Slade in Flame (album)

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Slade in Flame
Soundtrack album by Slade
Released 29 November 1974
Genre Glam rock, hard rock, soft rock
Length 41:20
Label Polydor (UK), Warner Bros. (US)
Producer Chas Chandler
Slade chronology
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
(1974)
Slade in Flame
(1974)
Nobody's Fools
(1976)
Singles from Slade in Flame
  1. "The Bangin' Man"
    Released: 28 June 1974
  2. "Far Far Away"
    Released: 11 October 1974
  3. "How Does It Feel"
    Released: 7 February 1975
  4. "Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)"
    Released: 9 May 1976

Slade in Flame is the fourth album by the British rock group Slade released on 29 November 1974. The album contained songs from the film of the same name.

The album reached #6 on the UK album chart and produced two hit singles, "Far Far Away", which reached #2 on the UK Singles chart [1] and "How Does it Feel". The band tried to give the album a "sixties" feel, as its eponymous film was set in 1966.

Though the record was lauded by critics, the response of the general public was somewhat muted, and the album did not sell as well as expected. In February 1975, "How Does It Feel" was released as a single. Reaching #15 on the charts it ended a run of 12 consecutive Top 4 hits. However the song has since become regarded as one of the band's finest.[citation needed]

The album was released in the United States on the Warner Bros. label, with "The Bangin' Man" replacing "Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)" & "Thanks for the Memory" replacing "Heaven Knows".

The album was certified UK Gold by BPI in February 1975.[2]

Record Mirror magazine voted the album #5 on the top 10 best albums in February 1976.[3]

In October 2007, Classic Rock Magazine listed "Slade in Flame" at #18 in the "49 Best Soundtrack Albums" list.[4]

In 1981, drummer Don Powell was asked in a fan club interview for his three favourite Slade songs. Powell stated "Far Far Away", "Standin' on the Corner" and "Gudbuy T'Jane" as his favourites.[5][6]

The album was originally scheduled for release on 22 November 1974 but Polydor Records were unable to produce enough copies to cover the pre-orders at the time.[7][8]

Before the album's release, the album itself was awarded with a Silver and Gold Disc based on pre-order sales.[7][8]

By February 1975, the album had surpassed 200,000 sales in the UK.[9][10]

Although no single was released in America from the album, most radio stations were playing "How Does It Feel".[11][12]

Background[edit]

Slade's first and only #1 hit in Norway

Theme for Slade's film In Flame

Problems playing these files? See media help.

In 1974, Slade left behind a remarkable year in which they saw three number one singles and sell-out tours attended by hordes of near-hysterical fans. Slade had peaked all over Europe and the group sensed that 'more of the same' was not the way forward. When manager Chas Chandler suggested a movie as the next step, Slade agreed. The subject matter was to be the gritty tale of the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s group called Flame with the story based on various true music business events that had occurred to Slade and other groups of the time.

The accompanying soundtrack album was naturally Slade's responsibility and a perfect opportunity for the group to flex their musical muscle. Although the album would be marketed as Slade's next record, it gave the group a chance to use the Slade/Flame hybrid to step back a little from their massively successful hit formula of stomping grooves and rowdy choruses and re-establish their versatility.

The audience had been tipped off that the forthcoming Slade In Flame album would feature an evolving Slade sound by the release of Far Far Away, a month before the album and movie. A swaying, acoustic track featuring the musings of a man who has seen the world but still feels the pull of his roots, it was a personal song written largely by Holder. However, nothing in Slade's catalogue to date quite prepared the listener for "How Does It Feel" including a huge horn section, flutes and haunting piano. The piece was nothing less than the sound of Slade coming of age. Having just returned from a fifth US tour and finally agreeing a script, Slade had a month to record an album of songs designed for the film.

While Slade In Flame was clearly a distinct step forward for Slade, it also marked the end of their reign as the UK's favourite band. Far Far Away performed respectably in the UK however How Does It Feel had such an indifferent sound that it reflected the gap between where Slade were at and what was expected of them. Although regarded, thirty years on, as one of the greatest rock films, at the time the movie itself hardly helped matters. Slade's audience were used to Slade delivering a rollicking good time whereas the movie's bleak, sour atmosphere had understandably confused rather than enthused fans.[13]

UK track listing[edit]

  1. "How Does It Feel" (Holder/Lea) UK #15
  2. "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing" (Holder/Lea)
  3. "So Far So Good" (Holder/Lea)
  4. "Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)" (Holder/Lea)
  5. "O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday" (Holder/Lea)
  6. "Far Far Away" (Holder/Lea) UK #2
  7. "This Girl" (Holder/Lea)
  8. "Lay It Down" (Holder/Lea)
  9. "Heaven Knows" (Holder/Lea)
  10. "Standin' on the Corner" (Holder/Lea)

US track listing[edit]

