"Crackers - The Christmas Party Album" was Slades 12th studio U.K. album, it was released and was produced by Jim Lea and John Punter via Telstar record label on 18th November 1985.
This album reached number 34 on the U.K. chart,
The band tried hard to make this album a party themed release, capturing the closest thing to a live sound at the time, as Slade were no longer touring. It contained several hits that had been re recorded, and tracks that had been hits for other bands. The single "Do You Believe In Miracles" was included on the album and was released as a single on the same date, promoting sales.
More of a covers album than a proper studio album, Slade tried to create an album that had a party atmosphere to it and was value for money. The album has had numerous re issues and re releases over the years under various names. It was reissued the following year in the guise of Slade's "Greatest Hits" by Telstar record label, still containing the original vinyl disc for "Crackers", not retitled, but did not sell in large numbers. A 1999 re released as "Slade's Crazee Christmas" was supposed to coincide with the Millennium. Its current CD incarnation on the Salvo label was released in 2006 and bears the title "Crackers: The Rockin' Party Album!". The album was only ever released in the U.K.
In a 1986 interview, guitarist Dave Hill spoke of the album compared to the band's previous 1985 album "Rogues Gallery". "I enjoyed making the tracks for "Crackers" a lot more than those for "Rogues Gallery". I think that maybe too many of the songs on "Rogues Gallery" sounded like pop hits, so the album began to lean too much to being regarded as a sort of 'poppy' album, and there is nothing worse than that for me."
During the recording of "Crackers", Dave Hill discovered Victor Herman, a busker, who was playing bagpipes in Oxford Street, London. Dave Hill knew that Slade planned to record "Auld Lang Syne" for the party album, so he invited Herman to add an authentic touch to the recording. Herman agreed, and when he'd finished his recording work, Slade gave him an envelope with a sizeable sum of money in it, along with their thanks and best wishes. 2 days later, the envelope was returned by post, along with a letter from Herman, saying that he'd enjoyed himself so much in the studio that he didn't want the money. Slade did however later invite him to their Christmas Party on 18 November 1985, when they officially launched the album. At the party, Slade presented Herman with one of the band's Gold Discs as keepsake.
"Crackers - The Christmas Party Album" was originally released on 12" vinyl and cassette.
"Crackers - The Christmas Party Album" was released via Telstar record label on 18th November 1985.
The band had a Christmas party on the album's release date in order to celebrate the album's release.
In a early 1986 fan club interview, drummer Don Powell was asked if Telstar record label were pleased with the performance of the album. "Yes it went gold! I know that it didn't go too high in the charts, but that's due to it being Christmas time and the records sell a lot more anyway."
Don Powell was also asked whether he thought Telstar record label would offer a ‘Crackers II’ album for the next Christmas season. Don Powell responded "I don't really know, they may do as they were really pleased with this one."
Don Powell was asked whether he was pleased with the making of the album. Don Powell replied "Well, we were a bit dubious at 1st, we thought that it might have been another Black Lace type of thing. When we actually recorded the cover versions though, we had a great time doing them. We just went into the studio and put them down one after the other it was like playing live on stage."
In a early 1986 Slade fan club interview, drummer Don Powell replied to the fact that the single "Do You Believe In Miracles" was included on the album, the same time as being released as a single, suggesting why the single only reached number 54 on the U.K. chart "That could be a reason. Funnily enough, that was 1 of the bones of contention Telstar record label said that they wanted it on the album, whereas we didn't because that would mean that it would split the sales between the single and the album. I know that if I personally like someone's single, and it's going to be on their latest album, then I'll wait and buy the album."
Aside from the covers, the album featured re workings of previous Slade hits "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Get Down And Get With It". The live version of "Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')" was taken from the 1982 single "(And Now The Waltz) C'est La Vie", where the song was the b - side, titled "Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')". Other Slade hits were also included, but these were the original studio versions, with "All Join Hands" and "Run Runaway" being the single versions rather than the album versions.
