If you’re in the same age bracket as I am, then chances are you retroactively discovered Slade after it was revealed they were the band that originally wrote “Cum on Feel the Noize,” the song covered by Quiet Riot to stratospheric success. Those of you in this same chronological cohort who, like me, grew up plonked in front of the boob tube watching MuchMusic and MTV for hours on end will also recognize the band from their 1984 hit, “Run Runaway” which butted heads with “Jump,” “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the title of that year’s most invasive earworms – hard rock division. For those acquainted with the more obscure side of ‘80s hard rock, you might recall the band’s 1972 hit “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” as covered by underrated Irish rockers, Mama’s Boys on their self-titled third album, also released in 1984.

By all means, 1984 was a big year for Slade, but as any British Baby Boomer and Generation X-er worth their weight in fish and chips will tell you, Slade is a band that ruled over Europe and the UK throughout most of the ‘70s and ‘80s. While their success on this side of the drink came at the hands of more palatably image-worthy bands offering renditions of some of their greatest works – seriously, look at guitarist Dave Hill’s (far right in the below photos) coif. There’s no way that could have even been legal outside the British isles – and the recognition and respect afforded them by musicians deeply scoured in the heyday of hard/glam rock, Slade were fucking immense at home and throughout the Old World. And the September 25th release of Cum On Feel The Hitz will be released in order to celebrate that fact.

Compiling 43 of their singles that charted in the UK, including six number one hits and 16 tunes that made it into the top ten, Cum on Feel the Hitz is a testament to a band that knew their way around a songwriting hook. Whether it was rally cry licks and riffage, undeniable sing-a-long anthems or a smartly-phrased canticle that everyone from biker dudes and rockers to the working boys down the pub and their wives at home could hum along to, Slade had a knack for penning tunes able to burrow their way into the ears of any and everyone who was tuned into a catchy melody, arrangement or lyrical witticism.

Their song titles may have read like an Irvine Welsh novel as they rarely shunned the opportunity to re-jig a word to a ridiculously comical end. It was so much so that during their apex, the band ran afoul of a nationwide cabal of schoolteachers incensed by their deliberate misspellings like “Cum on Feel the Noize” and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me,” which also demonstrates how much of a force guitarists/vocalists Neville “Noddy” Holder and Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell were at home.

But beyond their phonetic lunk-headedness, Holder’s side gig as a champion sideburn farmer, Hill’s ridiculous ‘do which combined the worst aspects of the bowl cut and the mullet and their outrageous glam rock accoutrements, Slade’s song-crafting smarts are what took them from humble Wolverhampton beginnings to the upper echelons of the music world. The most impressive aspect of this multi-pronged ascent – there were undoubted lean years, including an unsuccessful stint trying to break the band in America during the mid-‘70s – is that as much as Slade knew how to cultivate pop and rock songs using a simple structure, within that formula, there was little that was formulaic about them.

Slade

The haphazard sequencing of Cum on Feel the Hitz is a bit of a pisser if you’re trying to follow along. There’s no strict chronological order, the 43 tracks aren’t ordered by popularity, sales totals or even top-loaded with the chart-toppers or laid out in reverse order. “Cum on Feel the Noize” starts off the collection, but it was the band’s fourth number-one hit preceded by “Coz I Luv You,” “Look Wot You Don” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.” Keeping the run order haphazard and quizzical is the fact that what is widely recognized as the most popular Slade song, “Merry Xmas Everybody,” which sold over a million copies in the UK alone, is the final song on the anthology.

Neither is Cum on Feel the Hitz structured in any way that reflects the musical progression and creative changes Slade made from 1970-1991, the era this compilation places under the microscope. The band was the veritable chameleon lying in the sun as they ping-ponged from rock ‘n’ roll (“Take Me Back ‘Ome,” “Get Down and Get With It”) and R&B/skiffle (“My Friend Stan”) in their early years before making liberal use of classic glam, hard rock and proto metal (“We’ll Bring the House Down,” “Give Us a Goal”), straight ahead pop, honky-tonkin’ juke joint stompers (“Gudbuy T’Jane,” “My Baby Left Me: That’s Alright”) Beatles-esque cabaret wheeze (“In For a Penny”), bluesy shuffling (“Let’s Call it Quits”), ‘80s Footloose rock (“Radio Wall of Sound,” “Lock Up Your Daughters,” “Myzsterious Mizster Jones”), esoteric playful weirdness (“Thanks for the Memory”) and stadium-ready piano ballads (“My Oh My,” “How Does it Feel”) stirred in with the band’s penchant for melodies and instrumentation based in traditional folk music.

Regardless of what subgenre chief songwriters Holder and Lea decided to tackle and which outside elements they strove to mould into the Slade approach, their knack for generating material that a wide breadth of listeners could hang their hats on made for a whole host of ridiculously catchy sing-a-long choruses. As a result, this made them a mainstay on singles chart for two decades and Cum on Feel the Hitz welcomes you to explore the many tentacles of Slade’s talent and the resultant brilliance that carried their success.

Cum On Feel The Hitz Track Listing:

Disc One:
1. Cum On Feel The Noize
2. Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me
3. Mama Weer All Crazee Now
4. Coz I Luv You
5. Take Me Bak ‘Ome
6. Gudbuy T’Jane
7. My Friend Stan
8. Far Far Away
9. My Oh My
10. Everyday
11. The Bangin’ Man
12. Look Wot You Dun
13. Thanks For The Memory
14. Run Runaway
15. We’ll Bring The House Down
16. In For A Penny
17. Let’s Call It Quits
18. How Does It Feel
19. All Join Hands
20. Get Down And Get With It
21. Radio Wall Of Sound

Disc Two:
1. Lock Up Your Daughters
2. My Baby Left Me: That’s Alright
3. Gypsy Roadhog
4. (And Now the Waltz) C’est La Vie
5. Myzsterious Mizster Jones
6. Ruby Red
7. Do You Believe In Miracles
8. Wheels Ain’t Coming Down
9. 7 Year Bitch
10. Still The Same
11. The Shape Of Things To Come
12. Know Who You Are
13. Nobody’s Fool
14. Burning In The Heat Of Love
15. Give Us a Goal
16. Ginny Ginny
17. Sign Of The Times
18. Knuckle Sandwich Nancy
19. Ooh La La in L.A
20. That’s What Friends Are For
21. We Won’t Give In
22. Merry Xmas Everybody

Run Time:
Release Date: September 25, 2020
Record Label: BMG