Cum On Feel the Noize: Slade's instant hit recipe
Cum On Feel the Noize single cover
Cum On Feel the Noize is a 1973 single by the English glam rock band Slade that topped the charts a week after its release. Such a meteoric rise was made possible by a new strategy of pre-release airplay to build up pre-order sales for the single implemented by the band's manager Chas Chandler and the head of Polydor's label John Fruin.
Written by vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, the song was originally titled Cum On Hear the Noize but Holder would later change the word "hear" to "feel," impressed with one of their shows where he "felt the sound of the crowd pounding in [his] chest." Curiously, the opening phrase "baby, baby, baby" was not intended as part of the lyrics and was just a microphone test that was included in the final mix during post-production.
Reviewers were generally on board with Cum On Feel the Noize, and the song received mostly positive press. The "baby, baby, baby" introduction was even called "one of the most distinctive intros of the age". Critics have also noted how Slade stood out from other contemporaries by doing "this pop-rock stomping better than anyone." Indeed, the band has always had a knack for producing hits, which can be largely attributed to their approach to songwriting based on classical tonal theory and simple chord progressions.
Listen to Cum On Feel The Noize by Slade:
Structurally, Cum On Feel the Noize is composed of two sections, and its harmonic progressions follow the mold of classical theory, namely the Ionian mode. In the harmonic analysis of the song's chord chains, the scale degrees (denoted with Roman numerals) show the following progressions in the key of G major:
- G–D–Em–Am–G–D or I–V–vi–ii–I–V for choruses
- G–Bm–Em–Am–G–D or I–iii–vi–ii–I–V for verses
Remarkably, the chorus progression shows minor triads rooted in the second, third, and sixth scale degrees referred to in musical theory as supertonic, mediant, and submediant chords, respectively. These three chords form the basis of the relative Aeolian mode and their use gives the tune a distinct minor feel. The V–vi harmonic turnaround that appears in the verse chord progressions is known as deceptive cadence.
Discover more songs composed in Ionian major mode and check out their harmonic analysis in the following articles:
- 6 songs to unpack Ionian mode and the major scale
- Tumbling Dice: hundred reels of tape for a messy Rolling Stones mix
- Sugaree: Jerry Garcia's song referencing his lyricist's criminal past
- Marie Laveau: ballad of the legendary Voodoo Queen
- Statesboro Blues: no one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell
- Hushabye: folk roots of famous rock and roll lullaby
- Coal Miner's Daughter was forced to remove a third of the lyrics from her autobiographical song
- I Wanna Be Sedated: pure classical harmony cementing the Ramones' hit in punk rock history
- Seven Seas of Rhye: song of imaginary land brought to life by Ionian and Mixolydian modes