Archive for the ‘Slade’ Category

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place πŸ™‚ I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.

Slade Newcastle City Hall 18th December 1981

Slade Newcastle City Hall 18th December 1981
slade81cityhalltixThe last time I saw the original Slade line-up live in concert was at Newcastle City Hall on 18th December 1981. Slade were where they should be, performing to sold out concert halls up and down the country. It was great to see them back at the City Hall, Slade were very clearly enjoying themselves, and it being close to Christmas festivities, of course they played that song. We were a few rows from the front, and my ears were ringing for days afterwards.
Slade played a couple of more times in the north east, at Newcastle University in 1982, and on 17th December 1983 at Durham University. It is possible that I was at the Durham gig, but without a ticket or programme I can’t be sure. I do have vague memories of seeing Slade there, but I think it may have been in the 1970s. On 18th December 1983, the night after playing in Durham Slade played the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, which was to be the original band’s last ever full UK show. A UK tour was scheduled for 1985, but was cancelled.
The front cover of the tour programme shows Slade on stage at Reading in 1980. The concert was recorded and released as the live album “Slade on Stage”. Reviewing the album, Kerrang said: “Watching Slade live is one of the most exhilarating experiences known to mankind. slade81progIts a completely over the top manic and raucous package, delivered at a pace that makes even Kiss seem like old men. So pin back your ears, reinforce your walls and listen to Noddy Holder bellowing through 10 gems including ‘Take Me Bak ‘Ome’ and ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’. Some light relief is supplied by ‘Everyday’. What are you waiting for? Go Out and buy it now.”
Setlist: Rock and Roll Preacher; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; Till Deaf Do Us Part; M’Hat, M’Coat; Everyday; A Night to Remember; Lock Up Your Daughters; Gudbuy T’Jane; We’ll Bring the House Down; Get Down and Get With It
Encore: Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Merry Xmas Everybody; Born to Be Wild
That concludes my Slade memories, which I’ve enjoyed writing. Looking back makes me realise just how great a rock band Slade were, and how important they were to me.
I’ve seen the “new” Slade a couple of times recently, and may go to see them again one day. They put on a fun show, but it just isn’t the same without Noddy and Jim (sorry Dave and Don). Now a reunion of the original band would be something to see πŸ™‚ but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Slade Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall 21st February 1981

Slade Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall 21st February 1981
sladepoly81tixThe “Live at Reading” EP reached number 44 in the UK singles chart; the band’s first chart placing since 1977. Polydor Records seized the opportunity to capitalise on Slade’s recent success and released a compilation “Slade Smashes!” in November 1980. The album was a big succees, turning a whole new audience onto Slade; it spent 15 weeks in the UK chart, was certified Gold, and sold over 200,000 copies. Success continued with the release of their new single “We’ll Bring the House Down” which was released in January 1981. sladeearly1981progAimed at the new heavy metal audience who had picked up and them at, and after, Reading 1980, it was a bit heavier than their normal sound.”We’ll Bring the House Down” got to number 10 in the UK singles chart, and became Slade’s first top ten hit since 1976.
Slade were starting to fill concert halls again, and toured relentlessly throughout 1981. The next time I got to see them Live after Reading in August 1980, was 6 months later at a sold-out gig at Sunderland Polytechnic’s Students Union dance at Wearmouth Hall on 21st February 1981. The place was ram packed with students and heavy rock fans who gave Slade the returning heroes welcome that they deserved. It was great to see them back filling halls again, and you could tell how much Noddy, Dave, Jim and Don were enjoying their newly found stardom.
MonstersOfRock1981I saw Slade again that year, 6 months later at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival on 22nd August 1981 , where they shared the bill with Whitesnake, Blue Γ–yster Cult, Blackfoot, More, and headliners AC/DC. Slade were 4th on the bill, appearing after Blackfoot and before Blue Γ–yster Cult. By now they were well and truly accepted as bona fide members of the heavy metal fraternity. Denim jackets were starting to sport Slade patches alongside those of Motorhead, AC/DC, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. You couldn’t make it up πŸ™‚
Slade’s setlist at the time was: Dizzy Mamma; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; Lock Up Your Daughters; Everyday; Somethin’ Else; Pistol Packin’ Mama; Gudbuy T’Jane; We’ll Bring the House Down; Get Down and Get With It; Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Born to Be Wild; Merry Xmas Everybody
Almost finished my coverage of Slade gigs. One more day to go πŸ™‚

