Jan 07

SLADE – “Coz I Luv You”

FT + Popular29 comments • 6,477 views

#306, 13th November 1971


Probably my least favourite Slade single, simply because Jim Lea’s electric violin does my head in. (And reminds me of the Wonder Stuff!) Personal demons aside, the violin does add a nasty edge to the song, making the band’s menace even more nerve-tightening: not many alleged love songs sound this feral. Come to think of it, even the Velvet Underground’s electric violas never sounded this evil, probably because John Cale gave the impression of being the aloof high priest at some grisly rite, whereas Jim Lea and the Slade boys are right down there in the depraved congregation, getting their sleeves rolled up and their hands bloody.

Slade’s signatures – the stomping, the spelling – are in place, but “Coz I Luv You” sounds rougher and stranger than their more full-on bootboy anthems – and there’s none of Noddy’s future cuddliness here either. Glam’s inheritors are still getting full use out of the rhythms Slade perfected (you could splice this easily with current #1 Mika) but their more atavistic impulses have been smoothed safely out. .




  1. 1
    JohnneyB on 29 Jan 2007 #

    Five? Are you mad? What with the violin and the tune and the stomp and the “la la la”‘s at the end with the violin counter-melody, this is an awesome track. Yes there are better Slade singles, but this has got to be an eight, surely?

  2. 2
    Erithian on 29 Jan 2007 #

    But Johnney, this is a man for whom being reminded of the Wonder Stuff is a BAD thing – and I’d have to distance myself from that viewpoint (Martin “Fiddly” Bell, take a bow). I vaguely remember how novel it seemed to have a violin as a lead instrument in a pop band, especially one that stomped to such effect. I think the NME likened their audience response to a Spurs “gig”. Not my favourite Slade track either, but the 70s are well and truly underway now.

    Number 2 behind this was “Till” by Tom Jones. Has that lodged in anyone’s memory…?

  3. 3
    Marcello Carlin on 29 Jan 2007 #

    Yes, my mum loved it (Dorothy Squires also recorded the song in her own idiosyncratic fashion).

    I don’t think Lea’s violin on “Coz I Luv You” is electrified.

    But the Wonder Stuff did cover the song for the NME Ruby Trax compilation.

    I love Slade and especially this. A nine from me.

  4. 4
    Marcello Carlin on 29 Jan 2007 #

    BTW, guitar/violin dialogue inspired by Django and Grappelli – but the greatness of the violin punctum here is that, as T points out, one feels that it could veer into atonal Cale violence at any stage.

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 29 Jan 2007 #

    Oh yes, and this record is also the logical outcome of “Have I The Right?”

  6. 6
    Tom on 29 Jan 2007 #

    The electric thing came from Wikipedia. Bad Wikipedia, if untrue.

    I entirely sympathise with people saying 5 is too low – I think it’s too low myself, I just can’t get past that violin. Top marks for effectiveness though.

    As an NME reader in 1989 I made many, MANY attempts to convince myself I liked the Wonder Stuff. I think I came close to managing it, too, around the time of “Circlesquare”. It pains my heart that they ended up with a Number 1 and Carter didn’t.

  7. 7
    JohnneyB on 29 Jan 2007 #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_X4AyZW6LM – sounds awesome live.

    Listening to it again I realise just how good Noddy’s voice is. The way he intones “I just LIKE the things you do, don’t you CHANGE the things you do” manages to be sharey and carey and scary all at once. It really was Slade’s secret weapon.

  8. 8
    Kat on 29 Jan 2007 #

    A Wonderstuff fan writes:

    Their version was awful. However I didn’t hear it until after I’d first heard the Slade version being used in the Transit van advert. I like this track more than Feel The Noize but not as much as Merry Wobs Everybody.

    (Circlesquare = def one of the best WS songs! But most of the stuff from that era = t0ss)

  9. 9
    wwolfe on 31 Jan 2007 #

    I loved (or, more appropriately, luvved) Slade. I played the “Slayed?” album a lot, and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” even more. The band was an island of happy, nasty energy in the too-mellow early 1970s, much to my eternal gratitude.

