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Dave Hill: My Story

How the boy from Wolverhampton rocked the world with Slade by Dave Hill

This book is fully funded, but you can still support it!


The Synopsis

Hi, it's Dave here, from Slade.

Over the years, when people hear stories about my life, they always say: 'Write it down, Dave!'

So, I've written my autobiography for you, my fans, and for my family, especially my grandkids. I turned seventy this year and for fifty of those years Slade have been a major part of my life. It seems the right time to finally to share my story with you. I've got plenty of funny tales but also some others which show that my life hasn't been all rock 'n' roll.

Most of all, I wanted to tell it as it is, and tell it my way, that's why I'm publishing my book with Unbound.

I was born in castle and then grew up in a council house in Wolverhampton. I had a smashing mum and dad, but things were tough growing up in post war Britain and my life really changed when I heard rock 'n' roll music. I said goodbye to an office job at Tarmac and never looked back. I played in various groups before fame came knocking at my door.

Slade's success didn't happen overnight but boy, were we big when we took off! We had 23 top twenty hits and six number one singles. Three of these went straight to the number one spot - a first, not even matched by The Beatles. Topping it all was 'Merry Xmas Everybody', which sold over one million copies. We also had six smash LPs, and one time had the number one and two spots on the LP chart. All this made Slade the biggest band in the UK in the 70s, and we were massive all over the world, too.

Slade had some great years but fashions change and the break-up of the original band was heartbreaking. I thought that would be it for me.

I battled through depression and got over a stroke, and decided to carry on doing the thing which I do best: I went back on the road with Slade. I've seen more of the world, and more fans, in the last twenty-five years than I did when the band were at their most famous.

Writing my book has been bit like researching an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' I discovered that my mum and dad had pretended to be married, and even had a false wedding. Also, the burden of having an illegitimate daughter, my half sister, was a shame that nearly drove my mum to suicide. There's quite a few other surprises in my book too. Like the time Carol, my sister, was kidnapped and Jan, my wife, was held hostage in a bank robbery...

I'll always be the boy from Wolverhampton, where I still live, with my wife of over forty years, surrounded by my kids and grandkids. I'm also still Dave Hill, Superyob, rocking the world with Slade!

Many musicians have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge bands Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk and indie pioneers the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Undertones and the Clash, heavy metal acts such as Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Quiet Riot and rock groups including Cheap Trick and Oasis.

The Excerpt


In the summer of 1968, we received one of the most bizarre bookings of even our career. It turned out a bit like one of those ‘60s pop group films, only in real life, but looking back at it, it was a bit of a turning point for the band. Without that summer, I don’t know if Slade would ever have been the band and the people that we became.

Our agency, Astra, in Wolverhampton, got an offer for us from a guy called Ken Mallin. He was from Willenhall originally, right on our patch, but now he was living in the Bahamas, on an island called Freeport. Nobody knew how he’d come to be living out there, but anyway, he wanted to book us. Either he’d seen us early on, because we used to rehearse and play a bit in Willenhall, or somebody from back home had told him about us. Either way, he sent a request to our agent to book us at a club on Freeport called Tropicana.

We couldn’t believe it. We’re a bunch of working class lads off council estates and before we’d got the band going, it was a bit exotic to go the other side of Wolverhampton. Now we’re being asked to go to the Bahamas. Seriously, I’d never been on a plane because this was before all the package holidays came in. You’d usually go to Skegness or Rhyl or Tywyn, there was Butlins, Pontins, that was it. Planes were for the posh people.

It all seemed a bit surreal. Slade in the Bahamas? Nowadays, you’d be doing Skype calls or sending emails and all that to check out whether it was straight or not. But back then, a phone call to the Bahamas was £1 a minute, which was a fortune. So we couldn’t call him up to find out if it was all ok, but the agency said it was for real, they were dealing with him by telex because this was even before faxes.

We were still a bit dubious about it, but we went off and saw this old lady who was supposed to be his mom, still living in Willenhall. She said it was all above board, so who were we to argue? Even then, we didn’t really believe any of it until the tickets arrived, and they cost a fortune as well! The offer was that we would have a residency, not earning a lot, but it was the Bahamas so we didn’t mind.


The Author

Dave Hill was born in a castle in Devon, the son of a mechanic, and moved back with his parents to Wolverhampton when he was a year old. He bought his first guitar from a mail order catalogue and received a few lessons from a local teacher before teaching himself to play. Although he is left-handed, he has always played right-handed. He worked in an office for Tarmac Limited for over two years before becoming a full-time professional musician.

He originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, which became the The N' Betweens. When Jim Lea and singer Noddy Holder later joined, the band renamed itself Slade.

In the 1970s, Slade were the biggest band in the UK, and went on to have 23 Top 20 hits and six number one singles. Three of these singles entered the chart at number one (an achievement that even eluded the Beatles). Released in 1973, Merry Xmas Everybody went on to sell a million copies and has charted every year since. Slade's film Flame is still cited to this day as one of the all-time great music films. Dave's outlandish costumes, hair styles, shoes and make up, also made Slade one of the visually defining groups of the Glam era.

After the break-up of the original band, Dave Hill has helped and supported local and national charities and eventually reformed Slade with Don Powell. Twenty-five years later, they are still regularly touring the world, playing to hundreds of thousands of fans. In 2010 during a concert in Germany, Dave suffered a stroke, from which he made a fully recovery.

Dave married his wife Jan in 1973, and they have three children and four grandchildren. They still live in Wolverhampton. In 2016, Dave turned 70, and it also marked the 50th anniversary of Slade forming.

