7 Year Bitch (song)

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"7 Year Bitch"
Sladesingle-7yearbitch.jpeg
UK/European cover of "7 Year Bitch".
Single by Slade
from the album Rogues Gallery
B-side Leave Them Girls Alone
Released 14 January 1985
Format 7" Single, 12" Single
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:58
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
Producer(s) John Punter (a-side)
Jim Lea (b-sides)
Slade singles chronology
"All Join Hands"
(1984)
"7 Year Bitch"
(1985)
"Myzsterious Mizster Jones"
(1985)
Audio sample
file info · help

"7 Year Bitch" is a song from rock band Slade which was released as the second single from the 1985 album Rogues Gallery. The song was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. It was produced by John Punter.[1]

Background[edit]

Following the Top 15 success of the band's late 1984 single "All Join Hands", the band's first release of 1985 was "7 Year Bitch". The single was virtually banned by the UK broadcasting media which in 1985 was at the height of a wave of political correctness. As a result, the band felt unfairly judged by the media, who observed that they would have got away with it if they'd called it "7 Year Itch" and that no one complained about Elton John's The Bitch is Back which was a hit record in 1974. Later in 1998, Holder recalled of "7 Year Bitch's" potential, "That was a hit record, but we got a bit of a backlash".[2] "7 Year Bitch" peaked at #60 in the UK and spent 3 weeks in the Top 100.[3] Faring better in Germany, the song peaked at #39 and lasted on the singles chart for a total of eight weeks. It became Slade's last single of new material to enter the German Singles Chart.[4]

In the September–December 1986 Slade International Fan Club Newsletter, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade's material. For the best b-side of the 80s, "Leave Them Girls Alone" placed at #1.[5]

Circa 1989, Lea revealed that he had done a re-worked version of "7 Year Bitch", although his version has remained unreleased to date. In the Slade International Fan Club Newsletter of April–June 1990, the third part of a late 1989 Jim Lea interview was published, where he spoke of the re-worked version amongst other tracks. He stated "I've also done another version of "She Did It to Me" with an ex-singer from Uriah Heap, with an absolutely panoramic version, it's great. I did a version of the old Johnny Kidd and the Pirates song "I'll Never Get Over You", you'd never know it was me though. I've also done "7 Year Bitch" but not like Slade's version and there is also some stuff that you've never heard of, but I haven't finished it yet. There is a track that I've written called "Radio Wall of Sound" and it sounds just like Slade, even my brother Frank says it sounds like Slade."[6]

The song would later be covered by SAPO.[7]

Release[edit]

"7 Year Bitch" was released on 7" and 12" vinyl via RCA Records. The single was released in the UK, Germany and Japan.[8]

The single's b-side "Leave Them Girls Alone" was originally exclusive to the single, before eventually being released on the 2007 compilation B-Sides and as a bonus track on the 2007 Salvo remaster of Rogues Gallery. For the 12" vinyl of the single, which was exclusively released in the UK and Germany, "7 Year Bitch" was featured as an extended version that largely highlighted the usual song with an instrumental verse and chorus, whilst a live version of "We'll Bring the House Down" was added as the second b-side, which was taken from the band's 1982 live album Slade on Stage. Both b-sides were produced and arranged by Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd., despite the Slade on Stage album having production originally credited to Slade as a group.[9][10]

All versions of the single came with a full colour picture sleeve which featured photography by Chris Thomson of a woman's legs, standing up whilst wearing high heels. The group photo of Slade on the back sleeve was taken by Simon Fowler. The Square Red Studio handled the sleeve design.[11]

Following the song's original release as a single and on the Rogues Gallery album, the song would also appear on several Slade compilations. It appeared on the 1990 Bear Tracks German compilation Slade Story 3, which highlighted the band's material from 1977 to 1987. It then appeared on the 1991 compilation The Slade Collection 81-87. A re-packaging of the compilation was released by Salvo in 2007, which merged the release with the 1993 follow-up compilation The Slade Collection, Vol. 2 79-87. The Salvo double CD release was titled The Collection 79-87. Following this, the song also appeared on the 2005 Polydor compilation The Very Best of Slade, as well as the 2006 Salvo four-disc box-set compilation The Slade Box.

Additionally the song has also appeared on the German two-disc compilation History, the unofficial 2008 Russian digipak two-disc compilation Greatest Hits, released by Star Mark, as well as the unofficial Russian 2CD+DVD set Anthology 1969-1991 Volume Two.[12]

Promotion[edit]

A music video was created for the single, featuring the band both performing the song, and socialising with a group of women.

As the only UK TV performance, the band performed the song on the British television comedy and music show Saturday Live along with the 1984 hit single "Run Runaway". This performance featured a different, exclusive pre-recorded vocal and backing track for both songs.[13]

With the song being left unbanned within Europe, the band largely performed the song on German TV. The band mimed the song on the German television/telecast Na sowas! with host Thomas Gottschalk, on the German pop show Star Show, and they also mimed the song along with the follow-up 1985 single "Myzsterious Mizster Jones" and the American/Canadian/German 1985 single "Little Sheila" on the German television show Die Spielbude. With "All Join Hands", the band also mimed the song on the German TV show Pro Koncert. In Norway, the song was mimed via the television public broadcasting company NRK, at the official opening of the Scandic Hotel in Sandvika, Oslo in 1985. A brief interview by the host Ivar Dyrhaug was included, largely with Holder but also with an appearance from guitarist Dave Hill.[14]

Music video[edit]

