LET’S face it, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the sound of Slade.

Singer Noddy Holder may no longer be touring but original members drummer Don Powell and guitarist Dave Hill will be bringing the band to Manchester next week.

And, of course, THAT song will be featuring in the set.

“We have to play it in the summer so there’s no chance we won’t be playing it so near to Christmas,” laughed Don.

Merry Christmas Everybody was Slade’s sixth and final number one, topping the charts in 1973 and it has been a part of the festive season ever since.

“I’m still proud of that song even now,” said Don. “The fact it’s still going after all this time is incredible really. And to think we didn’t even want to release it.

“We recorded it in New York when we had a week off before going on tour to Australia. Chas Chandler our manager said we had to get into the studio and record it because we wouldn’t have time when get back to the UK.

“It was the middle of summer and about 100 degrees outside and we were there singing this Christmas song. We got some strange looks from the American technicians I can tell you.

“When we finished it we really weren’t sure about it, we didn’t want it to go out but Chas said ‘I don’t care what you lot think about it, it’s going out as a single’.

“Thank goodness he did!”

Don believes the popularity of Merry Christmas Everybody is down to Noddy Holder’s lyrics.

“That’s what’s so special about it for me,” he said. “They’re spot on, he did a fantastic job there.

“Actually he told me he as a bit inebriated at the time, he’d just got back from the pub when he wrote it.”

In the Seventies, Slade were one of the biggest bands in the world with a string of hits and numerous appearances on Top of the Pops. The band then underwent a resurgence in popularity when they played the Reading Rock Festival in 1980 replacing Ozzy Osbourne at the last minute.

“We didn’t even have any passes; we had to walk through with the punters and work our way backstage,” said Don. “People came up to us and asked ‘what are you lot doing here?’ I think we showed them why when we got on stage. We have always been a rock band but I think our Reading appearance surprised a lot of people.”

Don now lives with his wife and family in Denmark but is still regularly touring Europe with Slade.

“Over last few years we’ve been playing in Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic - all those countries we couldn’t get to in the Seventies - and we have a fantastic response. It’s an amazing feeling when fans come up to you and tell you how much your music means to them.

“We did a gig at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow and after we were asked if we’d play for this guy’s wife’s birthday party. We had a few days off so we said ‘why not?’ We ended up doing a set in a restaurant - it was like the old days when we’d play to get free food and booze.”

Slade, Manchester Academy, Saturday, December 22. Details from 0161 832 1111