Noddy Holder: The Iconic Voice of '70s Rock Band Slade

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The Man with that oh so distinctive Voice

Neville John ‘Noddy’ Holder was born in June 1946 in Walsall. He formed his first band, The Rockin’ Phantoms, at the age of 13 and left school after O levels to take a job in a car parts firm while pursuing a music career. The band became The Memphis Cut-Outs, who became popular enough on the local scene for Holder to quit the day job. He went on to join The Mavericks, who were signed by Columbia in 1965, and were signed to the same management company as The N’ Betweens, who included future Slade members guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell. The two bands shared bills and bonded, laying the foundations for Holder’s next move.

Ambrose Slade to Slade - the Kings of Glam Rock

In 1966, Powell and Hill convinced Noddy Holder to join their new group, along with multi-instrumentalist Jim Lea, which they named Ambrose Slade. After their debut album, 1969’s Beginnings, flopped, they changed their name to Slade and adopted a skinhead image for the following year’s Play It Loud. When that failed to catch the public’s imagination, the band turned to glam rock and swiftly became one of Britain’s biggest bands, with Slayed? (1972) reaching No 1 after their breakthrough single Get Down And Get With It. 

Slademania!

The next few years saw Slademania take Britain by storm with a run of classic, hit singles (mostly chart-toppers) that gave English teachers the nation over sleepless nights including Coz I Luv You, Take Me Bak ’Ome, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Gudbuy T’Jane, Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me and Merry Xmas Everybody.

Chas Chandler - the Making of Slade

Slade had Chas Chandler to thank for much of their success. He’d looked after Jimi Hendrix until he went back to America, and he loved Slade because they were different to anybody else. He made the guys write their own mateirial and the first one written was Coz I Luv You.  Within two weeks of release, it was number one on the charts. Noddy Holder just couldn’t believe it.  

The 1990's

Noddy Holder left Slade in 1992 but remained a familiar figure on TV screens, most notably as a team captain on BBC1’s music series A Question Of Pop and playing the music teacher Neville Holder in the ITV comedy drama The Grimleys. 

Why did Noddy Holder leave Slade?

 Noddy says the early ’90s were a weird time for him. The band had had 25 years together and Noddy had things going on in his personal life. He’d  just got divorced, his dad was  dying and he’d been on the road for 30 years. Noddy is a positive thinker. Always looking to the future and never behind.  He felt the band had pretty much achieved everything they set out to do. So he had to face up to the fact that it wasn’t working the same way and the guys weren’t a gang any more. 

A Slade Reunion ....

Slade were repeatedly offered money to reunite. But they were never able to work it out between them.  They’d lost the momentum and the kinship. Noddy missed the days when Slade were four guys having a laugh together, going out drinking and making music. But those days were gone and couldn’t be repeated.

Noddy Holder Cancer Diagnosis and Today

Noddy stepped away from full time touring, despite playing with various bands including a boogie woogie band, because of his health. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer a few years ago  and given six months to live. He kept it very low key because he simply didn’t want people to think of  him as a cancer victim.  Luckily, he was offered a trial of a new drug in hospital and he became a guinea pig for this experimental type of chemotherapy. 

The Power of Positive Thinking

Noddy believes his lifelong positive mental attitude has been a big bonus to aid in his recovery and survival. Today, he’s still with us, in good health and still singing his heart out. Thank goodness. 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ian Edmundson

    The early history in this article could do with rewriting. There’s a few errors in it.

  2. Ian Edmundson

    see there has been a correction about Nod’s first band changing its name, rather than being different bands. However, The Memphis Cut-outs became Steve Brett’s new backing band, adopting the name The Mavericks.
    The band that Nod joined in 1966 was called the ‘N Betweens.
    They only changed their name to Ambrose Slade in 1969.
    There is no record of their previous bands ever sharing a bill. They met on a ferry to Germany.
    Thanks x

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