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Slade

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Slade was a British rock band. The group formed in the late 1960s, initiall as the R&B act The N'Betweens, and later as the folk-rock act Ambrose Slade, but found great success in the early 1970s, releasing a series of popular singles in a glam rock style. The band remain one of the most recognisable acts of the glam rock movement, and were, at their peak, commercially the most popular band in the UK. Slade's success faded by the mid-1970s, although the group continue to release singles. They enjoyed a comeback in the early 1980s, even managing to enter the charts in the United States, and returned to the UK singles chart in 1991 with a song entitled "Radio Wall of Sound". Slade split up in 1992, although two of the group's original members formed Slade II in 1996.

Slade is most associated with the Black Country in Britain's West Midlands (county), although the group's members came from Devonshire, Staffordshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

During the height of their success, Slade rivalled Wizzard, The Sweet, T. Rex (band), Suzi Quatro, Gary Glitter and even David Bowie. In the UK they achieved 11 top five hits in a three-year span from 1971 to 1974, six of which topped the charts.

Contents

Members

Career

The group originally formed in 1966 from the component members of two Midlands bands The Vendors and Steve Brett and The Mavericks and was called the N'Betweens, but initially had little success. In the late 1960s the band changed its name to Ambrose Slade and hooked up with manager Chas Chandler, former bass player of The Animals and manager of Jimi Hendrix. Their name was abbreviated to just Slade, and the band adopted a "skinhead" look, as an attempt to gain some publicity from what was a newsworthy minority fashion trend of the time.

They later abandoned this idea, due to the unwelcome association with football hooliganism and trouble that accompanied the fashion. They grew their hair long again, and became a part of the Glam Rock movement, releasing songs with deliberately Black Country mis-spelled titles which made them stand out.

This change of direction paid off, and from 1971 the band scored an impressive number of huge-selling hits.

In 1974 Slade made the acclaimed rock movie Flame. Film critic Mark Kermode believed it to be the best rock biopic af all times. The soundtrack album, which was released to tie in with the film, included the top 5 hit "Far far away" and the top 20 hit "How does it feel".

With the advent of punk in the late 1970s, Slade's music became unfashionable and was not considered worthy of radio plays and so their hits largely dried up. They struggled on playing live shows to respectable-sized crowds in clubs and Universities, while waiting for their turn to come again. In August 1980, Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Oz cancelled a show at Reading and Slade (who had in truth all but disbanded) replaced them. They were the hit of the festival and a new run of chart success followed, though not on the scale of their 70's heights.

Although they had two other UK top 10 hits in 1984 with the singles "Run Runaway" (#7, which would be their second top 40 hit in the USA (#20) and their first since "Gudbuy T'Jane", which barely made the top 40 in 1972) and "My Oh My" (#2 UK, #36 US). Despite being 'adopted' by fans of a harder rock genre, the band split up officially in 1991 when Noddy Holder left after 25 years in the band.

Slade's attempts at cracking the American market were largely unsuccessful, although they obviously left their mark on a large number of US bands who cite Slade as an influence. A cover of the single "Cum on Feel the Noize," by Metal group Quiet Riot was a smash Top 5 hit in America in 1983. Slade's sound and image influenced a number of American rock groups in the 1970s, particularly KISS, whose bassist Gene Simmons readily admitted that their whole early songwriting ethos as regards singles was loaned from Slade's good-time approach.

Holder went on to become an actor and in-demand broadcaster, Lea studied psychotherapy, invested in properties and recorded tracks on his own, while the two others played in successive new versions of Slade, which have released a number of albums and singles. Between 1991 and 1997 the band call themeselves SladeII, but since then they have reverted back to calling themselves Slade.

The original band's memory was kept alive by comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, who respectfully sent up the band in a number of sketches in one of their TV shows in the 1990s. Holder also acted in the nostalgic late 90s TV comedy The Grimleys, set in the early 70s, where he played music teacher Mr. Holder. In one amusing scene he played a Slade song on the piano, and wished he could become famous ...

Discography

Singles

  • "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,"
  • "Merry Xmas Everybody" (which has re-entered the charts several times since and is arguably the UK's most famous Christmas song)

All in all, Slade had 16 top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976 including 6 number ones, 3 number twos and 2 number threes. No other UK act of the period enjoyed such consistency and Slade actually came the closest to emulating Beatles' 22 top ten records from the 1960s. Two of their singles entered the charts at number one, and they were the UK's best-selling act of the 1970s.

External links

de:Slade sv:Slade

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