You Boyz Make Big Noize
|You Boyz Make Big Noize|
|Studio album by Slade|
|Released||27 April 1987|
|Recorded||Portland Studios, Redan Studios and Music Works|
|Label||RCA, CBS Associated|
|Producer||Jim Lea, John Punter, Roy Thomas Baker|
You Boyz Make Big Noize is the fourteenth album by the British rock group Slade. It was released on 27 April 1987 and reached number 98 in the UK charts spending just one week in the UK charts. The album was based on a 70s sound with 80s technology. This was the last studio album by the original lineup; the next Slade album featured Dave Hill and Don Powell with a different lead singer and bass player, and was under the guise of Slade II.
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Promotion
- 4 Song information
- 5 Non-album tracks
- 6 Critical reception
- 7 Track listing
- 8 Chart performance
- 9 Personnel
- 10 References
As the band still would not tour or perform live, they hoped a hit album would put Slade where they belonged. The band hired producer Roy Thomas Baker but his working methods proved too lengthy and expensive for the band. Drummer Don Powell recalled "it took three days just getting drum sounds". Baker completed 2 tracks, John Punter, who had produced previous Slade material, produced another two and Slade's Jim Lea finished the rest.
Though by no means deserving of its ignoble failure, You Boyz Make Big Noize is not quite the triumphant swansong the band would have liked and undoubtedly reflects the disparate nature of the group at the time. Don Powell remembered "It wasn't us, there was no identity on that album. It would have been nice for the original band to have gone out with a better album, like the Slade in Flame album or Slayed. It was like a certain magic was missing. The closeness that we'd had wasn't there".
To the ongoing heartache of their fans, Slade would never regain that closeness. After, Noddy Holder was adamant. "Never again!!" he wrote in his autobiography. Beyond the hit Radio Wall of Sound in 1991, "never again" it was.
The album's title came after a Wessex studios tea-lady named Betty commented on Slade with the statement "you boys make big noise".
Don Powell was interviewed in early 1987 for the magazine of the Slade International Fan Club about the album, just after it had finished being recorded. "We finished the album yesterday, actually. We spent yesterday piecing it together and sorting out the running order. We know exactly which tracks will be on the album - all of which is new material. The new single 'Still the same' is also on it as well. The title of the album is 'You boyz make big noize'. When we were recording with Roy Thomas Baker in Wessex studios, the tea lady there made the comment 'You boys make big noise' and I think we've sort of kept it from then. I don't know when the album is coming out yet as we are still deciding on the cover design. RCA will probably wait to see how the single does. The album has taken us a long time to record, especially the tracks that John Punter and Roy produced. We spent the first two days with Roy just trying to get the drum sound as he wanted it. He had forty odd mikes over my kit, and it sounded like thunder in the studios. The album is more of a sing-a-long one, as opposed to a heavy metal album. On most of the album it is Nod singing, though on one track Jim sings the first part with Nod joining in later."
For the September–December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, Lea was interviewed with one question speaking about the use of producer Roy Thomas Baker on the new upcoming album and how it meant that the whole recording and mixing process has become far more technical than ever before. Lea replied "Normally, most bands record on a 24 track machine, or occasionally on 48 track by putting two machines together, but with Roy we were working on 88 track. The only way that you can hear all 88 tracks going simultaneously is in a studio in America - so we are ahead of technology. We’ve just recorded the drum track for one of the songs, and Roy had 22 microphones over Don’s kit. I can’t wait to hear how his stuff turns out. I was out with Roy one night, and he got serious for one moment, and said ‘The only reason I’m here with you lot is because right now in America all the young bands, certainly in Los Angeles, are searching for the formula that Slade created - commercial songs with that edge, and that sound where it all comes out as one’. Roy Thomas Baker was the one who put the word ‘producer’ on the modern map of production - it was a great compliment from him."
