306. ‘Coz I Luv You’, by Slade

Without wanting to repeat myself… Having covered over three hundred #1s now, and I’ve come to realise the importance of a song’s intro. Sometimes, as a casual listener, they pass you by. But when you’re here to write about the song, when you’re poised to commit your first impressions to paper, the intro is everything.

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Coz I Luv You, by Slade (their 1st of six #1s)

4 weeks, from 7th November – 5th December 1971

All of which is me building up to the fact that ‘Coz I Luv You’ has a great intro. In stereo, it sounds like someone in chunky boots, stomping down a corridor. Then the music, which can only be described as ‘menacing’. It’s Slade, Britain’s most successful glam-rock act, but this isn’t a very ‘glam’ record. Noddy Holder’s vocals start off light, and sneering: I won’t laugh at you, When you boo-hoo-hoo, Cause I love you…

Then a big beefy bass comes in, as Holder’s voice grows fuller: I just like the things you do, Don’t you change the things you do… You can draw a couple of similarities between this and the previous number one, Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ / ‘Reason to Believe’. Both songs are concerned with the singer being in love with a pretty terrible sounding woman. In ‘Coz I Luv You’: You make me out a clown, And you put me down… I still love you…

The other is the violin – though the country version from ‘Reason…’ has been distorted into an electric monster here, making the solo sound like an Irish jig from the bowels of hell. Apparently, Jim Lea – who played the violin on it – thinks the song sounds ‘soft’ and ‘namby-pamby’… Which begs the question: what the hell would he classify as ‘hard’? As the song fades out with the stomping and the violin, and some added shouting for good measure, it sounds like a gang of hooligans striding home from the pub, ready for their next punch-up.

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I like this song, and I love Slade, but it stands out because it doesn’t really sound like the ‘Slade’ everyone knows. By their next number one they will, though. Like T. Rex, Slade had been around long before glam. Unlike T. Rex, they’d spent the final years of the sixties playing soul and Motown covers and sporting skinheads. Maybe ‘Coz I Luv You’ represents the last gasp of the ‘old’ Slade (Ambrose Slade, as they were called), before they sold their souls to glam. Though even at their peak, when they were wearing sparkly hats, platform shoes and cravats, I think don’t think they could ever quite mascara-out being four bruisers from Wolverhampton.

By the end, Holder’s voice has transformed completely, as he bellows out the closing lines. There’s another similarity to Rod Stewart – two of rock’s throatiest voices topping the charts in a row. One thing that is very Slade, and that’s already here in all its glory, is their shortened song titles. I used to think they looked crazily modern, using text-speak in the early seventies, when mobile phones were the stuff of science-fiction, but apparently it was an attempt to mimic the Birmingham/Black County dialect.

So, there we have it. This is already the second-last #1 of 1971 – it feels like we’ve raced through the year – welcoming some huge names: T. Rex, Rod, Slade… Middle of the Road… Like I said, and as I’m not sure came through from the write-up, I really like this song. It just sounds so belligerent, so menacing, so not #1-on-the-pop-charts material at all…

10 thoughts on “306. ‘Coz I Luv You’, by Slade

  1. menacing is spot on! It was another case of a record coming out of nowhere and sounding like nothing before. Play it in a discotheque (as they were called then) with shoddy wooden floors at your peril – the foot-stomping anthem shook the building! Slade were a lads band, and they were so cool!

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I love this band…they should have made it huge in the US even over T-Rex. Noddy Holder’s voice is wonderful…I guess it was the timing. Quiet Riot made a very close copy of a couple of their songs and had huge hits a decade later.

    I love Noddy’s mirrored hat he wore later on.

    just think if he would have accepted AC/DC’s offer of replacing Bon Scott.

    1. Yes the mirrored hat and the platform boots that Jim Lea wore!

      I think that though they’re remembered quite well – especially for that bloody Christmas song – people don’t appreciate how heavy they could sound. This song being one such example…

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        I didn’t hear that Christmas song until two years ago! I love it…but I’ve only have 2 years of it. lol

  3. Pingback: 309. ‘Telegram Sam’, by T. Rex – The UK Number Ones Blog

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