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Noddy Holder: The Legendary Voice of Rock
In the realm of rock music, certain figures emerge as true icons, leaving an indelible mark on the genre's history. One such luminary is Noddy Holder, a legendary vocalist known for his distinctive voice and larger-than-life stage presence. Holder's tenure as the lead singer of the British band Slade cemented his status as an influential figure in rock music. This essay will delve into the life, career, and lasting impact of Noddy Holder, highlighting his contributions to the world of music and the enduring legacy he has left behind.
Neville John Holder, better known as Noddy Holder, was born on June 15, 1946, in Walsall, Staffordshire, England. Growing up in a working-class family, Holder developed a passion for music at an early age. Neville attended the T. P. Riley Comprehensive School, in Walsall and passed 6 GCE O-level exams. He left school at 17 half way through his A-level course to work in the office of a local car components firm. His love for rock and roll was sparked when he first heard Elvis Presley on the radio, inspiring him to pursue a career in music. In his teenage years, Holder began performing in various local bands, honing his vocal skills and stage presence. He had formed a group called The Rockin' Phantoms with school friends at the age of 13. With money earned from his first job he bought a Hofner guitar and an amplifier. Holder turned professional with Steve Brett & the Mavericks. The band made three singles and one TV appearance. As well as appearing onstage with Steve Brett, Neville was an occasional roadie (using his father's van, bought for their window cleaning round) for local band Listen, whose singer Robert Plant later went on to greater things with the group Led Zeppelin.
In the mid-1960s, Noddy Holder crossed paths with guitarist Dave Hill, and together they formed the band Ambrose Slade, later shortened to simply Slade. The lineup was completed with the addition of drummer Don Powell and bassist Jim Lea. Slade quickly gained attention for their energetic live performances and catchy tunes, which blended elements of rock, glam, and pop. Holder's powerful vocals became the band's signature sound, elevating their music to new heights.
Chart Success and Commercial Breakthrough:
Stage Presence and Visual Image:
Songwriting and Musical Style:
Influence and Legacy:
After Slade ended in 1991, Holder explored other creative avenues, including acting and television presenting. His warm and charismatic personality made him a beloved figure on screen, further solidifying his status as a national treasure.
He has appeared in various TV shows, most notably The Grimleys (1999-2001) as music teacher Neville Holder, and had his own radio show on Piccadilly 1152 in Manchester in the 1990s. He also presented 31 editions of Noddy's Electric Ladyland on Men & Motors, was a team captain in BBC's A Question of Pop and was immortalised as a puppet on the TV show Bob the Builder.
Since Noddy Holder has parted company with Slade, he has only ever recorded one song - a short acoustic version of the Slade song Coz I luv you, which featured on the soundtrack album for 'The Grimleys' TV show. This has also been made available as a digital download.
In 1999 Noddy Holder's autobiography Who's Crazee Now? was published and he was awarded the MBE in 2000 for his services to music. The singer has also been the subject of the This Is Your Life TV show. On 8 December 2000, Holder made a cameo appearance in a live episode of Granada Television's Coronation Street, as a character called Stan, helping the cast mark the 40th anniversary of the soap.
Holder's voice was famously used in 2000 to record the lift announcements at the Walsall New Art Gallery. Director of the gallery Peter Jenkinson said at the time: "We are delighted that Noddy has agreed to record the lift announcements so that generations to come will be able to enjoy the unmistakable voice of Walsall's most famous son".
On 7 April 2004, in East Cheshire, he married TV-producer Suzan Price, with whom he has a son, Django (named after legendary gypsy jazz-guitarist Django Reinhardt), who was born in January 1995. Holder has two grown daughters, Jessica and Charisse, from his previous marriage, to Leandra. Nod is a grandfather. Nod maintains his personal privacy quite strictly.
In November 2004 he made a guest appearance in the second episode of Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere - filmed on Radcliffe Road in Bolton - in which he played a garage mechanic called Mick Bustin.