For the September–December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, Lea was interviewed with one question relating to Slade’s unreleased demos. The question wrote "As Slade have demoed quite a few songs for the new album, there will probably be some that will never get released in vinyl form. On the batch of recordings for the ‘Rogues Gallery’ album, for example, there was track called ‘Love Is’, which was never released. We asked Jim if these outtakes are kept by Slade and used at a later date." Lea replied "That’s a good point that is, I had forgotten about ‘Love Is’. I always thought that was a good tune and thought it would be a single, but the record company weren’t that keen. It was a funny track that we had a problem recording. Nod and I demoed about eighteen tracks in the end for this album, Dave did four, plus one that we haven’t written, so there is a lot of material lying around."
Lea spoke of the album at the time of release "When I listened to 'You Boyz Make Big Noize', which is the last thing I did, I thought 'this really stands up, I can put this on and be proud of it'."
In a mid-1986 interview with Noddy Holder, American Slade fan Matt Shaughnessy asked if the band had any special plans for their anniversary, where Holder replied "We don't have any special plans, other than the new album. We've finally got it finished and feel we have some of the best songs we've ever written."
It was confirmed that a demo track titled "Love Is..." was recorded for the album although it has never been released. In an early 1990 fan club interview, Lea stated the song had a "Coz I Luv You" feel, Slade's first number one hit in 1971 which featured the use of electric violin.
The album received little promotion from the label, largely due to the disappointing sales of lead single Still the Same. Dave Hill discussed the songs failure in a 1987 fan club interview. "'Still the same' is basically being regarded as a flop in terms of what was expected of it. I think the record company were mostly disappointed as it was them rather than the group who chose it. We brought this record out, not in the usual Christmas period, which on the face of it seemed to me to be a feasible idea as an attempt to get away from the 'Slade only exist at Christmas time' situation. On listening to opinion though, it seems to have been regarded as another 'My Oh My' type song, which perhaps should have come out at Christmas. When 'My Oh My' was released, it was just as slow to take off, but as soon as we got the radio play, it rocketed. 'Still the same' did virtually the same as 'My Oh My' chart-wise in its first few weeks, but at the point where 'My Oh My' picked up radio play, 'Still the Same' was dropped completely."
No promotional videos were created for the singles and only a small handful of TV performances were made by the band. The band had not performed live since 1983 due to Noddy Holder's personal reasons. The rumour at the time of release was a possible tour following this album. The tour never happened, most likely due to the failure of the album. Dave Hill mentioned the idea for a tour in a 1987 interview for the Slade fan club. "We could announce a tour now, but caution tells us that we'd do better to announce one on the back of a hit. We haven't called it a day on the touring and if luck would have it, we could be touring after this LP."
In an early 1987 interview with Jim Lea for the Slade fan club, Lea was asked about the reports of the band flying to the States to record a video for "Ooh la la in L.A." which was released as a U.S. only single. Jim responded "Well, when you are dealing with record companies, it all comes down to money, power strokes and the way they think a record is going to go. CBS deliberately held back on doing the video because, although they could see it picking up a few heavyweight stations, they wanted to wait to see if it picked up any more. It actually did pick up one or two more, but then suddenly tailed off, so the video idea was scrapped. It got to the stage when there was this small matter of many tens of thousands of pounds and who was going to pay? It is a bit different in the States in that the record companies are totally ruled by the business affairs people, whereas over here the A&R men run things."
Holder stated the promotion he was doing for the album in a fan club interview "From about March till about two or three weeks ago, I have been doing radios and interviews solid. There have been loads of Slade specials in different parts of the country."
By 1987, the band had also dropped out of the public eye which album and single sales proved. Rumours of split had been reported, especially after no band activity happened during 1986. Hill spoke of this in the 1987 interview. "Fans might be feeling a little left out and a bit disappointed, but they've got to understand that 21 years now is a long time to stay together as a group. We are a little older and we are still trying. I think that deep-seatedly within the group, every one of us would play live, but what we are searching for is a way to take us to another stage of success, and it's a hard route that we're trying."