    And yet, I don’t know this song.

    I wonder why Chas Chandler isn’t a more celebrated producer. Given the original, influential sound he created with Slade (sort of the Dave Clark Five with Noddy Holder on lead vocals, instead of Mike Smith, plus a football rally on the choruses), as well as his work on the first three Jimi Hendrix albums, it would seem Chas would get more attention as a producer.

    Popular to the rescue!

  10. 10
    intothefireuk on 1 Feb 2007 #

    Whooah – surely a mistake – 5 ? Are you mad ? This is an awesome record – at least an 8. My first encounter with Slade was via this track and I thought it was ok at the time. It’s grown on me ever since and the violiny twiddly bits in the solo do it for me every time. Reminds me of a yiddish knees up – not that I’ve ever been to one. It’s follow up ‘Look Wot You Dun’ employed the same production and again featured Lea’s violin and IMO was an even better tune (though only made no.4). Having lost the dodgy skinhead image that set their early fanbase this was the first record to feature them with Nods familiar bugger grips and topper and Hills ridiculous fringe.

  11. 11
    Chris Brown on 4 Feb 2007 #

    A person who liked the Wonderstuff just enough to buy the Singles album writes:

    No they didn’t do a very good version of this. Actually ‘Circlesquare’ is one of the relatively few I still like and may crop up on my blog in due course.

    Someone of my acquaintace who shall remain nameless saw that very same Transit van advert and asked whether it was Nick Drake. I presume that “least favourite Slade single” applies only to the big hits, and doesn’t include ‘Myzterious Myster Jones’, ‘7 Year (B)itch’ et al? Even so I can’t wholly endorse it because there’s so much to this song, and at the same time it’s so childishly simple. For better or worse, this is also the first Slade mis-spelling.

  12. 12
    Doctor Mod on 4 Feb 2007 #

    It’s strange that a group so successful in the UK made ABSOLUTELY no impression at all on the American charts. This entry reminded me that while I’d certainly heard of Slade, I’d never actually heard them per se–and if it weren’t for JohnneyB’s link above, I probably wouldn’t have heard them now, as the only “Slade” on the US download sites I frequent is a rapper. (I’m sure there’s some irony in all this somewhere.)

    I have to ask myself why, considering my avid interest in British pop over the last 40+ years, I’d never made the effort to hear this group. I suppose I found the early skinhead image and the purposely misspelled titles truly off-putting (still do), so perhaps I imagined their music to be equally wretched. I was pleasantly surprised.

    I surely wouldn’t call it a great recording–there’s a strain of generic 70s pop running all the way through it–but it’s catchy and the violin is, at very least, interesting. I’d probably give it a 6 or 7, depending on my mood.

    But even if it’s not spectacular in and of itself, it’s better than most of the 1972 number ones–which is probably damning it with faint praise.

  13. 13
    Chris Brown on 5 Feb 2007 #

    Nice Orange boiler suit, Mr Hill!

    Slade did eventually have a dalliance with the US charts, aside from Quiet Riot, but it was comfortably beyond their imperial phase. No doubt we’ll come back to this point.

  14. 14
    koganbot on 9 Feb 2007 #

    One of my favorite Slade songs! I don’t mind menace in my love songs, but I’m not hearing menace, just a minor key, maybe a potential mournfulness, building to desperation (don’t you change the things you do – but she might). What really got me was the reggae strum-strum-strum – yes I’m sure it comes from reggae, so does the walking bass and especially the dubbish echoes towards the end, ska-reggae turned into a stomp. No one else got this sound, ever. Something unique. (You don’t get the echo in the live version that Johnney linked, but you get the ending buildup. That tension I like to talk about between groove and climax is done about as well here as anything not by the Stones and Yardbirds.)

