Little Sheila

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"Little Sheila"
Sladesingle-littlesheila.jpeg
American/German cover of "Little Sheila".
Single by Slade
from the album Rogues Gallery
B-side Time to Rock
Released April 1985
Format 7" Single, 12" single
Genre Rock, Pop
Length 3:56
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
Producer(s) John Punter; Jim Lea
Slade singles chronology
"Myzsterious Mizster Jones"
(1985)
"Little Sheila"
(1985)
"Do You Believe in Miracles"
(1985)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Little Sheila" is a song from rock band Slade which was released as the fourth and final single from the 1985 album Rogues Gallery. It was the leading American single from the album. The song was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. It was produced by John Punter.[1]

Background[edit]

Released as the lead and sole American single from Rogues Gallery, the song did not have a UK release, and was only released in America, Canada and Germany. Slade had hoped the single would continue the band's breakthrough success found with "Run Runaway" and "My Oh My", both hit singles during 1984 in America. Upon release, the track received a good amount of radio play in the United States and Canada, whilst a level of interest from the public was shown for the band. However, like the Rogues Gallery album, the single received little support from CBS except for a music video.[2] The single peaked at #86 on the American Billboard Hot 100 during May 1985, and fared better on the American Mainstream Rock Chart, where it peaked at #13. It became Slade's last charting single in the United States, and was also Slade's second and last appearance on the Mainstream Rock Chart.[3] The single remains one of the more popular Slade tracks amongst Americans. In Canada the song was also Slade's last charting single in the country, peaking at #50.[4] The song failed to chart in Germany.

In the Billboard Magazine issue of 27 April 1985, the song was first listed at #107 on the 'Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles', whilst the Rogues Gallery album was at #203 on the 'Bubbling Under Top Pop Albums'.[5] The song, lasting three weeks in the Top 100 in America, debuted at #92.[6]

Although the track had a similar theme to the Van Halen sound of the time (notably the 1984 hit song "Jump"), the song itself dated from 1979, with a version recorded around 1980 by The Dummies, a band involving Jim Lea and his brother Frank Lea. This version was eventually released for the first time on the 1991 album A Day in the Life of the Dummies. The album summed up the band's entire recording career, which largely consisted of new versions of Slade songs.[7]

Release[edit]

"Little Sheila" was released on 7" and 12" vinyl. It was issued via CBS Records in America and Canada, and via RCA Records in Germany.[8]

In America and Canada the CBS release of "Little Sheila" featured "Lock Up Your Daughters" as the b-side. This track, from the 1981 album Till Deaf Do Us Part, was included on the American CBS version of the Rogues Gallery album in place of the UK Top 20 hit "All Join Hands". Although the song was credited to be produced by Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd., it was originally credited to Slade as a group on Till Deaf Do Us Part.[9] In Germany the single featured the b-side "Time to Rock", which was an album track from the Rogues Gallery album, and was produced and arranged by Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.[10]

Aside from the main American/Canadian single release, which was marketed and distributed by CBS Records themselves, a promotional 7" vinyl was also issued which featured "Little Sheila" on both sides of the vinyl in stereo.[11] A promotional 12" vinyl version was also released, which highlighted the same track on both sides once again. Both promotional releases were labelled "Demonstration - Not for Sale".[12]

In Germany, in addition to the main 7" vinyl release which featured "Time to Rock" as the b-side, a 12" vinyl version was also issued. This release featured an exclusive extended version of "Little Sheila", and the same b-side. The extended version of the track has never been included on any other release, and has never seen an official digital release. It is approximately half a minute longer than the main version of the track.[13]

In America and Canada the single came in a generic CBS record sleeve. Only the German version of the single came with a full colour picture sleeve which highlighted a photo from Image Bank of a girl holding some roses. Mainartery handled the German sleeve design.[10]

Following the song's original release as a single and on the Rogues Gallery album, the song would also appear on three Slade compilations. It appeared on the 1993 German compilation The Slade Collection, Vol. 2 79-87. This release was a follow-up to the 1991 compilation The Slade Collection 81-87. A re-packaging of both compilations was released as a double CD set by Salvo in 2007, which merged both releases together under the title The Collection 79-87. Following this, the song also appeared on the 2006 Salvo four-disc box-set compilation The Slade Box. Additionally the song has also appeared on the unofficial Russian 2CD+DVD set Anthology 1969–1991 Volume Two.[14]

Promotion[edit]

A music video was created for the single for all countries of release, featuring the band performing the song to an audience during a stage play.

The band did not perform or mime the song on any American or Canadian TV shows. In Germany the band performed the song on the German TV shows ExtraTour as well as Die Spielbude.[15] On the latter show the band also performed the previous 1985 singles "7 Year Bitch" and "Myzsterious Mizster Jones".[16][17]

Music video[edit]

The single's music video was filmed by Phillip Davey who had filmed the music videos for Slade's 1984 hit "All Join Hands" and the 1985 singles "7 Year Bitch" and "Myzsterious Mizster Jones", as well as this video's successor "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 "Little Sheila" video, reported in the September–December 1986 newsletter, it was revealed to be Davey's most expensive production. Often described as a weird video, the video was commissioned to promote the single in the United States, Canada and Germany. The video's production involved Scott Millaney, Fiona O'Mahoney and Nick Morris, the latter who was confusingly credited as the video's director in the Billboard Magazine issue of 13 April 1985.[18] The Slade Fan Club newsletter reported that several views are needed to work out exactly what is going on in the film. The basic story is a stage play presented at the 'Rogues Gallery'. This is put across by shots of the theatre programmes at the start. The play itself is presented whilst Slade also perform the track on stage.

