"Wall Of Hits" is a compilation album by Slade of their hits from 1971 to 1991, it was released and produced by Chas Chandler & Jim Lea via Polydor record label on 11th November 1991.
This album reached number 34 on the U.K. chart, It was the band's first major compilation since 1984's 'Slades Greats'. "Wall Of Hits" was also released on CD and cassette.
Featuring 18 tracks, 2 of these were brand new singles, released to promote the compilation around the same time.
Slade had not released new material since 1987, with the band deciding to take a break after the 1987 studio album "You Boyz Make Big Noize". During 1991, Polydor record label contacted Slade about a new compilation album. It was hoped that Slade would promote it by releasing 2 brand new singles and, if both were successful, the band would record a new studio album. The 1st single "Radio Wall Of Sound" was a hit, reaching number 21 on the U.K. chart, while the 2nd, "Universe" was lost in the Christmas rush and failed to chart completely, destroying the band's option for a new album. Both singles were solely written by Jim Lea instead of both Noddy Holder and Jim Lea.
Following the failure of "Universe", Holder became weary of constant touring (and effectively managing the band), and left the band in 1992 after 25 years. The remainder of the band were given time in which to consider their options. Rather than take on another singer, Lea effectively retired too. Dave Hill and Don Powell (the band's founder members) formed Slade II with 2 other local musicians. The name was once again shortened to Slade after a period.
"Wall Of Hits" was released via Polydor record label on 11th November 1991.
Whether causing roaring traffic to grind to a halt or bearing their souls in a ballad, the members of Slade not only made great records, they also tapped emotions wild and wacky, reflective and raw that make fans never tire of singing their songs. The statistics behind the track listing, meanwhile, are boggling. Between 1971 and 1975, Slade slammed 17 songs into the chart, including half a dozen number 1's and 6 more that peaked between number 2 and number 4. All but 1 (1975's number 11 underachiever "In For A Penny") are here. The group resurfaced in 1982 for a 2nd bite at the cherry, and delivered "Run Run Away" and "My Oh My" (plus a hit reissue of "Merry Xmas Everybody"); then they came back again in 1991 with "Radio Wall Oll Sound". If Holder hadn't quit long ago, it would've taken a brave man indeed to bet against a 4th Slade revival in the 1st years of the present century. As it is well, like the song says, "Thanks for the Memory".
"Wall Of Hits" was originally released on 12" vinyl and cassette and CD.
Critics were quick to notice the omissions of "We'll Bring the House Down", "Myzsterious Mizster Jones" and "Still The Same" from the album, which were reasonable hit singles. The album however lasted almost 79 minutes in length and it was therefore impossible to add extra tracks onto a single CD. Also, the band's material from the 80s decade was released under RCA record label and not Polydor record label.
For the front cover, the song "Take Me Bak 'Ome" is incorrectly spelled "Take Me Bak'Ome" but this was correct on the back insert. The track "The Bangin' Man" is titled "Bangin' Man" on this compilation.
Noddy Holder was interviewed in 1992 by the Slade fan club. Noddy Holder was asked that as the "Wall Of Hits" was not the definitive collection, was it a deliberate ploy to be able to use some of the excluded material on another Hits album. Noddy Holder replied "Something had to go to enable the inclusion of the 2 new tracks and the 2 RCA record label tracks which made it a good overall package, although we are not likely to get a volume 2 deal if the 1st volume doesn’t do that well."
A VHS compilation was also released with the same title featuring numerous music videos for the band's singles over their entire career.
To promote the album, 2 singles were released, 'Radio Wall Of Sound' which reached number 21 on the U.K. chart and "Universe" which failed on the U.K. chart, plus a VHS was released. Allmusic.com wrote "By no means the 1st (or last) ever Slade hits collection, "Wall Of Hits" is nevertheless the only 1 you truly need, a solid roundup of every British Top 10 smash the band ever scored, plus a smattering of lesser rated (but equally deserving) Top 20 entries."
The album reached number 34 on the U.K. chart.
Track Listing - 12" LP U.K.
