Odds and sods about the British rock band Slade

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Since 1971 I've been a fan of the British glam rock band Slade. At that time my music teacher at school played "'Coz I Luv You" on the turntable for us 9 years old kids and I was hooked.
I was brought up on the Beatles, Mothers of Invention, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep etc. as I have an almost 7 years older sister. When the kids at kindergarten sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" I sang "I'm The Walrus." I was a weird kid. But I had this music teacher who was about 26 years old in 1971 and he played "'Coz I Luv You" on the turntable.
The very moment I heard it, I loved it. It was raw, unpolished, the vocals were devastating, and then there was this melodic Stéphane Grappelli-violin in the middle of it all. I didn't know Stéphane Grappelli at the time, but I knew good music when I heard it, and this was good music! It led to a never-ending love affair with Slade, for of course it was Slade who was on the turntable.
Back then Slade consisted of Dave Hill on guitar, Don Powell on drums, Noddy Holder on vocals and rhythm guitar and Jim Lea on bass, violin, keyboards, second vocals and everything else. Jim Lea was also the guy who composed all of Slade's music whereas Noddy Holder wrote the lion's share of the lyrics.
It had all started back in 1966. Originally Don played in a band called The Vendors which Dave joined in the early 1960es. In 1966 they held auditions for a bass player and the choice fell on Jim. Shortly after Noddy came aboard as the lead singer. Nod, Don and Dave were all born in 1946, Jim in 1949, so they were quite a young band, but they had talent and over the years they went through the names The 'N Betweens and Ambrose Slade while perfecting their stage act.
They had to play together for 5 years before they got their first break as Slade with "Get Down and Get With It" in 1971. It made no. 16 in the British charts and their manager Chas Chandler (former bass player in The Animals and manager of Jimi Hendrix) now craved that they write their first no. 1 hit. Jim and Noddy got together and after half an hour they'd written "'Coz I Luv You." The rest is rock history.
So I was only 9 years old when I became a fan of Slade. They were my band, the first band I had discovered without the help from my sister. Heck, my sister didn't even like them, I think she looked on them as a band for kids! Nothing could be more wrong. Slade was stomping, hard often even suggestive rock'n'roll. But they were glam rockers wearing high heals, glitter and odd costumes so nobody really listened to the lyrics. Well, maybe my mother did. Slade played in my country, Denmark, several times over the years to come, but my mother forbid me to go to their concerts.
Then suddenly it was July 1978 and Slade gave a concert in Tved, a small village 50 kilometres away from my hometown. My mother had sadly died of a virulent disease 4 month earlier, my father was away on holiday and I was 16 years old...


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