Rock music in England back in the '70s was often quite a smorgasbord of styles. The UK could boast love affairs
with bands who ruled their charts, often at the immediate number one
position whenever a single was released. Too often, these UK
favorites could never find much of a foothold across the waters in
America had a distracting infatuation with pop music that largely swallowed the US attention span whole. But that's not to say that these UK wonders did no business at all in the States. In fact, many UK giants could capture a small cult following in America. The big problem for successful UK bands was simply that not doing well in American markets emotionally (and egotistically) devastated them. Slade was one of these.
Formed in the early '60s by Don Powell (drummer) and Dave Hill (guitarist), the band went through several name and personnel changes before settling on the classic band membership with the addition of Noddy Holder (guitarist/vocalist) and Jim Lea (bassist). By 1970, after a slow start, the band adopted their final name, Slade. Still struggling to find their identity, they began performing as skinheads before abandoning that for the rising glam style practiced by David Bowie, Sweet, and T. Rex. It proved to do the trick.
Slade was already a loud band. Their ability to entertain as a live band was paying off. Soon, their albums and singles in the UK were positioning the band as one to see. The release of cover tune “Get Down And Get With It” put the band at the near top of the UK charts. Excited by the success of the song, the band began to dress quite flashy, especially Dave Hill and Noddy Holder, in somewhat conflicting styles that seemed to complement the band as a whole. Soon, all of England was on the same page. Slade released a few singles (“Coz I Love You,” “Look Wot You Dun,” “Take Me Back 'Ome”), all of which elevated the band further, with “Take Me Back 'Ome” even doing a peak in the US charts.
The band started writing many tracks with oddly spelled titles like those mentioned. In 1972, after a popular live album (Slade Alive) and a song that would give two bands a monstrous hit, “Mama, Weer All Crazee Now” (Quiet Riot would ride this song to fame along with another Slade original, “Cum On Feel The Noize”), the band released the defining Slayed?, a grand album with an extraordinary collection of songs that included charters, “Gudbye T' Jane” and the previously mentioned “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.”
By 1973, with only two studio albums, a live album, and a handful of singles, there was already enough to fill a "best of" compilation album. Sladest would be released to an immediate climb to number one in the UK charts, as well as hanging around the Top Ten for months after it was issued. Sladest would carry 14 tracks in the UK release of the album with the US release paring it down to ten. The UK album would reach into the Play It Loud (1970) “skinhead” album for tracks in the hopes to bring them new life for a red-hot band (didn't happen). The US Warner issue of Sladest would stick only with the hits.
On September 5, UK reissue house Salvo Records will reissue the UK version of Sladest with the gracious addition of four tracks: “Hear Me Calling” (previously unreleased studio version), “My Friend Stan,” with its UK B-side, “My Town” (both found on the US release of Sladest), and “Kill 'Em At The Hot Club Tonite,” the UK B-side of “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me”. All of the tracks found on this collection are reported to be remastered, a fact that should greatly please Slade fans wherever they may reside.
Slade ruled the airwaves of England for a brief but blazing period. Sladest is the document of that proud and loud period. You cannot go wrong with this title. You just can't.