Slade become heavy metal heroes at the Reading Festival 24th August 1980

Slade become heavy metal heroes at the Reading Festival 24th August 1980
SladeReadingFestival1980
Their singles weren’t selling, and their concerts were no longer drawing in the crowds. In fact, at the time of that they took a last-minute call asking them to appear at the 1980 Reading Festival, Slade were on the verge of packing it all in. “We had to pay to park in the public area,” recalls Jim Lea incredulously. “With no roadies, we had to carry our own gear and there was even trouble getting into the backstage area!” From the SladeInEngland site” “Reading Rock 1980 was without a doubt one of the bands finest hours….As far as their history was concerned, perhaps only their groundbreaking appearance at the Great Western Festival at Lincoln in 1972 had as much impact on their standing with the music going public, and the music writing press, as the Reading Festival in 1980.”
By 1980, Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but rumours started to go around the festival site, that Ozzy wasn’t going to show. Soon those rumours started to hint at who might replace Ozzy, and the name in the frame was…wait for it….Slade. At first this seemed implausable. Slade were out in the “wilderness”, playing in small clubs. How would a staunch heavy metal crowd react to them? The festival organisers wouldn’t take the risk, would they? But the more I thought about it, the more I began to hope that it would happen, and the more I began to think it might really work out well for Slade. After all, I’d seen a similar thing happen eight years before at Lincoln, when Slade turned around a potential disaster and secured themselves a special place in the heart of rock fans. I had no doubt that they had the ability, the songs, the passion and the supreme rock’n’roll sensibilities and credentials to do the same again. I’d seen them play Middlesbrough Rock Garden a couple of months earlier, so I knew that Slade were performing well, powered on all of four cylinders, and ready to rock. And if anyone had the bottle to face the Reading crowd, and a potential shower of Party Seven cans, and talk them round, it was Noddy.
I think it was on the Saturday night that DJ Bob Harris (or it may have been John Peel; they were both there) confirmed that Slade would be replacing Ozzy, to massive boos from the crowd. Slade, those guys who sing the Christmas song? How could they replace a metal legend like Ozzy? The crowd was having none of it. I’m sure many were already plotting how they were going to show Slade exactly what they thought of them. This would no doubt involve lobbing cans at the stage, and probably filling them with piss first.
sladeliveatreadingSunday afternoon came. Slade were to appear after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before new heroes Def Leppard. My mate Dave and I were willing it to work out. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. I had tears in my eyes.
From the SladeInWales site: “Slade’s appearance at the Reading Festival in 1980 will go down in the annals of rock history as one of the great comeback stories….Slade then went out and kicked everyone’s ass so hard they completely stole the show. All the British press (who had been ignoring Slade for some years by this point) wrote about Reading that year was Slade, and how they were back, dynamic, one of the greatest live bands ever….The Reading Festival in 1980 gave Slade a new lease in life.”
Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing. I could see Chas at the side grinning.”
The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP. For their next tour, Slade were back in concert halls, and were filling them.
Set list: Dizzy Mamma; My Baby Left Me; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’; Wheels Ain’t Coming Down; Everyday; Somethin’ Else; Pistol Packin’ Mama; Keep a Rollin’; You’ll Never Walk Alone (Noddy leading the crowd in a mass singalong); Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Get Down and Get With It (mayhem; mass stomping of feet); Merry Xmas Everybody (well they had to play it, didn’t they, and the crowd sang the chorus; a surreal moment, a field full of denim singing along with Noddy; it was wonderful); Cum on Feel the Noize; Born to Be Wild (a perfect closer; follow that Def Leppard)
A great day πŸ™‚
But….I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway.
Thanks to Andrew King for allowing use of his image of Slade onstage at Reading, through the Wikimedia Commons licence.

