Football terrace choruses, phonetically spelt song titles, top hats with mirrors, half-mast trousers, bad haircuts, bugger-grips and Superyobs. It was said that glam “cheered up the ’70s” and none seemed cheerier than Slade, the former Black Country bower-boys who, by late 1974, had become the genre’s most successful exponents. With 12 consecutive Top Five hits and six No 1s to their name (a statistic that knocked Sweet, Bowie and even T. Rex into the shade) Slade seemed invincible. Until, that is, they decided to make their first and only feature film.
Released in 1975, Flame wasn’t, as anticipated, a light-hearted glamorama choc-a-bloc with glitter boots, big hits and slapstick capers (even though it was initially suggested they commit to a Quatermass sci-fi spoof entitled The Quite-A-Mess Experiment). Instead, the band first took debut director Richard Loncraine and writer Andrew Birkin (who would go on to make Brimstone And Treacle and The Cement Garden, respectively) on the road in America to show them the harsh, dismal, sexless and drugless truth behind the rock’n’roll clich