Around the time, the band had felt unappreciated which Hill also commented on "We don't just want to go out and have people say we did a tour just to say we're around. Although the fans will be there and love it, the public at large will have an attitude of 'let's go and see how old Slade is, cos they're good for a laugh'. To try and put ourselves in a better category, I would like to see us up at the NEC and sell it out. So that we're not just doing the rounds for the rounds sake, we want to show our fans that we're not simply trying to stay together. We haven't reached the market that Dire Straits have captured and they've never been as exciting as us. If you think about us, we really ought to be in that level, shouldn't we?"
In a 1988 interview for the Slade fan club, Don Powell was asked about his thoughts on the failure of both singles "You Boyz Make Big Noize" and "We Won't Give In". "I really don't know why we have problems like that. We just seen to get the token plays, but the records tend not to bite and get dropped. Obviously we are disappointed and will have to decide what we are going to do next. At the moment, no-one in the UK seems to want to know. We never seem to get any recognition for anything we do. Even rock encyclopaedias about the 70's never mention us and the BBC have virtually ignored us in their 'Rock and roll years' programmes."
"It just doesn't seem fair because Nod and Jim are still great songwriters and have never received the recognition they truly deserve. We had three singles in 1973 go straight to number one - even the Beatles didn't accomplish that, but it's a feat that's never remembered! I've had a few Radio One producers to dinner and they say they can only give records a token play, and if there's no reaction, that's as far as it goes."
Love Is Like A Rock
"Love Is Like A Rock" is one of two tracks produced by Roy Thomas Baker. Originally by Donnie Iris & The Cruisers, bassist Jim Lea thought the track sounded very Slade-like in its original format. Lea suggested that the song would fit in nicely with to the current mould of Bon Jovi/Europe, a telling observation about Slade's ongoing quest to style themselves to the times. One of several more obvious candidates for a single than the tracks that were actually chosen. Guitarist Dave Hill stated in a 1987 interview that "Roy liked the song, so we got him to produce it". The track is also a recommended track by allmusic.
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, a fan poll was created based on the album. "Love Is Like A Rock" was listed at #2 on the top three favourite track list. The song was listed at #3 of the top three songs that fans would like to see live. The song also listed at #3 of the top three choices for the next Slade single.
That's What Friends Are For
"That's What Friends Are For" was the other track produced by Roy Thomas Baker. The track was rushed out as a single in April 1987, "mainly because there's a certain person at RCA who is going wally over it" said guitarist Dave Hill at the time. The single peaked at #95 despite being a very commercial sound.
Still The Same
"Still the Same" was the lead single from the album and the highest charting at #73. The track was one of two produced by John Punter who produced other Slade material such as British and American hits Run Runaway and My Oh My. At the time, Slade's policy was to avoid the Christmas market and so the single was released in February 1987. Chosen by the record label themselves, who had hoped the record's anthemic sing-a-long style would reproduce the success of My Oh My, it flopped, immediately raising the question, would it have done any better at Christmas time? Probably not. Chris Ingham from Rock Backpages stated "On the surface Still The Same sounds like a defiant cry of individuality and constancy, but underneath it's a sad, resigned little song about a couple's inability to evolve; not festive fare." Hill explained in a 1987 interview that "in my view deserved to go a lot higher in the charts than it did".
Fools Go Crazy
"Fools Go Crazy" was composed by Holder and Lea. It was produced by Lea as well. The track is synth-based in a vintage Slade manner. This reflected on the album's objective of a 70s sound with 80s technology. Hill announced in 1987 that the song is "a very up-tempo rocker, which sounds very 'Slade'. I think this one is going to be liked by the fans". Allmusic described the track "Fools Go Crazy" evokes some longing but still burns.
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, a fan poll was created based on the album. "Fools Go Crazy" was listed at #3 on the top three favourite track list.
