Top 10 Slade Songs
In their native England, Slade are one of the most cherished and biggest selling bands of all time. From their humble beginnings as the N-Betweens in 1965 through their mega hits in the '70s, their loud, brash style, both musically and visually, endeared many a listener over the decades. An amazing run of 17 U.K. Top 20 singles in a row, as well as a batch of classic LPs are proof of that popularity. Over the years they have been acknowledged as an influenced on the likes of AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Kiss, Def Leppard and Oasis to name but a few.
Although they are primarily thought of as a glam band, they were far from a one-trick pony. Throughout their recorded career, they employed elements such as country-tinged guitars, strings, and music hall-like jollity mixed in with the raw rock and roll.
But the mystery remains as to why were Slade unable to crack the U.S. charts or American radio? It wouldn't be until a cover of 'Cum On Feel The Noize' by Quiet Riot in 1983, that most of the U.S. would be made aware of Slade's music. So we are hoping to turn a few of you on to the wonders of these four yobs decked out in their finest outrageous attire. At very least, we hope you are highly entertained while cranking up our list of Top 10 Slade Songs.
We begin our list of the Top 10 Slade Songs with 'Merry Xmas Everybody,' perhaps the best known Slade song of them all, at least in their homeland. Issued a backdrop of recession and general fatigue in the U.K., the song's optimistic message and joyous sounds struck the right note with the public. The record has re-entered the charts all of the 18 times it has been re-released over the next four decades. It has become the best known rock and roll Christmas song of all time in England, where this year alone it will earn its writers an estimated million dollars and change.
1972 was, in many ways, the peak of glam rock's power. Its moment in the spotlight would last for another year or so, but 1972 was the pinnacle. Slade were in the right place at the right time for their sonic overload and visual flair. The Slade style was becoming well-defined with its loud guitars, raw vocals and at its center, a great pop song. 'Take Me Bak 'Ome' was their second chart topper in less than eight months and helped cement the band's status among the young rock and roll fans in the U.K. at the time.
1972's 'Slayed?' is one of the band's best loved albums, and rightfully so. It is stacked top to bottom with righteous rock and roll, case in point, 'I Won't Let It 'appen Agen.' The groove the band get moving on never lets up, surging along as the intensity builds. Dave Hill delivers a classic guitar break while Noddy Holder dishes out an impassioned vocal performance. First appearing as the B-side to 'Gudbuy T' Jane,' it was written by bassist Jim Lea on his own, and is one of many highlights on this stellar record.
After their cover-filled debut (issued under the name Ambrose Slade), the group began to focus on their own material and streamlining their sound. But they had one more non-original left, a brash and re-titled take on Bobby Marchan’s ‘Get Down with It,’ which they learned from Little Richard’s version. They replaced the classic soul groove with their own brash style to have their first hit, hitting No. 19 in the Spring of 1971.
We close out the first half of our countdown of the Top 10 Slade Songs with 'Far Far Away,' the band's last huge hit until their brief resurgence in 1983, reaching No. 2 in October 1974. The highlight of the 'Slade In Flame' album, 'Far Far Away' is an acoustic guitar-driven singalong that, while maintaining the Slade trademarks, is also a departure sonically for the band. 'In Flame' was also the band's sole film excursion, sort of their own 'A Hard Day's Night,' and a must see for fans.
While Slade were a big singles band, their catalog from 1969 through 1977 is a very strong batch of long players. Hidden away on 1974's 'Old New Borrowed and Blue,' 'Do We Still Do It?' is Slade in their prime. Big, brash, ballsy and bombastic, Slade hit the piledriver to overload on this killer. A sort-of affirmation of their standing in the rock and roll game as it were, the answer to the question posed was a resounding 'Yes!'
Slade's third No. 1 remains one of their most emphatic rock and roll statements. Stomping rhythm and blistering guitars pave the way for Holder's raw and commanding vocals to make another in a series of Slade anthems. Like many of the band's records, it was produced by manager/producer Chas Chandler, who gave the band a sonic template that was a perfect fit for their style. The song made it up to No. 76 on the U.S. charts in 1972. Quiet Riot tried to spin gold twice as they released a version of this as a follow-up to 'Cum On Feel The Noize,' in 1984, but they only managed to clock in at No. 51.
After releasing two solid but albums, Slade were still trying to establish themselves. That breakthrough finally came in the Fall of 1971 with the release of 'Coz I Luv You,' which would be No. 1 hit. 'Coz I Luv You' is, by Slade standards, a more subtle affair than most of their arsenal.Written, as most of their songs were, by Holder and Lea, it's a unique record, from its shuffle beat and simple, but sweet, melody to the use of violin in place of lead guitar.
'Gudbuy T' Jane' was released in the Fall of 1972, smack dab in the middle of a slew of No. 1 hits for the band. 'Gudbuy' failed to hit the top, coming in just shy at No.2. The song is trademark Slade with its Dave Clark Five on steroids approach to sonic bliss. Slade were not only trailblazers in loud rock and roll and even fashion sense, they were also pioneers in improper grammar, with most of their biggest hits featuring their trademark misspellings.
The band's fourth No.1 single in less than a year, 'Cum On Feel The Noize' was, and still is, a rock and roll anthem to be reckoned with and sits proudly atop our list of Top 10 Slade Songs. From its opening call of 'baby baby baby' right into the foot-stomping and hand-clapping vibrancy of the verse and chorus, it's a winner all the way. Like many of Slade's finest moments, it's loud, raucous and simplistic, condensing all the power of a live show into a three-minute song.