Slade : The wilderness years & a night with skinheads at Middlesbrough Rock Garden 24th June 1980

Slade : The wilderness years & a night with skinheads at Middlesbrough Rock Garden 24th June 1980
SladeGiveusaGoalUKsingleThe Rock Garden was a scary place. If the skins didn’t get you, then the rock garden burgers would almost certainly finish you off. A visit to the Rock Garden was an experience not to be forgotten; a fight or two was guaranteed as part of the evening’s entertainment, alongside performances by some of the finest punk or heavy rock bands around at the time.
Slade were on their never ending tour of clubs, pubs, cabaret and ballrooms in 1980. The years between 1977 and 1980 were their “wilderness years”; at the time Slade were down on their luck and receiving next to no money. Their records were no longer making the charts and they were forced to play small halls and clubs around the UK, their only income coming from royalties from the old hits, most of which will have gone to Noddy and Jim, as the band’s two songwriters. Their single releases from this period were not their best and included “Give Us A Goal” and “Okey Cokey”. Nuff said. But live in concert they were as great as ever, perhaps more so as they fought and played hard to win new fans and to win back their place in the charts.
The Rock Garden was packed with skinheads for Slade. My mate Norm has vague memories of the support act being pelted off stage, and having to hide behind the bar while the skins continued to throw handfuls of ice at them. But the skins loved Slade, and Noddy managed to keep them in order. When a scuffle broke out he would tell the hard guys to behave and they would listen to him and take notice. They saw him as one of their own. The Rock Garden stage was tiny, and Slade came with masses of amps, which they still had from the days when they would pack out big halls. So Nod, Dave, Jim and Don were limited to playing in a tiny area in front of a massive back line and surrounded by big PA speakers. And they were deafeningly LOUD. I swear my ears were ringing for days afterwards. The set was a mix of their hits, recent tracks and a few covers. The place went crazy. Slade were called back for several encores and finished with “Born to be Wild”, just like old times. Happy days.
Set list: Dizzy Mamma; My Baby Left Me; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’; Wheels Ain’t Coming Down; Lemme Love Into Ya; Everyday; Somethin’ Else (Eddie Cochran); Pistol Packin’ Mama; Keep a Rollin’; Night Starvation; Gudbuy T’Jane; Get Down and Get With It
Encore: Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Encore 2: Cum on Feel the Noize; Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley; Born to Be Wild
A couple of months later I was at the Reading Festival, when a lucky break gave Slade the chance to show everyone just how great a live band they still were, and put them back in the music public’s eye, this time as heroes of the heavy metal brigade. I’ll write about that tomorrow

Slade Carnage at Sunderland Empire 12th April 1978

sladeempiretix“Rock fans wreak havoc in Empire”
(From The Sunderland Echo, 13th April 1978)
“Seats and brass rails were smashed and twisted at the Sunderland Empire last night, as rock group Slade worked a young audience to fever pitch.
House manager, Mr Ron Jameson said today that the cost of the damage had not yet been counted, but it was expected to run to hundreds of pounds.
“The youngsters tend to stand on the arms and backs of the seats which smashes the framework, and the sheer weight of numbers pressing up against the brass rails bent them easily”
He added that although there was an audience of only 800 – less than half the theatre’s capacity – they had been very involved in the performance, and at times some became carried away with the highly charged atmosphere.”
You can find a copy of the original article from the Echo on the Sladescrapbook website:
http://www.sladescrapbook.com/cuttings-1978.html
The next time I saw Slade was at Sunderland Empire, a gig which ended with serious damage to the first few rows of the seats. Support came from local rockers Geordie. I was quite close to the front, with a group of mates, and we watched the first few rows of seats collapse under the weight of fans pushing, shoving and generally going crazy. By the end of the concert all that was left of the first five or so rows was a pile of smashed up wood. The same thing happened at a Boomtown Rats gig around the same time.
The set list at the Empire will have been something like this: Hear Me Calling; Get on Up; Be; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; My Baby Left Me; Burning in the Heat of Love; Everyday; Far Far Away; Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing; Gudbuy T’Jane; Give Us a Goal!; Get Down and Get With It; Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Keep on Rocking
My ticket for the gig looks a bit of a mess. I have written “Slade” on it (at the time the Empire tickets didn’t list the act who was playing) but the change of date was done by the Empire when we bought the tickets. It looks like they were reusing some tickets from another night!
Slade went further into the wilderness in 1979, playing cabaret and residencies at Baileys Nightspots up and down the country. The next time I saw them was another wild night, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which I’ll write about tomorrow.

