"You Boyz Make Big Noize" was Slades 13th studio U.K. album, it was released and was produced by Jim Lea, Roy Thomas Baker and John Punter via RCA record label on 27th April 1987.
This album reached number 98 on the U.K. chart, the album was based on a 70s sound with 80s technology. This was the last studio album by the original line up, the next Slade album featured Dave Hill and Don Powell with a different lead singer and bass player, and was under the guise of Slade II.
As the band still would not tour or perform live, they hoped a hit album would put Slade where they belonged. The band hired producer Roy Thomas Baker but his working methods proved too lengthy and expensive for the band. Drummer Don Powell recalled "It took 3 days just getting drum sounds". Baker completed 2 tracks, John Punter, who had produced previous Slade material, produced another 2 and Slade's Jim Lea finished the rest.
Following the failure of the 2 singles "Still The Same" and "That's What Friends Are For", the album was an inevitable commercial disappointment with RCA record label losing interest in promoting the album.
Though by no means deserving of its ignoble failure, "You Boyz Make Big Noize" is not quite the triumphant swansong the band would have liked and undoubtedly reflects the disparate nature of the group at the time. Don Powell remembered "It wasn't us, there was no identity on that album. It would have been nice for the original band to have gone out with a better album, like the "Slade In Flame" album or "Slayed?". It was like a certain magic was missing. The closeness that we'd had wasn't there."
To the ongoing heartache of their fans, Slade would never regain that closeness. After, Noddy Holder was adamant. "Never again!!" he wrote in his autobiography. Beyond the hit "Radio Wall Of Sound" in 1991, "never again" it was.
"You Boyz Make Big Noize" was released via RCA record label on 27th April 1987.
The album's title came after a Wessex studios tea lady named Betty commented on Slade with the statement 'you boys make big noise'.
For the September - December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, Lea was interviewed with 1 question speaking about the use of producer Roy Thomas Baker on the new upcoming album and how it meant that the whole recording and mixing process has become far more technical than ever before. Jim Lea replied “Normally, most bands record on a 24 track machine, or occasionally on 48 track by putting 2 machines together, but with Roy we were working on 88 track. The only way that you can hear all 88 tracks going simultaneously is in a studio in America so we are ahead of technology. We’ve just recorded the drum track for 1 of the songs, and Roy had 22 microphones over Don Powells kit. I can’t wait to hear how his stuff turns out. I was out with Roy 1 night, and he got serious for one moment, and said ‘The only reason I’m here with you lot is because right now in America all the young bands, certainly in Los Angeles, are searching for the formula that Slade created commercial songs with that edge, and that sound where it all comes out as 1’. Roy Thomas Baker was the 1 who put the word ‘producer’ on the modern map of production it was a great compliment from him.”
Don Powell was interviewed in early 1987 for the magazine of the Slade International Fan Club about the album, just after it had finished being recorded. "We finished the album yesterday, actually. We spent yesterday piecing it together and sorting out the running order. We know exactly which tracks will be on the album all of which is new material. The new single "Still The Same" is also on it as well. The title of the album is "You Boyz Make Big Noize". When we were recording with Roy Thomas Baker in Wessex studios, the tea lady there made the comment 'you boys make big noise' and I think we've sort of kept it from then. I don't know when the album is coming out yet as we are still deciding on the cover design. RCA record label will probably wait to see how the single does. The album has taken us a long time to record, especially the tracks that John Punter and Roy produced. We spent the first 2 days with Roy just trying to get the drum sound as he wanted it. He had 40 odd mikes over my kit, and it sounded like thunder in the studios. The album is more of a sing a long 1, as opposed to a heavy metal album. On most of the album it is Noddy Holder singing, though on 1 track Jim Lea sings the 1st part with Noddy Holder joining in later."
Aside from the album tracks and b - sides, there were a further 5 or 6 songs written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea which were demoed. Dave Hill also demoed 4 of his own songs. It was confirmed that a demo track titled 'Love Is...' was recorded around the time of the album although it has never been released to date. In a early 1990 fan club interview, Jim Lea stated the song had a "Coz I Luv You" feel, Slade's 1st number one hit in 1971 which featured the use of electric violin.
