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Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody: Party Hits

Slade, Merry Xmas Everybody, Party Hits

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

SLADE are one of the best loved British bands of all time thanks mainly for the way in which their Christmas party hit, Merry Xmas Everybody, is revived each festive season.

But listening to this 20-track Party Hits offering, two things become apparent very fast: in frontman Noddy Holder they have a genuinely distinctive lead singer, but they do sound kind of the same.

The Slade formula for success is very much a case of delivering wave after wave of pop focused rock ‘n roll, outrageous flamboyance and an indefatiguable sense of fun. Sadly, it gets a little much.

After forming in 1966, Holder, Dave Hill, Jimmy Lea and Don Powell notched up 23 Top 20 singles (including six No 1’s) and six hit albums, while in the early ’70s Slade established themselves as the biggest band in the UK charts – scoring an incredible 11 top 5 singles between 1971 and 1974 alone.

Originally the In-Be-Tweens and then Ambrosia Slade, the band hooked up with Animals player come manager Chas Chandler (who had discovered Jimi Hendrix) and changed their name to Slade.

Both glam rock and pop rock tendencies are very much to the fore… but while there’s a cheesy guilty pleasure to some of their material, as well as the odd classic, their style is a little too similar, while their exuberance a little wearying.

Merry Xmas Everybody, which kickstars proceedings, is the sort of track that you’ll dance along to in lunatic fashion when drunk at the Christmas party, while wanting to smash the stereo speaker whenever it comes on the radio in the run up to the 25th!

Likewise, Christmas hits such as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and All Join Hands.

Elsewhere, tracks like Mama Weer All Craze Now, Let The Good Times Roll, We’re Really Gonna Raise The Roof and My Baby Left Me But That’s Alright Mama follow the same high tempo, flamboyant formula without really mixing things up at all.

The odd classic comes from the crowd-pleasing anthem Cum On Feel The Noize, which is such riotously good fun that Oasis covered it, Coz I Love You, which has a really glam-rock, T-Rex element to it, Let’s Dance, which is delivered with typical gusto and revellry, and the jazzy (by their standards) My Oh My (Swing Version).

But unless you really, really don’t mind the Slade style as conveyed by that Christmas hit, then it’s best to give this collection the widest berth possible. Humbug!

Download picks: Coz I Luv You, Let’s Dance, Cum On Feel The Noize, My Oh My (Swing Version)

Track listing:

  1. Merry Xmas Everybody
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  3. Mama Weer All Crazee Now
  4. Let The Good Times Roll / Feel So Fine
  5. Coz I Love You
  6. Gudbuy To Jane
  7. Were Really Gonna Raise the Roof
  8. C’mon Feel The Noize
  9. My Baby Left Me But That’s Alright Mama
  10. Skweeze Me Please Me
  11. Let’s Have A Party
  12. Hey Ho Wish You Well
  13. Let’s Dance
  14. I’m A Rocker
  15. My Oh My
  16. Standing On the Corner
  17. Do You Believe In Miracles
  18. All Join Hands
  19. Oaky Coaky
  20. Here’s To the New Year