The Slade Song That Made Noddy Holder Rich For The Rest Of His Life

With Christmas just arrived, let us tell you the story of the Xmas song that changed Noddy Holder’s life. Noddy Holder, as you know, is a founding member of Slade, one of the shining stars of the 70s glam rock scene. He is also the one who penned the band’s chart-topper songs.

In 1973, Noddy wrote another song, or rather a true money-maker. However, he probably didn’t know that this one would change his life that much. The musician would refer to the song as ‘a nice pension plan’ in his later statements, but he wasn’t aware at the time that it would be a pension plan that would bring him nearly a million pounds a year.

This song was Slade’s sixth and final number-one single in the UK. So, their following songs didn’t take their titles as high as their predecessors, but this hit made them a lifetime of money anyway. You’ve probably guessed the song, but let us tell you: the famous money-maker is ‘Merry Xmas Everybody.’

Most people have probably dreamed of what they would do with all that money if they hit the lottery. Not only with luck but also with talent and musical insight, Noddy Holder had a similar once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: ‘Merry Xmas Everybody,’ Slade’s lucky ticket. There is no need to mention the song had already rocked the charts the year it was written. However, 50 years later, it still remains the primary source of income for its creators.

We are not exaggerating when we say the ‘primary’ source of income. In 2013, The Performing Right Society estimated that this song generates more than £500,000 yearly for its authors. Of course, Noddy shares this amount with Jim Lea, as he was the one who wrote the famous chorus. But even if they have to share it, it’s still not a little money, is it? If we take the amount estimated by the Daily Mail in 2016, that is, one million pounds each year, it is really not.

In 2021, sitting down for an interview with Rich Pelley for The Guardian, Holder already predicted where the conversation would come to at some point. It wasn’t hard to guess as he had received this inevitable question and heard those famous Christmas yells many times. However, the frontman didn’t give a definitive answer when asked about the money he made with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody.’

“Well, I can’t put a figure on because it’s just different every year,” Noddy Holder told the Guardian. “Some years, it’s used in an advert or movie. There have been all sorts of cover versions, from the Spice Girls to Tony Christie and Oasis. I’ll get my annual PRS [Performing Right Society] statement, and the cross-section of artists who perform it on their Christmas tours is amazing. All four of the original Slade share performing rights, but it just happens that Jim and I were the main writers, so we earn more.

In the end, the song was more than just luck. Holder was a natural at writing ‘highly danceable’ tunes to fill everyone’s souls with joy. Observing the economic hardships closely in England at the time, the frontman just wanted to write a song that would cheer people up. Only one night was enough for the singer to write the lyrics of this timeless song, as he knew his audience well.

One evening he had a drink at a pub in Wolverhampton and went to his mother’s house, and ta-da — the song was ready in just one draft. And from the moment it was recorded, Noddy Holder’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ would become one of the iconic heralds that the festive period was coming. As it seems, the song will continue to fulfill its mission successfully even after 50 years.