For the September - December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, Jim Lea was interviewed with 1 question relating to Slade’s unreleased demos. The question wrote “As Slade have demoed quite a few songs for the new album, there will probably be some that will never get released in vinyl form. On the batch of recordings for the "Rogues Gallery" album, for example, there was track called ‘Love Is’, which was never released. We asked Jim Lea if these outtakes are kept by Slade and used at a later date.” Jim Lea replied “That’s a good point that is, I had forgotten about ‘Love Is’. I always thought that was a good tune and thought it would be a single, but the record company weren’t that keen. It was a funny track that we had a problem recording. Noddy Holder and I demoed about 18 tracks in the end for this album, Dave Hill did 4, plus 1 that we haven’t written, so there is a lot of material lying around.”
Although not clear whether he meant the single or the album, Jim Lea stated around the time "When I listened to "You Boyz Make Big Noize", which is the last thing I did, I thought 'this really stands up, I can put this on and be proud of it'."
In a mid 1986 interview with Noddy Holder, American Slade fan Matt Shaughnessy asked if the band had any special plans for their anniversary, where Noddy Holder replied "We don't have any special plans, other than the new album. We've finally got it finished and feel we have some of the best songs we've ever written."
"You Boyz Make Big Noize" was originally released on 12" vinyl and cassette and CD.
"You Boyz Make Big Noize" was released via RCA on 27th April 1987 and was produced by Lea, Roy Thomas Baker and John Punter and reached number 98 on the U.K. chart. This was the last studio album by the original line up being off Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea and Don Powell...the 1 and only Slade.
The album received little promotion from the label, largely due to the disappointing sales of lead single "Still The Same". Dave Hill discussed the songs failure in a 1987 fan club interview. "'Still The Same" is basically being regarded as a flop in terms of what was expected of it. I think the record company were mostly disappointed as it was them rather than the group who chose it. We brought this record out, not in the usual Christmas period, which on the face of it seemed to me to be a feasible idea as an attempt to get away from the 'Slade only exist at Christmas time' situation. On listening to opinion though, it seems to have been regarded as another "My Oh My" type song, which perhaps should have come out at Christmas. When "My Oh My" was released, it was just as slow to take off, but as soon as we got the radio play, it rocketed. "Still The Same" did virtually the same as "My Oh My" chart wise in its 1st few weeks, but at the point where "My Oh My" picked up radio play, "Still The Same" was dropped completely."
No promotional videos were created for the singles and only a small handful of TV performances were made by the band. The band had not performed live since 1983 due to Noddy Holders personal reasons. The rumour at the time of release was a possible tour following this album. The tour never happened, most likely due to the failure of the album. Dave Hill mentioned the idea for a tour in a 1987 interview for the Slade fan club. "We could announce a tour now, but caution tells us that we'd do better to announce one on the back of a hit. We haven't called it a day on the touring and if luck would have it, we could be touring after this LP."
In a early 1987 interview with Jim Lea for the Slade fan club, Lea was asked about the reports of the band flying to the States to record a video for "Ooh La La In L.A." which was released as a U.S.A. and German only single. Jim Lea responded "Well, when you are dealing with record companies, it all comes down to money, power strokes and the way they think a record is going to go. CBS deliberately held back on doing the video because, although they could see it picking up a few heavyweight stations, they wanted to wait to see if it picked up any more. It actually did pick up 1 or 2 more, but then suddenly tailed off, so the video idea was scrapped. It got to the stage when there was this small matter of many tens of thousands of pounds and who was going to pay? It is a bit different in the States in that the record companies are totally ruled by the business affairs people, whereas over here the A&R men run things."
Noddy Holder stated the promotion he was doing for the album in a fan club interview "From about March till about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I have been doing radios and interviews solid. There have been loads of Slade specials in different parts of the country."
By 1987, the band had also dropped out of the public eye which album and single sales proved. Rumours of split had been reported, especially after no band activity happened during 1986. Dave Hill spoke of this in the 1987 interview. "Fans might be feeling a little left out and a bit disappointed, but they've got to understand that 21 years now is a long time to stay together as a group. We are a little older and we are still trying. I think that deep within the group, every 1 of us would play live, but what we are searching for is a way to take us to another stage of success, and it's a hard route that we're trying."
