Monday, November 02, 2020

Who's Crazee Now? by Noddy Holder


Since they never really had any hits in the States, I don't think that I had heard Slade before they showed up on Friday night on either the In Concert TV show or Midnight Special. But once I saw them, I was hooked! I loved their wildly outrageous look (especially lead guitarist Dave Hill) and their fantastically rockin' yet melodic songs - "Cum On Feel the Noize" was a real anthem! The next day I went to the local record shop and had to order Slayed - my little town was nowhere hip enough to already have it - and got whatever I could find after that. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to see them - apparently, they were already on the way down the charts by this time - but I still listen to them regularly.

I found Dave Hill's autobiography a couple of years ago but haven't gotten anyone else (all four have 'em now) until I discovered this at a reasonable rate. Noddy, like most chaps his age, fell in love with rock'n'roll when it hit England in his early teen years and he started a band as soon as he was able. His first proper group actually became a reasonably popular cover band that did the British circuit and even a stint in Germany. He then wanted a change and bumped into Dave and Don Powell (drummer), who were ready to depart from the 'N Betweens and had already recruited bassist Jimmy Lea, and the rest, as they say...

They eventually hooked up with Chas Chadler, who had just ended his management with Jimi Hendrix, they recorded a couple of albums, had a bit of an image quandary, and eventually had a smash hit (except in America) with "Coz I Luv You" and then the Slade Alive album, and those two records changed their lives practically overnight. From there they had a blitz of Number 1's in England and Europe, although they barely scratched the charts in the States. At their height, drummer Don Powell had a horrible auto accident in which he almost died and which caused him to lose his short term memory, but he was back on the drum stool in record time and they recorded their biggest British hit, "Merry Xmas" just in time for the season. Again, this is a funny one for me, as I never even heard the song until the last few years - just shows how something can be massive in Europe and go nowhere in the States.

That was their pinnacle and though they had some ups'n'downs and even a couple of lesser hits, things were never the same and, after a initial demise and revival, they called it quits for good with Noddy and Jim retiring from music altogether (as the songwriters, they still see good money from the band) while Dave and Don continue on as Slade 2. Noddy's post-Slade work in British radio and TV did not captivate me but good to know that he can still live a comfortable life.

I was surprised that this book was released in 2000 - 20 years old now! - and I hadn't seen it before now, but glad that I found it! While it is a small (romance novel-sized), inexpensively-produced paperback, it is pretty packed with crazee tales, although he does drop in plenty of British references that he doesn't bother to explain and expects you to know. Regardless, it's a fun one and definitely more light-hearted than Dave Hill's surprisingly somber bio. Fans should definitely get it!


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