Wall of Hits

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By no means the first (or last) ever Slade hits collection, Wall of Hits is nevertheless the only one you truly need, a solid roundup of every British Top Ten smash the band ever scored, plus a smattering of lesser-rated (but equally deserving) Top 20 entries, and only one track -- 1991's "Universe" -- that really doesn't belong. Neither has time taken any toll on the quality of the music. Whether causing roaring traffic to grind to a halt or bearing their souls in a ballad, the members of Slade not only made great records, they also tapped emotions -- wild and wacky, reflective and raw -- that make fans never tire of singing their songs. The statistics behind the track listing, meanwhile, are boggling. Between 1971 and 1975, Slade slammed 17 songs into the chart, including half a dozen number ones and six more that peaked between number two and number four. All but one (1975's number 11 underachiever "In for a Penny") are here. The group resurfaced in 1982 for a second bite at the cherry, and delivered "Run Run Away" and "My Oh My" (plus a hit reissue of "Merry Xmas Everybody"); then they came back again in 1991 with "Radio Wall of Sound." If Noddy Holder hadn't quit long ago, it would've taken a brave man indeed to bet against a fourth Slade revival in the first years of the present century. As it is -- well, like the song says, "Thanks for the Memory."

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