Around the time, the band had felt unappreciated which Dave Hill also commented on "We don't just want to go out and have people say we did a tour just to say we're around. Although the fans will be there and love it, the public at large will have an attitude of 'let's go and see how old Slade is, cos they're good for a laugh'. To try and put ourselves in a better category, I would like to see us up at the NEC and sell it out. So that we're not just doing the rounds for the rounds sake, we want to show our fans that we're not simply trying to stay together. We haven't reached the market that Dire Straits have captured and they've never been as exciting as us. If you think about us, we really ought to be in that level, shouldn't we?"
In a 1988 interview for the Slade fan club, Don Powell was asked about his thoughts on the failure of both singles "You Boyz Make Big Noize" and "We Won't Give In". "I really don't know why we have problems like that. We just seem to get the token plays, but the records tend not to bite and get dropped. Obviously we are disappointed and will have to decide what we are going to do next. At the moment, no 1 in the U.K. seems to want to know. We never seem to get any recognition for anything we do. Even rock encyclopaedias about the 70's never mention us and the BBC have virtually ignored us in their 'rock and roll years' programmes. It just doesn't seem fair because Noddy Holder and Jim Lea are still great songwriters and have never received the recognition they truly deserve. We had 3 singles in 1973 go straight to number 1 even the Beatles didn't accomplish that, but it's a feat that's never remembered! I've had a few Radio 1 producers to dinner and they say they can only give records a token play, and if there's no reaction, that's as far as it goes."
The album reached number 98 on the U.K.
Track Listing - 12" LP U.K.
1. Love Is Like A Rock (Mark Avsec, Marty Lee Hoenes, Donnie Iris, Albritton McClain, Kevin Valentine) - 3:40
2. That's What Friends Are For (Holder, Lea) - 3:16
3. Still The Same (Holder, Lea) - 4:13
4. Fools Go Crazy (Holder, Lea) - 3:16
5. She's Heavy (Holder, Lea) - 2:35
6. We Won't Give In (Holder, Lea) - 3:37
7. Won't You Rock With Me (Holder, Lea) - 3:47
8. Ooh La La In L.A. (Holder, Lea) - 3:52
9. Me And The Boys (Holder, Lea) - 2:48
10. Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out) (Holder, Lea) - 3:10
11. The Roaring Silence (Holder, Lea) - 2:48
12. It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays (Holder, Lea) - 3:48
Love Is Like A Rock
"Love Is Like A Rock" originally by Donnie Iris & The Cruisers, This was the 1st of 2 tracks produced by Roy Thomas Baker on their album "You Boyz Make Big Noize". Bassist Lea thought the track sounded very Slade like in its original format. Lea suggested that the song would fit in nicely with to the current mould of Bon Jovi / Europe, a telling observation about Slade's ongoing quest to style themselves to the times. One of several more obvious candidates for a single than the tracks that were actually chosen. The song featured the rare inclusion of female backing vocal. Guitarist Hill stated in a 1987 interview that "Roy liked the song, so we got him to produce it". The song was recorded at Wessex Studios.
That's What Friends Are For
"That's What Friends Are For" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on 20th April 1987 and reached number 95 on the U.K. chart.
This was the 2nd of 2 tracks produced by Roy Thomas Baker on their album "You Boyz Make Big Noize". The track was rushed out as a single in April 1987, "mainly because there's a certain person at RCA who is going wally over it" said guitarist Hill at the time. The song was recorded at Wessex Studios.
Still The Same
"Still The Same" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via RCA record label on 2nd February 1987 and reached number 73 on the U.K. chart.
This was the 1st of 2 tracks produced by John Punter on their album "You Boyz Make Big Noize". He also produced other Slade material such as British and U.S.A. hits "Run Runaway" and "My Oh My". At the time, the single was to avoid the Christmas market in 1986 and so was released in February 1987. Chosen by the record label themselves, who had hoped the record's anthemic sing a long style would reproduce the success of "My Oh My" it flopped, immediately raising the question, would it have done any better at Christmas time? Probably not. Chris Ingham who wrote the album notes for the Salvo remasters stated "on the surface "Still The Same" sounds like a defiant cry of individuality and constancy, but underneath it's a sad, resigned little song about a couple's inability to evolve; not festive fare." Hill explained in a 1987 interview that "in my view deserved to go a lot higher in the charts than it did". The song was recorded at Air Studios.
