Friday, January 19, 2018

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

This Post Remains on top as an introduction to the site. Scroll below for the latest posts.




This Blogspot is part of the Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) archive run by Trev Teasdel.

Hobo was a Coventry music magazine c 1973 - 75 and the archives of the magazine and Hobo workshop and the general music scene of the 70's was originally on Vox blogs c 2007 until recently. Vox closed and the site is being redeveloped and rearranged here - it's still in progress so bear with us.



Photos of the Coventry Music Museum run by Pete Chambers
Do visit the museum if you are in Coventry - website


This Blog
This Hobo blogspot in particular  is for Peter Clemons Coventry music Scene articles for the Coventry Telegraph and beyond. Pete Clemons has a huge database of hundreds of gigs in Coventry from the 60's to the present. Both professional acts and local bands. He has had over 100 articles published in the Coventry Telegraph which, on his request, we've collated here and  have linked them with further material from the Hobo magazine archives.


NEW - Coventry Book Launch Documenting the Music and Entertainment Scene of 1970's by Ruth Cherrington. The Dirty Stop Outs Guide 1970's Coventry.
Available in Coventry from Waterstones and HMV or from Amazon UK here 

Hobo magazine and Workshop are well featured in the book as are many of the photos from the Hobo Archive pages here.Both Pete Chambers and Pete Clemons make a good contribution to the book as well.










  • Early posts on here - if you scroll right down - are Pete's Rock of Ages Posts - gigs in Cov through the ages since the early 60's to present.
  • Later posts are about important music venues in the city and their history.
  • Other posts are about Coventry bands from the 60's onwards.

Pete Clemons and Trev Teasdel at  BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire January 2016

Links to the other Hobo Coventry Music Archive sites 
Coventry Music Scene from Hobo - This is the Hub to all the sites below

Hobo - Coventry Music Archives This is the main Blogspot for the Coventry Music Archives from Hobo Magazine with archive material from HoboMagazine and other Coventry music magazines, feature articles and other documentation. This site is still in development.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club
The archives of the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club which was opened in 1955 by the Goons and where some of the Two Tone musicians started out and literary figures like Phillip Larkin and much more. many Coventry bands played the Umbrella in the late 60's and early 70's. It also housed Coventry's first Folk Club.

Coventry Folk Club Scene 1970's  
This is the Hobo site for Coventry's longstanding and thriving Folk and Acoustic scene. It covers both folk archives from the 70's and features on some of the contemporary singer songwriters out there now along with Pete Willow's history of Coventry Folk Scene and pdf versions of  his 70's Folks Magazine 1979 / 80. Top names like Rod Felton, Dave Bennett, Kristy Gallacher, Pauline (Vickers) Black, Roger Williamson, Sean Cannon and many more.

Coventry Gigs 1960 to Present (This blogspot in fact!).

Coventry Discos, Venues, Music shops and Agencies / Studios etc.
A steadily progressing blog for a variety of other aspects of Coventry's music scene - the DJ's, Discos, Venues, Arts fests, record shops, studios, music agencies etc etc..

Coventry Musicians Who's Who 
This blog has an A to Z of Coventry musicians. It's not yet complete (if ever!) but there are many names and their bands on already. I will come back to it when the A to Z of bands is complete and add in names not on. Meanwhile if you are not on it - and you should be - or your friends and their bands or if your info is incorrect - do let us know at hobozine@googlemail.com.

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here https://sites.google.com/site/bandsfromcoventry/

Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly

Maybe Baby

by Pete Clemons








One of the more enduring memories of my childhood, as far as listening to music is concerned, is that of an old 1950s style radiogram which had a good few 45s stored away in it. For those who do not remember radiograms, they were essentially a radio and record player within a piece of furniture that also had space for a few records.

They were not my records but I was forever playing those 45s and 78s regardless of who they were by. I am guessing that I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time. I doubt very much if I had developed my own personal taste in music at that time.

But one record in particular, that seemed to grab my attention more than most, was one that had a triangular centre. Almost all of the other records in this collection had circular centres. And for some reason it used to fascinate me.

The disc itself was called ‘Maybe Baby’ by The Crickets. It was on the black Coral record label. And I must admit that I listened to ‘Maybe Baby’ and its flip side ‘Tell Me How’, an awful lot back then. I can’t imagine if I knew anything about the incredible story of The Crickets as a band and Buddy Holly as a person. I’m not even sure if I was even aware that guitar player and vocalist, Buddy, had been killed a few years earlier in a plane crash.