Since Christmas 2007, Holder has annually recorded a TV show countdown of hit Christmas tunes
Holder was a regular TV critic and contributor to The Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 2 for eight years, and the three often talked about rock star gossip from all eras. Radcliffe often refers to Holder as 'Sir Nodward of Holdershire'. He also occasionally presented Dumber & Dumbest, which was broadcast in the UK on Five.
On 9 December 2007, Holder was the third celebrity to be inducted onto the Birmingham Walk of Stars. 27,000 people turned out to his induction ceremony, which took place at Birmingham's 2007 Canal Boat Light Parade.
On 24th December 2008, Holder appeared on British TV's BBC humorous news quiz show Have I Got News for You as a member of comedian and writer Paul Merton's team.
In January 2010, Holder and his wife appeared on All Star Mr.and Mrs. on ITV, where they won the £30,000 jackpot for the NSPCC charity.
Holder featured as "Geoff's Dad" in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Hobby Bobbies. Series 1 was broadcast July / August 2013 and Series 2 November / December 2014.
During May 2013, Holder toured the UK with Mark Radcliffe for a series of intimate 'In conversation with' shows to celebrate his 50th year in showbiz Venues for the spring part of the tour include Bolton, Leeds, Durham, Telford, Preston, Redditch, Buxton and Harrogate. During the majority of shows, Holder performed some short acoustic numbers.
On 24 June 2014, Holder was awarded the freedom of his home town of Walsall, making him an honorary freeman of the borough.
Nod has made a number of personal appeances related to local charities with which he is involved as a patron. He does not use social media personally. Any pages that state that they are his page are misleading readers. Noddy Holder has stated categorically that the original line-up of Slade will not reunite. He has no intention of rejoining the group, though he occasionally liked to start fans talking about the possibility by dropping 'never say never' comments in radio interviews, when asked about the possibility. Mostly these days, he will admit that there is no chance of it happening.
Conclusion: Noddy Holder's impact on rock music cannot be overstated. From his humble beginnings in Walsall to his meteoric rise with Slade, Holder's powerful vocals, dynamic stage presence, and songwriting prowess have left an indelible mark on the genre. His ability to connect with audiences, both on and off the stage, set him apart as a true icon of rock music. As the years pass, Noddy Holder's influence continues to be felt, reminding us of the enduring power of his music and the legacy he has left behind.
Introduction: In the vibrant landscape of British rock music during the 1970s, one name stood out for its contributions to the glam rock movement and its impact on the music industry as a whole—Jim Lea of Slade. Often overshadowed by his flamboyant bandmate Noddy Holder, Lea's creative genius and multi-instrumental talents played a pivotal role in shaping Slade's sound and their enduring legacy. This essay explores the life and musical journey of Jim Lea, delving into his early influences, instrumental prowess, songwriting prowess, and the resilience that defined his career.
I. Early Influences and Formation of Slade:
II. Instrumental Prowess and Unique Sound:
III. Songwriting and Creative Contributions:
IV. Slade's Rise to Fame and Cultural Impact:
V. Challenges and Resilience:
VI. Later Life and Legacy:
Sightings of Jim Lea are few and far between, as he lives a closely-guarded private life and does not attend music business related functions unless he is pretty much obliged to. The family moved from their home, 'Redroofs' on Warstones Road in Wolverhampton, partly because too many fans discovered his home address. He initially stayed in the locality, but now spends the majority of his time at his other home in London.
His lack of commercially-released product in recent years had been a major source of frustration to Slade fans, who expected him to simply carry on churning out material. It was not widely known however, that Jim prioritised his family above his music career, taking some time out to act as a carer for close family members who were particularly unwell. Jim has always kept his family life quite private.
Jim Lea doesn't do Facebook or social media, but is involved with the placing of content on The Jim Lea Music Facebook page.
