Sunday 8 December 2019

Retro Top Ten: This week in 1971

Slade: masters of misspelling
Slade: masters of misspelling

Jim Hayes

History does not always give Slade's achievements and influence the recognition they deserve.

The most successful British group of the 1970s, they had 17 consecutive top 20 hits in the UK, including six number ones. They have sold over 50 million records around the world, and been cited as influences by bands from The Jam to Nirvana.

Slade started out in the mid sixties as the 'N Betweens but changed their name to Ambrose Slade in 1969. They shortened the name to Slade the following year but progress was slow until the release of their version of a Bobby Marchan song, 'Get Down and Get With It' which peaked at No. 16 in the UK charts in late summer, 1971.

Next single 'Coz I Luv You' kick-started Slade's golden era, and was the first of a string of hits written by the band's Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Written at Holder's home in half an hour, it was recorded in two days. The song's hallmark hand-clapping and foot-stomping were added because the band thought the original recording too 'poppy' and weak.

Original title 'Because I Love You' was also abandoned because they felt it did not suit the band's image or sound. Holder suggested a spelling that better reflected the dialect of their native Black County in the midlands and the change marked the beginning of Slade's trademark misspelled and phonetic song names

Among the hits that followed were 'Look Wot You Dun', 'Take Me Bak 'Ome', 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now', 'Cum On Feel The Noize' and 'Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me'.

In the week after our top ten of this week was published, the reign of 'Coz I Luv You' at number one was broken by comedian Benny Hill's innuendo-laden novelty song 'Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)' which would remain at the top of the chart into the New Year. Slade would bag their own festive No. 1 two years later with the million selling 'Merry Xmas Everybody', now officially the eleventh best selling Christmas number one of all time.

1 Coz I Luv You Slade

2 Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) Benny Hill

3 Jeepster T Rex

4 Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves Cher

5 Johnny Reggae Piglets

6 Tokoloshie Man John Kongos

7 Banks of the Ohio Olivia Newton-John

8 Till Tom Jones

9 I Will Return Springwater

10 Run Baby Run Newbeats

Bray People