Buddy Holly’s music career began as a duo at school called Buddy and Bob. The Bob in this duo, Bob Montgomery, would later go on to write for Buddy. Watching them perform at school was drummer Jerry Allison. A little later Bob and Jerry would become firm school friends and listen to rock and roll radio becoming inspired by the likes of Elvis Presley who Buddy and Jerry had seen play live.

Buddy and Jerry secured their first record deal with Decca Records during January 1956. The story goes that the Decca contract misspelt Buddy’s name incorrectly as Holly. It should have read Holley but Buddy decided to stick by the new spelling.

The pair had their first sessions in Nashville where they recorded several songs including the first song ever written together by Holly and Allison called ‘That’ll Be the Day’. The results of these sessions led to their short lived contract being terminated just over a year later.

February 1957 saw Buddy and Jerry then team up with producer Norman Petty who allowed Buddy to flourish and do his own thing. And it was the 1957 re-recorded version of ‘That’ll Be the Day’, with his new band The Crickets and released on Coral in the UK (Brunswick in the US), that set Buddy on the way to immortality.

The Crickets had come together at Norman Petty’s studios. According to a Jerry Allison interview it was a joint effort choosing the name, but the band was a necessity to overcome recording legalities. Completing the band was Joe B. Maudlin on bass and Niki Sullivan on guitar.

The success for Buddy and the Crickets came almost overnight. Five top ten hits including a number one in US and UK during their first year together.

Norman Petty’s studio’s allowed Buddy to develop his unique guitar style for that time. Guitar solos on recordings, for example, was very unusual. As was hearing a guitar up front on recordings, as quite often, the guitar was kept in the background. Buddy had this unusual ‘hic cup’ in his singing voice.

And every song Buddy was involved with just sounded very different ‘Peggy Sue’, released under Buddy’s own name had a complicated drum pattern. Incidentally, ‘Peggy Sue’ started as a song about Buddy’s niece but the songs title was changed to feature Jerry’s then girlfriend.

At one session Jerry Allison was slapping his hands and knees to the beat of a new song in preparation and anticipation of recording it. Norman Petty recorded the slapping instead and this is what can be heard on the B side of ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Everyday’.

Another song ‘Not Fade Away’ had Jerry Allison playing on a cardboard box rather than drums. ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘Rave On’ had started life as country type songs and these were re-interpreted by Holly’s unique style. And so it went on.

And then we have ‘Maybe Baby’ recorded toward the end of 1957 and the song that inspired me to write this piece. This was another hugely unique song due to the fact that it had a guitar introduction, before Buddy’s voice was even heard. It also has the most incredible harmony parts in it.

Where Buddy found the time to write his music is also a wonder. His touring schedule from the beginning of 1958 appeared to be arduous. January saw him playing the US and Canada. February Australia and back to the US again. While the whole of March he was in the UK.

Mid 1958, and back in the US again, Buddy Holly effectively went solo. After touring with The Crickets Buddy stayed on in New York to visit publishers while the band went home. He also, apparently, stayed on to get to know the New York music scene better. It was while there that he famously met and proposed to his future wife on the same day. Nothing stayed the same between them after that tour according to Jerry Allison. And Jerry Lee Lewis, who was a confidante of Buddy’s, tells a story of how Buddy had phoned him for advice on the matter of marriage.

After he married Buddy began to record with strings. Buddy’s last recording sessions were held in New York during October 1958, recorded under his own name and accompanied by an orchestra. The classics continued by way of songs like ‘True Love Ways’ and ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’.

Here in the UK Buddy’s music influenced the music scene with bands like The Quarrymen, later The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones both covering Buddy Holly songs early in their careers. And in 1959 Hank Marvin of The Shadows was inspired to keep wearing his thick rimmed glasses despite advice to the contrary. And The Crickets were arguably the template for the line-up that bands use even today.

Remarkably, it had been less than two years between the release of ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and Buddy’s fatal plane crash. After the crash, rock and roll became very different in the U.S. of A. That was until the British invasion, led by The Beatles, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark 5 and others, shook things up again. The Hollies acknowledged Buddy's influence in their took their name name.

