Thursday, December 21, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Slade

Slade may have never truly caught on with American audiences, but the group became a sensation in their homeland with their anthemic brand of glam rock in the early 70s, as they scored a staggering 11 Top Five hits in a four-year span from 1971 to 1974 (five of which topped the charts).

Comprised of singer/guitarist Noddy Holder, guitarist Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea, and drummer Don Powell, the group originally formed in the spring of 1966 under the name the In-Be-Tweens. By the end of '60s, the group had changed their name to Ambrose Slade and signed on with the Fontana label.

Soon after, the quartet hooked up with Animals bass player-turned-manager Chas Chandler (who had discovered Jimi Hendrix a few years prior), who promptly suggested the group shorten the name to just Slade.

After several albums featuring few original compositions from the quartet came and went (1969's Beginnings, 1970's Play It Loud), the group began to write their own tunes, grew their hair long, and assumed the look of the then-burgeoning glam movement, joining the same cause championed by such fellow Brits as David Bowie and T. Rex.

Slade went on to enormous success in Europe and Japan, but never quite cracked the U.S. market - except for a brief time in the early 80s. Slade had a profound influence on many bands like Kiss (they were Gene Simmons' favorite band), Motley Crue and many of the Hair Metal bands that came along in the 80s.

As a matter of fact, Quiet Riot made a career of covering Slade tunes. "Cum on Feel the Noize," and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," became huge hits for the group with many of their fans not even knowing who Slade was.

Slade was the epitome of the spirit of Glam Rock and it's borderline tragic that many American kids don't know who they are.

Here is a classic video for "Mama Weer All Crazee Now."

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