Friday, July 15, 2011

Still crazee for Slade after all theeze yeerz

I have always loved sharing music, and time has been kind to many of the obscure artists I foisted on friends many years ago. I remember telling people they had to listen to this album by Judee Sill, John Kongos, Linda Perhacs, Emmitt Rhodes, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Tufano & Giammarese. In many cases it took years, but my faith in those artists was rewarded, often with a remastered re-release replete with essays about overlooked genius and the like.

But I'm still waiting on Slade. Oh, Slade is a legendary band in most of the world, but in the U.S. of A. they're kind of an afterthought. They're the band that made the original version of Quiet Riot's big hit "Cum On Feel the Noize" and had a couple minor hits in the 1980s - "Run Run Away" and that other one ...

I remember listening to Slade in my college radio station and reading about how they had seven or eight No. 1 songs in a row in their home country of Britain. I remember telling my friends they really should check these guys out, because they're the next big British invasion. Every song they performed had so much energy it would be another band's big concert finale: "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Gudbuy T'Jane," "Coz I Love You," "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me" and, of course, "Cum On Feel the Noize." Which, I guess, is what Quiet Riot finally figured out.

But they never really caught on in America the way I figured they would. Don't know why. I remember playing Slade's version of "Noize" for the teenager in my life at the time, and she said it's OK but not as good as the note-for-note copy that was Quiet Riot's rendition. It drove me, um, crazee. I listen to their album "Sladest," the greatest-hits collection, and wonder how none of those songs sparked America's imagination. I listen to "How Does It Feel," one of the loveliest and most melodic rock anthems ever recorded, and am frustrated not to hear it mentioned in the same breath as many less worthy songs.

It's fun to have a little band that only you appreciate suddenly find its way to mainstream acceptance.  That's never really happened with Slade, and that amazes me. This is one incredibly great band.

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