Whatever Happened to Slade

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Whatever Happened to Slade
Studio album by Slade
Released 21 March 1977
Genre Hard rock
Length 40:40
Label Barn
Producer Chas Chandler
Slade chronology
Nobody's Fools
(1976)
Whatever Happened to Slade
(1977)
Slade Alive, Vol. 2
(1978)
Singles from Whatever Happened to Slade
  1. "Gypsy Roadhog"
    Released: January 1977

Whatever Happened to Slade is the sixth album by the British rock group Slade. It was released 21 March 1977, but did not enter the charts.

Slade's popularity was waning as were their record sales. They recognized this (thus the album's title). By 1977 the glam movement had died, along with its founder Marc Bolan, frontman of T.Rex, who was killed in a car crash that year, and - in a figurative sense - the careers of Mud, Gary Glitter and The Sweet also died. In Britain, where Slade had traditionally been most popular, the fashion of the day was punk rock. With this record, Slade firmly stood its ground as a straight Rock group (gone were the "glam" statements of the early decade).[citation needed]

The album was met with critical praise and support from the English punk uprising. Nevertheless, the record was a commercial failure and the band's financial woes continued. For many years, the album was a much sought-after collector's item amongst fans. Today, however, the album is available via CD and download.

This album was a popular trade amongst American musicians developing what would be known as "grunge" as both Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) have cited the album as influential.

The album was voted #1 of the top three Slade albums in the Slade Fan Club Poll of 1979. In the same poll, the album was voted #2 of the top three Slade album covers.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Slade's first single after returning from America, after punk rock became popular

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By 1975 Slade had peaked in Britain and Europe. This led to the band agreeing to move to the States, the only major territory that had held out against Slade's onslaught. The band held out in the States for almost two years. They had limited success; on one hand, their reputation as a reliable and exciting live rock act was enhanced, on the other hand, Slade were unable to translate that reputation to significant airplay and record sales.

Slade returned to the UK early 1977 to face the UK music business much changed from the way they left it. Punk had now exploded and had become the dominant influence on youth culture and the music press. Despite Slade's reputation as one of the great high energy bands of their day, in this environment Slade had become irrelevant. Regardless, Slade were determined that they were now a better live act than ever and refused to call it a day.

There had been no new product since the Nobody's Fool single had been lifted from the Nobody's Fools album in April 1976 and bombed. The first that was heard of Slade in 1977 was the single Gypsy Roadhog which appeared in February, a pounding tale of the exploits of an American cocaine dealer. Amazingly, the BBC kids show Blue Peter allowed Slade to promote the single with a mimed performance before the producer noticed the lyrics. A complaint followed, the BBC then banned it and the record stalled at #48.

The album that followed didn't have much chance after that. Titled by Slade's manager Chas Chandler after a piece of graffiti spotted painted on a London bridge, Whatever Happened to Slade, while undoubtedly intended as a defiant, ironic comment on their absence from UK shores, was more likely received as a virtual admission of how far the group's star had fallen. And no one beyond a mere fraction of their old fan base was in the mood to contradict them.

Whatever Happened to Slade was released March 1977 to no airplay and very little press. It failed to chart. It was the group's lowest-selling LP to date. However, those faithful few who took the trouble were amazed by the record. The heaviest, dirtiest (in all senses), most decadent Slade music ever made, Whatever Happened to Slade made Gypsy Roadhog sound like "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" and remains many Slade connoisseurs' favourite of all their albums.[3]

Recording[edit]

According to the Slade Fan Club Newsletter for October, November and December 1976, the band hoped to record a total of 16 tracks and pick the best to release.[4][5]

Release[edit]

