"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea and was produced by produced by the band themselves. The single was released via Cheapskate Record Label (Slade's own label) on 27th March 1981.
This single reached number 60 on the U.K. chart, spending 3 weeks on the charts.
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" which appeared on their 1979 album "Return To Base" and was re used for their 1981 album "We'll Bring The House Down".
The track was considerably lighter than the previous hit single "We'll Bring The House Down" as it was a previous Slade track and not new material for the time. Slade's comeback at the Reading festival in 1980 attracted many metal based fans. The most likely reason for this track's failure to be a hit was due to not being heavy enough in sound as many new Slade fans were mainly interested in a harder sound.
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" was produced by Slade, as was the b - side. The b - side "Not Tonight Josephine" was previously the b - side to Slade's 1979 single "Sign Of The Times" from their album "Return To Base".
The lyrics were based on a plane flight that Noddy Holder and Jim Lea were on to Los Angeles where the plane looked as though it was going to crash. The song's line 'me and Midlands Misery' referred to Jim Leas nickname.
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" was released via Cheapskate Record Label (Slade's own label) on 27th March 1981.
The single was recorded, mixed and cut at Portland Recording Studios in London.
In a March 1981 interview with Daily Star, the newspaper wrote "The song called "The Wheels Ain't Coming Down" was written about a ride had in a plane in America when Noddy Holder and Jim Lea thought they had just 45 minutes to live." Noddy Holder stated "Jim Lea and I were on the way to a radio station when the captain told us he could not get the wheels down to land. We were diverted to another airport for a crash landing. It's not a great feeling knowing you might have only 45 minutes left in life. We drank all the booze there was going. Happily the pilot brought the plane down safely."
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" was originally released on 7" vinyl.
The first 20,000 copies of the single were in a picture sleeve.
Upon release, Record Mirror magazine reviewed the single, stating "Slade might be able to bring the house down, but they're a bit stuck when it comes to flying on a plane when the wheels wont come down. Funny sort of thing to sing a song about really. Actually you wouldn't know it was Slade if it wasn't for the chorus. There's an uncharacteristic musical sophistication. Anyway keep your head low, because if this one lands it might bring all the houses down."
A promotional video was created for the single which has been officially unavailable since creation and wasn't even shown to promote the single at the time. It has surfaced on Youtube in recent years.
The single was not performed on U.K. or European TV at all although in 1980, the track was mimed on the Belgian TV show Generation 80 along with the band's Belgian hit single "I'm A Rocker".
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" reached number 60 on the U.K. chart.
Track listing - 7" U.K. Single
A1. Wheels Ain't Coming Down (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea) - 3:37
B2. Not Tonight Josephine (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea) - 3:03
Wheels Ain't Coming Down
"Wheels Ain't Coming Down" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Cheapskate Record Label (Slade's own label) on 27th March 1981 and reached number 60 on the U.K. chart.
Originally the opener from their 'Return To Base' album. It tells the tale of a near death flying experience suffered by Holder and Lea when travelling to Los Angeles. This track was also added to their album "We'll Bring The House Down" This track also became part of the band's live set list.
Not Tonight Josephine
"Not Tonight Josephine" written by Holder and Lea, this was the b - side to Slades original single "Sign Of The Times".
The b - side "Not Tonight Josephine" was exclusive to the single, later used as the b - side to the 1981 single "Wheels Ain't Coming Down".
Dave Hill - lead guitar, backing vocals
Noddy Holder - lead vocals, guitar
Jim Lea - bass guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer
Don Powell - drums
Slade - producers