Mark Adams was the funky, nimble-fingered bassist for late-'70s/'80s nine-member funk band Slave who hit number one R&B and Top 40 pop the first time out with "Slide." The genesis of the Dayton, Ohio-born group was when East Orange, NJ, transplant Steve Washington moved to Dayton to finish high school while living with his uncle, trumpeter Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrook of the Ohio Players. Washington had a band called Black Satin Soul, which included future Slave members Tim Dozier and Mark Hicks. After another local group, the Mystics broke up, its members Mark Adams, Floyd Miller, and Tom Lockett joined Washington's band in fall 1975. Adams was still in grade school, while the other members, who went on to include Carter Bradley, Daniel Webster, and Orion Wilhoite were in high school. Miller arrived at rehearsal one day sporting a T-shirt that had the word slave written across. The band decided to take the negative term and give it a positive connotation, musing "we're all slaves to God, the universe, and life in general" and thus Slave was born.
The group relocated to Washington's New Jersey home where they came to the attention of Jeff Dixon, program director of Newark, NJ, radio station WNJR. Dixon booked studio time for the group and let them self-produce themselves. One morning at about three o'clock, Adams, Hicks, and Washington got into an impromptu jam session, which enthusiastically woke up the whole household. The next morning, the band went into the studio and recorded what became "Slide" in one take. Dixon took "Slide" to Henry Allen, president of Atlantic Records' subsidiary label Cotillion Records.
Produced by Jeff Dixon, "Slide" stayed on Billboard's charts through the summer of 1977. Because of the single's long chart run, Slave played nightly dates for almost a year. "Slide" (at almost seven minutes) was included on their debut album, Slave, which went gold, hitting number six R&B and number 22 pop in summer 1977. Other Slave albums were Hardness of the World (late 1977, "The Party Song"), The Concept (number 11 R&B summer 1978, "Just a Touch of Love), Stone Jam (gold, number five R&B, late 1980, "Watching You"), Show Time (number seven R&B fall 1981, "Snap Shot," number six R&B), and Visions of the Lite. Mid-charting LPs on the Ichiban label include: Unchained at Last (1986), Make Believe (1987), Rebirth (1991), The Funk Strikes Back and Stellar Funk: The Best of Slave (both 1994). Adams can also be heard on RCA Records act Odyssey's "Inside Out" (which sounds very similar to Slave's "Watching You").