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Slade On Stage / Alive At Reading '80 (Live)

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Album Review

Although it clocks in at a mere 12 minutes and 15 seconds, this is one of the most important records in the Slade canon. Slade's appearance at the Reading Festival in 1980 will go down in the annals of rock history as one of the great comeback stories. At the time of the gig, Slade had packed it in. No bad vibes, creative differences, or any other of the usual breakup reasons. No, these guys were just tired of the abuse. At their absolute low of popularity and relevance (their records were worth so little they had been melted down for raw vinyl and the band was playing humiliating Spinal Tap-like Airforce base gigs), they had just decided to call it a day. Then the call came in. They were invited to fill in at the last minute at the Reading Festival. Even with the fear of 100,000 beer cans flying at them, everyone finally agreed to do it. The band was really nervous backstage before the show, but as it became time to play, Jim Lea said, "I've written more hits than everyone back here put together!" Slade then went out and kicked everyone's ass so hard they completely stole the show. All the British press (who had been ignoring Slade for some years by this point) wrote about Reading that year was Slade, and how they were back, dynamic, one of the greatest live bands ever. Joe Elliott from Def Leppard was quoted as saying that following Slade that day was a no-win proposition. The EP has two songs, the wonderfully catchy "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'" and one of the band's longest-standing covers, "Born to Be Wild." The energy the band has is matched by the enthusiasm of the audience, many of whom were no doubt ready to give Slade the beer can welcome they feared. A scorching medley of the Eddie Cochran classics "Something Else" and "Pistol Packin' Mama" is on the B-side combined with Noddy's "Keep a Rollin'" chant. Due to the relative success of this EP, Cheapskate released a second single from the gig. That one has "Get Down and Get With It," one of the bands first hit singles, as well as audience participation numbers "Okey Cokey" and the ever popular Christmas classic "Merry Christmas Everybody." The Reading Festival in 1980 gave Slade new life.


Formed: 1966 in West Midlands, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Slade may have never truly caught on with American audiences (often narrow-mindedly deemed "too British-sounding"), but the group became a sensation in their homeland with their anthemic brand of glam rock in the early '70s, as they scored a staggering 11 Top Five hits in a four-year span from 1971 to 1974 (five of which topped the charts). Comprised of singer/guitarist Noddy Holder (born Neville Holder, June 15, 1946 in Walsall, West Midlands, England), guitarist Dave Hill (born April 4, 1946, in...
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Slade On Stage / Alive At Reading '80 (Live), Slade
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