"Fools Go Crazy" did not appear on the US version of the vinyl LP nor on the US CD (on the CBS Associated label). Instead, Track 4 on both the LP and CD was the title track, "You Boyz Make Big Noize." The rest of the running order of the US releases matched the UK release.
"She's Heavy" de-emphasises Slade's main signature sound. "This song is all about a big fat heavy bird who's got a heart of gold. A humorous track, though not about anyone in particular. The production is pretty heavy as well", Hill told the fan club in 1987.
We Won't Give In
"We Won't Give In" is the closest thing to Slade classic on the album. An anthem of resolution in the face of harshness. This track was later released as a single in the UK on Slade's own label Cheapskate Records. The single only reached #121 in the UK. It was also featured as part of the soundtrack for the film Knights and Emeralds. At the time Hill commented "this was thought by many people to be a good one for a single when it came out last year on the film soundtrack. The film company wanted it out as a single, but RCA, who owned the rights said no. This is the last track on side one".
Won't You Rock with Me
"Won't You Rock with Me" is a stadium-rock styled track. Hill explained in 1987 "A good sounding track to open side two. The verses remind me a bit of a Genesis song from a few years ago called 'Mama'. The chorus is much more like us though. The song is laid back while still heavy".
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, a fan poll was created based on the album. "Won't You Rock With Me" was listed at #1 of the top three songs that fans would like to see live.
Ooh La La In L.A.
"Ooh La La In L.A." details the period in 1984 when drummer Don Powell (named 'George' in the lyric) was briefly headline news as the boyfriend of Bob Dylan's daughter ('Miss Zimmerman') and Slade were in L.A. promoting Run Runaway. It was the other track produced by Punter. The track was later a single in the US although it failed to chart.
Allmusic describes the track "Ooh La La in L.A." is, naturally, another anthemic and trashy barnstormer." The track is also recommended by allmusic.
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, one fan commented on the song, "I think Ooh La La In L.A. would be a good choice for the next single as it is getting away from what is expected of Slade."
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, a fan poll was created based on the album. "Ooh La La In L.A." was listed at #1 on the top three favourite track list. The song was also listed at #1 of the top three choices for the next Slade single.
Me and the Boys
"Me and the Boys" uses a similar drum pattern to Queen's We Will Rock You. Hill stated the track was "a laid back heavy song with a lot of chant in it", in a 1987 interview. The song is included in Slade's list of highlight tracks on allmusic.
Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)
"Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)" is another synth-based track. Lea spotted the good hook which he recycled by slowing the hook down for Slade's last hit Radio Wall of Sound in 1991. Hill described the track was "a very up-tempo song with a live party feel to it". The track is also a recommended track by allmusic.
On Allmusic, the song is included in Slade's list of highlight tracks, which lists a total of 22 Slade tracks overall.
The Roaring Silence
"The Roaring Silence", is one of the least sounding Slade-like tracks on the record. It wasn't originally intended for the album. Hill recalled "the song wasn't originally going to go on the album, but it was put on instead of 'Don't Talk To Me About Love' because it sounded so good". The track is included in allmusic's list of Slade highlights.
It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays
"It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays", the album's closer is a return to the rough 'n' ready Slade of old. Hill recalled "another laid back heavy song and the last track on side two. we started this song with Roy Thomas Baker, but in the end it was taking too long and cost a lot, so we got Jim to finish it off".
In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for July, August and September 1987, a fan poll was created based on the album. "It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays" was listed at #2 of the top three songs that fans would like to see live.
You Boyz Make Big Noize
"You Boyz Make Big Noize", a Beastie Boys styled rap-rock single which was released on Slade's own label Cheapskate records, the first time in over seven years that a Slade release wasn't released through a major company. The record had various incarnations and mixes whilst attempting to generate swagger and humour. However, the single only peaked at #94. It featured female vocals for the first time since 1976 on the single Nobody's Fool.