For the 1993, 1999 and 2001 re issues, both "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and "Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed the World)" were replaced by Slade tracks "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fighting" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" respectively. Both of these tracks were live versions, taken from the band's 1982 live album "Slade On Stage".
Although the band were not touring, a handful of TV performances miming the single "Do You Believe In Miracles" was broadcasted, as well as a music video for the single. This led to more sales for the album, which was released the same date as the single.
The album reached number 34 on the U.K. chart.
Track Listing - 12" LP U.K.
A1. Let's Dance (Chris Montez) - 2:36
A2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (John Frederick Coots, Haven Gillespie) - 2:39
A3. Hi Ho Silver Lining (Scott English, Larry Weiss) - 3:24
A4. We'll Bring The House Down (Holder, Lea) - 3:34
A5. Cum On Feel The Noize (Holder, Lea) - 2:57
A6. All Join Hands (Holder, Lea) - 4:16
A7. Okey Cokey (Jimmy Kennedy) - 3:26
A8. Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin') (Holder, Lea) - 3:58
B1. Do You Believe In Miracles (Holder, Lea) - 4:12
B2. Let's Have A Party (Jessie Mae Robinson) - 1:47
B3. Get Down And Get With It (Bobby Marchan) - 3:28
B4. My Oh My (Holder, Lea) - 4:11
B5. Run Runaway (Holder, Lea) - 3:43
B6. Here's To...(The New Year) (Holder, Lea) - 3:11
B7. Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed The World) (Bob Geldof, Midge Ure) - 3:39
B8. Auld Lang Syne / You'll Never Walk Alone (Robert Burns, Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rogers - Arr. Holder, Lea) - 3:28
"Let's Dance" written by Chris Montez, Slade originally released their version via Cheapskate record label (Slade's own label) on 15th November 1998 after being dropped from RCA record label titled "Let's Dance '88" and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
The band released 2 singles before on their own record label "You Boyz Make Big Noize" and "We Won't Give In". Both were commercial failures.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, the song is a traditional standard at Christmas time, and has been covered by numerous recording artists. The 1951 version by Perry Como was the 1st measurable hit, and in 1963 the Four Seasons version charted at number 23 on Billboard. Many contemporary artists have recorded and performed various versions of the song, including a rock version by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. The song was recorded in a 1975 live version and eventually released first in 1982 as part of the Sesame Street compilation album In Harmony 2.
Hi Ho Silver Lining
"Hi Ho Silver Lining" written by Scott English and Larry Weiss, and was originally released as a single in March 1967 by 'The Attack', followed a few days later by 'Jeff Beck'. Because the Beck version charted 1st, the song is most often associated with him. The song is quite often sung by various sports fans, most notably by football supporters of Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday. Ice hockey fans of Milton Keynes Lightning also frequently perform it.
We'll Bring The House Down
"We'll Bring The House Down" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Cheapskate record label (Slade's own label) on January 23rd 1981 and reached number 10 on the U.K. chart.
After years of touring in small venues and releasing a string of unsuccessful singles and albums, the single was the 1st number 10 hit for Slade since 1975 that being "Thanks For The Memory". This was largely thanks to the Reading festival the year before after Ozzy Osbourne's band had pulled out at the last minute and Slade agreed to step in instead. The band stole the show and became hot news once again.
The idea for the track originally came to creation while the band were performing in Amsterdam at the Paradiso club. An enthusiastic audience who wouldn't go home kept repeating the chant heard in this song. Lea, downstairs in the dressing room, as ever, on the hunt for the next song and realised the potential of the chant. The drums on the track were completely double tracked with drummer Powell playing in the toilet on the second track which gave the echo sound. Holders lyrics reflected Slade's shift towards a heavier rock sound.
The song took 2 days to record on the 4th and 5th of January that year, recorded at the Portland Recording Studios in London. To receive the distinctive vocal and drum sounds, the band recorded the parts in the Gentlemen's toilets at the studio. The band had to stop recording every time somebody flushed the toilet in the ladies restroom, because the sound could be heard through the walls.
Cum On Feel The Noize
"Cum On Feel The Noize" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on February 23rd 1973 and reached number1 on the U.K. chart.
This was Slade's 4th number 1 single in the U.K. and their 1st to enter straight at number 1. It entered at the top slot in both the U.K. and Irish charts, which was quite a rare feat at the time and was the 1st occasion this had happened since The Beatles single 'Get Back' in 1969. The song spent all 4 weeks of March at the top of the chart, discounting the final day of the month where the single went down to number 2. Originally, the song was titled 'Cum On Hear The Noize' until Lea suggested the change in words. Holder officially revised the title when he recalled, "how I had felt the sound of the crowd pounding in my chest". Holders 'Baby, baby, baby' introduction was actually just a microphone test. Upon release, the single sold 500,000 copies in only 3 weeks of release. As a result, the pressing factory were completely out of stock for a few days.
All Join Hands
"All Join Hands" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on November 5th 1984 and reached number 15 on the U.K. chart.
The single was aimed at the Christmas market and had a similar power ballad theme as Slade's previous 1983 Christmas hit "My Oh My".
The track was recorded at Angel Studios, London and produced by John Punter. Another anthem with a nostalgic feel, featuring Lea on double tracked piano, it heralded Slade's effective retirement from stage work. The single became Slade's last top 20 hit in the U.K..
"Okey Cokey" written by Jimmy Kennedy, Slade originally released their version via Barn record label on November 25th 1979 and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
The single was issued as the band’s final single in the 1970s era. The band wished to record the song in hope they could earn some commercial success from the Christmas period. Years later bassist Lea stated in a fan club interview that he was originally phoned with the idea of the song. Lea was told if he didn’t turn up to record the song, it would be done without him, and so Lea turned up to record it, despite his feelings against the idea.
Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')
"Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on December 7th 1973 and reached number 1 on the U.K. chart.
It was the band's 6th and last number 1 single in the U.K. earning the U.K. Christmas Number 1 slot in December 1973.
Although information on the version's recording is uncertain, it is likely the song was recorded at the Newcastle City Hall in December 1981 where their "Slade On Stage" album was recorded. Without being included on the live album, this b - side was exclusive to their single "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" until it appeared on the 1985 studio album "Crackers - The Christmas Party Album" and its various re issues.
Do You Believe In Miracles
"Do You Believe In Miracles" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on November 18th 1985 and reached number 54 on the U.K. chart. The single's earnings went to charity.
In the summer of 1985 Holder sat and watched Live Aid, amazed at what Bob Geldof was achieving with some rock ‘n’ roll, some organisation and a vision. He also remembered Slade’s earlier encounter with 'the man they called the mouth' during the band's unpopular late 1970s period, where Bob asked why the band carried on touring in such small venues. Holder recorded his feelings in the lyrics that became Slade’s Christmas charity single. A bigger hit would have generated more funds, but the record had its heart in the right place.
Let's Have A Party
"Let's Have A Party" written by Jessie Mae Robinson, in 1957 and recorded by Elvis Presley for the movie 'Loving You'. A version of this song was recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1960. It entered the U.K. chart on 1st September 1960, spending 8 weeks there and reaching number 32. The Jackson version was later featured in the 1989 critically acclaimed film 'Dead Poets Society'.
Get Down And Get With It
"Get Down And Get With It " written by Bobby Marchan, Slade originally released their version via Polydor record label on May 21st 1971 and reached number 16 on the U.K. chart.
This was Slade's 1st U.K. chart entry. Originally, both Slade manager / producer Chas Chandler and Slade had decided that in order to make a break into the charts they would need to capture their strong reputation as a live act onto record. They chose "Get Down And Get With It" as the band would frequently play the song live and it was always a popular live number. The song was successfully captured in the studio, complete with foot stomping and hand clapping as intended, eventually breaking Slade into the U.K. chart as well as Europe.
My Oh My
"My Oh My" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on November 11th 1983, peaking at number 2 on the U.K. chart.
It proved to be the band's biggest hit since 1974's "Far Far Away", and was also 1 of the band's most successful worldwide, soon after becoming the band's 2nd U.S.A. Top 40 hit, reaching number 37.
The track came from an idea that Lea had while listening to lead guitarist Hill and Holder tuning up in the dressing room before a gig at a University in Wales. 'It reminded me of bagpipes' says Lea. 'I wrote the melody in my head to the drone of the strings'. This was the 1st track that Hill and Lea had ever demonstrated whilst working with record producer John Punter. The raw demo of Holder singing over Jim's piano was received with wild enthusiasm by Slade's record label.
The single was kept from the number 1 spot in the U.K. by The Flying Pickets cover of "Only You" originally by Yazoo.
"My Oh My" was produced by John Punter whilst the B - Side "Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply" also written by Holder and Lea was produced by Lea, although some versions of the single state Slade as the producer. The b - side was originally exclusive to the single and to Europe, although the track would be used as the title track on the 1984 American album of the same name. For the 12" vinyl of the single, a bonus track was added titled "Don't Tame A Hurricane" which was also exclusive to Europe. The 12" vinyl featured an extended version of "My Oh My".
"Run Runaway" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on January 27th 1984, peaking at number 7 on the U.K. chart.
It proved to be the band's last U.K. Top 10 single. The song was also released in mid 1984 via CBS in U.S.A. becoming Slade's 1st and only top 20 hit there.
In 1984, the single "Run Runaway" was released, helping the album "The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome" push from number 70 to number 49 in the U.K. More importantly, the song became the band's biggest American hit, benefiting from heavy play on MTV, peaking at number 20 and spending a total of 8 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100's. "Run Runaway" was produced by John Punter, who was hired to produce the song with "My Oh My" both expected to be hit singles. The B - Side "Two Track Stereo, One Track Mind" also written Holder and Lea and was produced by Lea.
Here's To...(The New Year)
"Here's To...(The New Year)" written by Holder and Lea, is a reworking of the band's 1975 hit "Thanks For The Memory" but changed to fit into a festive based track and originally the b - side to Slade's hit single "All Join Hands" which reached number 15 on the U.K. chart.
Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed The World)
"Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed The World)" written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, in reaction to television reports of the 1983 - 85 famine in Ethiopia. It was first recorded in a single day on 25th November 1984 by Band Aid, a supergroup put together by Geldof and Ure and consisting mainly of the biggest British and Irish musical acts at the time. The single was released in the U.K. on 3rd December 1984 and aided by considerable publicity it entered the U.K. Singles Chart at number 1 and stayed there for 5 weeks, becoming the Christmas number 1 of 1984. The record became the fastest selling single in U.K. chart history, selling a million copies in the 1st week alone and passing 3 million sales on the last day of 1984, on the way to becoming the biggest selling single of all time in the U.K. It held this title until 1997 when it was overtaken by Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind 1997', released in tribute to Princess Diana following her death] As of June 2014 the original version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has sold 3.75 million copies in the U.K.
Auld Lang Syne / You'll Never Walk Alone
"Auld Lang Syne / You'll Never Walk Alone" written by Robert Burns, Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rogers - Arr. Holder, Lea,
is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical 'Carousel'. In the 2nd act of the musical, Nettie Fowler, the cousin of the female protagonist Julie Jordan, sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, kills himself to avoid capture during a failed robbery. It is reprised in the final scene to encourage a graduation class of which Louise (Billy and Julie's daughter) is a member. The now invisible Billy, who has been granted the chance to return to Earth for one day in order to redeem himself, watches the ceremony and is able to silently motivate the unhappy Louise to join in the song.
The song is also sung at association football clubs around the world, where it is performed by a mass chorus of supporters on match day. On Saturday 30th November 1963, Liverpool supporters began singing the song and it has continued to be a signature tradition.
Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jim Lea - bass guitar, keyboards, piano, guitar, backing vocals, producer
Don Powell - drums
Dave Garland - engineer
John Punter - producer
Victor Herman - bagpipes on Auld Sang Lyne (uncredited)