A1. Get Down With It (Bobby Marchan) - 3:50
A2. Coz I Luv You (Holder, Lea) - 3:32
A3. Look Wot You Dun (Holder, Lea, Powell) - 2:50
A4. Take Me Bak 'Ome (Holder, Lea) - 3:13
A5. Mama Weer All Crazee Now (Holder, Lea) - 3:43
A6. Gudbuy T'Jane (Holder, Lea) - 3:31
A7. Cum On Feel The Noize (Holder, Lea) - 4:27
A8. Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me (Holder, Lea) - 4:28
A9. My Friend Stan (Holder, Lea) - 2:41
B1. Everyday (Holder, Lea) - 3:10
B2. Bangin' Man (Holder, Lea) - 4:08
B3. Far Far Away (Holder. Lea) - 3:36
B4. Let's Call It Quits (Holder, Lea) - 3:32
B5. My Oh My (Holder, Lea) - 4:11
B6. Run Runaway (Holder, Lea) - 3:42
B7. Radio Wall of Sound (Jim Lea) - 3:47
B8. Universe (Jim Lea) - 4:12
B9. Merry Xmas Everybody (Holder, Lea) - 3:25
Get Down With It
"Get Down With It" written and originally performed by American musician Bobby Marchan, gaining more popularity by Little Richard.
Slade originally released their version via Polydor record label on 21st May 1971 and reached number 16 on the U.K. chart.
This was the bands 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.
"Get Down And Get With It" would become a popular concert track for the rest of Slade's career.
The single was released 2 times during 1971. Firstly on 21st May 1971 as "Get Down And Get With It" with credit's stating the track was written by Hill, Holder, Lea, Powell and Penniman ('Little' Richard Penniman).
The story is that the group found the song as originally by Little Richard, when it was 1st released it was given the same title and credited to Slade and Little Richard, reflecting Slade's arrangement of the song. Before the song's 1st chart entry, publishers began to contact Polydor record label, with the band and label realising the song's correct title is "Get Down With It" written by Bobby Marchan. When the mistake was realised the song was hurriedly re released as "Get Down With It" written by Marchan on 8th June 1971.
The single wouldn't reach the top 20 until 7th August 1971. Some sources support the claim that the incorrect credit may have been a publicity stunt,
as Polydor record label would have likely realised the publishing mistake beforehand.
Coz I Luv You
"Coz I Luv You" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 8th October 1971 and reached number 1 on the U.K chart.
This was the bands 1st U.K. number 1. Typical of Slade's brash, stomping glam style, it prominently featured Leas electric violin and quickly reached number 1 in the U.K. singles chart, where it stayed there for 4 weeks in November 1971.
Originally, the 1st week of being released, the single hit number 26, followed by number 8 the next week and number 1 the following after.
The single was number 1 for 4 weeks in a row and stayed at number 3 for the following 3 weeks after.
The track was written in half an hour. Originally the band felt the song to be too soft and so clapping was added to the recording. The misspelt titles also became a trademark for Slade, causing a great dislike among teachers up and down the country.
Look Wot You Dun
"Look Wot You Dun" written by Holder, Lea and Powell, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 28th January 1972 and reached number 4 on the U.K. chart.
Originally, manager / producer Chas Chandler had put the band under pressure to write their own song for a follow up single to their first hit "Get Down And Get With It". Lea turned up at Holders home unexpectedly with his guitar
and violin with an idea for a song with a Django Reinhardt / Stephan Grapelli hot club sound. The track was written in half an hour.
This began the writing partnership of Holder and Lea which would carry on throughout Slade's career. Originally the band felt the song to be too soft and so clapping was added to the recording. The misspelt titles also became
a trademark for Slade, causing a great furor among teachers up and down the country.
Take Me Bak 'Ome
"Take Me Bak 'Ome" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 26th May 1972 and reached number 1 on the U.K. chart.
This was the bands 2nd number 1 single in the U.K. Around this time the band appeared at the Great Western festival near Lincoln. Slade triumphed before a large crowd despite a line up of more serious acts. Hill, incidentally wore an all silver leather outfit for the 1st time on stage at Lincoln, his sartorial touch would influence British fashion for the next few years.
"Take Me Bak 'Ome" was currently at number 2 in the British charts during the festival. The following week it reached number 1 and Slade gained
further credibility as live performers.
During the recording of the track, Holder ad libbed over the riff in the middle of the song. Lea asked him to change the ad lib because it had given him the idea for their next single "Mama Weer All Crazee Now".
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
"Mama Weer All Crazee Now" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 25th August 1972 and reached number 1 on the U.K. chart.