And now we are almost 60 years on from Buddy’s death. Over time, I have learned a bit more about Buddy and the Crickets. At least a bit more, than when I first heard ‘Maybe Baby’ on that radiogram, all those years ago. Not sure if I am as fascinated by the actual record itself but I do know that I still love the music that was on it. No wonder Don Maclean wrote ‘American Pie’ and about the day the music died. It really must have seemed like it at the time.














Friday, January 12, 2018

The Dirt Road Blues Band at the Musician, Leicester

The Dirt Road Blues Band at the Musician, Leicester

by Pete Clemons



When you have a band made up of Warwickshire based musicians and you go and cross a border to play a gig in a different county, it is possibly a surprise when you get a healthy audience.

However, on the last Thursday before the festive season began, that’s exactly what the Dirt Road Blues Band as namely, Steve Walwyn guitar, Horace Panter bass and drummer Ted Duggan did when they played the Musician pub in Leicester. And that’s exactly what happened, a sizeable crowd attended.

Yes, admittedly, those musicians are a bit more than just well known locally. But they didn’t use that on the advertising. Only the band name was used.

The band opened with a tune called ‘Sweet Louise’ and followed that up with Canned Heat’s ‘World in a Jug’. They were then joined on stage by ace harmonica player Sam Powell who added his considerable talents to the next few numbers.

For the tune ‘You Got Me’, and indeed for the next few tunes, Maxx Manning of local favourites The Della Grants entered the fray. Now for those who have not heard The Della Grants, you really ought to, as that particular blues band are beginning starting to turn an awful lot of heads.

Given that this was only the DRBB second ever gig, they had not settled on their laurels and played the exact same set as previously at their debut in Leamington. They surprised by dropping in some new numbers.

And for the first of these Horace swapped bass. The change of sound was quite extraordinary. Even to noticeable to a non muso such as myself.

So I asked Horace about it: ‘I took the BEAD strings from a 5 string bass set and fitted them to a 4 string bass guitar. I needed it to get that down and dirty sound on some of the tunes’.

The second half began as the first had finished. The band gave the impression they were comfortable and had really settling into a groove. Plus, they were clearly enjoying the whole experience. For this set, and In addition to the previous guests, they were joined by Holly Hewitt. Delicate in stature, Holly can sure dive straight in and belt out a powerful vocal.

After a final finale an incredibly hyped up and passionate crowd went home very happy. The chatter and the buzz afterwards was the knowing that they had just witnessed something very special.

I appreciate that all these guys have ‘day jobs’, so to speak, and that The Dirt Road Blues Band may be a part time thing, but it has to be said they appear to have bonded wonderfully well. Their gigs bring excitement, energy and diversity. And a few surprises. Let’s hope that they find the time for more of this. It really was truly a memorable evening.




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Looking back on 2017


Looking back on 2017
By Pete Clemons



If anything, the local music scene in Coventry, and surrounding area, appears to be getting stronger. Of course a lot more was bound to have happened than ever crossed my path. But the memories for what I personally witnessed at first hand were plentiful. Some of which will remain with me for a long time to come.

Trying to keep the events in some sort of chronological order who; that attended, will ever forget the reunion gig by Barnabus in February. With little rehearsal, they rested on their collective experience and turned out a blistering set that included ‘Apocalypse’ which recently featured on a Cherry Red records compilation. 




I remember purchasing a couple of fine CD releases that I never tired of listening to throughout the year. The first by the re-modelled Barb’d Wire. Their time certainly came as Cherelle Harding took centre stage and owned it. Along with a fine rhythm section, she shone for this Ska/Reggae influence band. The other CD that springs to mind from the first half of the year was Street Rituals by Stone Foundation. Always having had the potential, this was the album you sensed they had in them. Yes, it took collaboration with Paul Weller to get them to a greater level, but they would have got there in their own time. That, I have no doubt about. 




The Delia Derbyshire evening at the Coventry Cathedral was a memorable yet surreal event. Hearing DJ Jerry Dammer’s playing tracks like ‘Love Without Sound’ and ‘My Game of Loving’ reverberate in such dynamic surroundings was a quite extraordinary experience.


