Slade Alive!

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Slade Alive!
Live album by Slade
Released 24 March 1972
Recorded 19–21 October 1971, Command Studios, 201 Piccadilly, London W1
Genre Hard rock, protopunk
Length 39:00
Label Polydor (UK/US)
Producer Chas Chandler
Slade chronology
Coz I Luv You
(1972)
Slade Alive!
(1972)
Slayed?
(1972)

Slade Alive! was a live album released by the British rock band Slade. The album was released on 24 March 1972, and reached number two on the UK Albums Chart, as well as being Slade's first album to dent the Billboard 200 in the United States. The album contained original songs, plus cover versions of songs by Ten Years After, The Lovin' Spoonful, Bobby Marchan, and Steppenwolf. The album was recorded live at Command Theatre Studio and mixed at Olympic Studios.[1]

In its original LP vinyl format, the album was issued in a gatefold sleeve which revealed a huge cartoon drawing on the inside. This drawing was the winning entry in a competition run in The Sun UK newspaper to design the album cover.

In 2006 Salvo Records re-issued the tracks as part of the collection Slade Alive - the Live Anthology.

Of the three nights recorded, most of the album consisted of the second night as the band had just come from performing on Top of the Pops with "Coz I Luv You" which had just peaked at #1 in the UK.

The album was rated #2 of the top ten albums of 1972 by NME magazine's chart point survey.[2]

The album was voted #3 of the top three Slade albums in the Slade Fan Club Poll of 1979. In the same poll, the album was voted #1 of the top three Slade album covers.[3][4]

In the September–December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade’s material. For the best album of the 70s, Slade Alive! placed at #1.

In Australia, Slade Alive! was the biggest selling album since The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.[5][6] In Israel and Italy, the front cover used the inner gatefold artwork instead, whilst certain editions releases in the Netherlands and France also used this design.

On the UK Granada Television, the band performed a 'Set of Six' show on 13 June 1972. This filmed set featured a similar set to the Slade Alive! album, the tracks in order being, Hear Me Calling, Look Wot You Dun, Darling Be Home Soon, Coz I Luv You, Get Down and Get With It and Born To Be Wild.

On 6 February 2006, Classic Rock Legends released an independent critical guide to the album, under the title "Slade Alive! - The Ultimate Critical Review" as part of the series "The World's Greatest Albums".

Background[edit]

After the success of Slade singles "Get Down and Get With It", "Coz I Luv You" and "Look Wot You Dun", Slade set out to capture their live sound on record. After the commercial failures of previous albums Beginnings and Play It Loud, the only income was through the band's solid live reputation. Slade Alive! was recorded at the Command Theatre Studio in London, for cost of £600, and released without overdubs of any sort in March 1972. A number of lucky fan club members had been present over the course of a three night run.

The album consisted of covers of Ten Years After's "Hear Me Calling", John Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon", Little Richard's "Get Down and Get With It" which became a top 20 hit for the band in mid-1971 and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" which had also appeared on the band's debut album Beginnings (1969). The album peaked at #2 in the UK Albums Chart, and remained in that listing for 58 weeks.[7]

Promotion[edit]

As a major part of promotion for the album, the band did a UK tour during April and May. The poster for this tour used the same artwork as the album, both front and back sides.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Hear Me Calling" - 5:46 (Alvin Lee)
  2. "In Like a Shot from My Gun" - 3:33 (Holder/Lea/Powell)
  3. "Darling Be Home Soon" - 5:43 (John Sebastian)
  4. "Know Who You Are" - 3:37 (Holder/Lea/Hill/Powell)
  5. "Keep on Rocking" - 6:29 (Holder/Lea/Hill/Powell)
  6. "Get Down and Get With It" - 5:33 (Bobby Marchan)
  7. "Born to Be Wild" - 8:12 (Mars Bonfire)

Song information[edit]

Hear Me Calling[edit]

"Hear Me Calling" is the album's opener, written by Alvin Lee and originally performed by Ten Years After in 1969 from the album Stonedhenge.