  1. "How Does It Feel" (Holder/Lea) UK #15
  2. "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing" (Holder/Lea)
  3. "So Far So Good" (Holder/Lea)
  4. "The Bangin' Man" (Holder/Lea)
  5. "O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday" (Holder/Lea)
  6. "Far Far Away" (Holder/Lea) UK #2
  7. "This Girl" (Holder/Lea)
  8. "Lay It Down" (Holder/Lea)
  9. "Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)"[1] (Holder/Lea)
  10. "Standin' on the Corner" (Holder/Lea)

1 Listed as "Thanks for the Memories"

Song information[edit]

How Does It Feel[edit]

"How Does It Feel", the opening track of Slade In Flame. The tune was originally written by Lea, back in 1970 on an old out of tune piano with half the keys missing. It was brought out of the cupboard to be the theme tune for Flame. Chris Ingham of Rock Backpages stated "Lea's simple piano part, Holder's vocal intoning a lyric full of philosophical wonder, ghostly backing vocals, organ and flute. These elements would be enough to mark "How Does It Feel" as a notable Slade recording but with addition of a huge horn section to, piping flutes and a running time of over five minutes." Allmusic stated "From the opening number, "How Does It Feel," Slade sets a different tone. A piano and vocal intro greets the listener. Of course, by the end of the song the full band is rocking furiously." How Does It Feel is also recommended by allmusic.

Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing[edit]

"Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing" is one of the up-tempo rock tracks, Chris Ingham described the track as "a propulsive number that manages to be powerful but also taut and contained." The track is the first appearance by the group on screen, featuring Hill's searing slide guitar. Allmusic wrote "They don't let up on the classic "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing," which features great drumming by Don Powell."

So Far So Good[edit]

"So Far So Good", the optimistic track that is used as Flame's first hit. Chris Ingham wrote "The song is a good example of Holder's pithy way with a lyric, intimating success is about having the right attitude of life ("making the best out of having ago") while also celebrating the good luck of a survivor ("taking chances...I'm alive!"). A good example of how even a second-drawer mid-1970s Slade song, i.e., probably not commercial or extraordinary enough to be a single, is still replete with craft." Allmusic stated "So Far So Good" is a beautiful rocker." The track was covered by Alice Cooper songwriter Mike Bruce on his first solo album.

Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)[edit]

"Summer Song (Wishing You Were Here)" attempts to recreate the magic of their 1973 megahit Merry Xmas Everybody by applying that record's shuffly groove and song structure (seasonal details in the verse, hopeful athemic chorus) to another part of the year. Chris Ingham stated "The results are rather bittersweet as the song evokes the silliness, excitement and temporary nature of the holiday romance." It was featured in an in-concert scene in the movie. The track is also recommended by allmusic.

O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday[edit]

"O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday" is described by Chris Ingham as "a ribald salutation to growing up, teenage rites of passage and the inevitability of female surrender." In the film, Flame are seen powering out the opening riff - another slide guitar feature - while being memorably elevated into view via a hyraulic stage. Allmusic wrote "On "OK Yesterday Was Yesterday," Noddy gives his lungs a big-time workout."

Far Far Away[edit]

Main article: Far Far Away (song)

"Far Far Away", a swaying, acoustic track featuring the musings of a man who has seen the world but still feels the pull of his roots, it was a personal song written largely by Holder. The track was released as a single, peaking at #2 in the UK.

This Girl[edit]

"This Girl" on the album, is a clavinet-driven song. Chris Ingham wrote "A bitter little track about a fickle female featuring an extravagant echo effect on Holder's voice and some particularly strident lead guitar from Hill." For the film, it was rewritten and rearranged to be the number that horror-rockers Roy Priest and the Undertakers sing. Their erstwhile singer - soon to be Flame frontman Stoker (played by Holder) - delivers the song from a coffin in a version unavailable on record. The track was covered by Andre Verhage and The Jinx.

Lay It Down[edit]

"Lay It Down" is much like the Stones, with Powell laying a rock-solid, 'Brown Sugar'-like foundation before guitars, bass and brass build the song. Lea cited the Stones as his bigger influence earlier on, before he rediscovered The Beatles' melodic power.

Heaven Knows[edit]

"Heaven Knows" is a lighthearted, optimistic song which functions as the b-side to Flame's inaugural single, seen in the movie to be given a quick spin by pirate DJ Tommy Vance. Chris Ingham wrote "The song is treated to a suitably jaunty treatment, but is probably the moment that most betrays the deadline pressure Slade were working under. The song perhaps deserved performances of greater refinement than it receives here." The track is also recommended by allmusic.

Standin' On the Corner[edit]

"Standin' On The Corner" features a horn section (including the only saxophone solo in Slade history) and scatter-gun lyrics style. Chris Ingham wrote "The result if one of Slade's great underexposed rockers. Holder's lyrics lustily appreciates the merits of 'good time gals'."

The track was covered by Sapo.

