40 Years Ago: Slade Play Two Sold-Out Shows at London’s Earls Court
Slade were just about at the peak of their powers in the summer of 1973, riding high with seven consecutive Top 10 singles in the U.K. The latest, 'Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me,' shot straight to No. 1. When the band hit the road, with openers the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, demand for tickets was so high, they scheduled two nights at the legendary Earls Court in London.
It was a big deal since the venue held 20,000 fans. "Slade are Britain’s most popular pop/rock group," wrote Chris Charlesworth in his review for Melody Maker. "It was an emotional occasion. Three years ago, I knew this was going to happen to Slade sooner or later. Three years ago, I gazed into my crystal ball and predicted in these very columns that within a year or so, Slade would become household names."
Charelsworth could barely contain his enthusiasm for the band in his review. "With the notable exception of Elvis Presley, I can safely say I’ve seen the lot," he continued. "Before I joined this paper, I saw the Beatles on three occasions, but nothing has ever moved me as much as last night's bash at Earls Court."
The band, decked out in their finest glam attire, rolled out the hits one after another: 'Take Me Bak 'Ome,' 'Gudbuy T'Jane,' 'Cum on Feel the Noize.' The audience was knocked out just as much as Charlesworth by the performance. "I could have sworn those delirious fans were on the brink of a visit to the nearest asylum," the writer noted. The group's manager, Chas Chandler (who was a member of the Animals before he became Jimi Hendrix's manager), was overwhelmed by the reaction, telling Melody Maker, “I’m just lost for words.”
Even with emphatic praise from U.S. concert promoter Peter Rudge -- who said, "They're going to storm this country and totally wipe everybody out. God, are they going to be big stars here" -- the massive success Slade enjoyed in their homeland never translated to America. The band's fans never could figure out why.