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, Whatever Happened to Slade placed at #2. The poll result notes explain that it was interesting that so many fans voted Whatever Happened to Slade as the best 70s album, despite the fact that it failed to chart upon release. In the same 1986 poll, for the best album sleeve, Whatever Happened to Slade placed at #1.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Be"   Noddy Holder, Jim Lea 3:59
2. "Lightning Never Strikes Twice"   Holder, Lea 3:08
3. "Gypsy Roadhog"   Holder, Lea 3:23
4. "Dogs of Vengeance"   Holder, Lea 2:48
5. "When Fantasy Calls"   Holder, Lea 3:23
6. "One Eyed Jacks With Moustaches"   Holder, Lea 3:20
7. "Big Apple Blues"   Holder, Lea 4:38
8. "Dead Men Tell No Tales"   Holder, Lea 3:38
9. "She's Got The Lot"   Holder, Lea 4:34
10. "It Ain't Love But It Ain't Bad"   Holder, Lea 3:09
11. "The Soul, The Roll and The Motion"   Holder, Lea 4:36
2007 Remastered edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "Forest Full of Needles" (b-side of "Gypsy Roadhog") Holder, Lea 3:30
13. "Burning in the Heat of Love"   Holder, Lea 3:36
14. "Ready Steady Kids" (b-side of "Burning in the Heat of Love") Holder, Lea 3:22
15. "My Baby Left Me (That's All Right)"   Arthur Crudup 2:24
16. "O.H.M.S." (b-side of "My Baby Left Me") Holder, Lea 2:41
17. "Give Us a Goal"   Holder, Lea 2:50
18. "Daddio" (b-side of "Give Us a Goal") Holder, Lea 2:34
19. "Rock 'n' Roll Bolero"   Holder, Lea 4:06
20. "It's Alright Buy Me" (b-side of "Rock 'n' Roll Bolero") Holder, Lea 3:23

Song information[edit]

Be[edit]

"Be" was due to be released as a single but the idea was dropped due to the band's small amount of money at the time. The track also became a popular in Slade's live set, featuring on the album Slade Alive, Vol. 2.

For the fan club newsletter in 1979, Jim Lea spoke of the track, compared to the upcoming single "Ginny Ginny", "Songs like "Be" are hardly concise, they're clever, but hardly the sing-along down at the pub type song."[6]

Gypsy Roadhog[edit]

Main article: Gypsy Roadhog

"Gypsy Roadhog" was the lead single from the album which peaked at #48. A tale of the exploits of an American cocaine dealer, the track was banned by the BBC. Regardless, the track remained popular with the fanbase, featuring a more country-rock influence, no doubt taken from Slade's touring in America.

One Eyed Jacks With Moustaches[edit]

The track also became a popular in Slade's live set, featuring on the album Slade Alive, Vol. 2.

Dead Men Tell No Tales[edit]

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" is a slower tempo track. The song's lyric, written by Holder, was based on a 1949 gangster film titled "White Heat", starring James Cagney.[7][8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[9]
Record Mirror 3/5 stars[10]
Sounds 4/5 stars[11]
Classic Rock favourable[12]

Record Mirror magazine gave the album three stars of five, symbolising the album as "worth giving a spin".

Joe Geesin of Get Ready to Rock wrote of the remaster "Legendarily titled after a genuine piece of graffiti, the album is a return to the band's skinhead roots. It was also their first album since leaving Polydor. Some rough Slade style rock'n'roll, but gone was the glam (largely) and the kitsch. Still very much Slade, but if you're only familiar with the early 70s hits this is a very different beast. There's some great rough guitar. 'Gypsy Roadhog' was a single, and 'Burning in the Heat of Love' an undiscovered classic that was spiffingly covered by Girlschool some years later. Heavy on the guitar too. Not as anthemic as 'Merry Christmas Everybody' but there's some decent guitar work and melodies that really do need checking out. A whopping 9 bonus cuts too!"[13]

In early 2010, Classic Rock magazine featured Slade as part of their ‘The Hard Stuff Buyers Guide’ where the magazine reviewed numerous Slade albums.

Personnel[edit]

Slade[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

  • Chas Chandler - producer
  • Gered Mankowitz - photography
  • Paul Hardiman - engineer
  • Jo Mirowski - art direction
  • Wade Woode Associates - artwork

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/7869225_orig.jpg
  2. ^ Slade Fan Club Magazine January–February 1980
  3. ^ "Slade 1977 Whatever Happened To Slade". My-rock-music.ru. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  4. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/9266869_orig.jpg
  5. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter October - November - December 1976
  6. ^ "SLADE @ www.slayed.co.uk". Crazeeworld.plus.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  7. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/6400832_orig.jpg
  8. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter July - August - September 1988
  9. ^ Ginsberg, Geoff. "Whatever Happened to Slade? - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ [3][dead link]
  13. ^ "Get Ready to ROCK! Review of CD album resissues by rock band Slade called Whatever Happened To Slade?,We'll Bring The House Down,Till Deaf Do Us Part". Getreadytorock.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10.