384. ‘Forever and Ever’, by Slik

Our recent run of number one singles has taken us past some illustrious names, some of the pillars of pop history: Art Garfunkel, David Bowie, Queen, ABBA… now Slik…

Forever and Ever, by Slik (their 1st and only #1)

1 week, from 8th – 15th February 1976

Hmm. Initially I had to do a double take, as I thought it should have been ‘Silk’. Some smooth and silky, mid-seventies soul perhaps. But no, ‘Slik’ it is, and they kick off their one and only #1 single with some church organs, and some ominous chanting. I have genuinely never heard this song before…

When the vocals come in, they come in a Scottish accent. Make that two Scottish chart-toppers out of the past four. As it was in the beginning, Then so should it end… Are we at a funeral…? Don’t let a lover, Become just a friend… It’s quite new-wave, the synthy heartbeats and the half-spoken delivery.

Come chorus time, though, I am pleased to announce: glam is back. The bridge hints at it – the guitars start to growl as the singer builds it up in his best Glaswegian: didnae ya know, didnae ya feel… Then boom. It’s a chorus straight out of 1973, worthy of Wizzard or Eurovision-era ABBA: I dedicate to you, All my love, My whole life through, I’ll love you. Forever and ever…

As a declaration of love, it’s a bit much, a bit stalkery. As a pop song, it’s great. I’m really enjoying this. Why isn’t this on all the seventies ‘Best Ofs’, alongside ‘See Me Baby Jive’ and ‘Come Up and See Me’? The way it spins on a sixpence, from verse to chorus and back again, reminds me somehow of the old Johnny Preston hit from 1960, ‘Running Bear’, which also swung from goofy verses to rocking chorus.

By the end, the rock ‘n’ roll vibe has been boosted by doo-wop backing vocals, sealing this record’s place as a hidden gem I’m very glad to have discovered. Any song that descends into doo-wop backing vocals is fine by me. Slik were a band from Glasgow, and were fronted by James ‘Midge’ Ure (all the other band members took nicknames too: Oil Slik, Lord Slik and Jim Slik… a full twenty years before the Spices!) Ure, of course, is much better known as the frontman of Ultravox, who will famously never have a #1 single, and you can definitely hear the roots of his later work in this pop hit.

Slik were marketed as a new Bay City Rollers, and their hits were written by Bill Martin and Phil Coultier, who wrote many of the Rollers’ songs. This hit was turned down by the Rollers, after being recorded by 2nd rate glam rock outfit Kenny, eventually finding its way into Slik’s hands. I’d place ‘Forever and Ever’ as head and shoulders above either of the Bay City Rollers’ chart-toppers, or indeed any of their non-chart topping singles too. It’s a cracker. Slik faded away quickly, registering just once more on the Top 40, but their lead singer will be back in this countdown, in a decade or so.

25 thoughts on “384. ‘Forever and Ever’, by Slik

  1. Another candidate for the ‘least remembered No 1’s’ list, perhaps? It seems to have flown well below the radar, and would have done so even more had it not been for the presence of Midge Ure. Not really a dislikeable disc, but a tad, er, nondescript. (If even the Rollers turned it down, what does that tell you?). And at the risk of spoilers, I think we have one from J.J. Barrie coming up soon which I for one try hard not to remember. (Sorry in advance, J.J.)

    1. Yes good call. I have genuinely never heard this before, and probably never will again without choosing to. Especially coming off the back of two of the best remembered pop songs of the century! I quite like it, though… I think the Rollers missed a trick. Speaking of J.J. Barrie… I just wrote my post on ‘No Charge’ – I like to keep a few ahead – and there is a very good reason why that’s been forgotten, and thank goodness. Eeesh!

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Maybe that is the reason for my thumbs down…I was not a fan of the 80s…I spent my teenage years in the 80s listening to mostly 60s-70s music….and still do! lol.
        Someone told me at the time…”Max you will see…people will worship Ratt in 20 years and forget about the Beatles” …I think I got the last laugh!

        There were a few things I liked but I wasn’t a big fan.

      2. IDK. McCartney did well and seemed to be everywhere. George Harrison did pretty well. Ringo, not so much. They all continued to record.

        Hm. Ratt wasn’t all that great when they were popular.

      3. badfinger20 (Max)

        Oh I mean the Beatles popularity in general. Being a fan in the 80s wasn’t the same as in the 90s (anthology) or now. It was deemed old fashion…sure beat the hell out of the synth stuff I was hearing…but that was me.

        I’ll never forget that conversation…I laughed in his face.

      4. Yeah. It could be considered retro, I suppose. While everyone else was listening to Madonna or hair bands, you were listening to the Beatles. But, then again, you ARE a musician so, you view and feel things differently. There are players…and there are spectators.

      5. badfinger20 (Max)

        In the 90s when the Anthology came out I had younger cousins who were listening to New Kids on the Block a year or two before start calling me…”Oh now I know why you always loved the Beatles”…I knew the tide had changed.

  2. I haven’t heard this in ages and ages, but I liked it at the time, and seeing a very young Midge makes it worth checking-out for the lols. I loved the moody bits, the bit I wasn’t so keen on was the Rollers-style-hook, always thought it was anti-climactic, which is why I preferred the follow-up Requiem – much darker and the hook didn’t jar. Too dark, as it turned out, as teenybop girls dropped them like a brick after being geared up to expect another Rollers as the original dropped in popularity. Within a year Midge had formed Rich Kids along with Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock and future Ultravox member Rusty Egan and Mick Jones from The Clash helping out, a punk supergroup that didn’t really catch on. So Midge moved on to Ultravox and Visage and Xmas immortality and a solo number one instead. Fair enough! 🙂

    1. There can’t be many other artists to appear at number one in such different guises… Maybe Paul McCartney? If only Ure’s famous #2 could have got there too (though I have to admit I’m not a massive fan of it). I like this one, though, especially the chorus (!) and am a bit surprised that most commenters don’t share my enthusiasm! Different strokes, as they say…

      1. Yes Macca holds the record I’d say, solo, duo, three (Wings) 4 (Beatles) 5 (Beatles with Billy Preston), and also charity combos for Ferry Cross The Mersey & (tenuously) Band Aid 🙂 Vienna is famously the most popular number 2 to miss out on topping the chart – Shaddap You Face! 🙂

  3. New to me but, it’s not bad. The lead singer…Midge?…he’s kinda a got bit of an Elvis vibe going on in the video. I like how the members do this lower tone background mumble thing while Midge does a talk/sing bit before the chorus. Very different and interesting.

    The arms/legs stuff all over the set is a bit disturbing, tho…

    1. Yes, Midge went on to form Ultravox, and then was a big part of the Band Aid/Live Aid project, as well as a solo star… Apparently Midge sounds Mij, which is Jim backwards, and his name’s James. Long way round to get to a nickname if you ask me…

      1. I’ve heard *of* Ultravox but, never heard them. That Band Aid gathering was something! I think the Brits did a better job than we did. “Do They Know…” is a better song than “We Are The World”, Michael Jackson notwithstanding.

        I was wondering where the “Midge” came from. I was thinking it was some twisted reference to the doll (considering all the arms and legs in the video).

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