A tale I heard
Noddy Holder discussing when his band Slade recorded their Christmas hit Merry Xmas Everybody in 1973:
"It was late August, early September and it was clammy and hot. We’d booked this studio time and Chas didn’t know what we were coming up with. Don had had his car crash and was in a bad way – to be honest, we didn’t know if he’d survive. The record company wanted a record out at Christmas so we come up with Merry Xmas Everybody. We played it to Chas and he flipped. I don’t think even Dave and Don had heard it at that point. Chas said the record company would go mad over it and he was right.
At the time, Don’s memory was shot to pieces because he’d banged his head when he had the car crash. We’d be on stage and he couldn’t remember the intros to the songs. While I was talking to the audience, Jim would whisper in his ear how the next song should start. Physically he was in a bad way. But we booked the studio and recorded it.
Don couldn’t remember it from start to finish and I’d be starting talking in his headphones saying ‘the drum roll comes here’. We made that record like painting by numbers, everyone put a bit on separately."