27 November 1982
Rock, pop rock
Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')
"(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" is a song from rock band Slade which was released as the lead single in late 1982, from the album The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome, which would not be released until the end of 1983, along with its 1984 American counterpart Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply. The song was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. It was produced solely by Lea.
Following the band's solid commercial success with the 1981 album Till Deaf Do Us Part, the band recorded a new studio album, and decided to release "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" from it. The single was released a month before the band's third live album Slade on Stage, and being released in November it attempted to appeal to the Christmas market. After gaining the interest of heavy metal fans with the comeback gig at the Reading Festival in 1980, the song was Slade's first ballad-styled tracks since the turn of the decade. Despite being a radio-friendly ballad, and a song that the band had high hopes for, the single only peaked at #50 in the UK, spending a total of seven weeks on the charts. Although it was not the big hit as expected by the band and their record label RCA, the following late 1983 single "My Oh My", another ballad, was a number two hit in the UK.
The single fared better in Poland, where it ended up peaking at #2 in January 1983, lasting on the chart for nine weeks. The song also peaked at #29 on the multilingual commercial broadcaster Radio Luxembourg, lasting on the chart for two weeks. In the UK "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" debuted at #67 on 27 November, reaching its peak of #50 the following week. After that the song continued to stay within the 55-65 region for a month, before dropping to #85 on 8 January 1983 as its final week in the Top 100. The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome album would end up being released a whole year later in December 1983 - the longest period Slade had ever undergone without releasing new material. In that time though the band were still working behind the scenes, whilst Holder and Lea produced the Girlschool album Play Dirty.
In the Sounds magazine of 8 January 1983, an article, including interviews with the band, was published. The author Garry Bushell remarked that "one thing I've always liked about Slade is you never blanded out. Even the anthems were rowdy - you've never got away from, for want of a better word, that terrace feel, the raucousness". Lea responded by using "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" as an example, explaining that "we've tried to, but we can't [laughs]. When we wrote "C'est La Vie" we thought it was a ballad but when Dave Lee Travis played it he said "That's Slade and now for a ballad" and put Lionel Ritchie on and then we realised ours wasn't a ballad at all. It came over like four idiots trying to tear their way out of the speakers."
Bushell opinion'd that "C'est La Vie" deserved to desecrate the Dirty Thirty but actually fell short of the mid-fifties. It couldn't have helped to have three Slade singles out at the same time. "C'est La Vie" was the official RCA one, then Speed Records (run by Jim's brother Frank) released a picture disc version of an old live "Okey Cokey" recording, and natch Polydor put out "Merry Xmas Everybody" for the millionth time." Still, in an interview in Record Mirror magazine published 15 January 1983, the band revealed that they hoped to release a new studio album shortly, and that they hoped their current tour will consolidate on the success of the "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" single.
In the Sounds magazine of 10 December 1983, Bill Black produced an article on the band, where he asked Holder how it felt to be back in the chart running for the third time. Holder replied "It's good, but we've never really stopped working. It may have looked as if we disappeared after "Lock Up Your Daughters" but we released a single at the end of last year - "C'est La Vie" - which looked as if it was going to be quite a big hit but unfortunately it didn't get much above #50 in the charts. In addition to that we've done three nationwide tours and they all sold out."
Upon release of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome, Holder recalled the song and its inclusion on the album; "The whole album's very rocky though some of the tracks are more intricate than we've ever done before. We've also put "C'est La Vie" on it which we had out as a single a year ago and we had high hopes for it. Maybe we could resurge that at some point. But quite apart from that there's at least two other tracks that would make strong singles so we're confident about the future."
In the Slade International Fan Club Magazine of September–December 1986, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade's material. For the top three best non-hit singles, "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" placed at #3.
In November 2005 on Holder's regular TV-reviewing slots on the BBC Radio 2 show The Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie show, Holder was asked to choose a track from the recently released compilation The Very Best of Slade. To Radcliffe's surprise Holder chose "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie". Holder reasoned the track, although not one of Slade's best known singles, showed off his voice really well.
"(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" was released on 7" vinyl via RCA Records. The single was released in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. It was the first song to receive a production credit solely to Lea, and not the entire band. It was produced by Jimmy Lea for Perseverance Ltd. Although Slade on Stage was credited to the group as a whole, later studio releases would see Lea as producer instead, except for any single material produced by Slade's future producer John Punter.
All versions of the single featured the b-side "Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')" - a live version of the band's 1973 Christmas hit. It is credited to "Slade & The Assorted Nutters Choir" on the 7" vinyl single, and was produced by Slade for Perseverance Ltd. Although information on the version's recording is uncertain, it is likely the song was recorded at the Newcastle City Hall in December 1981 where the Slade on Stage album was recorded. Without being included on the live album, the b-side was exclusive to the single until it appeared on the 1985 studio album Crackers - The Christmas Party Album and its various re-issues. During late 2007 it would appear on the CD Slade - Live, given free with the Mail on Sunday. In 2007, Salvo released a compilation of Slade's b-sides titled B-Sides however the live version was not included.
The UK and German versions of the single came with a full colour picture sleeve which featured an uncredited photograph of the band in black and white. The same photograph was reused for Slade on Stage. A similar front artwork design is used on both releases, with only the text differing. The German sleeve, unlike the UK one, highlighted the title of the b-side on the front cover.