Jim Lea continued to create music and released a number of singles under odd pseudonyms such as 'China Dolls', 'JimJam', 'The Greenfields Of Tong' and 'Whild', all via the Trojan group of labels. The most noteable release of the time was The Dummies album A Day in the Life of The Dummies, which gathered together all the demos, and single tracks, that he recorded with his brother, Frank Lea, and wife Louise.
He has done an amount of serious outside production work, with and without Holder, in Slade's dry periods, including: The Mission (under the pseudonym The Metal Gurus), The Redbeards from Texas, Gary Holton, Girlschool, The Crybabys.
Since Slade stopped touring in early 1984, Jim Lea has performed full live shows only twice; once for a local protest against a motorway development
in his home area, and once again for a charity event at the Robin 2 venue in Bilston, near Slade's old local pub, The Trumpet. The majority of the recording of that show has been packaged in as a bonus disc with his Therapy CD and some fan footage from the show was issued on DVD in late 2017.
Wiernerworld have recently reissued his Therapy album in 2016 with a total of six bonus tracks.. Many Slade fans had never previously heard of the album, so low-key was the promotion at the time of its original release. The promising and very current-sounding 'Am I the greatest now?' was selected as a lead track for a download-only single in 2016.
In 2017, Jim announced the release of a further download-only single, 'All coming back to me now'. The 'For one night only' DVD of his live show from 2002 was set for release in November 2017. In November 2017, a screening event was held for the Live at the Robin2 DVD. Jim performed a few songs with backing tracks at the event and a small run DVD of the screening event was released to raise money for his chosen charity in June 2018. His 6 track EP 'Lost in space' appeared the same month - consisting of one recent title track and 5 others recorded in the late 1990's.
Jim has said that he has two projects that are due for release, the second of those being an album called 'String Theory' which was expected in 2018. Details of the other project are being kept under wraps for now. One turned out to be the 'Lost In Space' EP. String Theory remains unreleased.
Jim Lea's role in the success and enduring legacy of Slade cannot be underestimated. As a multi-talented musician, gifted songwriter, and resilient individual, he played a vital part in shaping the band's sound and identity. From their anthemic hits to their electrifying live performances, Slade's impact on the glam rock movement remains significant to this day. Jim Lea's contributions to music have left an indelible mark, ensuring his place in the annals of rock history.
Donald George Powell, (born 10 September 1946, Bilston, Staffordshire, England) is the drummer who founded the English rock group, Slade.
Powell became a member of The Vendors, a band that guitarist Dave Hill later joined. The Vendors later became the N'Betweens and bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist Jim Lea got in at an audition. Powell then spotted Noddy Holder playing with Steve Brett & The Mavericks and he and Hill got Holder to join the N'Betweens. They regrouped as Ambrose Slade, changed the name to Slade and the success began.
Powell was the wit of the group and was considered by Slade's fans to be one of rock's best drummers. He co-wrote a number of Slade's earlier songs, mainly with Lea. Many of them can be found on the 1970 Slade album Play it Loud. He also co-wrote one of Slade's Top 10 hits "Look Wot You Dun" with Holder and Lea in 1972, and made the breathing noises in the background of the song.
On 4 July 1973, when Slade were number one in the UK Singles Chart with "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me", Powell was badly injured in a serious car crash in Wolverhampton, in which his 20-year-old girlfriend Angela was killed. He broke both of his ankles and five of his ribs. Surgeons had to drill into his skull to ease the internal pressure and he was unconscious for six days but he came round and eventually pulled through, finding the best therapy to be work. By mid-August, Powell was back recording with the group.
When the Top 5 hit "My Friend Stan" was recorded, Powell was still walking with the aid of a stick and had to be lifted onto his drum-kit. The accident left Powell with no senses of taste and smell, and to this day he has severe problems with his short-term memory, whilst his long-term memory has remained unaffected.
When Slade split up in 1991 Don Powell owned and operated an antique import / export company before he reconvened the band as Slade II in 1993 with Dave Hill. He has remained active with various line-ups to this day and has released the albums Keep on Rockin' and Cum On Let's Party!
