Greatest Hits – Feel The Noize

They came from Wolverhampton. Someone had to, and that someone had to be [a]Slade[/a]...

They came from Wolverhampton. Someone had to, and that someone had to be [a]Slade[/a]. They may not have had the cosmopolitan mystique of Bowie, the postmodern swagger of Roxy or the feather-lite pout of Bolan, but if that lot were cool enough to inspire Britpop, then [a]Slade[/a] were seminal pioneers of Blokepop. To put it in the most simplistic terms, they were to the ’70s what Madness were to the ’80s and Oasis were to the ’90s.

For about three years they were absolutely bloody huge. And if their legacy hasn’t been particularly celebrated, they made enough of a mark on the British psyche for everyone to implicitly understand when Reeves & Mortimer did a surreal skit on them nearly 25 years later.

They embodied the glorious absurdity of the greatest pop, in the sideburns, the mirrored top hat and Dave ‘Superyob’ Hill‘s pudding bowl haircut. As such, they were the simplest, most effective possible riposte to prog rock’s bloated pretensions and pseudo-intellect. The misspelling of the titles (consider, if you will, ‘Skweeze Me Pleeze Me’ or ‘Take Me Bak ‘Ome’) was a big two fingers in the face of such nonsense, and a conscious return to blunderbuss pop values.

Punk’s year zero attitude may have written them out of history as boorish brickie glam, but their back-to-basics approach was essentially punk in attitude. The fact they started out as a skinhead band shows how far ahead of their time they were. No, really. This was heavy pop, all stomping, steaming, screaming anthems, like Led Zeppelin minus the art rock bullshit, blues pretension and rock god posturing. They were to Britain what Kiss were to America.

But never mind that – they probably bunked off their history lessons, and thought ‘credibility’ was the name of a building society in Smethwick. They were an unashamed singles band and that’s what made them great. ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, ‘Gudbuy T’Jane’, ‘Skweeze Me Pleeze Me’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ – dumbed up cartoon pop bombs every (number) one. The fact that ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ is one of the very few Christmas songs that you can stand to hear 17 times a day at Crimbo is testament to the fact you just can’t knock them. Even ’80s terrace pop singalongs like ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’ and ‘My Oh My’ retain a stomping charm.

Slayed – they woz grate, and this iz wuy. Anyone who disagrees will be sent to bed without a Cup-A-Soup.