At the same as the single's release, Speed Records also released a limited edition 7" vinyl picture-disc version of the band's 1979 recording of "Okey Cokey", which had failed to chart when first released, and did not chart again with this new release. "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" also had to compete with another re-issue, the tenth, of "Merry Xmas Everybody" which peaked at #67 in the UK, lasting three weeks in the Top 100.
Following the song's original release as a single and later on The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome and Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply albums, the song would also appear on several Slade compilations. It appeared on the 1990 Bear Tracks German compilation Slade Story 3, which highlighted the band's material from 1977 to 1987. It then appeared on the 1991 compilation The Slade Collection 81-87. A re-packaging of the compilation was released by Salvo in 2007, which merged the release with the 1993 follow-up compilation The Slade Collection, Vol. 2 79-87. The Salvo double CD release was titled The Collection 79-87. Following this, the song also appeared on the 2005 Polydor compilation The Very Best of Slade, and the 2006 Salvo four-disc box-set compilation The Slade Box.
Additionally the song has also appeared on the German two-disc compilation History, as well as the unofficial Russian 2CD+DVD set Anthology 1969-1991 Volume Two.
Although some of band's previous singles from 1981 had ones created, "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" did not have a promotional music video.
The band performed the song on TV once; the UK music-based children's TV programme Razzmatazz, on ITV. This was possibly in December of that year.
After the last UK tour during March/April 1982, Slade embarked on another UK tour in December, which promoted the single, and the Slade on Stage album. During this tour the song had its only live performance, when it was included in some of the show set-lists. The band would begin the song by playing the opening section via a vocal-only tape, taken from the studio recording. An unofficial audience recording in circulation of the band's show at the Hammersmith Odeon on 18 December 1982 features the song. When introducing the song Holder described it as "a sad little love song".
- "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" - 3:44
- "Merry Xmas Everybody (Live & Kickin')" - 4:03
In the booklet of the 2007 Salvo remaster of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome album, the writer Chris Ingham spoke of the song, stating "In November 2005 on one of his regular TV-reviewing slots on the Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 2 show, Noddy Holder was asked to choose a track from the recently released The Very Best of Slade. To Radcliffe's surprise Noddy chose the flop single "C'est La Vie", a waltz-time anthem about the bittersweet feelings surrounding an end-of-affair tryst. Noddy reasoned that the track showed off his voice really well; so it does."
In the Kerrang! magazine of December 1982, Malcolm Dome wrote an article based on the band, with an interview with Holder, under the title "The Bishop of Bludgeon". The article revealed "The LP [Slade on Stage] was mixed by the band at London's Portland Studios. And, typical of their workaholic attitude, they recorded a new album while they were there, for which the current single "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie" is an excellent taster." The following year, in the December 1983 issue of Kerrang!, another Slade article written by Dome saw him comparing the song with the succeeding single "My Oh My". He wrote "It's 'flame-on' time again as "My Oh My" has burnt a cinder trail up the Top 20. A ballad in the tradition of "Everyday" and "C'est La Vie", this song sways with an almost waltz-style rhythm (a case of "We'll Bring The Strauss Down"?) yet retains a north-face-of-the-Eiger (i.e. very rocky) foundation - balls to the waltz??"
Upon release, Record Mirror magazine reviewed The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome album and noted "...And (And Now The Waltz) C'est La Vie tends to disappear into the clouds of its own long-winded ambition." On 17 December 1983, another Record Mirror review of the album was published, where writer Robin Smith spoke of the song at the end of the review, writing "Just time to mention "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie", "Cheap 'n' Nasty Luv" and "Razzle Dazzle Man."
Sounds magazine also reviewed the album upon release, and spoke of the song in relation to "My Oh My" which also appeared on the album; "Elsewhere, the "Sailing" style scarves in the air of the single is surpassed by the even more anthemic "C'est La Vie", but as always it's the hell-raisin' metalboogie stomps that really shake the timbers, and there's enough big stampers here to keep Quiet Riot in hits till 1987!"
In the 1st Slade fan club magazine of 1984, fan club editor Haden Donovan spoke of the song in a track to track description of each song from the album. For "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie", he wrote "What can be said about this vastly underrated song except that it should have been a monster hit."
Joe Geesin of the Get Ready to Rock webzine reviewed the album, and wrote "C'est La Vie" was a waltz ballad that flopped as a single - strange choice lads."
Dave Thompson of Allmusic mentioned of the song in a review of the 2005 compilation The Very Best of Slade, where he stated "No matter that the hits went so badly off the boil around 1975-1976 - still, three-quarters of disc one is nonstop solid gold and the remainder of the set isn't far behind, as Slade's mid-'80s renaissance delivers further smashes "My Oh My" and "Run Run Away." Which would be hits enough for anybody, but the fun doesn't end there. A bonus second disc then digs into the darker recesses of the Top 75 to pull out the band's lesser successes, a mixed bag that runs from "All Join Hands" to "Ruby Red," the 1980 live version of "Born to Be Wild," "Gypsy Roadhog," "C'est La Vie," and more."