The single's music video was filmed at Ewert Studios in London by Phillip Davey, who had also filmed the music videos for Slade's 1984 hit "All Join Hands" and this video's successors "Myzsterious Mizster Jones", "Little Sheila" and "Do You Believe in Miracles". As published in the Slade International Fan Club newsletter throughout 1986, one of the fan club's editorial members, Dave Kemp went through all of Slade's promotional music videos. For the "7 Year Bitch" video, reported in the September–December 1986 newsletter, Lea recalled that this video was the first and only time that Slade had any sexual connotations in a music video at all. The sexual element was of a group of scantily clad dolly-birds flaunting themselves around the band as they played live in a tent. The tent itself had the appearance of a deck of cards through which silhouettes of young ladies in states of undress could be seen. Holder is seen dressed in a red bowler hat, gloves and a bow-tie and at one point is forcibly dragged off the set into a room by two girls. Other parts had the group swaying from side to side in convicts outfits (Seven Year Itch) and of the group sitting down for a tea party with the bunch of girls. The table was full of custard pies, jelly etc. and the director had suggested that the cast have a pie fight. He had said that he would tell the group when to start - but unknown to Slade, he had previously told the girls to start the fight whenever they liked - so Slade got hit in the face first. Apparently the fight, although in good humour, was quite rough - with Lea and Hill getting quite badly cut. If the video is played in slow motion, Lea’s face is seen covered in blood.[15]

Likely due to the disappointing charting of the single, the video has never been officially released to purchase, only appearing online unofficially via such sites as YouTube. Along with the other music videos Slade made at the time, it was not included on the 1991 video compilation Wall of Hits or the 2005 DVD release The Very Best of Slade.

Since appearing unofficially on YouTube in May 2007, the main video for the song has gained over 44,000 views as of August 2013.[16]

Formats[edit]

7" Single
  1. "7 Year Bitch" - 3:58
  2. "Leave Them Girls Alone" - 3:13
12" Single
  1. "7 Year Bitch (Extended Version)" - 5:38
  2. "Leave Them Girls Alone" - 3:13
  3. "We'll Bring the House Down (Live Version)" - 4:33

Critical reception[edit]

In the booklet of the 2007 Salvo remaster of the Rogues Gallery album, the writer Chris Ingham spoke of the song, stating "The follow-up single to the number 15 hit All Join Hands in January 1985, however, was a disaster. A fantastically catchy, intricately constructed and acutely observed song about older men taking on younger mistresses, Seven Year Bitch was virtually banned by a UK broadcasting media which in 1985 was at the height of a wave of voguish political correctness. Though the band felt unfairly judged by a puritanical media, the record was a miscalculation on the part of Slade and the record company. The band's observation that they would have got away with it if they'd called it "Seven Year Itch" and that no one complained about Elton John's "The Bitch is Back" (he was, of course, signing about himself) cut little ice. It was a backlash from which it could be argued Slade never quite recovered."[2]

Sean Carruthers of Allmusic reviewed the album and spoke of the song, stating "In fact, some of the songs are downright embarrassing, like "Walking on Water Running on Alcohol". Far worse is first single, "7 Year Bitch," which could have been a thoughtful look at someone who's attracted to younger women, but which kills off any chance of moral high ground with the question "...can you control the bitch?" (whether the question was asked in persona or not). Given the title of the album, perhaps such sentiments shouldn't be all that surprising, but it has to be said that the rogues' gallery concept probably would have been a lot more convincing if the music had been stripped of the keyboards and overly slick production and given more of a rock & roll edge."[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Total
weeks
German Singles Chart[4] 39 8
Polish Singles Chart[citation needed] 20 8
UK Singles Chart[18] 60 3

Personnel[edit]

  • Noddy Holder - Lead vocals
  • Jim Lea - Bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Dave Hill - Lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Don Powell - Drums

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Producer on "7 Year Bitch" - John Punter
  • Arranger on "7 Year Bitch" - Jim Lea
  • Producer on "Leave Them Girls Alone" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Arranger on "Leave Them Girls Alone" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Producer on "We'll Bring the House Down (Live Version)" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Arranger on "We'll Bring the House Down (Live Version)" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Front Photography - Chris Thomson
  • Back Photography - Simon Fowler
  • Design - The Square Red Studio
  • Writers of "7 Year Bitch" - Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
  • Writers of "Leave Them Girls Alone" - Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
  • Writers of "We'll Bring the House Down (Live Version)" - Noddy Holder; Jim Lea

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Slade - Rogues Gallery at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b Slade's remastered 2007 Salvo reissue of album Rogues Gallery booklet by Chris Ingham
  3. ^ "SLADE | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  4. ^ a b musicline.de / PhonoNet GmbH. "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". musicline.de. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  5. ^ "1986 - Slade Fan Club www.sladefanclub.com". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  6. ^ "1990 - Slade Fan Club www.sladefanclub.com". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  7. ^ "SLADE @ www.slayed.co.uk". Crazeeworld.plus.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  8. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Slade - Seven Year Bitch / Leave Them Girls Alone - RCA - UK - RCA 475". 45cat. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  10. ^ "Slade - 7 Year Bitch at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  11. ^ "Images for Slade - 7 Year Bitch". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  12. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  13. ^ "SLADE 7 YEAR BITCH". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  14. ^ "SLADE @ www.slayed.co.uk". Crazeeworld.plus.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ "Slade - 7 Year Bitch". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  17. ^ Sean Carruthers. "Rogues Gallery - Slade | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  18. ^ "Slade - The Seven Year Itch". Chart Stats. 1985-01-26. Retrieved 2011-08-10.