Sunday, 6 May 2012

Slade

Although Oasis always liked to claim their biggest influence was The Beatles, Slade might be a bit nearer the mark. Their anthemic, guitar driven, terrace style romps became their trademark, and it’s fair to say “Supersonic” probably owes more to “Skweeze Me Pleeze Me” than it does “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Noel Gallagher has even been quoted as saying “How Does It Feel” remains one of the greatest songs ever written.

Slade, in one form or another, are still going - half the original line up reformed with new members as “Slade 2” in the 1990’s and have now quietly dropped the “2” bit. But it’s really the stuff with Noddy Holder in charge that’s of interest. There is no denying that Slade really nailed it time and time again, and even the so-called “wilderness years” spawned some moments of genius - their version of “Okey Cokey” is as raucous as you would imagine it to be.

Slade His-Story

After an early incarnation which spawned a single and was followed by a name change, Slade made their 'proper' debut releases under the “Ambrose Slade” moniker in 1969, via a single called “Genesis” and an album called “Beginnings”. Neither did that well, and the band changed their name to “The Slade” for a follow up single called “Wild Winds Are Blowing”, which also sold poorly. The band adopted a short-lived “skinhead” image, shortened the name to “Slade”, and after another flop single on Fontana, signed to Polydor. Their second album, “Play It Loud”, failed to generate much interest, but after 1971’s “Get Down And Get With It” 45 hit the top 30, Slade started to gain a burgeoning fan base. By the summer of 1973, the band were releasing singles that weren’t just hitting the number 1 spot in the UK after a slow climb up the charts, but were actually entering the Top 40 with singles that were going straight in at the number 1 spot in their first week, a rarity at the time.

The band were famous for deliberately mis-spelling song titles (album number 3, 1972’s “Slayed”, included the likes of “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” and “Gudbuy T’Jane”) and had developed something of a teenybop following - Slade were more at the “fun” end of the glam scene, you could argue. So popular were the group, that they were invited in 1974 to appear in a movie, and dutifully appeared - playing a rock band - in “Flame”, regarded now as one of the finest music movies ever made. Based partly on the band’s own experiences in their early years, it painted a rather glum view of the music business, effectively telling it’s audience “don’t join a band, the industry will grind you down”. It’s for this very reason that critics were unmoved by the film at the time, as it all seemed very “Un-Slade“. The band recorded a number of new songs for the film, and their next album “Slade In Flame”, doubled up as both a soundtrack and the band’s new studio effort.

“Flame”, did not turn Slade into even bigger stars, but seemed to have the opposite effect. 1976’s “Nobody’s Fools” was a relative failure chart wise, with some fans bemoaning the fact that the band had spent most of 1975 touring the USA instead of concentrating on their UK following. They were dropped by Polydor and signed to Barn Records for 1977’s “Whatever Happened To Slade” - the title supposedly cribbed from a piece of graffiti the band saw in a London street, which also served as a comment on the band’s sudden commercial decline; the album itself failed to chart, but has been re-evaluated in recent years, with supporters talking about how, far from being threatened by punk, the band used this album as an excuse to align themselves with the genre.

In 1979, Slade released “Return To Base”. It flopped badly, and the band were now at the lowest point in their career. Some band members were apparently doing day jobs to keep afloat, and there were rumours the band were about to throw in the towel. The group released a 6 track EP on their own Super label (the name was based on Dave Hill‘s “Superyob“ guitar), “Six Of The Best”, which included three new songs along with three from “Return To Base”, albeit in slightly remixed form. A few months later, and Slade were approached with a view to playing the Reading Festival. Ozzy Osbourne (and others) had pulled out, and the band were asked to play a slot late in the evening on the Sunday. The band were unsure, but decided to do the show as a farewell gig. The band opted to play quite a loud and heavy set, tailored for the Reading market, and it worked in their favour - the set saw the band being treated like homecoming heroes by the end, and those who witnessed it claim that Slade blew every other act off the stage that weekend. The band decided not to throw in the towel, and instead released two more EPs featuring material from the Reading show on their own Cheapskate Records during the fall of 1980.

