"Alive At Reading '80" was produced by the band themselves and released via Cheapskate Record Label (Slade's own label) on 26th September 1980.
This single reached number 44 on the U.K. chart, this was Slade's 1st chart activity in the U.K. since 1977.
The 3 tracks that appeared on this single were taken from Slade's live performance at the Reading festival in 1980. Ozzy Osbourne, during his Blizzard of Oz tour, cancelled his set at the Reading festival at short notice. The band stole the festival and quickly became popular again.
The E.P. features the Noddy Holder and Jim Lea written "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin" along with a cover of "Born To Be Wild" and 3 merged tracks "Somethin' Else / Pistol Packin' Mama / Keep A Rollin'".
The track "Somethin' Else" was a 1959 song by the rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran, who wrote it himself, with a co writer credit to his girlfriend Sharon Sheele and his brother Bobby Cochran, although Eddie Cochran and Sharon Sheele isn't given a writing credit on the extended play. "Pistol Packin' Mama" was written in 1942 by country musician Al Dexter and originally performed by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. On the E.P., Dexter's name is incorrectly titled 'Bexter'. "Keep A Rollin'" was written by Slade themselves.
"Alive At Reading '80" was released via Cheapskate Record Label (Slade's own label) on 26th September 1980.
In a 1986 interview for the Slade fan club, Dave Hill described his experience of the Reading Festival, "One heck of an experience, 'cos I wasn't going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it, which I will always say was one of the best things he ever did for me. I thought we were going to get booed off, and I was any way getting involved with my wedding business. I remember Tommy Vance came into the dressing room and said "You're going to go down great". We said, "Well we hope to do okay", 'cos we're not the sort of band that pre judges things, although we do have an inner confidence in ourselves. We walked on stage and there was this roar from the crowd. I thought "that's pretty good". We went into the 1st number ("Dizzy Mamma") and I could see the reporters looking at us. I was dreading the end of the 1st number, as that is the point at which we can usually tell how a show is going to go. As it happens, I think we went straight into "My Baby Left Me", so we didn't really wait or a reaction. The confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing "Merry Xmas Everybody" was amazing. I could see Chas Chandler at the side grinning. Tommy Vance played the recording of Slade at Reading the other week and I thought that was great. I got excited listening to that. I was lying in bed listening to it and going "crikey, there's bits out of tune, there's bits of fun and it sounds great". I took my mind into Reading and imagined us playing."
"Alive At Reading '80" was originally released on 7" vinyl and produced by Slade, was a U.K. only release.
Allmusic.com gave the extended play 3 out of 5 stars, writing "Although it clocks in at a mere 12 minutes and 15 seconds, this is 1 of the most important records in the Slade canon. Slade's appearance at the Reading Festival in 1980 will go down in the annals of rock history as 1 of the great comeback stories. At the time of the gig, Slade had packed it in. No bad vibes, creative differences, or any other of the usual break up reasons. No, these guys were just tired of the abuse. At their absolute low of popularity and relevance (their records were worth so little they had been melted down for raw vinyl and the band was playing humiliating Spinal Tap like Airforce base gigs), they had just decided to call it a day. Then the call came in. They were invited to fill in at the last minute at the Reading Festival. Even with the fear of 100,000 beer cans flying at them, everyone finally agreed to do it. The band was really nervous backstage before the show, but as it became time to play, Jim Lea said, "I've written more hits than everyone back here put together!" Slade then went out and kicked everyone's ass so hard they completely stole the show. All the British press (who had been ignoring Slade for some years by this point) wrote about Reading that year was Slade, and how they were back, dynamic, one of the greatest live bands ever. Joe Elliott from Def Leppard was quoted as saying that following Slade that day was a no win proposition. The E.P. has 2 songs, the wonderfully catchy "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'" and 1 of the band's longest standing covers, 'Born To Be Wild'. The energy the band has is matched by the enthusiasm of the audience, many of whom were no doubt ready to give Slade the beer can welcome they feared. A scorching medley of the Eddie Cochran classics 'Something Else' and 'Pistol Packin' Mama' is on the b - side combined with Noddy Holders 'Keep A Rollin'' chant. Due to the relative success of this E.P., Cheapskate record label released a 2nd single from the gig. That 1 has "Get Down And Get With It" 1 of the bands 1st hit singles. The Reading Festival in 1980 gave Slade new life".
For the Dutch and Belgian market, an E.P. titled 'Three Of The Best - Alive At Reading' was released in 1980, featuring the entire 1980 "Six Of The Best E.P.", minus "I'm A Rocka" and "Don't Waste Your Time" as the a - side. This was although the title stated "Three Of The Best". The b - side features the entire "Alive At Reading '80 single"
No video was made for this single, live concerts and word of mouth were the procedure to try publicise this single.
"Alive At Reading '80" reached number 44 on the U.K. chart.
Track listing - 7" U.K. Single
A1. When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin' (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea) - 3:30
A2. Born To Be Wild (Mars Bonfire) - 2:45
B1. Somethin' Else,Pistol Packin' Mama,Keep A Rollin' (Bob Cochran, Sharon Sheeley, Al Dexter, Slade) - 6:00
When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'
"When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'" written by Holder and Lea, was released as the main track on their "Alive At Reading '80" single. The song became part of Slade's live set. Chris Ingham stated "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'" is a catchy rock song with a sing a long hook."
Allmusic wrote "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin" is pure classic Slade. This is just the type of song that made people go crazy over this band in the 1st place, and it stacks up to their chart topping singles."
Born To Be Wild
"Born To Be Wild" written by Canadian musician Mars Bonfire, 1st performed by Canadian - American rock group Steppenwolf who released it as a single from their self titled album in 1968.
The song had been part of Slade's live set previously as well as being performed often throughout the band's entire live career. It was originally performed in the studio for the band's 1969 debut album "Beginnings", under their name of the time Ambrose Slade.
Somethin' Else / Pistol Packin' Mama / Keep A Rollin'
"Somethin' Else / Pistol Packin' Mama / Keep A Rollin'" is a compilation of songs performed by Slade at this concert, "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'" written by Holder, Lea, "Born To Be Wild" written by Mars Bonfire and "Somethin' Else / Pistol Packin' Mama / Keep A Rollin'" written by Al Baxter, Bobby Cochran, Hill, Holder, Lea, Powell.
This compilation was also played at many other Slade concerts.
Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, guitar
Jim Lea - bass guitar, backing vocals
Don Powell - drums
Slade - Producers