This was the band's 3rd number 1 single in the U.K. Some months before the band had played at the Boston Gliderdrome in Lincolnshire, a bouncer had told them about another act who'd appeared there drunk "crazy with whiskey" and this gave Holder the idea for the lyrics. This was the band's 3rd number 1 single in the U.K.
Originally, the idea was to release the single with pre radio plays and pre orders, in hopes the single would go straight to number 1 during the 1st week of release. The single entered the charts on its 1st week at number 2, then followed by number 1 for the next 3 weeks in September 1972. The single fared less well in the U.S.A. where it reached number 76.
The song was originally titled "My My We're All Crazy Now" the title was changed by manager Chas Chandler, the spelling, of course was adapted by the band's own traditions.
"Gudbuy T'Jane" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 17th November 1972 and reached number 2 on the U.K. chart.
The idea to this song came to Lea while he was sitting by a pool in San Diego.
He completed it in the toilet in the plane on the flight home. Holders lyrics came from a TV show he saw in San Francisco on which the band appeared,
and on which a girl called Jane demonstrated a Sex Machine. Holder completed his lyrics just prior to the recording session.
Holders original lyrics were 'Hello to Jane' however Lea decided that it would sound better as 'Goodbye to Jane' when they went to record it.
The loose feel of the record is explained by the fact this was Take 2 and the band had never played the song before until that day.
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 23rd February 1973 and reached number1 on the U.K. chart.
This was the bands 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.
Skweeze Me Pleeze Me
"Skweeze Me Pleeze Me" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 22nd June 1973 and reached number 1 on the U.K. chart.
This was the bands 5th number 1 single in the U.K. and their 2nd to enter straight at number 1. Lea got the idea of the track at the Trumpet pub in Bilston where local pianist Reg Kierle was playing piano. The single was recorded whilst the band were touring in America, originally being titled 'You Know How To Squeeze Me'.
The single sold 300,000 copies in the 1st week of release and was certified U.K. Silver by BPI in July 1973.
Reportedly, the band only recorded the song as a joke, not intending for it to be released at all. After promoting the song upon release, the band soon disowned the song, never performing it live again after 1973.
My Friend Stan
"My Friend Stan" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 28th September 1973 and reached number 2 on the U.K. chart.
The song itself has a novelty feel with piano as the leading instrument. The song reached number 2 on the U.K. chart.
At the time, Lea was persuaded to complete this song by manager Chas Chandler who'd heard him playing the melody on the piano at his home. During recording, drummer Powell was walking with the aid of a stick and had to be lifted on to his drum kit due to his near fatal car accident of the time.
"Everyday" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 29th March 1973 and reached number 3 on the U.K. chart.
Is a piano based ballad which was released as the 2nd and final single, peaking at number 3 on the UK. chart.
Upon its release, the band knew they were taking a risk but Everyday had become a firm favourite on stage when the crowd would sing along which they never expected. The song was born out of an evening at Leas house when his friends asked how he wrote songs. Leas wife promptly sang the opening of the verse which Lea later completed. This was a recording that guitarist
Hill didn't actually play on, as he was away on honeymoon and so he missed the recording sessions. Lea did all the guitar parts.
"Bangin' Man" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 28th June 1974 and reached number 3 on the U.K. chart.
The track was written while on tour in Australia and once again innuendo was rampant in the lyrics. The song was about being woken up by room maids after partying while on tour. Commonly mistaken, many fans thought the song's lyrics related to the band's drummer Powell but the song actually spoke of Graham "Swinn" Swinnerton, Slade's long time tour manager.
Far Far Away
"Far Far Away" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 11th October 1974 and reached number 2 on the U.K. chart.
A swaying acoustic track featuring the musings of a man who has seen the world but still feels the pull of his roots, it was a personal song written largely by Holder.
Let's Call It Quits
"Let's Call It Quits" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 30th January 1976 and reached number 11 on the U.K. chart.
Allmusic described the track as "a real screamer where Holder coughs up a great vocal." Chris Ingham wrote ""Let's Call It Quits" pursued the usual ribald lyrical theme but otherwise was entirely dissimilar to anything Slade
had yet recorded. Preceded by a fanfare of overdriven jazzy chords on the guitar and bowing out on a superbly bluesy pay off, a slinky rock groove with offbeat rhythm guitar and inspired call and response between Holders vocals and Hills lead guitar."
