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Dave Hill (guitarist)

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Dave Hill
A man with shoulder-length hair wears a black t-shirt and a white cowboy hat. His guitar sling sports studs.
Hill in 1981
Background information
Birth nameDavid John Hill
Born (1946-04-04) 4 April 1946 (age 78)
Holbeton, Devon, England
OriginWolverhampton, Staffordshire, England
GenresGlam rock, hard rock
Instrument(s)Guitar, bass guitar
Years active1966–present

David John Hill (born 4 April 1946)[1][2] is an English rock musician. He is the lead guitarist, a backing vocalist and the sole continuous member in the English band Slade. Hill is known for his flamboyant stage clothes and hairstyle.

Early life[edit]

Born in Flete House, Holbeton, Devon, the son of a mechanic, he moved with his parents to Penn, Wolverhampton, when he was a year old.[2] He attended the city's Springdale Junior School and Highfields Secondary school. He bought his first guitar from a mail-order catalogue and received some guitar lessons from a science teacher at his school. He then formed a band called The Young Ones with some school friends. He worked in an office for Tarmac Limited for over two years after leaving school.[3]


Hill in his Slade stage clothes in 1973

Hill originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, whose name was then changed to The N' Betweens. The pair then met bass player Jimmy Lea and singer Noddy Holder, whereafter Slade was born.[3]

Though Hill is left-handed, he plays guitar right-handed.[4] Hill's best known guitar was the "John Birch Superyob" that was built in 1973. The guitar was used by Madness guitarist Chris Foreman in the video for Madness' song "Shut Up" and was later owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants.[5]

Hill is known for his outrageous costumes.[6] The music journalist Stuart Maconie commented:

[H]e usually wore a jumpsuit made of the foil that you baste your turkeys in and platforms of oil-rig-derrick height. All of this though paled in comparison with his coiffure, a sort of demented tonsure with a great scooping fringe. He even had one outfit around 1973 famously called his 'Metal Nun' suit but later styles were much toned down.[7]

His costumes and antics caused some friction with the more serious Lea. This led to a show-down in a BBC dressing room before a recording of Top of the Pops, where Hill replied to the band's criticism of his dress by saying "You write 'em Jim, I'll sell em!"[6] Although he was famous for his hairstyle, in 1977 he shaved his entire head completely bald and kept it that way before growing his trademark hairstyle back a few years later.

During 1983, both Hill and Powell were working on a Dave Hill solo project with local musicians around the Midlands area. By 1984, the project had not been completed. The then-editor of the Slade fan club,[8] Haden Donovan, described the project as "very interesting and very un-Slade-like."[9]

In 1989, Hill formed his own group, Blessings in Disguise. This featured Holder, ex-Wizzard keyboard player Bill Hunt, Craig Fenney and Bob Lamb.[10] The debut single, released in 1989 for the Christmas market, was a ballad cover of The Everly Brothers' "Crying in the Rain" with Holder drafted in for lead vocals, backed by a Hill/Hunt composition, "Wild Nights".[11] The record was a commercial failure. The band also recorded a cover of the Elvis Presley song "A Fool Such As I" which was unreleased.[12][13]

Hill performing with Slade at Weymouth Pavilion in 2016

Hill attended the launch of a £2 million appeal to raise funds for Queen Alexandra College for the Blind in Birmingham. There he heard a song called "A Chance to Be", sung by blind and visually-impaired children. Hill was so moved by the occasion that he agreed to perform and produce the recording of the song. The two writers of the song were staff at the institute, Daniel Somers and Colin Baines. Hill's band name, Blessing in Disguise, was picked as the group name and the single featured ex-Shakatak female vocalist Norma Lewis rather than Holder. The B-side was a track written by Hill entitled "You're the Reason that I'm Strong". It was the last recording made by the group and was released in 1991.[14][15]

Slade finally split up in 1992, but Hill decided to carry the group on as Slade II. Don Powell joined him and the band has continued to this day with various line-ups. In 1997 the name of Slade II was shortened back to Slade. The band released the album Keep on Rockin' in 1994, which has also been re-packaged as Superyob, and also as Cum on Let's Party![16]

Personal life[edit]