Following the Reading comeback, a best of album titled “Slade’s Smashes” was released, including a number of tracks that were slightly remixed for the release, before the “Return To Base” was given a bit of an overhaul. It appeared in a new form in 1981, retitled “We’ll Bring The House Down”. Six songs from “Return To Base” were included, along with four “new” songs - the title track, also issued as a single, “Dizzy Mama”, the b-side to “Ginny Ginny”, and the opening two tracks from the “Six Of The Best” EP, “Night Starvation” and “When I’m Dancing…”. The mix of “Dizzy Mama” differed slightly to the original B-side version, whilst the version of “Nuts Bolts And Screws” differed slightly to the mix on “Return To Base”. The 2007 expanded issue adds the five songs that were on “Return To Base” but not the 1981 re-release, along with “9 To 5” from the “Six Of The Best” EP. Alternate remixes aside, this means that all six tracks from this EP, and the entire “Return To Base” album, are thus on the 2007 reissue. With the band’s stock now at a (relative) high, they were signed to a major label again, RCA, during 1981.

Slade maintained their success levels for a short while, with 1983’s “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome” spawning hits in the form of “Run Runaway” and the genteel “My Oh My”. 1985’s “Rogues Gallery”, an attempt to record an album as a studio-only, singles-band, didn’t quite succeed, and the band’s popularity began to wane. At the end of 1985, they released a slightly odd one-off album for Telstar, “Crackers”, which included new songs, covers, old songs and re-recordings. A single taken from the album, “Do You Believe In Miracles”, was issued by RCA to coincide, and was later added as a bonus track to a reissue of “Rogues Gallery”. “Crackers” is still available on CD, although the songs that were originally used to pad the album out have been removed from the current edition, on the basis they can all be found on other Slade LP’s - including “Miracles“.

1987’s “You Boyz Make Big Noize” would turn out to be Slade’s last album release. It was issued by RCA, although they were later dropped by the label, and began issuing singles via their Cheapskate imprint again, including a single lifted from this last RCA album, “We Won’t Give In”. A remixed “Crackers” track, “Let’s Dance” appeared in 1988, the first Slade single to appear on CD, but the end was in sight. Several new songs were recorded for a farewell hits set, “Wall Of Hits”, in 1991, and the group disbanded soon after.

Slade On 45

Throughout their career, Slade used the 7” single as an opportunity to release new A-sides and new B-sides. A number of greatest hits sets now house many of the former, whilst all of the band’s albums have been reissued in recent years by Salvo, who tagged stray A and B-sides onto the albums as bonus tracks.

Of the early period singles, “Wild Winds Are Blowing” and “Get Down And Get With It” were originally issued as stand alone 45’s. The latter became a staple part of the Slade live set, a live version turned up on the band’s 1972 album “Slade Alive”, and both of these two rarities are now on the “2 on 1” Salvo release which couples “Beginnings” and “Play It Loud”.

The autumn of 1973 saw the release of “Sladest”, the first attempt at a best-of, and one deemed important enough to have been reissued on CD by both Polydor and Salvo since. Most of the band’s singles released up to this point were included, including the five stand alone releases from the 1971-Summer 73 period: “Coz I Luv You”, “Look Wot You Dun”, “Take Me Back ‘Ome”, “Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me”.

The most famous Slade song of all time, “Merry Xmas Everybody” was issued late in 1973 as a stand alone Christmas single. You can probably take your pick of greatest hits albums as regards getting hold of this one, but 1997’s “Feel The Noize” (reissued in 1999 as “Greatest Hits”) is probably a good choice. It also includes other non-album 45’s released after “Sladest”, namely “The Bangin’ Man” (on US copies of “Flame”, but not UK ones) and “Radio Wall Of Sound” from the “Wall Of Hits” album.

Many of Slade’s stand alone singles from after 1973 are absent from the hits sets, as they didn’t sell enough copies to be classed as actual hits. But the expanded Salvo reissues tend to hoover them up. So “Nobody’s Fools” adds “Thanks For The Memory”. “Whatever Happened To Slade” adds “Burning In The Heat Of Love”, “My Baby Left Me”, “Give Us A Goal” and “Rock & Roll Bolero“. “We’ll Bring The House Down” adds “Ginny Ginny”, “Sign Of The Times” (both were briefly available on LP as part of the “Return To Base” set) and “Okey Cokey”. “Rogues Gallery” adds “Do You Believe In Miracles”, as previously mentioned. And despite it’s title, the original “You Boyz Make Big Noize” did not include the single of the same name, and it only appears on the Salvo reissue. 1991’s “Universe” is also now on the “Slade Box” 4-CD set, which retails at reasonable prices.