Slade covered the song frequently live, and it soon became the band's show opener for many years. The band decided to record the song in the studio as a potential follow-up to their 1971 breakthrough hit Get Down and Get With It. However, the band couldn't better the song in the studio than live and so the studio recording on vinyl acetate wasn't released, but kept by drummer Don Powell, never to be seen again until it appeared on the 2011 Salvo remaster of the 1973 UK number one compilation Sladest. The recording remaining unreleased was also due to the fact that the band would soon release the live version of the track on Slade Alive! and because manager/producer Chas Chandler wanted the band to write their own material.[8]

In a late 2011 interview on the Radcliffe and Maconie show, Noddy Holder stated that during an American tour with Ten Years After, Alvin Lee had told Slade that their Slade Alive! version of the song had made him more money than the original ever did.

During February/March 1972, a promotional single was released with Hear Me Calling as the a-side and Get Down With It as the b-side. This release had only 500 DJ copies made.[9]

"Hear Me Calling" was voted #1 of the top three Slade album tracks in the Slade Fan Club Poll of 1979. "Hear Me Calling" was also voted #1 of the top three Slade live tracks.[3][4]

The band performed the track on 17 August 1972, live at the Paris Theatre in London. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[10]

The track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.[11]

In Like a Shot from My Gun[edit]

"In Like a Shot from My Gun" was written by Holder; Lea and Powell.

Allmusic.com wrote "Set alight by plenty of stomping beats, lumbering bass, fat guitars, and Noddy Holder's hoarse vocal scream, Slade Alive! finds the lads from Wolverhampton goading on their rabid fans at every juncture ("Wan ya ta really let loose on iss one"). In return, the crowd's handclap choruses and drunken exhortations fire up the band, inspiring them to take pub rock to glam proportions (In Like a Shot From My Gun)."

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[10]

Rumours of an unreleased studio version have been reported although in 1981, drummer Don Powell was asked by the Slade fan club why the track "In Like a Shot from My Gun" was never recorded in a studio. Powell replied "I don't know really. It was originally meant to be put down in the studio. But after we recorded it live for the "Slade Alive!" album, we didn't think that we could do it any more justice by doing it in the studio - as it's basically a live number. Maybe though it might work now if we recorded it in the studio, as we try and put a more "live" feel on our singles."[12][13]

In a 1981 interview, guitarist Dave Hill spoke of the Southern rock musical ensemble Blackfoot. Hill stated "Actually, they're old fans of ours - they used to do "In Like a Shot from My Gun" from the "Slade Alive!" album. They were raving about the track the other day, they said that they used to play "Slade Alive!" really loud before their rehearsals to get them in the mood!"[14][15]

The band performed the track on 17 August 1972, live at the Paris Theatre in London. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[10]

The song featured on the 2006 box set compilation The Slade Box and the American 2007 compilation In for a Penny: Raves & Faves.[16]

Darling Be Home Soon[edit]

"Darling Be Home Soon" was written by John Sebastian, originally performed by The Lovin' Spoonful in 1967 as an American hit single from the soundtrack album You're a Big Boy Now. It is the only ballad on the live album.

A famous moment in the song is where Holder accidentally burped into the microphone, with Holder later admitting in 2000 on The Frank Skinner Show that the burp was accidental as the band had a lot to drink before performing on the stage. Holder also stated that from then on, he had to continue to do the burp whenever the song was performed otherwise the audience would be disappointed.[17] On this particular Frank Skinner Show episode, the ending features Holder doing an off-screen burp after Skinner performs the 1976 Slade hit Let's Call It Quits, where Holder and Katy Hill performed backing vocals.

The band performed the track in the early '70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

Know Who You Are[edit]

"Know Who You Are" was written by the entire band, originally released in 1969 as an instrumental titled Genesis, from the 1969 album Beginnings, and later re-worked with added lyrics for the 1970 album Play It Loud. Both original versions were also singles in 1969 and 1970 respectively, both failing to make any impact.