Slade: Whatever Happened to Slade? (or the night I saw the old Slade return) Newcastle City Hall 8th May 1977

Slade: Whatever Happened to Slade? (or the night I saw the old Slade return) Newcastle City Hall 8th May 1977
sladetix77Slade had been away too long. They’d been over in America working the US market, and had taken their eye off the ball in terms of their home fans. As a result their popularity was waning. They realised this, and in early 1977 Slade came back home to England and recorded their sixth album “Whatever Happened to Slade?” The album was a return to their rock’n’roll roots, and received positive critical reviews, but failed to make the UK album charts. Musical tastes were changing in the UK, the glam craze had passed, “dinosaur” or “old fart” bands were being passed over for new bands, and the fashion of the day was “punk rock”. Some of us could see the similarities between the rawness of punk, early Slade, and their original skinhead image; however to the majority of the music public Slade were a forgotten band; a thing of the past.
Not deterred, however, Slade decided to go out on a national tour, returning to the theatres and concert halls which they were selling out just two or three years earlier. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall and I went along with a few mates to renew our acquaintance with Slade. Support for the tour came from Liar, a rock band formed by a former member of Edison Lighthouse and featuring Clive Brooks, who was previously in Egg and the Groundhogs. The City Hall was far from full, which was a shame, as Slade were on fire, working so hard to regain their fans, and demonstrating just how great a rock band they were. The stage was set with the one of the biggest backlines of stacks that I’d ever seen. I knew this was going to be LOUD πŸ™‚ The lights went down, and Slade walked on stage. The first I noticed was the appearance of guitarist Dave Hill. Dave’s hair was gone; he was completely bald with a shaved head and the biggest dangly earring that I’d ever seen. He was wearing a leather jacket and jeans, and looked amazing!! Noddy was wearing a Napolean hat and jacket! Now what was all that about? Then I heard the opening chords of “Hear Me Calling’ and everyone was up on their feet. And away we went. For an hour or so Slade showed us exactly how and why they made it big the first time. By playing LOUD, good honest raucous rock, like only Slade could. They even finished with “Born to be Wild”. It was just like old times, as if the last five years had never happened. The loud, heavy rock band that was early Slade was back πŸ™‚
sladepapersFrom a review of the time: “But poor old Slade have blown it, have they? Oh no…..The music suggested havoc. It was sensational: a riff as pile driving as anything Quo have produced with the distinctive fuzzed, rough texture of the Slade guitars and a hint of American funkiness working through. Compulsion……I could hardly believe it….Dynamics, dynamite….The crowd……were on their feet and singing ‘The Blaydon Races’ while Noddy in total friendly rapport squawked away like a cross between Mr Punch and schnozzle Durante….. I expect Slade will be the Status Quo of 1987.” (Phil Sutcliffe, Sounds, May 1977).
Setlist: Hear Me Calling; Get on Up; Be; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; Gypsy Roadhog; Everyday; Gudbuy T’Jane; Coz I Luv You; The Bangin’ Man; Lightning Never Strikes Twice; The Soul, the Roll and the Motion; Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Born to Be Wild
Yes, Slade were playing excellently, but it was a few years before they would rebuild their fan base and return to the charts. During the period between 1977 and 1980 Slade entered their “wilderness years” playing up and down the country in clubs, dives and cabaret. I attended a couple more great Slade gigs during those wilderness years, and will reflect on them over the next couple of days.