The name of the band was shortened back to Slade in 1997. In 2000 Don Powell had a small cameo role in the BBC TV drama version of Lorna Doone.
Powell has been married twice and for a number of years he lived in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England. In 2004 he moved to Silkeborg, Denmark, where he now lives with his partner Hanne. In December 2005, Powell appeared in the Channel 4 TV documentary 'Bring Back...The Christmas Number One'.
Don Powell was the subject of a collaborative biography with Lise Lyng Falkenberg.
He announced that he was no longer with Dave Hill's Slade in February 2020
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
CLICK TO BUY LISE LYNG FALKENBERG / DON POWELL's excellent book 'LOOK WOT I DUN' ON AMAZON.
David John Hill
Money was tight when the young Hill started playing, and right-handed guitars were much cheaper than left-handed ones, so even though Hill was left-handed, he played (and still plays) guitar right-handed. Hill's best known guitar was the "John Birch Superyob" that was built in 1973 (now owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants). It became a vital part of Hill's image, just like his huge platform boots, his broad grin, the fringes and the outrageous costumes.
Hill was unkindly known as the class clown of the band, and his bizarre costumes and antics led to some friction with the more serious Lea. This led to an alleged show-down in a BBC dressing room before a recording of Top of the Pops where Hill replied to Lea's repeated criticism of his dress by saying "You write 'em Jim, I'll sell em!".
In 1989 Dave Hill and Noddy Holder did a remake of The Everly Brother's hit song "Crying in the Rain." They released Crying In The Rain as a 7" single and it was backed with "Wild Nites", written by Dave and Bill Hunt, on the Mooncrest label under the group name, Blessings In Disguise, both songs with Noddy on lead vocals.
In 1991, Hill followed it up with a further Blessings In Disguise single "Chance To Be" / "You're The Reason I'm Strong" - which did not feature Holder at all. "Chance To Be" was a charity record composed by Daniel Somers & Colin Baines to raise money for Queen Alexandra College for the Blind in Birmingham.
Dave embraced the notion of a "yob" culture. As well as the references to "Superyob" above, Dave, used the numberplate YOB 1 on his cars. The most famous of these was a silver Jensen. Latterly it was on a Rolls Royce, but the YOB 1 plate was sold along with the car. Hill married his wife Jan in Mexico City in the 1970s, and they have three children: Jade, Bibi and Sam. Hill and his wife have embraced the Jehovah's Witness faith. They live in Lower Penn, Staffordshire, England, where Hill occasionally teaches music at Lower Penn School and Penn Hall School.
In December 2005, Hill appeared in the Channel 4 TV documentary - 'Bring Back...The Christmas Number One'. In 2010, Hill had a mini-stroke, which took Slade off the road for a large part of the year, but he recovered well and resumed playing in December of 2010. Slade have continued to tour since then.
Dave Hill wrote his autobiography 'So here it is..'. and it was published by Unbound - issued first as a hardback, then as an extended paperback version, with an additional chapter.
He parted company with the founding (and last remaining) member of the original band, Don Powell, in February 2020.
THE SLADE FAMILY TREE - WITH HUGE THANKS TO CHRIS SELBY
Johnny Travelle and the Vendors
Brad Ford & The Sundowners
The (Rockin') Phantoms
Nick and the Axemen
The Young Ones
The Big Roll Seven
Johnny Travelle and the Vendors
The Memphis Cut-Outs
Steve Brett & the Mavericks
(1964 - 65)
(3rd – 24th March 1966)
(24th March – Mid 1966)
(1966 – Jan 1969)
(Jan - Dec 1969)
(Dec 1969 – 1992) :
The Dummies (1979 - 1981)
Slade II mk 1
Slade II mk 2
Slade II mk 3
Slade II mk 4 (from this point re-named 'SLADE' again)
Slade II mk 5
Slade II mk 6
Slade II mk 7
Slade II mk 8 (February 2020)