The history of Slade|
After five years of trying SLADE had hit
number one. As the pop music industry reaches its hi-tech
but insecure and rather overcrowded middle age, statistics
from earlier eras take on truly insurmountable proportions.
Did the BEATLES really have 22 top ten hits - including
17 chart toppers - in seven years that followed their chart
debut in 1963? Yes they did. And in the decade
that followed did SLADE come the closest to emulating that?
Yes, they did: 16 top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976 that
included six number ones, three number two's and two number
three's. No other UK act of the period, not T.REX nor DAVID
BOWIE nor ELTON JOHN any other "superstar" act,
enjoyed such consistency; nor is such consistency feasible
today!!! SLADE are mentioned in a new book "History
of the 20th century", the write up goes: " The
british pop group SLADE who blazed a new trail with their
skilfull manipulation of the media and extensive use of
promotional goods. Despite selling twelve million records
in a year!"
In the year of 1964 drummer DON
POWELL and guitarist DAVE
HILL are playing with a band called "Vendors"
around the area of Wolverhampton, UK. They play coverversions
of popular hits and tape a demo containing songs of The
Shadows, The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Platters plus the
track "Take your time" written by themselves.
This tape is also pressed on vinyl, but they only can afford
12 copies. After a while they change their name and become
the N'Betweens, playing Motown, Ska and Beatles-songs.
At a concert in the cityhall of Wolverhampton
they meet a band called Steve Brett & The Mavericks.
The guitarist of this group is NODDY
HOLDER, who also does backing vocals. Don Powell likes
Noddy's voice from the first moment on and after the split
of the N'Betweens he and Dave ask Noddy (at this time he's
working as roadie for a band called Listen featuring Robert
Plant!) to join them as singer. In the local newspaper JIMMY
LEA reads that the band is looking for a bass-player
and he gets the job. In the year of 1966 the new N'Betweensrecord
a track called "You better run" (an US-hit for
the Young Rascals). Produced by Kim Fowley the single is
a minor hit in their home area but does not make it elsewhere
in the UK.
In 1969 they do a session for Jack Beaverstock
of Philips, who offers them a record deal. Their agreement
includes that the band moves to London and changes the name.
So the N'Betweens are dead, long live Ambrose Slade.
In a London club called "Rasputin"Chas
Chandler, ex-bassplayer of the Animals and ex-manager of
Jimmi Hendrix, sees them and offers to take over their management.
Chas does not like their first album they did for the Fontana-Label
and encourages them to write their own material. In these
days the skinhead cult gets pretty negative publicity. Chas
decides that Ambrose Slade has to transform to a skinhead
band. So the name is again changed to Slade and the skinhead
fashion is adopted.
This strategy brings the name Slade to
the headlines for the first time, but the sale-figures do
not increase. So the skinhead style is given up again. Chas
signs Slade to Polydor (as Fontana a sublabel of Philips).
The guys let their hair grow long and begin to dress bright
and colourful: Glamrock is knocking at their door.
After their album "Play it loud"
(produced by Chas) did not make it to the charts they decide
to record an old Little Richard song called "Get down
and get with it". In the summer of 1971 this track
reaches no. 16 of the UK-charts. Powered by their success
the band risks to bring out "Coz I luv you", a
song written by Noddy and Jim, as next single, which tops
the UK-charts in October 1971. Until 1975 they bring out
commercialy successful hits including "Mama weer all
crazee now", "Cum on feel the noize" and
"Merry xmas everybody". Their albums do very well
in that period, too.
On the 4. of July 1973 Don has a terrible
car accident. His girl-friend Angela Morris dies and Don
himself falls into coma. Physically he recovers fast but
his memory is badly damaged. Meanwhile Slade do their only
ever gig not in the original line-up as Frank Lea (Jim's
brother) plays the drums at a concert on The Isle of Man.
Don's doctors tell him to join the band again to get over
the whole situation.
In 1976 Slade start their next adventure
and aim for the US-market. The boyz move to New York and
live there for two years. After 200 gigs supporting acts
like Aerosmith and Kiss they come to the point of thinking
that all their US-efforts were senseless.
Meanwhile the European scene has forgotten
Slade. Back from the US the band plays in little clubs again.
Especially Dave and Don live from touring as they do not
receive any royalties from the Slade-songs. So Dave decides
to leave SLADE and hires out his last Rolls Royce as vehicle
Chas asks Dave to join in again when Slade
is offered the possibility to replace Ozzy Osbourne at the
famous Reading Festival in UK. The 24. of August 1980 again
marks a turning point in the history of SLADE. The band
does a superb gig and leaves 50.000 people absolutely enthusiastic.
1981 they bring out their next studio record "We'll
bring the house down" which reaches no. 25 of the UK-album-charts.
In 1984 their album "Take your hands
off my power-supply" (in Europe "The Amazing Kamikaze
Syndrome") cracks the US-charts for the first time
ever and reaches no. 33. In England the single "My
oh my" hits the no. 2 slot.
In 1987 Slade bring out their last studio
album so far, "You boyz make big noize";
1991 Polydor brings out a collection called
"Wall of Hits" including two new tracks, "Radio
wall of sound" and "Universe".
In 1992 Dave Hill and Don Powell start touring again
with Slade II, 1994 their record "Keep on rockin!"
is published, which did not bring any commercial success.
The new songs of Slade II are written by Dave and Bill Hunt.
The band line-up : Dave Hill, Don Powell, Steve Whalley
and Trevor Holiday.
In 2002 Slade released the album "Cum
On Let's Party". They also released the singles "Take
Me Home" and "Some Exercise". The band line-up
: Dave Hill, Don Powell, Steve Whalley and Dave Glover.
In 2003, Dave Glover were replaced of John Berry. Dave did
a great job in Slade and was also a member of the International
Thanks for all the messages Dave!
Jimmy Lea is working as psychotherapist
today, but he is still into the music. Rumours says that
he is working on a new album (2003), but this is actually
rumours that have been around for a while. Noddy Holder
is enjoying his life as radio-dj, hobby-cook and father.
He have also been working for some TV stations in the UK.
He have joined some comedy dramas and also been a host of
some TV shows.