if you like songs that are meant to be sung. You will probably recognise some of them too, as they have been features in TV commercials and many TV programs.
They started out as a skinhead, bovver-booted mob, grew their hair and became the ultimate Glam Rock outfit. Their six No. 1 singles in the early 70s included what is arguably the most-loved Christmas party hit of all time. Front man Noddy Holder went on to become a radio presenter and TV actor, and thirty years later his voice is still one of the most distinctive in British rock. What the Beatles were to the 60s, Slade were in the following decade – or, if not quite, came far close to it than any of their rivals. Whether you were growing up in the 70s, or just remember them as the group responsible for that song you can’t escape from every December, you’ll find a little slice of history in this package – hit after hit, mostly in chronological order. When their chart debut ‘Get Down And Get With It’ hit the airwaves in the summer of 1971, it seemed like one of the loudest rock’n’roll songs ever to hit the charts. That blood-curdling clarion cry, “Well aaaallllll right everybody…”, the sound of a thousand boots joining in on the “I said-a stamp your feet” et al – this was a record which really grabbed you. But it wasn’t threatening, it was one helluva party record. It still is! By the end of 1971 Marc Bolan and T. Rex might have been briefly the hottest band in Britain, but Slade were about to overtake them. The simple yet infectious ‘Coz I Luv You’ (the first of many deliberate mis-spellings as well as their first No. 1) even had bassist Jim Lea bringing his violin upfront. If they missed the mark a shade with their third hit, the rather lukewarm ‘Look Wot You Dun’, they were on the start of a winning streak with ‘Take Me Bak 'Ome’ and ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’. Maybe the primitive quality of British radio didn’t do them justice back in 1972, but just listen to them again on a decent
system. Marvel not only at leather-lungs Noddy’s inimitable vocals (to say nothing of the ginger sideburns, fiendish grin, tartan trews, and of course his mirror-festooned top hat), but also that echo on the drums, and that extraordinary wall of sound on the choruses by the end that makes it sound as if the whole world is singing along. Mama mama mama mama mama YEAHHHHHHHHHHH, indeed! There was more where that came from in ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ and ‘Skweeze Me Pleeze Me’. Maybe they were starting to exploit the formula a little too much, but in 1974 they turned the tables on their critics with more sophisticated (and less successful) fare like the ballad ‘Everyday’ and the semi-acoustic, more melodic ‘Far Far Away’. But perhaps the most surprising hit of all was ironically the first to break their consecutive run of 12 Top 10 hits, ‘How Does It Feel’, an adventurous, far more tuneful epic with prominent brass arrangement. Fashions change, Slade almost dropped out of sight, but after reinventing themselves at the Reading Festival in 1980 just as everyone was asking whatever had happened to them, they blasted their way back into the Top 30 with ‘We'll Bring the House Down’ and ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. Just as dramatic was their belated reception in the US, thanks largely to American metalmen Quiet Riot charting stateside with ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, and further British hits ‘My Oh My’ – a glorious scarf-waving singalong which narrowly missed giving them yet another No. 1 – and the fiddle-driven ‘Run Runaway’. A gradual winding-down of the group throughout the rest of the 80s looked like being briefly reversed in 1991 when they roared back with ‘Radio Wall Of Sound’, which owed more to American AOR fare (think Jefferson Starship, for instance). The DJ voice on ‘RWOS’
;, by the way, is former Radio 1 and Classic FM man Mike Read. It reached No. 21, but it proved to be the last gasp. A subsequent single ‘Universe’ (not included on here, though it can be found on the now-deleted compilation ‘Wall Of Hits’) failed to chart, and with that the old line-up bowed out. Never mind. It was fun while it lasted, and even Oasis paid their own tribute by covering ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’ at their peak. On a single CD, something always has to be omitted. All the tracks mentioned above are on this 21-track compilation, but I’d personally query the omission of a 1975 Top 10 hit ‘Thanks For The Memory’, when some less highly-charting (and in my view inferior) numbers like the nondescript ‘In For A Penny’ are included. All the same, the music here brings back no end of good memories for me, so I’ll give it five stars all the same. If you’re discovering Slade for the first time, you’re in for a treat. Just make sure your speakers are strong enough for Noddy’s voice – and yes, let’s all go crazee now!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Get Down And Get With It
2 Coz I Luv You
3 Look Wot You Dun
4 Take Me Bak 'ome
5 Mama Weer All Crazee Now
6 Gudbuy T'Jane
7 Cum On Feel The Noize
8 Skweeze Me Pleeze Me
9 My Friend Stan
11 Bangin' Man
12 Far Far Away
13 How Does It Feel
14 In For A Penny
15 We'll Bring The House Down
16 Lock Up Your Daughters
17 My Oh My
18 Run Run Away
19 All Join Hands
20 Radio Wall Of Sound
21 Merry Christmas Everybody