The Godiva Festival was, as ever, a triumph. So diverse an event meant that so many people will have their own favourite memories and recollections. For me personally, I don’t think I will ever forget the Sunday afternoon when both, Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla, and Bob Jackson’s Badfinger, took to the stage. Both the weather and the music just set the scene for an unforgettable afternoon. 







Another gig within unusual surroundings was that by Callum Pickard and the Third Look. At the wonderful Inspires CafĂ© Bar venue they turned in another attention grabbing performance. It can’t be long now, surly, till Callum’s talent are revealed to the wider world.


I have always had a passion for the Blues scene of the 1960s. Canned Heat, Fleetwood Mac, The Blues breaker’s and Chicken Shack are just some of my favourites. So to hear this kind of music live is just so thrilling. As such I remember being quite excited at the prospect of seeing the debut gig by the Dirt Road Blues Band. And that excitement did not diminish as my expectations were truly met. They got me instantly as they rattled through tunes like ‘World in a Jug’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’.

Continuing with the blues, how can you not love The Broomfield Tavern. I don’t get there anywhere near as much as I should, but seeing bands there like the Travelling Riverside Blues Band and Blues 2 Go in quick succession only enforces what a special venue that back room is. 



It should have been a monster, and for some, maybe it was. But a slight disappointment for me was the Godiva Rocks play. The music played on the night was exceptional but I found the storyline a bit long winded and somewhat complicated. I came away with the felling that an opportunity had been missed. But if a soundtrack was ever made available, particularly of the 60s tunes, then I really think that the theatre would have a sure fire winner on its hands.

Finally, the long awaited CD/DVD release of Joe O’Donnell’s 1977 concept album ‘Gaels Vision’, at last saw day of light late on in the year. And I must say it has been worth the wait. I quote: ‘We were particularly fortunate in having the particularly fortunate in having the patient guidance and assistance of Ben Haines, Russell Whitehead and Ben Skirth who between them helped us across the yawning crevasse of ignorance, as we recklessly attempted the almost impossible and probably inadvisable!!

With new music being worked on by Moonbears, Cliff Hands, Kristy Gallacher, Stylusboy and the final part of a trilogy of albums by Freedom to Glide all to look forward to, I really don’t want to grow any older.

Away from Coventry and I bought some splendid new releases that were listened to long and hard. They also remind me of various ‘where I was’ moments throughout the year.

These included ‘Lost in the Ghostlight’ by Tim Bowness. A gripping tale about a musician who, comes to the realisation that the best days are long behind him. Steven Wilson’s chart topping and very wonderful ‘To the Bone’ album, the hugely successful live album by The Pineapple Thief titled ‘Where We Stood’ Anatema’s ‘The Optimist’ which is at last starting to grow on me and the simple charm of Judy Dyble whose collaboration with Andy Lewis ‘Summer Dancing’ was just sublime.

Finally, and back to Coventry, you may remember that just over a year ago there was a reunion of most of the musicians who were associated with Indian Summer. They got together to celebrate that Record Collector magazine had released an album of demo’s and out takes. Well it appears that a Japanese company has reproduced that album, along with the bands eponymous studio album in those speciality CD releases in the form of a mini LP that the Japanese do so well. At long last, this band appear to be getting the recognition they so richly deserve.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

1977 The Year of the Single – Sounds Magazine

1977 The Year of the Single – Sounds Magazine.


by Pete Clemons


What a coincidence. As 2017 draws to an end I had been rooting through a box and came across a fascinating article produced by Sounds music magazine from December 1977.

The article’s title was called 1977 the year of the single. And it attempted to document just what had happened during that year in terms of seven inch (or 12 inch) record sales.

As far as the music scene went it was quite a year. We had lost both Elvis Presley, Marc Bolan along with the heart of US rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was also the year David Bowie dueted with Bing Crosby with the song Peace on Earth.

Top selling singles from 1977 included Wings with ‘Mull of Kintyre’, David Soul and ‘Don’t Give Up on Us’, ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, Boney M, ‘Ma Baker’ and ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ by Abba. While top albums included ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Bat out of Hell’ by Meatloaf, Steely Dan ‘Aja’, ‘Animals’ Pink Floyd and ‘Exodus’ by Bob Marley. And well over one hundred million vinyl sales were recorded that year in the UK alone.