Fools Go Crazy
"Fools Go Crazy" written by Holder and Lea, and was produced by Lea himself. The track is synth based in a vintage Slade manner. This reflected on the album's objective of a 70s sound with 80s technology. Hill announced in 1987 that the song is "a very up tempo rocker, which sounds very 'Slade'. I think this 1 is going to be liked by the fans". Allmusic described the track "'"Fools Go Crazy" evokes some longing but still burns". The song was recorded at Music Works Studios.
"She's Heavy" written by Holder and Lea, de emphasises Slade's main signature sound. "This song is all about a big fat heavy bird who's got a heart of gold. A humorous track, though not about anyone in particular. The production is pretty heavy as well", Hill told the fan club in 1987. The song was recorded at Music Works Studios.
We Won't Give In
"We Won't Give In" written by Holder and Lea, this was originally released as a single by Slade via Cheapskate record label (Slade's own label) on 20th November 1987 and failed to appear on the U.K. chart.
This the closest thing to Slade classic on the album. An anthem of resolution in the face of harshness. It was also featured as part of the soundtrack for the film 'Knights And Emeralds'. At the time Hill commented "this was thought by many people to be a good 1 for a single when it came out last year on the film soundtrack. The film company wanted it out as a single, but RCA record label, who owned the rights said no. This is the last track on side 1". The song was mimed on BBC One's 'Daytime Live' lunchtime show from Pebble Mill in Birmingham on 21 December 1987. The song was recorded at Portland Studios.
Won't You Rock With Me
"Won't You Rock With Me" written by Holder and Lea, is a stadium rock styled track. Hill explained in 1987, "a good sounding track to open side 2. The verses remind me a bit of a Genesis song from a few years ago called 'Mama'. The chorus is much more like us though. The song is laid back while still heavy". The song was recorded at Portland Studios.
Ooh La La In L.A.
"Ooh La La In L.A." written by Holder and Lea, this was the b - side to Slades original single "We Wont Give In" this details the period in 1984 when drummer Powell (named 'George' in the lyric) was briefly headline news as the boyfriend of Bob Dylan's daughter ('Miss Zimmerman') and Slade were in L.A. promoting 'Run Runaway'. This was the 2nd of 2 tracks produced by John Punter on their album "You Boyz Make Big Noize". The track was later a single in the U.S.A. although it failed to chart. The song was recorded at Utopia Studios.
Hill spoke about the track in 1987, "This is my favourite track on the album. There is something about the chorus on this 1, which to me would make it a hit if it was released as a single. It is a very different sort of song for Slade. the lyric is very autobiographical. One verse is about Powell being pissed all the time. There is mention of the Marquee, which refers to 'The Sunset Marquee', where a lot of bands stay. There is a verse about 'Barney's Beanery', where we used to play pool all the time. This song was in fact written originally for the "Rogues Gallery" album and is based on the last time we were in L.A, promoting "Run Runaway".
Me And The Boys
"Me And The Boys" written by Holder and Lea, uses a similar drum pattern to Queen's 'We Will Rock You'. Hill stated the track was "a laid back heavy song with a lot of chant in it", in a 1987 interview. The song was recorded at Music Works Studios.
Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)
"Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)" written by Holder and Lea, is another synth based track. Lea spotted the good hook which he recycled by slowing the hook down for Slade's last hit "Radio Wall Of Sound" in 1991. Hill described the track was "a very up tempo song with a live party feel to it". The song was recorded at Portland / Readan Studios.
The Roaring Silence
"The Roaring Silence" written by Holder and Lea, is 1 of the least sounding Slade like tracks on the record. It wasn't originally intended for the album but as a b - side. Hill recalled "the song wasn't originally going to go on the album, but it was put on instead of "Don't Talk To Me About Love" because it sounded so good".
The song was recorded at Music Works / Wessex Studios.
It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays
"It's Hard Having Fun Nowadays" written by Holder and Lea, is a return to the rough 'n' ready Slade of old. Hill recalled "another laid back heavy song and the last track on side 2. We started this song with Roy Thomas Baker, but in the end it was taking too long and cost a lot, so we got Lea to finish it off". The song was recorded at Music Works Studios.
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
John Punter - producer
Roy Thomas Baker - producer
Gerrard Johnson - keyboard programming
Pete Hammond - keyboard programming
Dave Garland - engineer
Jerry Napier - engineer
Mark Dearney - engineer
Matt Butler - engineer
Trevor Hallesey - engineer
Quick On The Draw - sleeve work