I can't avoid Oasis at the moment. And when I hear Oasis, I always think of Slade. This is unfair on Slade.
I consider that most of the monobrow Mancs finest moments were when they lifted Slade (not Beatles) sounds. 'Don't Look Back In Anger' was always Slade meets The Manfredds 'Pretty Flamingo' to these old lugs.
I realise that this may be an 'un-happy slap' to the many millions of Oasis die-hards out there. And, as the latest Oasis album is flying out the record shop doors en route to the top of the British charts, what do I know? Indeed, there are some sterling moments on the album; but the clanking, incessant foot-on-the-monitor dirge that is their latest No1 hit single 'Lyla' (neither a 'Layla' nor a 'Lola') has me fumbling for the mute. ( If you wanna use the hit record argument, may I point out that Slade have had nearly twice the number of hit singles as Oasis).
This track 'Far Far Away' finds a mellow, reflective Slade in late '74. By this time, they'd travelled the world, been the raucous Kings of Noize and were obviously shagged out and pining for the Black Country and a quiet pint of Marsdens. Noddy Holder says he wrote this in a Memphis hotel room during a US tour. Sitting on a hotel balcony (no doubt in his mirror hat), drink in hand, he saw a paddle steamer coming down the river. Perhaps he'd also just enjoyed "a red light off the wrist, without even getting kissed". When Noddy went to tell his producer (Chas Chandler) about those lyrics, Chandler made him complete the song whilst the idea was still fresh, lest he forget the moment with the next morning's hangover.
Amidst the hey-day screaming power fun of 'Mama Weer All Crazee-Cum On Feel The-Skweeze Me Pleeze Me' leviathans, Slade also did some crackin' ballads; particularly the similar-themed paean to life back home - 'Everyday'. You could do far worse than to recall Slade at their best. In that vein, try the album 'Old, New, Borrowed & Blue'. Also from '74, is the excellent (for a rock band) movie - 'Slade In Flame' which is now available on a well produced DVD. There are also enough 'Best Of' Compilation CDs to fill a Knebworth field.