Slade's 15 greatest songs, ranked
18 December 2023, 11:35 | Updated: 19 December 2023, 09:55
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They were much more than just a glam rock one-trick pony.
Though Wolverhampton's own wonders Slade came to prominence during the advent of glam rock in the early 1970s, and became one of the UK's most beloved bands of the era.
Slade - whose original lineup consisted of singer Noddy Holder, guitarist Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell - blended elements of music-hall, glam, folk, blues rock, psychedelia, and robust rock 'n' roll to superb effect.
The band achieved a whopping total of thirteen top ten hit singles between their golden era of 1971 and 1975, six of which went all the way to number one.
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Countless artists have seen cited Slade as an influence on their music - Holder's rasping vocal, Hill's outlandish dress sense, and their penchant for deliberately misspelling their song titles.
There's a reason why they went on to sell over 50 million records worldwide, despite not achieving the same level of respect in the US.
We've all heard Slade's songs, but which of them are their very greatest? We've ranked them from top to bottom:
'Thanks For The Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)'
Thanks For The Memory (Wham Bam, Thank You Mam) (TV Performance)
'Thanks For The Memory ('Wham Bam Thank You Mam)' was Slade's first single release after their 1975 rock musical film Slade In Flame.
At the time, the film didn't truly ignite the interest of their fans due to its dark tone, but has since been reappraised as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll films of all time.
To wash away the disappointment from the response to their film, Slade released this non-album rock thumper which reached No.7 in the UK charts, which Holder cited as one of his own favourites in 1976.
Slade - Run Runaway (RESTORED - SUPERSCALED TO 4K)
Another single which peaked at No.7 in the UK charts, 'Run Runaway' came at a time when Slade were down on their luck.
After the success of Quiet Riot's cover of 'Cum On Feel The Noize' in the US however, Slade were tipped to make a comeback.
The "rocky Scottish jig" as Noddy called it revitalised Slade's fortunes for short period, appearing on their 1984 album, The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome.
With the help of MTV, 'Run Runaway' became Slade's breakthrough hit in the US and remains their biggest hit in the States to this day.
'My Friend Stan'
Slade - My Friend Stan (Original Promo) (1973) (HD)
Slade took their rampant rock stylings down a notch with 1973 single 'My Friend Stan', the first song from their 1974 album, Old New Borrowed and Blue.
Behind the scenes, Slade's future was thrown into doubt after drummer Don Powell was involved in a near-fatal car accident.
He thankfully survived, and made it to recording sessions with the help of a walking stick, albeit having to be lifted on to his drum stool.
'My Friend Stan' was a huge success for the band, only narrowly missing out on the top spot, peaking at No.2 in the UK charts.
'Squeeze Me, Pleeze Me'
Slade - Skweeze Me Pleeze Me
Inspired by seeing a local pianist perform at his local boozer, Jim Lea's penned 'Skweeze Me, Pleeze' me with Noddy Holder.
Unsurprisingly, given their hot-streak at the time, it gave Slade their fifth number one single in the UK after its 1973 release.
Noddy's ragged, banshee-like wail drives the catchy sing-a-long forwards throughout, like the majority of Slade's fare at the time.
It's regarded as following the template of their bigger successes so doesn't often get the attention it deserves in retrospect, but it's Slade as their most rabble-rousing.
'Get Down and Get With It'
SLADE - Get Down And Get With It (1971 video clip) *** HD ***
Channelling fellow Wolverhampton homebody in Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, Slade got down and got with their raw, heavier side on 1971 single 'Get Down and Get With It'.
A non-album single, the rough and ready number would often act as the encore for their performances for years to come.
Inspired by Little Richard, Noddy said the track "had something magical about it", as they recorded the piano and saxophone parts with just guitars instead.
Though radio DJ's thought it was too raucous to spin at the time, John Peel loved it, and helped catapult them into the charts for the very first time.
Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane • TopPop
Sandwiched between two number one hits for the band, 'Gudbuy T'Jane' was only kept off the top spot itself by Chuck Berry's version of 'My Ding-a-ling'.
Inspired by a San Franciscan hippy girl that the band met whilst in the US, Noddy Holder called the track "one of the easiest songs we ever recorded."
Written by Jim Lea, the bassist recalled how it came together in an interview with Classic Rock magazine years later:
"I'd been round to Nod's house and played 'Gudbuy T'Jane' to him, lyrics and all. He said, 'S'alright.' He was always very phlegmatic, had dodgy adenoids."
"We had some time left at the end of recording, so we put it down very quickly. Nod said he'd done something with the words on the train down. He started singing, 'Hello to Jane, hello to Jane.' I was mortified."
'My Oh My'
Slade - My Oh My (RESTORED - SUPERSCALED TO 4K)
Slade's career was in a stale period - despite a brief resurgence having headlined Reading Festival in 1980 - ahead of the release of 'My Oh My' in 1983.
Their record label felt that their album, The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome, lacked potential to chart, so Noddy and co wrote 'My Oh My' to change their fortunes.
It became the band's final ever top five hit in the UK, though it topped the charts in Norway and Sweden.
Dave Hill later picked 'My Oh My' as his favourite ever Slade single, saying: "Although I didn't like 'My Oh My' when I first heard it, by the time I started playing on it and promoting it, I discovered a certain magic and hidden power in it."
'Look Wot You Dun'
Slade - Look Wot You Dun (1971)
Written by Jim Lea and Don Powell, 'Look Wot You Dun' continued Slade's march to domestic superstardom.
Though, the track also sparked protests among teachers in the UK, due to the band's phonetic misspelling of the song title.