Other key events in UK music that year saw The Clash, The Jam, The Stranglers, The Damned all release their debut albums. The Sex Pistols, who also released their one and only album during 1977, were twice released from record contracts as both the EMI and A+M record labels both sacked the band.

But away for the headlines, underneath all that, something seemed to explode and it was as though everyone wanted to put a band together and create music or even go as far as to produce it all for themselves. Classic records just tumbled out week after week. It truly was exciting times.

And it wasn’t just the quality of the song. It was the depth and breadth of the music being played. You had disco, rock, reggae, electronic and of course you had punk rock.

In case they are not clear I have reproduced some of the words from the Sounds article below. With the singles in their list, I felt that they certainly captured the mood well:

The year of the single? You’re not kidding. Last year, when the idea of a top twenty singles was broached, only a couple of the Sounds staff were remotely interested. Now they’re so hot on the idea of seven (or twelve – this year also being the year of overstatement) inches of black, purple, sky blue pink or whatever vinyl, that they’ve come up with a list of a hundred of the little bleeders.

And the article concluded:……….

And of course, the article continued, there must be another two or three hundred that probably deserved to have had their picture in here too.

Hopefully the pictures and the scans I have taken of the article reproduce ok and tell the story. It did seem as though Sounds magazine, at that time, was all about the album.

But 40 years on!. It all seems so long ago, and it is. But then sometimes, when you hear some of these songs – it isn’t. As, still today, a lot of these great tunes are still greatly revered.




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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Magical Mystery Tour 1967

THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR 1967

By Pete Clemons



1967 had been a busy and creative year for The Beatles. The first part of the year had seen them complete and release the Sgt Peppers album. And then later on in the year they set about creating the film and the accompanying music for the audience splitting and controversial Magical Mystery Tour.

It was based on the bands childhood memories of village fetes and coach trips from Liverpool to Blackpool in order to see the lights and where the coaches were loaded up with crates of beer and the passengers were accompanied by an accordion player or similar. These memories were mixed with the bands perceived view of the world around them.

Although, in hindsight, the clue was in the film’s title, it certainly split audiences when it was first aired during the Christmas period 1967. But whatever you thought of the film there was no denying the wonderful soundtrack that underpinned it all.

This black and white film, repeated in colour during January 1968 (for those who had compatible TV sets), had been hurriedly selected for a slot that appeared on Boxing Day between the Petula Clark Xmas Special and a Norman Wisdom film. Apparently all that the schedulers knew was that it was a film starring The Beatles. And they thought they were on to a sure fire winner. So in it went without any real prior knowledge of what it was actually about or the furore it would create. And at 8:35pm, a quarter of the country settled back and tuned in to watch it.

Ideas for the film began to emerge just prior to the death of Brian Epstein during the August of 1967. Paul McCartney had already been experimenting with film by way of a ‘cini 8’ camera he had bought himself. Spurred on by Paul a ‘script’ was drafted out as a series of sequences on a pie chart. It had no real correlation but both Paul and Brian were enthusiastic at the format. And Paul was even more spurred on to bring the film to fruition after the loss of Brian.

The finished film was actually unscripted with much of it being ‘ad libbed’. As Paul mentioned some time later ‘what you were about to see was a product of our imagination. But you couldn’t add that as a disclaimer to the beginning of it all as it would have spoiled the effect’.

The coach passengers were a mixture of the band themselves, a selection of jobbing actors along with members of the general public who were given just 48 hours, after receipt of invitation, to decide if they would be available or not. Other actors and artists of note such as Victor Spinetti, Nat Jackley, Ivor Cutler were also invited.

The coach journey itself left London on 11 September 1967. And even that involved the spontaneous decision to travel in the direction of Cornwall. The film and the coach terminated in Newquay ten days, or so, later.

As with previous Beatles films Ringo Starr was given a central role. As a kind of parody, Ringo was often seen arguing with his Auntie on the coach trip as a kind of filler between the sequences. John Lennon was also prominent throughout.

The following day, after it’s airing, Paul chose to appear the David Frost show ‘Frost Reports’ to defend the film. Basically the older generation had been looking for a plot and a storyline. While the younger generation, particularly children it later appeared, were enthralled by it all. There wasn’t a plot or anything such like. It was just a series of events segued. George Harrison described it as an elaborate home movie.