  15. 15
    Alexmhda on 11 Feb 2007 #

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  16. 16
    Matthew on 17 Jan 2009 #

    “Menace”… “evil”… “depraved congregation”… “hands bloody”. The briefest skim of your writeup quickly explains why I just enjoyed this song so much (an 8+ easy), dodgy ex-Goth and electric-violin apologist that I am.

  17. 17
    Waldo on 19 Oct 2009 #

    Tom has been quite rightly slapped around the carpark over this one, as I too think that this was (to coin a Blackburnism) “sensational”, the violin being the cherry on the cake. There is something of Zorba’s Dance about it as it gathers pace magnificently and violins were actually not that novel even to the chart of ’71, as East of Eden had already top-tenned with “Jig a Jig”. It is certainly true that CILY was no pointer to what was to follow from Slade in their golden year of 1973 but this is a brilliant record and one of the highlights of their portfolio.

  18. 18
    Cumbrian on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Came up on random on my way to work this morning. 5 seems a tad harsh.

    With the folk violin, the general air of menance and the swirling, circling nature of it all, I could well imagine Noddy leading the crowd in the la la las at the end, all waving their hands in the air, whilst Edward Woodward sings hymns inside a burning wicker man placed strategically in the grounds of Bantock House.

    A 9 for me – unlike Tom, I like the violin and the general tone of the record. I didn’t like The Wonderstuff though.

  19. 19
    Mark G on 25 Mar 2011 #

    5 is just wrong. *Everybody* thinks so.

  20. 20
    Cumbrian on 25 Mar 2011 #

    I don’t think everyone thinks so – but the average vote for this is currently at 7.6, so it’s obviously rated a bit more highly than Tom thought to start with.

    I can only give my opinion obviously. I quite enjoy CILY. Was surprised Skweeze Me Pleeze Me got a higher mark than it – when I reckon it’s the worst of their number 1s.

  21. 21
    thefatgit on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Possibly my favourite Slade song. It reeks of early childhood nostalgia, primarily because I never regarded it as a love song, but as something I could jump on the furniture to as it played on the radio. And because it starts quietly, you begin by jumping gently…almost bouncing without your feet leaving the sofa, then as the song builds and the stomping gets more urgent, you can start pretending you’re bouncing on the moon, then as the song reaches climax, you’re really going for it!

    And re-reading the paragraph above, you can supplant childhood sofa jumping for more adult pursuits. The song works for both quite effectively :)

  22. 23
    lonepilgrim on 3 Aug 2012 #

    I used to find Slade quite intimidating at the time – their image appeared quite yobbish to me as an 11-13 year old and it is only latterly that I have grown to appreciate the strength of their music

  23. 24
    Lena on 7 Aug 2012 #

    How long can this last?: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/big-talk-tom-jones-till.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

  24. 25
    Lena on 9 Aug 2012 #

    It was a different time…http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/a-tasty-geezer-piglets-johnny-reggae.html Thank you for reading, everybody!

  25. 26
    hectorthebat on 21 Jun 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Paul Morley (UK) – Words and Music, 210 Greatest Pop Singles of All Time (2003)
    Q (UK) – Top 20 Singles from 1970-1979 (2004) 18
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  26. 27
    Larry on 30 Oct 2014 #

    First time hearing this song and I love it. It’s nearly palpable at four decades’ remove what a breath of fresh air T. Rex, Rod, and Slade were. US #1 at this time – the awful “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” by Cher.

  27. 28
    Iain on 3 Feb 2021 #

    Perhaps it’s because this song is in the key of D minor (‘the saddest of all the keys’ Nigel Tuffnell) that it unsettles people, it never quite resolves as, for example, Abba’s SOS does with its shift from A Minor intro into the major key chorus, and there’s always a kind of tension and tentativeness in the vocals as a result. Lea was/is an accomplished musician (just like Anderson) and this is my favourite Slade single even though Lea and Holder later bad mouthed it as ‘pop trash’. Nothing wrong with pop trash if you ask me.

  28. 29
    Gareth Parker on 22 May 2021 #

    Good, but not great in my opinion. I’m closer to Tom here than some of the other commenters. 6/10.

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