Reaching number four in the charts in 1971, it's creation needed some input from none other than Peter Frampton.
After bad weather caused the delivery of Dave Hill's guitar to be delayed, Frampton lend him his guitar for the recording.
'Take Me Back 'Ome'
Slade - Take Me Bak 'Ome (Official Visualizer)
Glam rock was at its zenith in 1972, slowly faded into irrelevance from then onwards in truth.
But Slade were right at the epicentre of the glitzy musical movement, with 'Take Me Back 'Ome' scoring the four-piece their second number one single, remaining in the charts for over three months.
The blues rock chugger - that Dave Hill described as a "live, earth-dirt song" - solidified Holder and Lea's songwriting partnership as one of the decade's most fruitful.
Though Lea admitted to having borrowed some words from The Beatles:
"Take Me Bak 'Ome" was an old song I'd had kicking around for ages. I re-vamped it a bit and nicked a phrase or two from The Beatles' 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey'. Nobody ever noticed."
'Far Far Away'
Slade - Far Far Away (1974) • TopPop
Slade's ode to getting home again was the first song to be released from the soundtrack to their film, Slade In Flame.
It was also inspired by their actual experiences on tour, having been missing their home and their loved ones more than ever.
Noddy revealed in an interview that he was actually overlooking the Mississippi river with manager Chas Chandler, thinking about how far they'd travelled, when a paddle steamer lit the surroundings.
He mused: "I've seen the yellow lights go down the Mississippi" Chandler replying, "write that song, now!" So Noddy went and penned the song within half an hour.
It scored Slade another huge hit, reaching number two in the charts in 1974.
'Mama Weer All Crazee Now'
Slade - Mama Weer All Crazee Now • TopPop
Though Jim Lea mustered the anthemic blues rock romper 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now', it was something that Noddy said that encouraged him to write it.
After a riot unfolded at one of their shows, Noddy scanned the damage in the auditorium afterwards, commenting: "I thought everyone must have been crazy tonight."
It's certainly one of the most fist-pumping chorus in Slade's oeuvre, and was the second song of theirs that Quiet Riot covered the following decade.
Though, lightning didn't strike twice for the US metal band, who were attracting the reputation of being a Slade covers band.
'Merry Xmas Everybody'
Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody (Official Top Of The Pops Video)
Whilst it's certainly one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time, it's doesn't quite rank as Slade's very best, despite its consistent reappearance in the UK charts every year.
'Merry Xmas Everybody' is still a sure-fire classic though, with Noddy's festive wail becoming synonymous with the festive season since the song was released in 1973.
The used the same harmonium organ as John Lennon did on his album Mind Games, as he was recording next door.
What started out as "hippy-trippy" psychedelic song about a rocking chair, quickly evolved into a perennial Christmas favourite with the help of a bottle of whiskey.
As it turned out, 'Merry Xmas Everybody' became Slade's biggest ever selling single in the UK. Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.
Slade - Everyday (Official Visualizer)
'Everyday' is arguably the most affecting song Slade ever wrote, sounding more Beatles-esque than ever before, which took the single to number three in the UK charts.
A piano-led ballad was slightly off-piste for Slade, who were renowned for their beer-swilling, foot stomping glam rock numbers at the time.
Though, 'Everyday' actually stemmed from Jim Lea's wife, Louise, who jokingly wrote the song's verse whilst entertaining friends at their home.
Jim expanded on the verse which became 'Everyday', though his wife never got a writing credit and he cited the discourse around John and Yoko for it.
"She should have a credit, it should be Lea, Lea, Holder. Why I didn't credit Lou on it was because it wasn't that long before with the John and Yoko thing going on, where Yoko was in the studio all the time and it was messing about with The Beatles. And I didn't want to have that sort of pressure."
'Coz I Luv You'
Slade - Coz I Love You (1971)
'Coz I Luv You' was Slade's first ever number one single in 1971, and solidified their status as one of glam rock's most show-stopping acts.
They'd broken the charts with 'Get Down and Get With It', so their manager Chas Chandler (formerly Jimi Hendrix's manager) encouraged them to write their own tunes.
Basing 'Coz I Luv You' off of a rehearsal jam they'd play to tune Lea's violin, it developed from there after ad-libbing lyrics and guitars supporting the song's distinctive string riff.
It also started the band's signature of misspelling their song titles, a habit that Prince later copied.
Noddy Holder later said: "We thought 'Because I Love You' was a wet title for a song and so we used the spelling that would be on toilet walls in the Midlands and that made it more hard-hitting."
'Cum On Feel The Noize'
Slade - Cum On Feel The Noize • TopPop
It's a glam rock classic, which typified the loud, brash, and unbridled confidence of the movement - you can't look past 'Cum On Feel The Noize' as Slade's absolute best.
A rock 'n' roll anthem that continues to stand the test of time, it gave Slade their fourth number one single in less than a year.
'Cum On Feel The Noize' even entered the UK charts at number one, the first single to do so since The Beatles' 'Get Back' four years earlier.
The lyrics were inspired by the rowdy, enthusiastic crowds Slade were experiencing at the height of their career, with Noddy compelled to change the original title of the song because he "felt the sound of the crowd pounding in [his] chest".
It's a song that distills Slade and the huge influence they had on British music at the beginning of the 1970s.
Though glam rock died a death and Slade's appeal diminished somewhat, it was 'Cum On Feel The Noize' that rejuvenated their career the following decade after metal band Quiet Riot recorded it.
Though glam rock. as a genre may have had its time, the proof was in the pudding that Slade could put together a timeless rock stomper.