Slade In-depth Biography
Slade} may have never truly caught on with American audiences (often narrow-mindedly deemed "too British-sounding"), but the group became a sensation in their homeland with their anthemic brand of glam rock} in the early '70s, as they scored a staggering 11 Top Five hits in a four-year span from 1971 to 1974 (five of which topped the charts). Comprised of singer/guitarist Noddy Holder} (born Neville Holder}, June 15, 1946 in Walsall, West Midlands, England), guitarist Dave Hill} (born April 4, 1946, in Fleet Castle, Devon, England), bassist Jimmy Lea} (born June 14, 1949, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England), and drummer Don Powell} (born September 10, 1946, Bilston, West Midlands, England), the group originally formed in the spring of 1966 under the name the In-Be-Tweens}, playing out regularly with a mixture of soul} and rock} tracks. But besides a lone obscure single, "You Better Run"} (penned by future Runaways} svengali Kim Fowley}), the band never issued any other recordings. By the end of '60s, the group had changed their name to Ambrose Slade} and signed on with the Fontana} label. Soon after, the quartet hooked up with Animals} bass player-turned-manager Chas Chandler} (who had discovered Jimi Hendrix} a few years prior), who promptly suggested the group shorten the name to just Slade} and assume a "skinhead" look (Dr. Martin boots, shaved heads) as a gimmick.
After several albums featuring few original compositions from the quartet came and went (1969's Beginnings}, 1970's Play It Loud}), the group began to write their own tunes, grew their hair long, and assumed the look of the then-burgeoning glam} movement, joining the same cause championed by such fellow Brits as David Bowie} and T. Rex}. This new direction paid off in 1971 with the number 16 U.K. single "Get Down and Get With It,"} which soon touched off a string of classic singles and led to Slade} becoming one of the most beloved party bands back home. Slade} also utilized another gimmick, humorously misspelled song titles, as evidenced by such singles as "Coz I Luv You,"} "Look Wot You Dun,"} "Take Me Bak 'Ome,"} "Mama Weer All Crazee Now,"} "Gudbuy t'Jane,"} "Cum on Feel the Noize,"} "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me,"} and "Merry Xmas Everybody"} (the latter of which re-entered the charts every holiday season for years afterward). Several attempts at cracking the U.S. market came up empty (with track listings between their U.K. and U.S. full-lengths differing), although such albums as Slade Alive!} and Slayed?} are considered to be some of the finest albums of the glam} era.
Slade} continued to score further hit singles back home, including such correctly spelled tracks as "My Friend Stan,"} "Everyday,"} "Bangin' Man,"} "Far Far Away,"} "How Does it Feel,"} and "In for a Penny,"} but with glam rock}'s dissolution and punk}'s emergence by the mid-'70s, the hits eventually dried up for the quartet. Despite the change in musical climate, Slade} stuck to their guns and kept touring and releasing albums, as the title to their 1977 album, Whatever Happened to Slade?}, proved that the group's humor remained intact despite their fall from the top of the charts. A large, dedicated following still supported the group as they offered a performance at the 1980 Reading Festival} that was considered one of the day's best, resulting in sudden renewed interest in the group back home and Slade} scored their first true hit singles in six years with 1981's "We'll Bring the House Down"} and "Lock up Your Daughters."}
Slade} received a boost stateside around this time as well, courtesy of the U.S. pop-metal} outfit Quiet Riot}, who made a smash hit out of "Cum on Feel the Noize"} in 1983 that resulted in a strong chart showing for Slade}'s 1984 release Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply} (issued as The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome} in the U.K. a year earlier). Slade} then enjoyed a pair of U.S. MTV}/radio hits, "Run Runaway"} and "My Oh My."} Holder} and Lea} also tried their hand at producing another artist around this time as well, as they manned the boards for Girlschool}'s 1983 release Play Dirty}. Despite another all-new studio release, Rogues Gallery}, and Quiet Riot} covering another classic Slade} tune ("Mama Weer All Crazee Now"}), Slade} was unable to retain their newfound American audience or rekindled British following and they eventually faded from sight once more, this time without a comeback waiting around the corner. During the '90s, a truncated version of the group dubbed Slade II} was formed (without Holder} or Lea} in attendance), while Holder} became a popular U.K. television personality as well as the host of his own '70s rock} radio show. A 21-track singles compilation, Feel the Noize: The Very Best of Slade}, was issued in 1997 (re-released under the simple title of Greatest Hits} a couple of years later), which proved to be a popular release in England. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide