"Gypsy Roadhog" was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea and produced by Chas Chandler. The single was released via Barn Record Label on 21st January 1977.
This single reached number 48 on the U.K. chart, only spending 2 weeks on the U.K. chart. Of the band's entire charting singles from the 1970s, this single had the lowest amount of weeks in the top 100.
"Gypsy Roadhog" appeared on their 1977 album "Whatever Happened To Slade".
The single was the 1st Slade single released on Barn Record Label. From 1970 to 1976, the band had been on the Polydor Record Label. Manager / producer Chas Chandler had decided not to renew the band's contract to Polydor Record Label.
The track is notable for a performance on the children's Blue Peter show. The producers didn't realise the reference to drugs within the song's lyric. Complaint's rose after their performance which led to the record being banned on BBC, causing the single to stall in the charts.
Subsequent to its original release, "Gypsy Roadhog" has appeared on "The Very Best Of Slade" and the remastered CD "The Slade Box". It was also used as a bonus track on the 12" vinyl and CD version of Slade's last single release, 1991's "Universe".
"Gypsy Roadhog" was released via Barn Record Label on 21st January, 1977.
This was the 1st time Slade used Barn Record Label to release a single, the single was from their album "Whatever Happened To Slade".
NME magazine wrote "This makes all the right sounds and even has a toe tapping beat, but it isn't a patch on the rude, offensive, and entirely wonderful noise these boys made some 4 or more years ago. It's careful use of American place names and general blandness could give them that desperately needed American hit, but as far as these isles are concerned, it's just the latest step in their continuing irrelevance."
"Gypsy Roadhog" was originally released on 7" vinyl.
Upon release, Record Mirror magazine gave the single 3 out of 5 stars, symbolising readers to "give it a spin". The magazine also reviewed the single, "As subtle as an iron leg, the Wolverhampton Wanders return to the fold and just as if there had been no musical progression in the last 2 years. They could be in the same league as Status Quo if they tidied up their sound. Cedric's ears quivered with excitement, a sensation hitherto reserved for William Wordsworth."
No promotional video was created for the song whilst the band's U.K. spring tour of 1977 was a form of promotion. A slightly different version of the song was performed on the U.K. childrens show Blue Peter whilst the song was performed live on the U.K. show Supersonic, where the band also performed "Mama Weer All Crazee Now". The song was also performed on the U.K. music show Top of the Pops on the 5th of February, the day the single entered the charts at number 48. Due to being banned shortly after, the single dropped to number 50 the following week and disappeared from the chart afterwards.
Jim Lea later recalled, to his discredit, the horrendous appearance that Slade made on the ‘Blue Peter’ show. As the song itself had overtones of drug taking with lyrics about ‘powdering noses’, the BBC became alarmed at this and made Slade alter the words and the group had to play the number whilst being in what Jim Lea described as 'an awful open roofed car'. Despite the alternation in the lyrics, complaints were still made and the single was banned.
In 1977, the band performed the song on East German TV where the group also mimed several other previous hits, as well as each member being interviewed.
"Gypsy Roadhog" reached number 48 on the U.K. chart.
Track listing - 7" U.K. Single
A1. Gypsy Roadhog (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea) - 3:20
B1. Forest Full Of Needles (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea) - 3:30
"Gypsy Roadhog" written by Holder and Lea, was originally released via Barn Record Label on 21st January, 1977 and reached number 48 on the U.K. chart.
And was the only single from their album "Whatever Happened To Slade". A tale of the exploits of an American cocaine dealer, the track was banned by the BBC. Regardless, the track remained popular with the fan base, featuring a more country rock influence, no doubt taken from Slade's touring in America.
Forest Full Of Needles
"Forest Full Of Needles" written by Holder and Lea, this was the b - side to Slades original single "Gypsy Roadhog".
It is a song written after driving through the Canadian rockies, where a forest fire had raged through thousands of acres of mountains. It just left burned tree stumps sticking out of the ground, mile after mile, as far as the eye could see, looking like a pin cushion. The whole area was decimated.
Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, guitar
Jim Lea - bass guitar, organ, backing vocals
Don Powell - drums
Chas Chandler - producer