Dave Hill (Slade)

Dave Hill, the guitarist with Glam rock band Slade was born 4 April 1946 I nHolbeton, Devon, the son of a mechanic, he moved with his parents to Penn, Wolverhampton when he was a year old. There he attended Springdale Junior school and Highfields Secondary school. He bought his first guitar from a mail order catalogue and received some guitar lessons from a science teacher at his school. He then formed a band called The Young Ones with some school friends. He worked in an office for Tarmac Limited for over two years after leaving school.

He originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, whose name was then changed to The N’ Betweens. The pair then met bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist Jim Lea who got in at an audition. Drummer Don 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, and changed the name to Slade.

Slade rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singlesenter at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best selling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, has sold in excess of one million copies. Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade’s popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival. The band later acknowledged this to have been one of the highlights of their career. Though Hill is 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. The guitar was used by Madness guitarist Chris Foreman in the video for Madness’ song “Shut Up” and is now owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants. He is known for his flamboyant costumes.

The original line up split in 1992 but the band reformed the following year as Slade II. The band has continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have now shortened the group name back to Slade. A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge icons Nirvan and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam followers Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister,Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard, pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis. Over the years Slade have become known for Holder’s powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill’s equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Their song Merry Christmas is also repeated annually during every Christmas Season.

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