Slade Newcastle City Hall 30th April 1975

Slade Newcastle City Hall 30th April 1975
sladetix75In April 1975 I finally relented, saw sense, put “cool” aside, and went along to see Slade again. This was my one and only experience of Slade and their audience full-on during their glamrock megapop teen sensation period. Support came from Bunny (not sure what happened to them). The City Hall was packed full of teenage girls. When sold-out, as it was for Slade that night, the City Hall holds 2,400 people; I swear there were 2,200 screaming girls there, me, and 199 other guys. The guys that were present were either with their girlfriends, feeling very out of place (like me) and looking around sheepishly (also like me), skinheads who had followed the band from the start, or full-on Slade fans (you could tell which ones they were; they were the guys dressed as Nod or Dave). I swear every single girl was wearing a Slade scarf, tartan trousers or top (or both), Slade badges, or even better a Slade rosette (the rosettes were often home-made with pictures of Noddy cut out of Jackie or Fab208). And of the 2,200 girls, I reckon 1,500 of them were wearing top hats (or bowlers) with mirrors stuck around them. Well maybe all of that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the general picture. I was seated upstairs on a side balcony, looking down on the stage. Not the best position in the house, and it only added to me not feeling fully part of the event. I felt sooooo…. out of place, and self conscious; but what the hell; I was at a Slade concert again, and I knew how hard these guys could rock on a good night πŸ™‚
“We Want Slade…Slade…SLADE…SLADE ….SLADE..”. Slade arrived on stage and the place went crazy. Mad. Totally.
The truth was that Slade’s popularity was starting to decline and their last single “How Does It Feel” (which was also the theme for “Slade in Flame”) had only made (shock horror) No 15 in the UK charts. But as a live act, and in Newcastle City Hall that night, Slade remained massive.
sladeprog75Noddy was on top form. No-one could work a crowd like him. And some of his banter with the crowd was pretty filthy in those days; “Hands up all those girls with red knickers on….Hands up all those girls with blue knickers on..Hands up all those girls with NO knickers on!” The girls lapped it up and they screamed and screamed and screamed. They waved their scarves in the air, and everyone sang “Everyday”. I stood watching, taking it all in. Sometimes I felt I was part of it, but mostly it was as if I was outside looking in. I couldn’t quite relate to the madness and craziness of it all. The set had changed completely from the early days, which surprised me, but I guess it shouldn’t have. Slade no longer started with “Hear Me Callin'” or finished with “Born to be Wild”. However, elements of the old Slade did come through now and then; those old rockers were hidden behind the glam pop teen swagger. After all, deep down I knew that Nod was still the cheeky raucous rock singer, Dave was still the big kid who wanted to show off, Jim had always been a real musician, and Don just remained unphased by it all, the solid rock rhythm holding it all together at the back. But I left with a strange feeling; it was as if I’d been to a kid’s party where I didn’t know anyone, no-one spoke to me, and the party went on in full swing, completely ignoring me.
Setlist: Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing; The Bangin’ Man; Gudbuy T’Jane; Far Far Away; Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam); How Does It Feel?; Just a Little Bit; Everyday; O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday; Raining in My Champagne; Let the Good Times Roll; Mama Weer All Crazee Now
But my Slade experiences didn’t end in the City Hall that night; amid the scarves, the glitter and the teenage girls. The old Slade, the rock’n’roll band I loved from the day I first saw them in 1971, returned a few years later. Slade then got lost in a cabaret wilderness, but were to return again; this time as heavy metal heroes. And once again, it was a festival appearance that transformed their career, just as their appearance at the Lincoln festival did in 1972. But this time it was in a field at Reading in 1980, when they appeared at short notice as a replacement for Ozzy. But more of that later..I experienced all of those ups and downs of Slade’s crazy career, and was lucky enough to live through a few more LOUD crazy Slade rock nights.
I’m on a roll with Slade memories now; things are starting to come back to me quite clearly. I’ll work my way the rest of those happy memories during the remainder of this week.

