Neville John "Noddy" Holder, MBE (born 15 June 1946) is an English musician and actor. He was the lead singer and guitarist of the English band Slade, one of the UK's most successful acts of the 1970s. Holder co-wrote most of Slade's material with bass guitarist Jim Lea and is known for his powerful voice.
Holder performing in 1981
|Birth name||Neville John Holder|
|Born||15 June 1946|
Walsall, Staffordshire, England
|Genres||Glam rock, hard rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, actor, musician, writer, broadcaster, voice over artist|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar|
|Associated acts||Slade, Dave Hill|
Neville John Holder was born on 15 June 1946 in the Caldmore area, near the centre of Walsall, Staffordshire, England.[note 1] As a child he moved with his family to the Beechdale Estate, a council estate in the north of the town. The son of a window cleaner, Holder passed the Eleven plus exam and attended a grammar school for a year until it closed. He then attended the new T. P. Riley Comprehensive School and passed 6 GCE O-level exams. He formed a group called the Rockin' Phantoms with school friends at the age of 13, and with money earned from a part-time job, he bought a guitar and an amplifier. He also used his father's window-cleaning van to drive Robert Plant to gigs with Plant's band at the time, the Tennessee Teens. Holder started his own band called the Memphis Cutouts and then with Steve Brett & the Mavericks in the early '60s made four singles for Columbia Records.
In 1966 drummer Don Powell persuaded Holder to join The 'NBetweens, a group which already included guitarist Dave Hill and bass guitarist/ keyboard player/violinist/songwriter Jim Lea. Together they formed the band Ambrose Slade, eventually to become Slade, one of Britain's top-selling rock bands. Slade also recorded some ballads, "Everyday" and "How Does It Feel?" in particular being widely acclaimed.
Lea and Holder turned out to be the group's most successful song-writing partnership, composing almost all of the band's songs. The band clocked up 21 hit singles and released 15 albums in their 25-year career as the original line-up.
Slade are particularly remembered for the single "Merry Xmas Everybody" written by Holder and Lea. Holder recorded the single with Slade in 1973, and the song became the band's sixth number one and the third Slade single to go straight in at number one in the UK chart. "Merry Xmas Everybody" has remained seasonally popular ever since and is a festive classic. To date, in the UK alone, sales of this song have reached more than one million copies.
After twenty-five years with Slade, Holder left to pursue a career away from music, with regular stints as radio presenter, television personality, actor and voice-over artist.
During 1982, Holder branched into production and worked with his old school friend Phil Burnell and his band Three Phase on one single "All I Want To Do Is (Fall in Love With You)", which was the band's only release. Holder and Burnell produced the single together, and it was published under Noddy Holder Music Ltd./Whild John Music Ltd., and released via Speed Records. The single did not enter the UK chart, as it received limited promotion.
During late 1983, Holder did some production work with the American band The First, who came over to the UK from Boston, Massachusetts in America, especially to work with him, although there was never any release of material. In late 1983, both Holder and Lea produced Girlschool's cover of the T-Rex song "20th Century Boy" and then the parent album Play Dirty which featured two Slade tracks "Burning in the Heat of Love" and "High and Dry". The "High and Dry" track was originally written for Girlschool but still appeared on Slade's album that same year. In 1985, Holder co-wrote, and sang backing vocals on, the single "Citizen Kane" which Lea released under his own name.
In 1988, Holder recorded "Tear into the Weekend" for a Pepsi commercial in Canada. In 1989 Holder provided vocals to help out Dave Hill (Slade Guitarist) and his newly formed group Blessings in Disguise which also featured, Ex-Wizzard keyboard player, Bill Hunt, Craig Fenney and Bob Lamb. The debut single, released in 1989 for the Christmas market was a cover of The Everly Brothers "Crying in the Rain", backed by a Hill/Hunt composition, "Wild Nights". The band also recorded a cover of the Elvis Presley song "A Fool Such As I" which wasn't released. The follow-up and final Blessings in Disguise single, "Chance to Be" did not feature Holder.
Since his departure from Slade in 1992, Holder has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, most notably the ITV comedy/drama series The Grimleys (1996–2001) as classical music teacher Neville Holder. For the series, Holder recorded acoustic versions of the Slade songs "Coz I Luv You", "Cum on Feel the Noize", "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and "Everyday".
He had his own radio shows on Piccadilly 1152 and Key 103 in Manchester, which were syndicated around the country all of the 1990s, then on Century and Capital Radio syndication from 2000 to 2004.
In 1996, Holder was the subject of the This Is Your Life TV show. He also presented 31 episodes of Noddy's Electric Ladyland, a surreal television quiz show. He was a team captain in BBC1's music series A Question of Pop and was immortalised as a puppet character Banger on the TV show Bob the Builder.
In 1999, Holder's autobiography, Who's Crazee Now?, was published by Ebury. Updated in paperback in 2001 it is still available online. It was written by Holder with Lisa Verrico.
Between 1999 and 2001, Holder played a schoolteacher, Mr Holder - a fictional version of himself in the TV series The Grimleys.
On 8 December 2000, Holder made a cameo appearance on the live episode of Granada Television's Coronation Street, as a character called Stan, saving the cobbles from being replaced on the street. This helped mark the 40th anniversary of the soap.
In November 2004, he made a guest appearance in Peter Kay's Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere – where he played a garage mechanic called Mick Bustin. The scenes were filmed in Bolton. Also for the past 25 years Holder has voiced, sung and appeared in many adverts for TV, film and radio worldwide.
Holder was a regular TV critic and contributor to The Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 2 for eight years, and the three often talked about rock star gossip from all eras. Radcliffe often refers to Holder as 'Sir Nodward of Holdershire'.
To celebrate his 50th year in showbiz, Holder toured the UK during May 2013 with Mark Radcliffe for a series of intimate 'In conversation with' shows. Venues for the spring part of the tour include Bolton, Leeds, Durham, Telford, Preston, Redditch, Buxton and Harrogate. During the majority of shows Holder performed some short acoustic numbers.
Holder was the third celebrity to be inducted onto the Birmingham Walk of Stars. 27,000 people turned out to his induction ceremony, which took place on 9 December 2007 at Birmingham's 2007 Canal Boat Light Parade.
Holder has taken the opportunity to do some very confusingly non-rock'n'roll things since parting with Slade. In 2011, Holder as 'King of the Sizzle' fronted British Sausage Week, touring the country to find the Best British Bangers and to promote support for British farmers and butchers.
Holder featured as "Geoff's Dad" in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Hobby Bobbies. Series 1 was broadcast July / August 2013 and Series 2 November / December 2014.
On 25 September 2014, Holder released his second book via Constable, titled The World According to Noddy.
Holder married dress designer Leandra Russell in 1976. They had two daughters Jessica and Charisse, and divorced in 1984. In 2004, Holder married TV producer Suzan Price, with whom he has a son, Django (named after Django Reinhardt). Holder lives in Prestbury, Cheshire.