In for a Penny

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"In for a Penny"
Sladesingle-inforapenny.jpg
Single by Slade
from the album Nobody's Fools
B-side "Can You Just Imagine"
Released 14 November 1975
Format 7" Single
Genre Rock
Length 3:34
Label Polydor Records
Songwriter(s) Noddy Holder, Jim Lea
Producer(s) Chas Chandler
Slade singles chronology
"Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)"
(1975)
"In for a Penny"
(1975)
"Let's Call It Quits"
(1976)
"Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)"
(1975)
"In for a Penny"
(1975)
"Let's Call It Quits"
(1976)
Audio sample

"In for a Penny" is a song by the British rock band Slade, released in 1975 as the lead single from their sixth studio album Nobody's Fools. The song was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It reached No. 11 in the UK, remaining in the charts for eight weeks.[1]

Background[edit]

By 1975, the band began feeling stale and felt they had achieved as much success in the UK and Europe that they could. Slade and their manager Chas Chandler decided that the next best career move was to try and crack America. The band agreed to move to there and build a reputation for their live performances from scratch, just as they had in the UK. In between touring, the band recorded their next album, Nobody's Fools, which saw the band move towards a more "American" soul/pop sound in attempt to gain a commercial break on the American charts.[2] "In for a Penny" was released as the album's lead single in November 1975, particularly because it had a rhythm that was similar to their 1971 chart topper "Coz I Luv You".[3] The song reached No. 11 in the UK.[4]

"In for a Penny" is notable for being the only song in Slade's recording career to feature accordion. It was played by Lea, although in TV performances of the song, Holder mimed the part on a concertina. Guitarist Dave Hill's guitar solo is the longest heard on a Slade single. Just before the second guitar solo in the track, Holder shouts the line "Ee, they got a band". This was a reference to a British TV advert in which a female character mistakes the entrance of threatening gangsters carrying violin cases for the arrival of a music combo.[2]

In a 1986 fan club interview, Hill spoke of the song in relation to it being released as the album's lead single: "Yeah, that seemed a mistake! When we came back from touring in the States and released that, I think a lot of fans were disappointed, though I personally liked the track. They thought we'd come back with something heavy, so it may have seemed lightweight to them. It was recorded at the Record Plant, New York, as part of the Nobody's Fools/America project."[5][6]

Release[edit]

"In for a Penny" was released on 7" vinyl by Polydor Records in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, Yugoslavia, Australia and Japan.[7][8] The B-Side, "Can You Just Imagine", was exclusive to the single and would later appear on the band's 2007 compilation B-Sides. In the UK, the first 30,000 copies of the single had a picture sleeve.

Promotion[edit]

No music video was filmed to promote the single. In the UK, the band performed the song on the TV shows Top of the Pops and Supersonic. The song's performance on Top of the Pops has not surfaced since its original broadcast.[9] In 1986, Lea recalled returning to Britain to perform the song on Top of the Pops. The following day the band watched their performance at Freddie Mercury's flat. On the same show, Queen appeared with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Lea remembered being "totally knocked out" watching their video, while Mercury did not realise what an achievement his group had made.[10][11]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "In For a Penny" - 3:34
  2. "Can You Just Imagine" - 3:31

Critical reception[edit]

Upon release, Record Mirror said: "A good Beatles-ish kind of tune, written of course by Jimmy and Noddy, with a good lyric. The arrangement is modest, featuring some nice melodic guitar breaks and the harmonies are perhaps the best thing Slade have ever done. This shows the group breaking new territory and doing it very well."[12] Melody Maker commented: "Much of Slade's recent work has been afflicted by a definite paucity of ideas, and this single does nothing to arrest their decline. The song is not particularly ambitious, is handled with no great enthusiasm and is weakly constructed. Noddy Holder, never one of rock's more versatile singers, is at his most uncomfortable here with a throat scrapping vocal set against a background of limited musical intelligence. There are, no doubt enough Slade loyalists left in the country to ensure that this will make an appearance in the charts, but it promises little for the future of the band."[13]

In the Record Mirror poll results for 1975, the single reached No. 6 on the list of top ten best British singles.[14] In a retrospective review of Nobody's Fools, Classic Rock said the song, along with "Let's Call It Quits" are among the album's "most immediate moments".

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart[15] 12
Swedish Singles Chart[16] 14
UK Singles Chart[4] 11

Personnel[edit]

Slade
Additional personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SLADE | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b Nobody's Fools - Salvo 2007 remaster booklet liner notes
  3. ^ "CD Album - Slade - Greatest Hits - Feel The Noize - Polydor - UK". 45worlds.com. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  4. ^ a b "slade | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  5. ^ http://www.crazeeworld.plus.com/slade/history-info-interviews1a.htm
  6. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter March - April - May 1986
  7. ^ "ALL Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  8. ^ "Slade - In For A Penny at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  9. ^ "1986 - Slade Fan Club www.sladefanclub.com". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  10. ^ "1986 - Slade Fan Club www.sladefanclub.com". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  11. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter June - July - August 1986
  12. ^ Record Mirror magazine 8 November 1975
  13. ^ Slade Fan Club Newsletter December 1975 - January 1976
  14. ^ Record Mirror magazine 14 February 1976
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - In For A Penny". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10.