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Music / Slade

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Theze Boyz Make Big Noize!
From L to R: Don Powell, Dave Hill (top) Noddy Holder (centre) and Jim Lea

"I said Mama but weer all crazee now!"


Slade are a rock band from Wolverhampton, who rose to prominence during the Glam Rock era of The '70s. With 17 consecutive Top 20 hits and six number ones, the British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to have three singles enter at number one, and all six of the band's chart toppers (and the vast majority of their other material) were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea.

While they achieved little success in The United States, they inspired many rock bands that would go on to be legends in their own right. These bands include: KISS, The Ramones, Quiet Riot (who pretty much owe all their success to Slade), Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Cheap Trick, The Runaways and even Nirvana!

Cum on, Feel the Tropez!

  • The Ace: Jim Lea fits this trope the best out of all the members of the band. He was the only multi-instrumentalist (playing bass, guitar, violin and piano), was a fairly good singer in his own right and penned the majority of the band's hits along with Noddy.
  • The Alcoholic: Don Powell goes into detail in his biography about how he spent many nights out getting drunk with Ozzy Osbourne. He also mentions that he nearly got shot by Ozzy's wife Sharon when they returned late from drinking one night.
  • Career Ending Illness: Jim Lea's bout of hepatitis in 1984 brought an abrupt end to Slade's days as a touring act. While Lea recovered, the band's career never did.
  • Christmas Songs: Wrote one of the perennial classics, "Merry Xmas Everybody". If you happen to be in the UK during December, expect to hear this a lot.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: The band's version of Janis Joplin's "Move Over" swaps the genders of the protagonist and the person they're singing to.
  • Determinator: In 1973, Don Powell survived a massive car crash that killed his girlfriend and was in a coma for six days. He was back with the band a month later and has continued to play to this day.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: For their second album (and their first as Slade), the band was given a skinhead gimmick, playing in rather rough pubs and clubs. The skinhead gimmick was actually thought up by their manager, though, and they were never really part of that crowd.
    • Their first album in 1969 (recorded and released as "Ambrose Slade") was quite heavy on covers of popular songs from the era, including "Born to Be Wild" (Steppenwolf), "Journey to the Center of Your Mind" (Amboy Dukes), and even "If This World Were Mine" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell).
  • Face of a Thug: One of the reasons the skinhead look was abandoned so fast was because Noddy was rather rough-looking, enough so that some were afraid that they were actual skinheads, especially with the negative publicity the subculture had started to get at the time.
  • Fun with Homophones: The magnificent three-way pun on Slade / slayed / sleighed in the last verse of "Merry Xmas Everybody."
    • Also "Cum on Feel the Noize."
  • Funetik Aksent: Plenty of their 70s songs have titles written in this style, like "Take Me Bak 'Ome", which does look like what it would sound like in a West Midlands accent.
  • Glam Rock: One of the most successful bands during its heyday.
  • Hair Metal: Pretty much every notable hair metal band was inspired by them in some way. They also had a go with it themselves with "Radio Wall of Sound."
  • I Am the Band: After the departure of Don Powell, Dave Hill is the only remaining founding member.
  • Iconic Item: Noddy's mirrored hat and Dave's "Superyob" guitar.
  • Large Ham: Noddy Holder is probably the most noteworthy example in Glam Rock history.
  • Lead Bassist: Although in public he was (relatively speaking) The Quiet One in Slade, Jim Lea wrote most of the band's music and was generally the member who most steered their overall direction.
  • Live Album: "Slade Alive" was their breakthrough album and is often held up as one of the greatest live albums of all time. A significant number of fans also consider it Slade's best album overall. They also issued "Slade Alive Vol 2" and "Slade On Stage", all three live albums (and a further EP) later being combined into a double-CD anthology.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Drummer, Don Powell, was often considered to be the best looking member of the band.
    • Jim Lea was also considered rather attractive in his youth.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The original line-up managed twenty three years. The current line-up has been together for nine.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: At the height of their fame they were marketed particularly as a teen-appeal pop group, but they also had a following among fans of what would become known as hard rock — it helped that their breakthrough album was the more rock-oriented Slade Alive!.
  • New Sound Album: Most of them, to some degree, but ones that particularly stand out are:
    • Nobody's Fools, in which they took their influences from the music they'd heard while touring the States. Its mixture of soul, blues and folk rock (plus, to fans' particular chagrin, female backing vocals) initiated their Audience-Alienating Era.
    • Till Deaf Do Us Part jumped on the heavy metal bandwagon.
    • Rogues Gallery added synths. Blame Van Halen.
  • No Indoor Voice: Noddy Holder isn't nicknamed "The Foghorn" for nothing.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me"'s B-side "Kill 'Em At The Hot Club Tonite" is a tribute to the jazz musicians Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and performed in their style.
  • Power Ballad: "My Oh My."
  • Protopunk: With their short songs, heavy guitar riffs and their use of Three Chords and the Truth (as well as their downright wild concerts), the band definitely had that punk edge before punk was even a thing. It's no wonder that so many punk bands have cited them as an influence. This is also why Slade were able to maintain a strong following from the punk movement when they returned to the UK after touring America.
  • Rated M for Manly: Because of their association with football hooliganism, they were one of the few glam rock bands to achieve such status in terms of rowdiness.
  • Revolving Door Band: Between 1992 and 2005 the band went through half a dozen iterations before the line-up settled down again.
  • Self-Titled Album: Combined with Punny Name for Slayed?.
  • Signature Headgear: A top hat is Noddy Holder's signature piece of clothing, particularly the one that had mirrors on it. He claims he bought it from Freddie Mercury's vintage clothing stall in Kensington before Queen got big.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Radio Wall of Sound" has bass player Jim Lea on lead vocals during the verses. Holder sings lead on the choruses.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Both parties attest to friction between Jim Lea and Dave Hill during the glam era which comes down to this. Lea was the technician, and felt that the band weren't being taken seriously because of performer Hill's over-the-top costumes and stage antics.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Holder left the band in 1992 and Lea retired from the band shortly afterwards. The band continues with Hill and Powell but have a lesser profile without their larger than life frontman.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: A frequent gimmick in their early song titles.