The film itself may or may not have been great. I guess that depends on where you are in life when you watch it. But it did open doors. It was abstract, it was imaginative and it was original. It also captured the growing psychedelic scene. Although The Beatles may not have created it, they were well aware of it and became a conduit for it all. All in all it was a random and surreal view of life as seen, through the eyes of The Beatles.



Magical Mystery Tour Memories (Full Documentary)

The Magical Mystery Tour (Beatles Liverpool Tour)

Magical Mystery Tour EP Booklet


The Songs of Slade

The Songs of Slade.
by Pete Clemons


You know Christmas is on the way when you start hearing the perennial hit ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ on your radio and TV. It was released in 1973 and it was Slade’s 6th number 1 hit. It has since charted 8 times over the last 5 decades and the whole country seems to know it. But there was so much more to the song’s writers Jim Lea and Noddy Holder. And, despite the song being kind to them in royalties over the years, it really should not be their lasting legacy.

I often bore folk with the story of the time Mrs C and I both attended the same Slade concert at the City Centre Club during the 1970s. Only she wasn’t Mrs C back then. In fact we didn’t even know each other. But we both remember the fantastic gig Slade put on performing a host of their anthemic hits.

Going back to their beginnings, Slade were formerly known as Ambrose Slade and before then The N’Betweens’. Slade were a Midlands band originating from the Walsall and Wolverhampton areas and their success was far from gained overnight. It began around 1966 with Don Powell and Dave Hill who put together a band that played a mixture of Motown and Beatles covers.



The N’Betweens’ signed to Fontana during February 1969 and it was soon after that the Ambrose Slade was suggested. An album of largely covers titled ‘Beginnings’ was released during May. Soon after, Fontana introduced the band to Chas Chandler, who had been the original bass player for The Animals and was the man credited in tempting Jimi Hendrix to the UK and proposing ideas for much of his onstage persona. Chas suggested that the band abbreviate their name to Slade and gave them a look that involved cropped hair and boots.

Slade’s first TV appearance came during May 1969 and saw the band give an early demonstration of their versatility. They first performed a Beatles cover ‘Martha My Dear’ where Jim Lea played violin. They then played an original tune called ‘Wild Winds are Blowing’ where Jim had switched to bass guitar.

A second album ‘Play it Loud’ was released during 1970 on Polydor records. Hugely different from their debut album in as much as it was almost all self-written, and it was at this point you can start to hear the distinctive sound that Slade were famed for beginning to develop.

The skinhead phase kind of backfired on Slade as, despite their reputation as an energetic live band, promoters declined to book them as their appearance gave rise to fears of the perceived audience the band could attract.

Slade ditched the threatening look and, instead, concentrated on their stage presence. And they began to transfer that energy onto record. This masterstroke saw Slade get their first hit single. The record, released during May 1971, was a reworking of a Little Richard tune called ‘Get Down and Get With It’. It was a popular song from their live shows that featured an exuberance of foot stomping and hand clapping that would become Slade’s trademark.

Each subsequent hit became a group composition written by the Holder/Lea team. They had developed an ‘in your face’ pop/rock style fronted by the powerful vocals of Noddy Holder. And between, what was left of 1971 and 1974 the band, namely Don Powell – drums, Dave Hill – guitar and vocals, Noddy Holder – guitar and vocals and Jim Lea - bass, piano, violin and vocals, could do no wrong as far as chart success was concerned.

October 1971 saw the release of the single ‘Coz I Luv You’, the first Holder/Lea composition, and coming with it was a whole new way of spelling by way of a fresh new vocabulary. With Jim Lea once again on violin ‘Coz I Luv You’ spent a total of 4 weeks at number 1 in the charts.

1972 saw ‘Look Wot You Done’ which, given the success of its predecessor, was seen as disappointing as it only reached number 4. Guitarist Dave Hill suggesting that the piano might have played a part in this. ‘Take Me Bak Ome’ took the band back to the number 1 spot. But with it came protests from teachers about the level of grammar being used.

Next up was ‘Mama Were all Crazee Now’ originally titled ‘My My Were All Crazy’ which again topped the charts followed by ‘Gudbye To Jane’ originally titled ‘Hello T’Jane’ which reached number 2. Both these singles came off the LP ‘Slayed’ which topped the album charts when released during November 1972.

