The most successful band of the Glam Rock era of the early 70’s. For 5 years, between 1971 and 1976 they were hardly ever out of the charts in the UK with a string of more than 20 top twenty hits including 6 chart toppers,such as Cum On Feel The Noize, Mamma Weer All Crazee Now, Sweeze Me Pleese Me, and of course Merry Xmas Everybody. Miss-spelt titles, raucous rock and roll, outrageous fashion (particularly from guitarist Dave Hill), and an incredibly loud and heavy stage show meant that Slade helped to define an era.
The advent of punk in the late 70s saw a decline in their chart success. However they continued to tour extensively including tours to America where they built up a good live following but never quite had the chart success they deserved.
In 1974 Slade made a movie, Slade In Flame, which depicted the gritty reality of life on the road. It has been hailed as one of the best films about rock music ever made, and is often quoted as one of the main influences of Spinal Tap.
They had a resurgence of popularity in the early eighties following a magnificent performance at Reading Festival in 1980 which saw them gain popularity among heavy metal fans. The last ever performance of the original line up was in 1991 but two original members Dave Hill and Don Powell keep the Slade name alive and continue to tour and gig.
The four members of Slade began their music careers in various bands around the Wolverhampton area in the early to mid sixties. Eventually Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Dave Hill and Don Powell came together in 1966 as The NBetweens. In 1969 they changed their name to Ambrose Slade and then shortened it to Slade. In this time they toured constantly playing mainly covers but building up a very strong and loyal following.
The name change to Slade coincided with ex Animals bass player Chas Chandler taking over as their manager. Chas is also credited with managing and promoting Jimi Hendrix. Chas encouraged them to write their own material. They were signed to the Polydor label and released their fist abum, Play It Loud. This saw the birth of the Holder/Lea songwriting partnership. It contained some great material but was largely commercially unsuccessful.
Around this time they adopted a skinhead image for publicity reasons. Unfortunately it brought the wrong sort of publicity and they quickly dropped it, grew their hair long and adopted a much more flamboyant look which we now all recognise as Glam Rock.
1971 to 1975 saw their most successful period with hit after hit and a string of successful albums.
Noddy Holder (Guitar and Vocals)
Noddy is blessed with one of the greatest rock voices of all time as well as providing the lyrics for most of Slades songs. Since Slade leaving Slade in 1991 Noddy has worked as an actor, radio presenter and TV pundit. Noddy played mainly a Telecaster or Gibson SG, often these were modified and given hot pickups by John Birch Guitars.
Jim Lea (Bass, Violin, Keyboards and Vocals)
The real musician of the group. Jim wrote most of the music and also produced a lot of their later output. In my opinion very underrated and unrecognised as a bass player, but one of the greats. Has kept out of the limelight since leaving Slade but recently released a solo abum “Therapy”.
Dave Hill (Guitar, backing vocals)
Left handed but plays right handed guitars! The flamboyant member of the group, famous for his ridiculously over the top outfits, and platform boots. Commisioned the Super Yob guitar from John Birch Guitars. Dave continues to tour with Slade. Dave quickly became bored with the Super Yob guitar finding it to be uncomfortable and difficult to play. He traded it in at a guitar shop for a Gibson where it was seen by Marco Pirroni from Adam and The Ants who bought it for £500. It is now thought to be worth around £6000!
Don Powell (Drums)
The quiet one at the back, he co wrote a few of their early songs on the album Play It Loud. Nicknamed “mr Memory” following a severe car crash in 1974 at the height of Slade’s fame. This resulted in him losing his sense of taste and smell and also badly affected his short term memory. Continues to tour with the band.
Play it loud 1970
Slade Alive! 1972
Old New borrowed and blue 1974
Slade in Flame 1974
Nobody's fools 1976
Whatever happened to Slade
Slade alive volume two 1978
Return to base 1979
Slade smashes 1980
We'll bring the house down 1981
Til deaf do us part 1981
Slade on stage 1982
The amazing kamikaze syndrome 1983
You boyz make big noize 1987
In addition to the above there have been various reissues and compilations
Legend has it that the group Cheap Trick acquired their name after witnessing Slade on stage. “There is no cheap trick they won’t pull in order to get the crowd on their side”