Cum on Feel the Hitz
Most American music fans have a limited knowledge of Slade. We might know they were huge in England and know the Quiet Riot cover versions of “Cum on Feel the Noize” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,” and might even remember “Run Runaway” being a fairly big hit in the early ’80s.
What we didn’t know was how hugely influential Slade was. Not only did they have 17 top 30 hits in the ’70s, but their sound can be heard all over punk, glam, oi and just about every ’80s teased-hair rock band. Cum On Feel the Hitz, an over 40 song collection of the band’s multi-decade career is a great step in educating music fans about the band and their influence.
In their earliest albums, Slade displayed an ability to pen simple and catchy hard rock with a loveable dumbness; the same dumbness found in early Ramones, Blue Cheer, and AC/DC records.
There’s a thrilling simplicity in these early songs like “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,” or “Gudbuy T’Jane,” and it’s hard to hear Slade without thinking how much ’80s Sunset Strip hair metal borrowed from the band. The huge chorus and slide guitar of “Banging Man” wouldn’t be out of place in the catalog of one of your tougher glam rock bands, and there is a good case to be made that Slade invented the power ballad with songs like “My Oh My” and “Everyday.” Noddy Holder has a great gravelly vocal style and Jim Lea’s guitar playing gets straight to the point – no frills or unnecessary solos, just service to the simplicity of the songs. While some of the songs seem very English, like the whimsy of “In for a Penny,” or the football-themed “All Join Hands” or “Give Us a Goal,” songs like “Get Down With It” with its modified Chuck Berry riff or “We’ll Bring the House Down” with its monster chorus speak to the primal rocker in everyone and are impossible to sit still through.
Sure, there are dated production choices on some of the later songs, but the power of the songs always shines through, and if you needed a song for a training montage, Cum On Feel the Hitz has plenty to choose from. There is an element of Spinal Tap in songs like “Knuckle Sandwich Nancy” (off the album From Deaf Do Us Part , but that only adds to the fun. Cum On Feel the Hitz does what a retrospective should do – introduces casual fans to an underheard and underappreciated (at least in the States) band that deserves more listens.