Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Things I'd forgotten I knew. (Number 1)

Sometimes I come across something on my iPod I've not listened to for a while and think, "I'd forgotten how good this is!" I assume I'm not alone. So much music, so little time - it's inevitable that some stuff gets lost or overlooked. So, this is the first in a (very) occasional series where I share something that I've re-discovered.

Slade - Dave Hill
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Today, I want to share my re-discovery of Slade. Of course, I was aware of Slade in the 1970s when they seemed to be a permanent fixture on Top of the Pops. My memories of them include top hats, platform shoes and Dave Hill's hair (what was he thinking?) and every year I greet Merry Xmas Everybody as an old friend, as it remains one of my favourite Christmas pop songs. They were a part of the whole Glam Rock scene, which my older sisters were more into, but they were past their peak of popularity by the time I started to develop my own musical tastes and so I never really listened to them as a music fan.

However, I saw them in concert at the Student Union when I was at university in the 1980s. I was hugely impressed. They were a rock band. A full on, in your face, rock band. Live, they were stunning - not what I expected at all. Yet, time passed and it seems I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed them until recently, when I stumbled across one of their greatest hits compilations and once again I thought, "These guys were a stunningly good rock band." I was even more impressed with the quality of the production on the singles. These were not disposable, 3 minute pop songs; these were carefully crafted and well put together pieces of music. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.

I was further impressed by the range of stuff they did: from the foot-stomping brilliance of Cum On Feel The Noize to the mellow ballad style of How Does It Feel. And Noddy's vocals are unparalleled. I'm not sure why they never caught on in the USA but they seemed to have had an influence on some major bands there - for example, Gene Simmons is on record acknowledging Kiss' debt to Slade.

I hope to do more re-discovered treasures in the future but in the meantime, what do you think of Slade, and what forgotten gems have you discovered in your music collection?

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