Friday, 10 March 2017
1973. A Year of Highs and Lows.
1973 turned out to be a dramatic year. A year of great highs and lows.
We had three straight to number one singles - Cum on Feel the Noize, Skweeze Me Pleaze Me and, at the end of the year, Merry Xmas Everybody. To say that these were huge hits would be an understatement. The pre-orders for the Christmas single alone were 250,000 copies! Slade was the biggest group in the UK and massive all over Europe. We'd made it.
Then wham! Just when we we were riding high, Don and Angela, his girlfriend, had a terrible car accident.
To look at the wreck of Don's car, you'd have thought that no one could have survived, and very sadly, Angela died. Don was barely alive and had awful injuries, and the whole of Slade and Chas, our manager, were worried sick. It was real touch and go.
Don pulled through, but the injury to his head was serious. He'd permanently lost his sense of taste and smell and his short term memory, and with this, sadly, he also lost all memories of Angela. I really think Don's sense of humour and strong personality not just pulled him through but helped him recover, but it was tough.
Before Don's accident we'd planned a holiday in the states, with our girlfriends, Angela and Jan, and once I knew that Don was out of the woods I went. As part of my plan, was for me and Jan to get married, which we did.
Slade tried to carrying on as normal, and the best thing for Don was to get him drumming and back in action. He now needed help remembering our songs and daily reminders on where he should be and what he should be doing.
Then, after this terrible accident, we ended the year with our biggest hit ever. We recorded the Christmas single in the the sweltering summer heat in New York and would return home to strikes, three day weeks and power cuts but to a country that needed cheering up and wanted the best Christmas they could get. The Christmas song did just that, and still does forty four years later.