He embraced the image of a yob for performances. As well as the references to "Superyob" above, Hill, since a young age used the numberplate "YOB 1" on his cars.[17] Hill married his wife Jan in Mexico City in the 1970s, and they have three children: Jade, Bibi, and Sam.[18] They live in Lower Penn, Staffordshire, England, where Hill occasionally teaches music at Lower Penn School and Penn Hall School.[19] In 2010 during a concert in Nuremberg, Germany, Hill suffered a stroke, from which he recovered to continue touring and recording.[20]

In December 2016, Hill was knocked down by a cyclist in Brighton. He suffered a broken elbow as a result of the accident, and Slade called off shows planned for early 2017.[21]

Hill and his wife are Jehovah's Witnesses.[22][23]


Hill published his autobiography, entitled So Here It Is: The Autobiography, in November 2017.[24]

Hill had first announced the idea of releasing a biography in the early 1990s. In a 1992 interview with the Slade fan club, he said: "I approached John Ogden of the Wolverhampton Express and Star with a view to putting down some of my experiences and stories, to see if a book could be produced that would be entertaining and amusing."[25]

Later in November 2016, Hill announced he was in the process of writing an autobiography, with a possible 2017 release through Unbound, subject to it reaching the online pledge target.[24] He revealed: "I've written my autobiography for my fans and for my family, especially my grandkids. I've got plenty of funny tales but also some others which show that my life hasn't been all rock 'n' roll."[24] So Here It Is: The Autobiography was released on 16 November 2017.[26] Noddy Holder provided the foreword and Noel Gallagher the afterword.[27]


  1. ^ Moseley, Brian (May 2011). "Flete House Maternity Home, Holbeton". The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History. Plymouth Data. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Slade star's Devon roots". BBC Devon. 15 November 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b Bradley, Steve (24 July 2010). "Dave Hill from Slade talks about his roots". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Arts and Entertainment". Yorkshire Evening Post. 10 November 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ "60 Seconds: Marco Pirroni". Metro. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b Hutchinson, Martin; Savage, Wayne (28 November 2012). "Ipswich: Regent rocks to the sound of Slade and Sweet". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  7. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2004). Cider With Roadies (1st ed.). London, UK: Random House. p. 34. ISBN 0-09-189115-9.
  8. ^ "1984 Slade Fan Club". Sladefanclub.com. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ 7" vinyl single of "Crying in the Rain" sleeve notes.
  11. ^ "Blessings in Disguise featuring Noddy Holder and Dave Hill – Crying in the Rain / Wild Nights – Mooncrest – DISGUISE 1". 45cat.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Dave Hill interview". Sladefanclub.weebly.com. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  13. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter, July–August–September 1989.
  14. ^ "Dave Hill single". Sladefanclub.weebly.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  15. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter, July–August–September 1991.
  16. ^ "Cum on Let's Party [Bonus Track]". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  17. ^ Webber, Richard (24 September 2012). "Slade's Dave Hill: 'Most of our earnings went on tax'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  18. ^ Webber, Richard (24 September 2012). "Slade's Dave Hill: 'Most of our earnings went on tax'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Celebrity Midlanders Part One – Musicians". Express & Star. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  20. ^ "I played on despite stroke says Slade star Dave Hill". Birmingham Mail. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  21. ^ "Rockers Slade cancel shows after guitarist Dave Hill hit by bicycle". ITV. 29 December 2016.
  22. ^ getreading (16 November 2007). "Dave Hill is ready for Christmas". Berkshire Live. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  23. ^ Gleave, Ed (19 December 2020). "Slade's Dave Hill can't serenade wife with festive hit - as she doesn't do Xmas". Daily Star. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  24. ^ a b c So Here It Is, The Autobiography. Unbound. ISBN 9781783524228. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  25. ^ Edmundson, Ian. "Dave Hill Interview with Malcolm Skellington from 'Percy', April 1992". Slayed.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  26. ^ Hill, Dave (16 November 2017). So Here It Is: How the Boy From Wolverhampton Rocked the World With Slade. Unbound. ISBN 978-1-78352-420-4.
  27. ^ Drew, Mark (21 October 2017). "Noel Gallagher: Oasis would never have formed if it wasn't for Slade". Express & Star. Retrieved 6 December 2018.

External links[edit]