Slade were at the forefront of the 70s Glam Rock scene in Britain, racking up a long string of loud, catchy hits that made them one of the U.K.’s most successful bands of the decade, and one cited as an influence by bands across a range of heavy-hitting genres, from Punk to Pop Metal to Grunge.
Slade’s formation goes back to the early 60s, when the members, led by singer and guitarist Noddy Holder, formed The 'N Betweens, a band influenced by Blues, R&B and Motown. Coming under the wing of manager Chas Chandler, the former Animals bassist who’d helped break Jimi Hendrix in the U.K., the band changed their name to Slade and, after experimenting with a skinhead image, began adopting a heavier sound and a Glam look featuring platform shoes, mirrored hats, glitter and long hair. The band had its first No. 1 hit in 1971 with "Coz I Luv You,” and that anthemic, stomping song set the template for the band’s 17 consecutive Top 20 U.K. hits (all of which featured the band’s trademark misspelled song titles: “Look Wot You Dun,” “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,” “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me.”)
By the second half of the 70s Slade’s popularity, along with the popularity of the Glam movement in general, began to decline, and while the band continued making records, they struggled to find an audience. (A 1977 album was slyly titled Whatever Happened to Slade?) Just as they were about to call it quits, a last-minute appearance at the 1980 Reading Festival (where they were called in as replacements after Ozzy Osbourne cancelled) reinvigorated their careers by introducing Slade to a new audience of Heavy Metal fans. Three years later the band got another shot in the arm when the band Quiet Riot had a major hit with a cover of Slade’s "Cum on Feel the Noize,”
Slade were able to parlay their higher profile into their biggest U.S. success, 1984’s Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, whose single "Run Runaway" landed in the Top 20. Slade broke up in 1992 but soon reformed as Slade II; they’ve since returned to their original name, and are still active.