In afternoon went up Gordon’s + borrowed Slade Alive + 45’s”/ “Argument on verge” / “Poured down + lightning” / “6m”
Parents still on the cusp of arguing, a teenager on holiday is still writing diary notes about the weather, another six miles on the bike…. it’s all pretty yawn-filled stuff isn’t it? So thank heavens for Slade!
Not everyone is aware that before they became glam-rock superstars Slade were a somewhat ‘manufactured’ (by notorious manager, Chas Chandler – who also handled Hendrix) skinhead rock band, complete with shaved heads and Doc Marten ‘bovver’ boots.
“Slade Alive” – the sensible casting off of their skinhead ‘ouvre’ – is often considered one of the very finest live albums ever released, and it was certainly a worthy introduction to the Wolverhampton rock band who would go on to have no fewer than seventeen UK Top 20 hits in the 70’s and be cited as an influence for bands raging from Nirvana to Whitesnake. (Rumour has it, they were also part of the inspiration for “Spinal Tap”?!)
I heard – and fell in love with – Slade’s version of “Born to be Wild” long before I was even aware it was Steppenwolf’s mainstay, but it was lead singer Noddy Holder’s screamed salvo of “aaaaaaawllllrrrrriiiight everybody….let your hair down….. I wanna see everybody get up on your seats, clap your hands and stamp your feet” kicking off the cut “Get Down & Get With It” that has defined this album for me over the years. As a precursive singalong pop anthem to their later hits I defy anyone not to…. well, stamp your feet, clap your hands or even nod your head to the powerbeat.
There’s also something mildly endearing about Noddy completely undermining a ‘love ballad’ like “Darling Be Home Soon” by, half-way through, just belching loudly into the microphone. That, my friends, is Rock’n’Roll.
I never saw Slade play live but on the strength of listening to this album over and over again since 1972 I often wish I had. I’d have needed earplugs though I think because this album is LOUD with a capital HELL!
Just as an aside, can I just add that Noddy Holder’s autobiography “Who’s Crazee Now” remains one of the most honest and funniest examples of writing about the music business that I have ever read.