Allmusic.com wrote "Plus, hits like the MC5-esque Know Who You Are are given proper live workouts."

The band performed the track in the early '70s during a live BBC studio session. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.

The live version of this track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.[11]

Keep on Rocking[edit]

"Keep on Rocking" was written by the entire band, a live only song that was never recorded in the studio. Despite this, the song remained part of the band's set list for a long time.

The song is based on a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound, showing Slade's further inspiration from artists like Little Richard, with the band gaining their first hit single "Get Down and Get With It", after hearing the song performed by Little Richard.

The band performed the track on 17 August 1972, live at the Paris Theatre in London. This performance was officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[10]

The song featured on the German 1974 compilation Far Far Away.

Get Down With It[edit]

"Get Down With It" was written and first performed by Bobby Marchan, later covered by Little Richard, becoming an increasingly popular song.

The song was Slade's breakthrough hit and was used as part of the band's live set for the almost all of the band's live career.

Allmusic.com wrote "Plus, hits like the retro-rocker "Get Down Get With It" are given proper live workouts."

The band performed the track in the early 70s during a live BBC studio session and on 17 August 1972, live at the Paris Theatre in London. Both performances were officially released in 2009 on the two disc set Live at the BBC, after years of appearing on bootlegs.[10]

The live version of this track is a recommended track by allmusic.com.[11]

Born to be Wild[edit]

"Born to be Wild" was written by Canadian musician Mars Bonfire, first performed by Canadian-American rock group Steppenwolf who released it as a single from their self-titled album in 1968.

The song had been part of Slade's live set previously as well as being performed often throughout the band's entire live career. It was originally performed in the studio for the band's 1969 debut Beginnings, under their name of the time Ambrose Slade.

In the Slade Fan Club Poll of 1979, "Born To Be Wild" was voted #3 of three on the top three Slade album tracks poll.[3][4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[18]
Robert Christgau B+[19]
NME favourable
Melody Maker favourable

Upon release, Record Mirror magazine reviewed the album, "Packed in a sleeve with an amusing cartoon, and extracts from many things written about Slade, this is a good quality live recording - made under studio conditions and produced by Chas Chandler. To those who haven't seen Slade this could be surprising, with Noddy's raucous vocal, and bellowed comment - and make their appeal difficult to understand. It's a rocking album and the excitement of the group and crowd has been captured well, but it's not easy listening, somewhat frenzied! On stage the group hold attention with their cavorting antics and general enthusiasm, and to followers this is good album to keep remind of the live performance they'll see. But it's only a fraction of the story. Opens with "Hear Me Calling", an Alvin Lee composition that the group have used since their days as Ambrose Slade. Getting faster and faster with hand claps from the audience and whoops from the group it sets the scene. "Get Down and Get With It" is excellently performed, and shows the extent of audience participation with the group. Their "Keep on Rocking" incorporates phrases and the feel of many an old rock song, and perhaps best indicates what Slade really are about. In contrast Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon" is the only slow tempo track - with a shattering 'burp' breaking the mood, should you be taking it too seriously!"[20]

NME wrote ""Slade Alive!" is just what it implies, having been recorded before a rowdy crowd of fans at Command Studios. If you've ever been to one of their noisy gigs, you'll know exactly what I mean."[21][22]

Melody Maker wrote "Because it was recorded in a studio proper, before an audience, they've achieved the kind of balance and sound not often heard on a live recording."[21][22]

Diane Kelly, editor of the Slade Fan Club Newsletter wrote "What an album! It's unbelievable! It's the best I've heard for a very long time, all the favourites are there. The album itself is coarse, rare and gritty, just how we like to find them. This is a certain for the top of the charts, as quoted on the cover: "you won't be able to stop your feet tapping and you'll be at the head of the queue for the tickets to the next Slade concert in your area." This is one record no Slade fan will want to be found dead without."[23][24]

