Before Slade‘s third album shot to the top of the charts, they were going nowhere.
Their roots dated back to the mid-60s when, as the ‘N Betweens, they were one of the many bands trying to make a name for themselves in the wake of the Beatles‘ musical revolution.
After releasing a few singles, the band changed its name to Ambrose Slade, issued one album then, dropped the Ambrose, cut their hair and adopted the skinhead look that was popular among working-class hooligans in the U.K. A second album, Play It Loud, was released in 1970 and, like its predecessor, failed to take off.
In the spring of 1971, they released a stomping single, “Get Down and Get WIth It,” which rose to the U.K. Top 20. “Coz I Love You,” with it’s rock ‘n’ roll swagger and catchy riff, followed and became a No. 1 hit in England, setting the stage for the next several years of chart-topping success for Slade.
Noddy Holder’s vocals, combined with Dave Hill’s jagged guitar and the powerhouse rhythm section of bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell, finally hit a winning sound — one that would carry them to superstar status in their homeland. The band’s next 12 singles would all make the Top 10; half of those reached No. 1.
Produced by their manager and former Animals bassist Chas Chandler, Slade’s third album Slayed? signaled the band’s arrival. Opening with “How d’You Ride,” the band goes all in with its brand of gritty rock ‘n’ roll. “Gudbuy T’Jane” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” were both released as singles and became huge hits.
Following the album’s November 1972 release, Slade made the rounds of U.K. television and sold-out tours, but that huge success at home never duplicated in the U.S. That didn’t stop the juggernaut of hits at home for them. From 1970 through 1976, they placed 17 singles in the Top 20.
Slayed? hit No. 1 in England and stayed on the chart for more than eight months. It was also their highest-charting LP in the States, reaching No. 69. Along with its 1974 follow-up, Old New Borrowed and Blue, it remains the band’s essential album.