The B-sides can all be found in one place, thanks to Salvo’s 2007 “B-Sides” set. It’s a bit of an odd one, as tracks from albums that also appeared as B-sides are included in an attempt to pad the double disc release out a bit, so it’s more of a “Best Of The Non-Singles” set. No less than 40 songs are on here.

“Slade Alive” has been reissued twice by Salvo, but it’s the two disc version which is of most interest, as it includes the original LP, “Alive Vol 2”, “On Stage” and the live tracks from the Reading Festival that appeared on the “Alive At Reading” and “Xmas Ear Bender” single releases.

One or two other oddities seem to have been missed by the Salvo reissues. I am not too sure if the “Live N Kickin” version of “Merry Xmas” is different to that on “Ear Bender”, and if it is, it does not seem to be easily available anywhere other than on the original 45. The track was also remixed in 1985, and I don’t think this remix can be found elsewhere. The 1998 remix seems also to only be available on the 1998 release of the single, whilst the 12” mix of “All Join Hands” seems to be exclusive to the original RCA 12” as well.

Discography

The albums shown below are based around the Salvo reissues, as these are all quite easy to find. The 45’s list is fairly complete. It is based around 7” singles, but where a 12” exists as either an essential second format, or was the only vinyl format issued for a particular 45, this will be shown. Many of the 12” mixes and bonus tracks that appeared on the format are now available on expanded editions of the albums reissued by Salvo, and are detailed where appropriate. As ever, trust me - it makes sense when you read it.

Many Slade singles were reissued at a later date, but are not listed, except where they include new material. Only one Slade single has ever achieved this accolade - twice - and you can probably guess which one that is if you haven‘t worked it out already…

ALBUMS

Beginnings/Play It Loud (1969/70, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 001)
Slade Alive (1972, 2xCD, Salvo SALVOCD 201, 2006 reissue which also includes “Alive Vol Two” and “On Stage”, single disc version without these tracks also exists)
Slayed? (1973, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 002)
Sladest (1973, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 053, includes new version of “Hear Me Calling” not on Polydor releases)
Old New Borrowed And Blue (1974, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 003)
Slade In Flame (1974, CD+DVD, Salvo USPDVD 014, copies also available without DVD)
Nobody’s Fools (1976, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 005)
Whatever Happened To Slade? (1977, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 006)
We’ll Bring The House Down (1981, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 007)
Till Deaf Do Us Part (1981, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 008)
The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome (1983, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 009)
Rogues Gallery (1985, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 010)
Crackers (1985, CD, Salvo METRCDX 519)
You Boyz Make Big Noize (1987, CD, Salvo SALVOCD 011)
The Slade Box (2006, 4xCD, Salvo SALVOBX 401, later reissued in digipack packaging with new catalogue number)
B-Sides (2007, 2xCD, Salvo SALVODCD 203)
Rockers (2007, 2xCD, Salvo SALVODCD 204, best of concentrating on the non-hits)
The Collection 79-87 (2007, 2xCD, Salvo SALVODCD 205, best of the later years)
Live (2007, CD, Salvo SLADEUP 001, “The Mail On Sunday” freebie, includes three previously unissued performances)
Live At The BBC (2009, 2xCD, Salvo SALVODCD 211)

Note: the following albums have been “swallowed up” via the reissues, but are of interest to completists. The catalogue numbers refer to the original pressings. Selected greatest hits releases are also included, on the basis they either include remixed material, or notable non-album releases. There also exist some unique overseas albums (such as the US only “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply”) but these are excluded for clarity.

Slade Alive Vol Two (1978, LP, Barn 2314-106)
Return To Base (1979, LP, Barn NARB 003)
Slade Smashes (1980, LP, Polydor POLTV 13)
Slade On Stage (1982, LP, RCA RCALP 3107)
Crackers - The Christmas Party Album (1985, LP, Telstar STAR 2271)
Wall Of Hits (1991, LP, Polydor 511612-1)
Feel The Noize (1997, CD, Polydor 537 105-2, later reissued in new cover in 1999 as “Greatest Hits”)

2005’s “The Very Best Of Slade” was in effect an updated version of the later greatest hits releases, but the best version to get is not the CD edition but the DVD which includes a number of previously unavailable TV performances.