Slade in Flame Sometime in early 1975 A personal appearance at Studio 1 Cinema Sunderland

Slade in Flame Sometime in early 1975 A personal appearance at Studio 1 Cinema Sunderland
sladeinflameI lost faith in Slade during 1973 and 1974. I thought they had become too much of a teen pop band, and didn’t feel it was “cool” to go and see them live at the time. I felt that I’d lost that fine loud raucous rock band to the teenage girls who would scream at Noddy and Dave, and go the concerts sporting top hats with silver circles stuck to them, Slade scarves and tartan baggies. So while all the girls at school were going to see them at the City Hall, and telling me how great they were, I resisted the urge to go along. I didn’t fancy standing in a hall full of screaming girls. And anyway, I told myself, I’ve seen them before they “sold out” to celebrity status, when they were a proper rock band. Looking back that was a mistake; its funny how important it was to appear “cool” at the time. And all along I secretly wanted to go and see them again. Still, I consoled myself by spending my time going to see Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Groundhogs, Uriah Heep and lots of other “proper” rock and “underground” bands. My pop side did win through a few times, however, when I went to see T Rex and the Bay City Rollers…..
Anyway, the next time I (sort of) saw Slade was when they made a personal appearance at a local cinema to promote their film “Slade in Flame”. “Slade in Flame” tells the story of “Flame” a fictitious late 1960s beat group who make it to the top, only to break up at their peak of success. The film begins with the future members of Flame playing in two rival bands, one fronted by a singer named Jack Daniels πŸ™‚ (played by Alan Lake), and the other, The Undertakers, fronted by a singer known as Stoker (played by Noddy Holder). Flame formed from remnants of the two bands, and have the same line-up as Slade do in real life. The rest of the film tells the story of Flame’s rise to fame, disillusionment and eventual and inevitable break-up. It is quite entertaining and pretty funny in places, with some great songs.sladeprog One moment which sticks in my mind is when Stoker is brought on stage in a coffin (the band is called The Undertakers after all; the idea was nicked straight from Screaming Lord Sutch, who, of course also nicked it from Screaming Jay Hawkins). Anyway, the lid of the coffin gets stuck and Stoker can’t get out (now I never saw that happen to Screaming Lord Sutch πŸ™‚ ). The album of the same name, “Flame”, was released at the same time and features the two classic hit singles “How Does It Feel” and “Far Far Away”.
I went with a group of mates to see Slade introduce the film. We were cutting it fine time-wise and as we arrived at the cinema, we saw a big silver Rolls Royce pull up outside. Noddy, Dave, Jim and Don jumped out of the Rolls, ran straight past us, and made their way into the cinema. We quickly paid our money to the cashier (probably Β£1 or so) and followed them in, just in time to hear them say a few words to introduce the film, and then run out just as quickly as they came in. I think they told us that they were off to another cinema in the region to do the same thing. Strangely, given the band were making a personal appearance, the cinema was nowhere near full. Or maybe their popularity was already starting to wane.
I still enjoy watching “Slade in Flame” and “How Does It Feel” is a classic song.
I’ve added a picture of a Slade programme that I have from the period. I’m not sure at which gig I bought this one; it could even have been sold at the cinema.
I finally relented from my Slade abstinence and went to see them in concert a few months after seeing the film. I’ll write about that concert, in April 1975, tomorrow,

