Slade Alive!

The unstoppable festive party monster Merry Xmas Everybody will ensure Slade’s immortality but in fact their finest hour is the 1972 album Slade Alive!

I bought it on second-hand vinyl about 15 years ago, and whenever I make the effort to dig it out and play it, the raw power of Noddy’s voice, the connection with the crowd…well it just blows my puny little mind.

The yam yam band were briefly skinheads before adopting the glam look and conquering the charts in the early 1970s (a mammoth seventeen Top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976 including six #1s, three #2s and two #3s). Alas, they never cracked the US despite being the single biggest influence on Gene Simmons’ Kiss.

Slade Alive! doesn’t feature any of their best-known hits (Cum on Feel the Noize, Coz I Luv You etc) – rather, it’s a very odd ragbag of originals and covers, climaxing with Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild. But man they could really play these songs – you can tell they’ve been honed to perfection through endless touring of sticky-floored working-men’s clubs and sundry Black Country dives.

My faves are In Like A Shot From My Gun and, above all, the searing version of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Darling Be Home Soon, which Noddy keeps interrupting with bawdy audience banter. This gives the idea:

Thus Slade: terrific rock musicians quite incapable of taking themselves seriously.  Remember, Slade are for life, not just for Christmas.

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6 thoughts on “Slade Alive!

    December 30, 2010 at 13:28

    Always thought the Spoonful version was rather over produced – with reeds and brass. This is an absolute blast, and a timely reminder that a group that were big on whacky/crazy could also rock with the best, and turn out a burning smoocher too.

  2. Gaw
    December 30, 2010 at 15:12

    Noddy appears occasionally on Radio Two and apparently has a regular radio show in Manchester. He’s got a nice line in patter, as one would expect, and a great voice for radio (I love a warm West Midland accent). But he also really knows his musical onions – especially, I recall, soul music – and is fascinating on the lesser known and strange bits of pop music history, having been there for a fair bit of it.

    December 30, 2010 at 16:05

    Any group producing an album named Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply has my undying admiration. Noddy would make an excellent West Midlands ambassador, after Jasper Carrot.

    Right, we’ve had Wham and Slade how about a Clinton Ford retro?

    ian russell
    December 30, 2010 at 16:48

    the third best band associated with Chas Chandler!

  5. Gaw
    December 30, 2010 at 17:01

    Ian, just looked him up on Wikipedia. What a guy!

    December 30, 2010 at 19:06

    What! wor Chas, Eric Burdons erstwhile buddie, from the posh bit of the town, I say posh….scourge of the Newcastle nightclubs, father of the Newcastle arena, then lost it and popped his clogs, one of the very few Geordies of note.

    We gorra gerrout of this place, man, he wasn’t kidding, the Marimba, what a dump, evil smelling den of inequity.

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