Questions & Answers

Keith Marron Keith Marron asked:

Is the book goin on Amazon?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Keith,

Thanks for getting in touch. If we reach the crowdfunding target then we will publish the book and it'll be available from all of the usual book retailers, including Amazon. If it doesn't reach its target however, then it won't be published anywhere so please do spread the word to anyone who you think will enjoy Dave's story!

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Manager

Keith Marron Keith Marron asked:


Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Keith, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and thanks for your question.

I'm sorry, but there's currently no plans for Slade to tour the States in the near future, but we had a great time there in the 70s and 80s. It's a wonderful country and we absolutely loved New York City, wow, what a place. Slade actually lived there for short while and I really enjoyed the great vibe of the city. I loved playing the city so much, and would love to come back, sometime in the future.

We met some lovely people and did some great gigs in the Sates. We even toured with the Grateful Dead (that was an eye opener) and ZZ Top, but there's lots more about that in my book.

All of our tour dates are on the Slade website:, so keep an eye on there for tour news. You never know!

Don't forget, to PLAY IT LOUD!


Chris Selby Chris Selby asked:

Is their a time period for pledges to be made for the book?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Chris,

There isn't a deadline for pledges to be made, but the sooner it reaches 100% the sooner we can publish the book!

Best wishes,
The Unbounders

Steve McArdle Steve McArdle asked:

Hi, maybe a stupid question, but what is 'Daves she'd ' ?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Steve,

Dave's shed is where we'll be posting lots of information about the book as well as extra 'sneak peek' material such as videos and photographs. Look out for emails about new posts!

Best wishes,
The Unbounders

Robert Kinns Robert Kinns asked:

How long is this Projects funding length? When does it end?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Robert,

There isn't a deadline for the project, but the sooner it reaches 100% the sooner we can publish the book!

Best wishes,
The Unbounders

Robert Kinns Robert Kinns asked:

Don't forget to mention your book at the concert on the 16th of December at Mount Pleasant

Dave Hill Dave Hill replied:

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the reminder and I hope that you're at the gig. We love playing at the Robin 2, it's our second home! It's also right next door to where I first meet Don, over fifty years ago. It's great seeing so many familiar and local faces there and it will be fitting when we play TAKE ME BACK HOME.

I think we may be playing a certain Christmas song there too...

Keep on rocking,


What is the deadline for this book?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Zdeněk,

There isn't a deadline. As soon as it reaches 100%, the editorial team at Unbound can start working on Dave's book!

Best wishes,
The Unbounders

Paul Smyth Paul Smyth asked:

i have pledged for the £200 deluxe plus edition.i have been given a £5 voucher for answering unbounds questions code 4thanx.can this be deducted from my order?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for getting in touch, and for supporting Dave as well as answering our survey. We're afraid that we can't apply promo codes retrospectively, but you are very welcome to use this to support another project. Just enter the code at the checkout.

Best wishes,

Unbound Support

Henry Giles Henry Giles asked:

This is exciting news about the book and diffently something I am more than happy to pledge to. I was wondering will there be oportunties to have my book signed as I have missed out on the collectable hardback?
I am looking forward to tomorrows gig in Brighton. Should be a good turnout I've been told.
Merry Christmas to you & yours

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Henry,

There is now a £50 level that includes a t-shirt and a collectable (signed) hardback. I hope that helps!

Best wishes,
Georgia, Unbound

Henry Giles Henry Giles asked:

will the superyob tshirt be available in Xl?

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Henry,

Yes, we will make sure the t-shirt is available in a range of sizes.

The Unbounders

Paul Hoult Paul Hoult asked:

Hi Dave

I see my pledge for the Collectable is sold out does this mean it will be despatched shortly, as the money has already been deducted. If not what happens if the target is not reach with regards refunds.

Paul F. Hoult

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for getting in touch and of course for supporting Dave's story! We're delighted to have you on board.

We need the project to reach 100% before we can start work making this into a book and fulfilling the pledge levels, so it might be a while yet I'm afraid. Please do spread the word about the project to help us reach our goal as fast as possible.

You can read what happens if a project is unsuccessful here and more about how Unbound works over in our help centre:

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Manager

The Rewards

All supporters get their name printed in every edition of the book. All levels include immediate access to the author's shed.

Ebook only, with your name listed in the back.
📖 Pledge $15 23 pledges
Earlybird Hardback
Special offer
Limited earlybird first edition hardback with your name in the back, plus free ebook.
Sold out
Limited first edition hardback with your name in the back, plus free ebook.
📖 Pledge $35 97 pledges
A limited first edition signed by Dave, with 'special cover' printed with glam silver-ink finish, plus your name in the back, and the ebook. (Limited to 200)
Sold out
Signed book and Superyob T-Shirt
A Superyob t-shirt plus limited first edition hardback signed by Dave with your name in the back, plus free ebook.
Numbers Limited.
📖 Pledge $65 64 pledges
A signed, numbered and slipcased edition with a set of 6 signed prints, 4 badges & plectrum, plus name in the back, free ebook. (Limited to 100)
📖 Pledge $125 50 pledges
Deluxe Plus
All the rewards of the Deluxe level, along with a set of six signed prints (unique to this level), a rare Slade single, a vintage backstage pass & a copy of a set list from a famous Slade gig. (Limited to 10)
Sold out
Signed book and Facsimile of The N' Betweens Contract
A facsimile of the N' Betweens Contract plus with postcards, vintage backstage pass and plectrum plus limited first edition hardback signed by Dave with your name in the back, plus a copy of the ebook.
Numbers limited
📖 Pledge $190 5 pledges