Slade Alive! 1971 and 1972

Slade Alive! 1971 and 1972
sladealiveSlade were, no question, one of the best live acts out on the road in the early 1970s. I saw them twice, maybe three times at Sunderland Locarno in October/November 1971 and January 1972. The first time I saw them was just as they released their No 1 smash hit “Coz I Luv You”. The ballroom was packed for these guys. They had played Sunderland Top Rank for the Sunderland Poly students union freshers ball a few weeks earlier, at the time “Get Down and Get with It” was in the charts; a few of my mates had gone to that gig and were raving about how great this band was. Support was Steamhammer, who are perhaps best known for their track “Junior’s Wailing” which was covered by Status Quo. We all sat crossed legged on the floor (as you did, back in the day) watching Steamhammer; I think they reminded me of Man. But when Slade came on stage, Noddy wasn’t haven’t any of this sitting on the dance floor. Slade were a loud rock band. “Come on, up on your feet, everybody”. The crowd jumped up and crushed to the front of the stage. The opening number was their cover of Ten Years After’s “Hear Me Callin'” (it always was in those early days) and it was amazing. It started quietly and slowly with Noddy singing in (for him) quite a low voice, then after a few bars the pace picked up, and Dave Hill’s guitar, Jim Lea’s bass and Don Powell’s drums came crashing in at an amazingly loud volume, so loud that I thought my ears would go. BY then Noddy’s voice was his normal raucous scream. And the crowd went crazy; completely bananas. Slade were a force to be reckoned with. sladecoziluvyouThey played wild, fast and very very LOUD. The set was short, probably around an hour, but furious and by the end we were all ringing in sweat and totally whacked. Slade were juts coming out of their skinhead phase; their hair was starting to grow, but you could still see signs of crew cuts. Except for Dave, whose hair was already growing right the way down his back. Nod was wearing a cap, a checky shirt, braces and jeans. The set included all of the tracks form “Slade Alive!” and quite a few covers; favourites of mine were “In Like a Shot from My Gun”, their excellent cover of John Sebastian’s “Darling Be Home Soon” which took the mood and the pace down a notch, the rocking “Get Down and Get With It” during which we all had to follow Nod’s instructions and “stamp our feet” (as long as we had our boots on πŸ™‚ ), their new single “Coz I Luv You, with Jim soloing on his violin, their cover of Janis’ “Move Over”, and they closed with “Born to Be Wild”, an ear-piercingly loud cover of Steppenwolf’s classic. It was all over too soon, but it was amazing.
I saw them again a few months later. By that time they had released “Look Wot You Done” and were becoming chart heroes. But the live set remained as wild, raucous and loud as before. After one of the gigs, I think it was in early 1972, The Groundhogs were playing the Rink (Top Rank) on the same night as Slade at the Mecca (Locarno). We went to see Slade (who were excellent as usual) at the Mecca earlier that night, and came into the Rink just as The Groundhogs took to the stage, having missed the support act Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. I managed to make my way right to the front, and stood right in front of Tony McPhee as he soloed on Amazing Grace and Split II. Seeing Slade and The Groundhogs in the same night, when both acts were on top form πŸ™‚ Happy Days.
The next time I saw Slade was at the Lincoln Festival in 1972. Slade managed to change a difficult situation into a major success. Chris Charlesworth writes of the event in his book “Feel The Noize!” (1984): “They were terrified of that audience…..completely overawed by it all … it was an underground audience and Slade had become a pop band…
sladeTheir fears were justified. When John Peel announced Slade’s imminent appearance there was an outbreak of booing from the large crowd….” Jim Lea :”Chas did everything he could to delay us going on stage…He was waiting for the sun to set so we could benefit from the stage lights and the big screen projection they had. When John Peel announced us he was very unenthusiastic. We just did a fifty minute set … bang, bang, bang … all rockers. We had the crowd in the palm of our hand after ten minutes and in the end we walked away with it.”

Noddy, from his book Who’s Crazee Now? (1999): “….we got a big break. We were invited to play the Lincoln Festival, which was being put on…by the actor Stanley Baker…The other acts were all much hipper than us….Joe Cocker, The Beach Boys, The Faces, Status Quo…we were only asked to be on the bill because Stanley Baker was a Slade fan…It had been pissing down with rain…the audience was drenched and the ground was all muddy…..We got booed when we walked on stage…the first time that had ever happened to us….. We carried on regardless…two minutes into our set, the rain went off. Then all the lights came on. Suddenly, the whole audience stood up. They had been sitting down all day…..people began going berserk. The place just exploded. We took everyone by surprise……My mind was racing about what we should do for a second encore. We had nothing planned. lincolnThen I saw Stanley Baker standing with Chas at the side of the stage….Suddenly, a mad idea popped into my head. I went up to the microphone and thanked Stanley for putting on the festival and invited him to come on and take a bow. As he was walking on, I started doing the Zulu chant, from the film Zulu that he had starred in. The rest of the band joined in, then the entire audience. Stanley absolutely loved it. It was the perfect end to our set…..The next week, we were on the cover of every music paper in the country….The impact of that gig was amazing.”
Slade were, indeed, simply epic that day, and the buzz after the Lincoln set helped cement their position as a top rock and pop band. They surprised a lot of people at Lincoln; but then those who had already seen them “Alive!” knew just how great they were.
I saw Slade several more times and will reflect on those crazy nights over the next few days.