In August 1991, Q Magazine reviewed CD re-issues of Beginnings, Play It Loud and Slade Alive! in one review, using the opening line "Three re-issues from the Slade archive that cover their pre-Merry Xmas japery". For Slade Alive!, a rating of three stars was given, with the review stating "Slade Alive, from '72, revealed their desire to rock out, with a distinctly heavy seven-track selection. It proved to be a turning point, as a glut of commercial singles followed Slade Alive's highlight, the terrace-styled 'Get Down and Get With It'. The laddish rock style is in evidence, most notably on a fairly faithful rendition of The Lovin' Spoonfuls' 'Darlin' Be Home Soon': a gentle ballad which vocalist Noddy Holder colours by belching during the moody middle eight. That burp kind of sums up the Slade ethic which was emerging on Slade Alive!. It's just fun and beers all the way."

In early 2010, Classic Rock magazine featured Slade as part of their ‘The Hard Stuff Buyers Guide’ where the magazine reviewed numerous Slade albums. As part of the ‘Superior: Reputation Cementing’ section, a review of Slade Alive! wrote "Released nervously after two studio albums that had flopped, ‘Slade Alive!’ was (much as ‘Alive!’ was for Kiss) the live record that saved Slade’s bacon. Completely devoid of any overdubs, and reportedly recorded for the paltry sum of just £600, this distillation of Slade’s live show of the time, including the show-stopping ‘Get Down and Get With It’, took them to #2 in the UK chart. Those with a nose for a bargain might like to know that the 2006 reissue is an expanded, two-disc edition that adds 1978’s ‘Slade Alive Vol Two’, ‘Slade on Stage’ from 1982 and six songs from their performance at the 1980 Reading festival."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Australian (ARIA) Albums Chart[25] 1 39
Austrian Albums Chart[26] 8 8
Canadian Albums Chart[27] 77 4
German Albums Chart[28] 25 ?
Norwegian Albums Chart[29] 18 4
UK Albums Chart[30] 2 58
U.S. Billboard 200[31] 158 11[32]

Personnel[edit]

Slade[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

  • Tambourine on "Know Who You Are" - unknown member of audience
  • Barry Ainsworth - engineer (recording)
  • Alan O'Duffy - engineer (mixing)
  • Chas Chandler - producer
  • Derek Robinson - artwork
  • Chris Walter - photography (front)
  • M. Webb - artwork (sleeve inner)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Database and Marketplace for Music on Vinyl, CD, Cassette, MP3 and More". Discogs. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  2. ^ NME magazine 30 December 1972
  3. ^ a b c http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/7869225_orig.jpg
  4. ^ a b c Slade Fan Club Magazine January–February 1980
  5. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/3949261_orig.jpg
  6. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter April - May 1973
  7. ^ Remastered Slade Alive anthology booklet
  8. ^ Sladest Salvo Remaster 2011 Booklet Notes
  9. ^ "Slade - Weer All Crazee - Main Page". Slade-weerallcrazee.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Live at the BBC - Slade". AllMusic. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Cook, Stephen. "Slade Alive! - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  12. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/9851594_orig.jpg
  13. ^ Slade Supporters Club Newsletter May - June 1981
  14. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/6602796_orig.jpg
  15. ^ Supporters Club Newsletter September - October 1981
  16. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  17. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582186/
  18. ^ Cook, Stephen. "Slade Alive! - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  19. ^ "CG: slade". Robert Christgau. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Record Mirror Magazine 1 April 1972
  21. ^ a b http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/2746010_orig.jpg
  22. ^ a b Slade Fan Club Newsletter June - July 1972
  23. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/7756121_orig.jpg
  24. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter April - May 1972
  25. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts ~ 1972". Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  26. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - Slade Alive!". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  27. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  28. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  29. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - Slade Alive!". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  30. ^ "Slade - Slade Alive". Chart Stats. 19 January 1974. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  31. ^ "Slade". AllMusic. 25 June 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  32. ^ Whitburn, Joel; Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums 1955-1996; p. 717. Published 1997 by Record Research Inc.
Preceded by
Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
25 September - 22 October 1972
11 December 1972 – 4 February 1973
Succeeded by
Catch Bull at Four by Cat Stevens