In the Slade Fan Club Newsletter of February and March 1976, the track was described by the editor. "Another American influenced piece of work by Holder and Lea, who wrote all the material on the album. A fascinating track with a deeper voiced Holder reproducing
a 1976 cowboy, but instead of an acoustic guitar on his knee there is a strong sound of electric guitar, making it sound totally modern. From Holder, as he sings a rather plaintive song love song to end an affair, there comes too almost a hint of a yodel near the end.
They used to sing things like this in Cowboy films, well not quite like this, but I think you'll know what I mean when you hear it."
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 11th November 1983 and reached number 2 on the U.K. chart.
This came about as Lea had always wanted to write a big, folksy ballad and when he presented his melody idea to Holder, the lyrics to "My Oh My" were created. The melody came from an idea that Lea had while listening to Hill and Holder tuning up in the dressing room before a gig at a University in Wales. This track became a huge hit in the U.K. peaking at number 2 and number 37 in the U.S.A.
In the 1st Slade fan club magazine of 1984, Slade roadie and tour manager Haden Donovan spoke of the song in a track to track description of each song from the album. For the song he wrote "Not a lot to say about this 1, a great track, thanks for making it a hit."
"Run Runaway" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on 27th January 1984 and reached number 7 on the U.K. chart.
This has a celtic flavoured rock jig featuring some elliptical lyrics and the return of Lea's fiddle. RCA record label saw the potential of the track and appointed John Punter to work on the track. The album version is extended to give more time for the Linn drum gallop. This track became the 1st hit in the U.S.A. for Slade after years of trying to crack the American market, peaking at number 20 on their chart.
In the 1st Slade fan club magazine of 1984, Slade roadie and tour manager Haden Donovan spoke of the song in a track to track description of each song from the album. For the song he wrote "The new single almost Big Countryish great intro featuring rapid fire Powell drumming. Very catchy hook line. The 1st single to feature Lea's violin playing for a very long time".
Radio Wall Of Sound
"Radio Wall Of Sound" written by Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 7th October 1991 and reached number 21 on the U.K. chart.
This became the band's last top 30 hit giving the band a hit over 3 decades. This was the band's 23rd U.K. top 30 hit.
Shortly before the single, Polydor record label decided to released a new Slade compilation and hoped that the band would promote this release by releasing 2 new singles. If both singles were successful, a new studio album was to be recorded. The 1st single was "Radio Wall Of Sound".
It was the 1st song to be credited solely by Lea since the 1972 "Slayed?" album track and b - side "I Won't Let It 'Appen Agen" almost 20 years earlier.
"Universe" was written by Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 2nd December 1991 and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
Despite numerous TV performances and a promo video, the single failed to appear on the U.K. chart. This became the last single under the original band as lead singer Holder effectively retired shortly after with Lea conforming with Holder.
Holder has stated himself in his book 'Who's Crazee Now' that although he was fond of the track, it was 'too far from what people expected of us'.
The single was released on 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD and cassette tape.
Merry Xmas Everybody
"Merry Xmas Everybody" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Polydor record label on 7th December 1973 and reached number 1 on the U.K. chart.
This was the bands 6th and last number 1 in the U.K. and their 3rd to enter straight at number 1.
Before its release, "Merry Xmas Everybody" received about half a million advance orders whilst 350,000 copies were bought upon its release on 7th December 1973. On 15th December it became the 3rd song by Slade to enter the U.K. Singles Chart at number 1 (all in 1973)
and the 6th number 1 of their career, and became the fastest selling single in the U.K. Polydor record label were forced to use their French pressing plant to keep up with the demand, and the song eventually went on to sell over one million copies, becoming the Christmas number 1 of 1973. "Merry Xmas Everybody" remained number 1 until mid January, and stayed in the charts for a total of 9 weeks. As the single remained in the charts after Christmas, Holder stated he was confused, wondering why people continued to buy it after Christmas.
Holder also stated that the song was still number 1 in France during April 1974, as the public there had no idea what the song was about.
Dave Hill - lead guitar
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jim Lea - bass
Don Powell - drums
Chas Chandler & Jim Lea - producer
Allan D. Martin - art work
Ray Palmer - photography