Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without Slade’s timeless ode to the holiday season, Merry Xmas Everybody, which gave the Wolverhampton quartet their sixth (and final) UK number one single in December 1973. But in a wide-ranging look back over their storied career in the new issue of Classic Rock, the band’s four original members reveal that, initially, none of them wanted the song released.
“When I first played it to Noddy [Holder] he told me to go away and have sex with myself,” admits former bassist Jim Lea, who wrote the music for the song. “But after Nod added his lyrics it came to life.”
“Nobody wanted to release it,” adds ex-drummer Don Powell. “But Chas [Chandler, Slade’s manager] told us: ‘I don’t care what you lot say, this is coming out’.”
Selling, according to Noddy Holder, approximately 350,000 copies in a single day upon its release, Merry Xmas Everybody hit the top of the UK singles chart on December 15, 1973.
Merry Xmas Everybody has re-entered the UK charts every December since 2007. Last year, 2019, the song peaked at number 31. Research carried out by Channel 5 television in the UK in 2016 suggested that the track earns Jim Lea and Noddy Holder a cool £1 million in royalties every year.
“That song lifted a nation,” says guitarist Dave Hill, the one original Slade member still in the band. “It took on a life of its own.”
In addition to Slade, the new issue of Classic Rock celebrates 40 years of Ace Of Spades, reveals why Biffy Clyro’s latest album is a masterful triumph in the face of adversity, uncovers the secrets of Guns N' Roses overlooked albums and a whole lot more – including the biggest, loudest rock reviews section on the planet.