It is split down into five acts as follows:

  • Act One - The Dark & Stormy Night: A dark stage as the audience are drenched with buckets of water.
  • Act Two - Alone in Dollars City: A sweet, young Sheila, is seen to arrive in New York to a backdrop of skyscrapers with dollars signs on them.
  • Act Three - The Decline of Sheila: Sheila joins the ranks of prostitutes, shedding her clothes and being joined by other streetwalkers on stage.
  • Act Four - A Strange Encounter: Sheila bumps into an old flame, but before she can talk to him, she is dragged off by a wire and is seen suspended above the stage.
  • Act Five - Saved by the Law: The police raid the stage, arresting the prostitutes and pimps. A theatre critic is seen in the audience with a grin on his face as the words "I raved and then I raved..." appear.

For the music video, guitarist Dave Hill borrowed his old trademark "Superyob" guitar from Marco Pirroni - the guitarist for Adam and the Ants who had used the guitar in the music video for their 1984 UK Top 15 hit "Apollo 9". Hill originally gave up the guitar due to its uncomfortable nature, and sold it in the mid-1970s. In the Slade International Fan Club magazine of July–September 1988, Hill answered several fan questions during a published interview that was conducted by fan club editor Paul Lythe at Slade's offices in London on 27 July 1988. One fan from Humberside asked "Whatever happened to Dave's 'Superyob' guitar? I know Marco from Adam and The Ants bought it and used it in the "Apollo 9" video, but how come Dave seemed to be using it in the "Little Sheila" video?" Hill replied "It still belongs to Marco, but I borrowed it again from him for that particular video. As a matter of fact it was also used in another video a few years ago by Madness so it has become quite famous in its own right!"[19]

In the Billboard Magazine issue of 13 April 1985, the music video was listed under the 'The Clip List' section as a 'New Video Clip'. By the 4 May 1985 issue, the music video was revealed that as of 24 April 1985, the single had been receiving light rotation on the MTV channel.[20]

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 215,000 views as of August 2013.[21]

Formats[edit]

7" Single (US & Canadian release)
  1. "Little Sheila" - 3:56
  2. "Lock Up Your Daughters" - 3:28
7" Single (US & Canadian promo release)
  1. "Little Sheila" - 3:56
  2. "Little Sheila" - 3:56
12" Single (US & Canadian promo release)
  1. "Little Sheila" - 3:56
  2. "Little Sheila" - 3:56
7" Single (German release)
  1. "Little Sheila" - 3:54
  2. "Time to Rock" - 4:08
12" Single (German release)
  1. "Little Sheila (Extended Version)" - 4:31
  2. "Time to Rock" - 4:08

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 "Little Sheila is another very catchy song which may have made a better single than "Myzsterious Mizster Jones" but it shares with that track the distinction of not sounding an awful lot like Slade."[22]

In a review of the 2007 Salvo compilation The Collection 79-87, Dave Thompson of Allmusic spoke of the song, stating "The package runs through 17 songs, but eschews, peculiarly, the hits for which the period is best remembered. They, of course, have been highlighted on other collections; this set concentrates on the ones that got away, and there's a surprising number of them. Songs like "Ruby Red," "We Won't Give In" and "Little Sheila" may veer a little closer to generic hard rock than Slade really ought to, but that was the sound of the '80s, just as the glam stomp was what powered their years of omnipotence."[23]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Canadian Singles Chart[24] 50 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[25] 86 3
U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart[26][27] 13 8

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 "Little Sheila" - John Punter
  • Arranger on "Little Sheila" - Jim Lea
  • Writers of "Little Sheila" - Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
  • Producer on "Lock Up Your Daughters" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Producer on "Time to Rock" - Jim Lea for Perseverance Ltd.
  • Arranger on "Time to Rock" - Jim Lea
  • Writers of "Time to Rock" - Noddy Holder; Jim Lea
  • Photo on German single sleeve - Image Bank
  • Sleeve on German single sleeve - Mainartery

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Slade - Rogues Gallery at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  2. ^ D'Agostino, G. (2001). Glam Musik: British Glam Music '70 History. iUniverse. p. 52. ISBN 9781475909265. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  3. ^ "Rogues Gallery - Slade | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  4. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  5. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 1985-04-27. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  6. ^ "Slade - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  7. ^ "Day in the Life - Dummies | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 1999-05-11. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  8. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Slade - Till Deaf Do Us Part at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Slade - Little Sheila / Time To Rock - RCA - Germany - PB 40329". 45cat. 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  11. ^ "Slade - Little Sheila (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  12. ^ "Slade - Little Sheila (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  13. ^ "Slade - Little Sheila (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  14. ^ "SLADE Discography @ www.collectadisc.co.uk". Collectadisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  15. ^ "Slade ~ Little Sheila ~ Slade In England". YouTube. 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  16. ^ "www.slayed.co.uk". www.slayed.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  17. ^ "SLADE- Little Sheila". YouTube. 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  18. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 1985-04-13. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  19. ^ "1988 - Slade Fan Club www.sladefanclub.com". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  20. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 1985-05-04. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  21. ^ "Slade - Little Sheila". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  22. ^ Slade's remastered 2007 Salvo reissue of album Rogues Gallery booklet by Chris Ingham
  23. ^ Dave Thompson (2007-06-11). "The Collection 1979-1987 - Slade | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  24. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  25. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/279564/slade/chart?f=379
  26. ^ "Slade". AllMusic. 2002-06-25. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  27. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Rock Tracks 1981-1995. Record Research Inc. p. 117. ISBN 978-0898201147.