SINGLES

Genesis/Roach Daddy (1969, 7”, Fontana TF 1015)
Wild Winds Are Blowing/One Way Hotel (1969, 7”, Fontana TF 1056)
Shape Of Things To Come/C’mon C’mon (1970, 7”, Fontana TF 1079)
Know Who You Are/Dapple Rose (1970, 7”, Polydor 2058 054)
Get Down And Get With It/Do You Want Me/Gospel According To Rasputin (1971, 7”, Polydor 2058 112)
Coz I Luv You/My Life Is Natural (1971, 7”, Polydor 2058 155)
Look Wot You Dun/Candidate (1972, 7”, Polydor 2058 195)
Take Me Back ’Ome/Wonderin’ Y (1972, 7”, Polydor 2058 231)
Mama Weer All Crazee Now/Man Who Speeks Evil (1972, 7”, Polydor 2058 274)
Gudbuy T’Jane/I Won’t Let It ’Appen Agen (1972, 7”, Polydor 2058 312)
Cum On Feel The Noize/I’m Mee, I’m Now, An That’s Orl (1973, 7”, Polydor 2058 339)
Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me/Kill Em At The Hot Club Tonite (1973, 7”, Polydor 2058 377)
My Friend Stan/My Town (1973, 7”, Polydor 2058 407)
Merry Xmas Everybody/Don’t Blame Me (1973, 7”, Polydor 2058 422)
Everyday/Good Time Gals (1974, 7”, Polydor 2058 453)
The Bangin’ Man/She Did It To Me (1974, 7”, Polydor 2058 492)
Far Far Away/OK Yesterday Was Yesterday (1974, 7”, Polydor 2058 522)
How Does It Feel?/So Far So Good (1974, 7”, Polydor 2058 547)
Thanks For The Memory/Raining In My Champagne (1975, 7”, Polydor 2058 585)
In For A Penny/Can You Just Imagine (1975, 7”, Polydor 2058 663)
Let’s Call It Quits/When The Chips Are Down (1976, 7”, Polydor 2058 690)
Nobody’s Fool/LA Jinx (1976, 7”, Polydor 2058 716)
Gypsy Roadhog/Forest Full Of Needles (1977, 7”, Barn 2014 105)
Burning In The Heat Of Love/Ready Steady Kids (1977, 7”, Barn 2014 106)
My Baby Left Me But That’s Alright Mama/OHMS (1977, 7”, Barn 2014 114)
Give Us A Goal/Daddio (1978, 7”, Barn 2014 121)
Rock N Roll Bolero/It’s Alright Buy Me (1978, 7”, Barn 2014 127)
Ginny Ginny/Dizzy Mama (1979, 7”, Barn 002)
Sign Of The Times/Not Tonight Josephine (1979, 7”, Barn 010)
Okey Cokey/My Baby’s Got It (1979, 7”, Barn 011)
Six Of The Best EP: Night Starvation/When I’m Dancing I Ain’t Fighting/I’m A Rocker (Remix)/Don’t Waste Your Time (Remix)/Wheels Ain’t Coming Down (Remix)/9 To 5 (12”, 1980, Super 45 No.3)
Alive At Reading ‘80 EP: When I’m Dancing I Ain’t Fighting/Born To Be Wild/Somethin’ Else/Pistol Packin’ Mama/Keep A Rollin’ (1980, 7”, Cheapskate CHEAP 5)
Xmas Ear Bender EP: Merry Xmas Everybody (Live)/Okey Cokey (Live)/Get Down And Get With It (Live) (1980, 7”, Cheapskate CHEAP 11)
We’ll Bring The House Down/Hold On To Your Hats (1981, 7”, Cheapskate CHEAP 16)
Wheels Ain’t Coming Down/Not Tonight Josephine (1981, 7”, Cheapskate CHEAP 21)
Knuckle Sandwich Nancy/I’m Mad (1981, 7”, Cheapskate CHEAP 24)
Lock Up Your Daughters/Sign Of The Times (1981, 7”, RCA RCA124)
Ruby Red/Funk Punk And Junk (1982, 7”, RCA RCA191. Double pack edition features extra tracks, “Rock And Roll Preacher (Live)” and “Take Me Bak ‘Ome (Live)”, both later included on “Slade On Stage“)
C’est La Vie/Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin’) (1982, 7”, RCA RCA291)
My Oh My/Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply (1983, 7”, RCA RCA373. 12” copies add “Don’t Tame A Hurricane” and use extended mix of a-side instead of album mix, all bonus tracks on Salvo issue of “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome”)