You Boyz Make Big Noize (Instrumental)
"You Boyz Make Big Noize (Instrumental)" is for fans of Lea's stadium rock production style and karaoke candidates, a vocal-free version of the a-side that failed the charts.
Gotta Go Home
"Gotta Go Home" is an uptempo track. Chris Ingham stated "the guitars and hook of Gotta Go Home certainly approximate ZZ Top's routine achievements, but the American band's southern cool - surely the key appeal of the group - was well outside the radar of the brash Wolverhampton boys."
Don't Talk To Me About Love
"Don't Talk To Me About Love" is yet another track inspired by the ZZ Top sound, this time with Jim Lea taking lead vocals in the verses before Holder arrives to join in the chorus. Chris Ingham wrote "Don't Talk To Me About Love features one of the best latter-Slade choruses." Originally for the You Boyz Make Big Noize album, the song was replaced by b-side song "The Roaring Silence" as it had ended up sounding much better than expected.
Wild Wild Party
"Wild Wild Party" is a medium-tempo track, combining a simple riff with the tone of their 1979 track Hold Onto Your Hats. The track featured in the Knights and Emeralds movie soundtrack.
|Get Ready To Rock!|||
|Circus Magazine (USA)||favourable|
|Guitar Magazine (USA)||favourable|
Holder stated in a 1987 fan club interview about the album "We've had some good reviews and a couple of so-so reviews. The reviews we've had in the press have been on the whole very favourable. We've had good feedback from Europe as well, particularly Germany and Scandinavia. It's not coming out in the States until July or August, but CBS certainly like it. CBS are going to put out 'Ooh La La in L.A.' as the first single out there. In Germany at the moment, 'Ooh La La in L.A.' is at number 2 on the radio playlist and 'Still the Same' is at number 4, so things certainly seem to be going well over there."
An American review from Circus magazine wrote "Perennial English favorites who might take credit for the glam rock movement (and even more credit for eventually dropping the look) back in the early 70s, roar back with another blast of galvanized stomp-rock. Slade do not write bad songs - every chorus is custom designed singing along in your favorite watering hole; every solo constructed to have even the most jaded listener bobbing his head. It's about time America caught up with the rest of the world."
Another American review from Guitar magazine listed the album performance as "shouting and jolly", the hot spots: Love is Like a Rock, Won't You Rock with Me, and Me and the Boys, and the bottom line as "a dinosaur keeps on dancing". The review wrote "For 21 years Slade has been shouting out nursery rhyme choruses and engaging us with grinningly simple hooks and You Boyz Make Big Noize carries on their spirit with amazing vibrancy. Noddy Holder and Jim Lea are masters of schoolboy hooks, big shouted choruses that anyone can latch onto. They jam their catchy one-liners into an assortment of ball busting rhythms creating a riotous collection of trebly anthems. No one will ever mistake this for compositional brilliance, but Slade's consistent ability to suck you into their friendly carousing is impressive. It starts with the muscular riff of Love is Like a Rock and never lets up through raspy Holder chorus after chorus. Only the setting is changed, from simple sing-song pop to the arch hard rap of the title cut, through the soul bomp of Won't You Rock With Me and Sing Shout's Bo Diddley shimmy. All four Slade members are originals- guitarist Dave Hill can be heard exerting his clever skills at various depth's in Noize's stadium choruses. The album offers no social profundity, nor even anything of musical worth, but there is no stopping the simple rock hijinks of this spritely dinosaur."