By now the popular music scene was becoming dominated by glam and glitter and, for T.V. and live appearances the band was decked out in platform shoes and top hats. On top of that, and by the time the next hit ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’ was released, which incidentally, entered the charts straight in at number 1, each of the band members of Slade were sporting really long side burns and their hair had grown really long. And as the hits continued an appearance on Top of the Pops could almost guarantee an audience of 18 to 20 million viewers.

1973 also saw Slade’s next single ‘Skweeze me Pleeze me’ also enter the charts at number 1 but a road accident that left drummer Don Powell critically injured put the bands future in jeopardy.

Several of Slade’s big hits were non-album tracks. So the second half of 1973 saw a compilation LP, ‘Sladest’, gather together all those songs along with other related material.

Toward the end of 1973 however there then began a change of sound as Slade went for a more melodic approach with their next hit ‘My Friend Stan’ which made number 2. The single, for me at least, sounded subdued compared to previous releases. Maybe it was the switch to bass by Noddy and the reintroduction of Jim Lea’s piano again. Having said that, it was the end of 1973 that saw the release of ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and, as the whole country knows, that saw Slade back at their most raucous once again.

Slade’s next album, ‘Old New Borrowed and Blue’, released February 1974 inevitably hit number 1. It included ‘My Friend Stan’ along their next single release ‘Everyday’ issued later that year. Again ‘Everyday’ stuck to that slight change of style as Noddy was once more on bass and Jim on piano. The tune still had anthemic lyrics but was in the more in the style of a ballad. And it continued the bands domination of the charts, hitting number three. A succession of single then appeared throughout 1974.

The 1975 song ‘How Does it Feel’ marked, I feel, the start of a change of fortunes for Slade. It was yet another ballad that this time saw Dave Hill on bass and Jim, still on piano. Despite it making only number 15 in the charts it was actually a great tune. In fact Noel Gallagher was once quoted as saying that it was ‘one of the best ever pop songs’.

By 1977 Slade were playing smaller venues due to the change of wind in the air on the music scene. Their records were now being released on Chas Chandler’s own Barn Record label as opposed to their previous Polydor label. The next excursion into the charts, during this period, came in October 1977 when they performed a barn storming version of ‘That’s all right Mama’ which they dedicated to Elvis Presley who had recently passed away. But the difference in the bands appearance was stark. On a TV appearance the wild hair had mainly disappeared. In fact Dave Hill’s head had been shaved. Plus the band was all playing Gibson guitars.

A review of one of the band's 1978 concerts described a new anthem ‘Give us a Goal’ as being ‘of considerable interest to rabid footy fans and of no interest to anyone else’. ‘Give us a Goal’ was one of the last songs in association with and ended the long partnership of Chas Chandler as producer.

By 1980 Slade were almost at the point of calling it a day when suddenly fate played an important part in an upturn in fortunes for the band. Firstly, after Bon Scott passed away, Noddy Holder was approached as being a possible replacement as AC/DC vocalist. Noddy remained loyal to Slade despite the position they found themselves in at that time. Secondly, Ozzy Osbourne had pulled out of the Reading Festival and Slade stepped in at short notice. They took their opportunity well and played a triumphant set in front of a large contingent of ‘heavy metal’ fans. All of a sudden, Slade were back. And this resurgence in popularity also acted as a catalyst for their next hit ‘Bring the House Down’ in 1981. Another single appeared in 1983. Back to their anthemic best the ballad called ‘My Oh My’ turned out to be the bands biggest hit since 1974 featured Jim Lea on piano.

Slade’s resurgence continued into 1984 with yet another hit. This was titled ‘Run Runaway’ with Jim Lea back on violin. This would be the bands last UK hit but ironically it would be the band’s first top 20 hit in the U.S. – an achievement they had unsuccessfully chased for a number of years.

Another crack to top the Christmas chart was attempted during 1984. Titled ‘All Join Hands’ the single, featuring Jim Lea on both piano and bass, peaked at number 15. Slade’s last top of the pops appearance came during 1991 and the classic line up came to an end during 1993.

But Slade never split. Ever since, Dave Hill and Don Powell have steadfastly kept the flame alive, performing regularly with their band.

As a band Slade had, and still have, the ability to create a memorable atmosphere. They have also demonstrated over the years just what a very versatile band they were. Slade, I think you will agree, are far more than Christmaaaaaas.