Run Runaway (Edit)/Two Track Stereo One Track Mind (1983, 7”, RCA RCA385. 12” copies play longer version of a-side, also available on Salvo issue of “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome”)
All Join Hands (7” Mix)/Here’s To… (1984, 7”, RCA RCA455)
All Join Hands (12” Mix)/Here’s To… (1984, 12”, RCA RCAT455)
7 Year Bitch (Edit)/Leave Them Girls Alone (1985, 7”, RCA RCA475. 12” copies add “We’ll Bring The House Down (Live)”, from “Slade On Stage”, and play extended mix of a-side, which is also available on Salvo issue of “Rogues Gallery”)
Myzterious Mister Jones/Mama Nature Is A Rocker (1985, 7”, RCA PB40027. 12” copies play extended mix of a-side, and add “My Oh My (Piano & Vocal Version)”, both on Salvo issue of “Rogues Gallery”)
Do You Believe In Miracles/My Oh My (Swing Version) (1985, 7” RCA PB40449. 12” copies play extended version of a-side, other editions on both 7” and 12” add various bonus tracks from Slade albums. Everything on Salvo‘s “Rogues Gallery“)
Merry Xmas Everybody (Extended Remix Version)/Don’t Blame Me (1985, 12”, Polydor POSPX780)
Still The Same/Gotta Go Home/The Roaring Silence/Don’t Talk To Me About Love (1987, 2x7”, RCA PB41147D. 12” copies play extended version of a-side, but missing last two songs. Tracks 1 and 3 were on original release of “You Boyz Make Big Noize”, 12” mix of a-side, “Gotta Go Home” and “Don’t Talk To Me” on expanded issue on Salvo)
That’s What Friends Are For/Wild Wild Party (1987, 7”, RCA PB41271. 12” copies add “Hi Ho Silver Lining“, from “Crackers“, and “Lock Up Your Daughters (Live)”, from “Slade On Stage”)
You Boyz Make Big Noize (7” Mix)/(USA Mix) (1987, 7”, Cheapskate BOYZ1. 12” copies replace a-side with 12” mix, and add Instrumental version. All 4 mixes on Salvo issue of “You Boyz Make Big Noise”)
We Won’t Give In/Ooh La La In LA (1987, 7”, Cheapskate BOYZ2)
Let’s Dance (Remix)/Standing On The Corner (1988, 7”, Cheapskate BOYZ3. CD Single exists with “old hits“ as bonus tracks)
Radio Wall Of Sound/Lay Your Love On The Line (1991, 7”, Polydor PO180, also on Cassette. 12“ and CD editions add “Cum On Feel The Noize“)
Universe/Red Hot/Merry Xmas Everybody (1991, 7”, Polydor PO189, also on Cassette. 12“ and CD editions add “Gypsy Roadhog“)
Merry Xmas Everybody (1973 Single Version)/(1998 Remix Edit)/Cum On Feel The Noize (1998, 12”, Polydor SLADEX25, also on CD)

Note: As many of the Slade “Best Of” sets tend to go for the big hits, I am not sure how easily available on CD the edits of “All Join Hands”, “7 Year Bitch”, etc are. I know for a fact that the “Greatest Hits” set from 1999 plays the album version of the former, and not the 7” mix.

Disclaimer: The edits detailed above are based on what is listed on Wikipedia, as many of the singles never mentioned that edited mixes were used, so apologies if this info is incorrect! I still maintain that buying the Salvo reissues, and - where they exist - the 7” singles will do the job for over 90% of the Slade back catalogue.

And remember, if you are reading this in December, IT’S CHRISTMAS !!!

1 comment:

  1. Update - the "Live N Kickin" version of "Merry Xmas Everybody" is the "new" version found on the "Crackers" album.

    ReplyDelete