In a mid-1989 Slade fan club magazine interview, Powell was asked if there was a Slade track that he felt was one of the band's best efforts on record. Powell replied "Difficult to say, I suppose Standin' On The Corner, from the film Flame. It's got a great swing to it and its the first time we even used brass."[14][15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[16]
Record Mirror (favourable)[17]
Unknown Magazine (favourable)[18]
Classic Rock (favourable)

Upon release, reviews were overall positive. One magazine review stated "This is the album from Slade's debut film. The group that's playing is not supposed to be them but the music included here certainly sounds like the Slade we all know and love. Only occasionally, do they stray from the usual mould. The first track is one of those exceptions. It's called How Does It Feel. For once Noddy's voice is allowed to take almost total precedence and the result is a poignant and unusual number. Then we're back to the Slade sound with "Them Kinds Monkeys Can't Swing", and at slightly varying speeds. I like "O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday", an instantly memorable if predictable number that could easily be a single. Side two opens with "Far Far Away", to my mind one of their more classy hits. Then comes "This Girl" with Noddy sounding more Lennonish than ever. A different number, a little less pleasant lyrically than the standard Slade song and all the better for it. Then we're back to rockers again with their jaunty beat. On the last track, the addition of some saxes and brass adds a lot of depth to "Lay It Down", and that lays down some quite funky music. A touchy album but definitely more good than bad."[18]

Record Mirror magazine wrote "the album comes in a pillar - box red envelope with a sprucy coloured sleeve and a smaller sleeve version (no doubt for your bedroom wall). Because Flame is set in the 1960s, the album has a distinctive 1960's flavour, which should take a few of us hopping down memory lane. "This Girl" is a tarty piece of disco music, with Noddy singing like a frog with a sore throat - the backing on this is particularly ram-bam. Another stomper follows, a ditty of a rocker entitled "Lay It Down", the title track with Noddy, reaching dangerous heights as he bellows "The rise in my voice can sound very queer". "How Does It Feel" has a slower relaxed beat with grasping dramatic vocals delivered with as much feeling as Sir Larry's "Richard III". The closing passage on this number is very stylish, featuring musical flute, symbols, organ and guitar, making this track the Ritziest of the lot. Next comes a supped-up shimmer shaker, "Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing", the amusing lyrics making you go apel. Because the songs have been taken out of context, a few of them have lost their charm and meaning but nevertheless, it is an enjoyable elpee."[17]

After the film made an appearance on British TV in December 1987, London Evening Standard advised people to listen to the soundtrack instead of watching the movie, writing "Slade, Tom Conti, Johnny Shannon. Old hat story of a pop groups rise and fall given some mild interest by the clash between the band and the manager's background. Otherwise listen to the soundtrack."[19][20]

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 'Essential: Classics' section, a review of Slade In Flame wrote "In contrast to the mostly fan-based popularity of 'Slayed?', 'Slade in Flame' is the album that critics tend to cite as the band's best. Although it fell short of following in the footsteps of its predecessors 'Slayed?' and 'Old New Borrorowed and Blue' by topping the British chart, 'Slade in Flame' - the soundtrack to a dark, semi-autobiographical feature film – confirmed that by 1974 Slade's music had moved away from glam-rock that had made them a household name. The band were still capable of being loud and yobbish, of course, but the wistful maturity of the album's singles - 'How Does It Feel' and 'Far Far Away' - began to show evidence of a new versatility."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Australian Albums Chart 31 ?
German Albums Chart[21] 41 ?
Norwegian Albums Chart[22] 2 20
UK Albums Chart[23] 6 18
U.S. Billboard 200[24] 93 14[25]

Personnel[edit]

Slade[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Far Far Away Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Home". BPI. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  3. ^ Record Mirror magazine 14 February 1976
  4. ^ "Rocklist.net...Steve Parker...Classic Rock Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  5. ^ "Don Powell - Question Time". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  6. ^ Slade Supporters Club Newsletter May - June 1981
  7. ^ a b "Slade in Flame - Stop Press". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  8. ^ a b Slade Fan Club Newsletter December 1974 - January 1975
  9. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter February - March 1975
  10. ^ "New Single - News in brief". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  11. ^ "Slade Go West". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  12. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter August - September 1975
  13. ^ "Slade 1974 Slade in Flame". My-rock-music.ru. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ 2nd Slade International Fan Club newsletter April - May - June 1989
  16. ^ Ginsberg, Geoff. "Slade in Flame - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  17. ^ a b Record Mirror magazine 30 November 1974
  18. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  19. ^ "Flame - First show on Dritish TV". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  20. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter January - February - March 1988
  21. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  22. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - Slade In Flame". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  23. ^ "Slade - Slade In Flame". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  24. ^ "Slade". AllMusic. 2002-06-25. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  25. ^ Whitburn, Joel; Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums 1955-1996; p. 717. Published 1997 by Record Research Inc.