On 3 January 1988, American newspaper Record-Journal, a daily newspaper of Meriden, Connecticut in America, gave the album a B grade and wrote "Twenty-one years of hard rock, do you believe it? It’s hard to imagine, but true. Not only has Slade - especially original members Jim Lea and Noddy Holder - come back to rock like from some 1970s doldrums, they’ve made other bands famous in the process. Remember Quiet Riot’s "Cum On Feel the Noize"? Well, it wasn’t Quiet Riot’s; it was a Slade original. "You Boyz Make Big Noize", produced by Queen/Cars boardman Roy Thomas Baker, proves that these rocking old-timers still have what it takes in the world of pop metal. Songs, such as side one’s "Still the Same" resplendent in its anthemic arrangement and heavenly harmonizing chorus, is not only a hook-filled, powerful tune, it’s a primer for anybody who wants to be Jon Bon Jovi someday. Likewise for "We Won’t Give In". Other songs on this LP - the title cut and "She’s Heavy", for example - are more rock-rap novelty cuts, though there’s still some album-rock hit potential. Perhaps the thing that Slade does best and what makes their playing so entertaining is the mixture of rocking sincerity and good humor about what it all means. "Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)" describes this philosophy in song, and boy does it make you want to move. If this were a just world, Slade would still be making hit records. That they’re not just doesn’t seem to be their fault."
Joe Geesin of Get Ready to Rock wrote of the remaster "1987's You Boyz Make Big Noize was perhaps not the swansong the band would have wanted. The complete flop of two singles meant label RCA lost interest in promoting it and the single 'You Boyz Make Big Noize' would be put out later on a different label. While some good moments, classic Slade in others, most of the album is mediocre at best. The anthemic big choruses just weren't as catchy. Plenty of keyboards, layering and whatever just wasn't Slade, with or without the classic Slade harmonies. If they'd more of an album of 'Fools Go Crazy' maybe fans and label wouldn't have deserted Slade so drastically. They had enough personal problems without that. Sadly Slade went out with a whimper, at least until 1991's 'Radio Wall Of Sound' (sadly not included amongst the 9 bonus cuts here)."
|1.||"Love Is Like a Rock"||Avsec, McClain, Ierace, Hoenes, Valentine||3:40|
|2.||"That's What Friends Are For"||Noddy Holder, Jim Lea||3:16|
|3.||"Still the Same"||Holder, Lea||4:13|
|4.||"Fools Go Crazy (UK only; in the US this was replaced by "You Boyz Make Big Noize" [title track])"||Holder, Lea||3:16|
|5.||"She's Heavy"||Holder, Lea||2:35|
|6.||"We Won't Give In"||Holder, Lea||3:37|
|7.||"Won't You Rock with Me"||Holder, Lea||3:47|
|8.||"Ooh La La in L.A."||Holder, Lea||3:52|
|9.||"Me and the Boys"||Holder, Lea||2:48|
|10.||"Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)"||Holder, Lea||3:10|
|11.||"The Roaring Silence"||Holder, Lea||2:48|
|12.||"It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays"||Holder, Lea||3:48|
|2007 Remastered edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"Still The Same (12" Version)"||Holder, Lea||5:35|
|14.||"Gotta Go Home" (b-side of "Still the Same")||Holder, Lea||3:20|
|15.||"Don't Talk to Me About Love" (b-side of "Still the Same")||Holder, Lea||2:28|
|16.||"Wild Wild Party" (b-side of "That's What Friends Are For")||Holder, Lea||2:55|
|17.||"You Boyz Make Big Noize"||Holder, Lea||3:01|
|18.||"You Boyz Make Big Noize (Noize Remix)"||Holder, Lea||5:31|
|19.||"You Boyz Make Big Noize (Instrumental Version)" (b-side of "You Boyz Make Big Noize")||Holder, Lea||3:01|
|20.||"You Boyz Make Big Noize (USA Mix)" (b-side of "You Boyz Make Big Noize" 12")||Holder, Lea||3:00|
|21.||"Let's Dance ('88 Remix)"||Jim Lee||2:40|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||12||3|
|UK Albums Chart||98||1|
- Noddy Holder - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
- Jim Lea - bass guitar, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, producer
- Don Powell - drums
- John Punter - producer
- Gerrard Johnson - keyboard programming
- Pete Hammond - keyboard programming
- Dave Garland - engineer
- Jerry Napier - engineer
- Mark Dearney - engineer
- Matt Butler - engineer
- Trevor Hallesey - engineer
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