Almanac Memoir and Music: Slade Forever!

 

Slade, 1973. Left to right: Jimmy Lea, Don Powell, Noddy Holder, Dave Hill. (Source: Wikipedia.)

 

Slade Forever!

 

In the first half of the 1970s, UK glam rockers Slade were big, really big; early on, the word was out on the street, my street – Maidie Street, Highton, Geelong.

 

Glenda, thirteen, a year older than me, lived a couple of houses away and was raving about this ‘new’ band. One day she rushed up and told me how good they were: “Aw, Slade, they’re brilliant! Fantastic!” I’d vaguely heard of them, but decided to be a bit of a smart alec, as I couldn’t name one of their songs at the time, and was sure she couldn’t either. “OK then, if they’re so great, name a song of theirs.” Glenda looked stumped, “Oh, er …” then, in a sudden burst of inspiration, sang some lines from their first Australian hit, a live version of ‘Get Down and Get with It’: Wanna see everybody get off your seat/Clap your hands and stamp your feet … Oh yeah, I remember thinking, I’ve heard that song. Fair enough, Glenda.

 

But I never really liked ‘Get Down and Get with It’. Even as a twelve-year-old, I thought the lyrics lacked imagination, were low-grade stuff. The best thing about Glenda’s enthusiasm, though, was that it triggered my interest in Slade.

 

Pretty soon, I’d bought the album Sladest, a collection of the band’s greatest hits up until late 1973, with a bunch of other songs of that era thrown in for good measure. I loved almost all the songs on the LP, but a few stood out, probably ‘Gudbuy T’Jane’ was my favourite. It was so catchy; infectious was the word, from Don Powell’s quickfire drumming, Dave Hill’s melodic, riffy guitar work, Jimmy Lea’s smooth bass playing and, most of all, Neville ‘Noddy’ Holder’s raspy, rocking way of selling a tune: Goodbye to Jane, goodbye to Jane/She’s a dark horse see if she can/Goodbye to Jane, goodbye to Jane/ Painted up like a fancy young man/She’s a queen,/Can’t you see what I mean, she’s a queen …

 

 

What a ripper of a song! A few years later, when I was playing in rock bands in secondary school, I wanted to play something by Slade, but they were deceptively good musicians, and we didn’t have any Don Powells, Jimmy Leas, Dave Hills or Noddy Holders available to carry it off. I remember reading, in the liner notes accompanying Sladest, an opinion expressed by their manager and producer, Chas Chandler – that the group were better musicians than those in his former band: sixties legends, The Animals.

 

I think Chandler knew something.

 

I can’t resist posting another wonderful Slade song. It’s a lesser known one from their early period – the moody, plangent ‘Pouk Hill’, which initially appeared on their second album, Play It Loud (1970), before getting a guernsey on Sladest. Play It Loud was actually the first LP released under the name Slade, as their first, Beginnings, came out the previous year under the name Ambrose Slade.

 

Thankfully, the four Slade guys are still alive today, and have been occupied since the years of their greatest fame with various projects. In December 2015, Noddy Holder even bobbed up on the iconic, long-running BBC religious program Songs of Praise, presenting a piece in which he sang ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ with a choir in York!

 

Slade made my early teens a more exciting, fun place in which to live.

 

Slade forever!

 

 

 

 

(Acknowledgment: part of this piece initially appeared on the Stereo Stories website in 2019.)

 

 

 

 

For more from Kevin, click HERE.

 

 

 

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About

Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose. He laments the extinction of Cascade Pale Ale and Kiwi Lager.

Comments

  1. Malby Dangles says

    Give us a goal!! Slade are great.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Good to hear from you, Malby.

    I agree with you totally about the great Slade, of course! They were a fine part of the soundtrack of my youth (as I clearly indicate).

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