Saxon performing at Wacken Open Air, 2016
|Origin||Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England|
|Members|| Biff Byford |
|Past members|| Graham Oliver |
Saxon are an English heavy metal band formed in 1977, in Barnsley. As one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal, they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including four UK Top 10 albums and two Top 5 albums. The band also had numerous singles in the UK Singles Chart and chart success all over Europe and Japan, as well as success in the United States. During the 1980s, Saxon established themselves as one of Europe's greatest metal acts. The band tour regularly and have sold more than 23 million albums worldwide. They are considered one of the classic metal acts, and have influenced a number of bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, Exodus, Overkill, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, Running Wild, Dream Theater, Dokken, Skid Row, Sodom, Celtic Frost, Bathory and King Diamond.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England, located halfway between Leeds and Sheffield. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town centre lies on the west bank of the Dearne Valley. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and its administrative centre. At the 2011 Census, Barnsley had a population of 91,297.
The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.
Saxon began with a lineup formed by former Coast members Peter "Biff" Byford on vocals, Paul Quinn and former Sob member Graham Oliver on guitars, Steve "Dobby" Dawson on bass;and Pete Gill on drums and were originally named "Son of a Bitch". The band changed their name to Saxon shortly afterwards. They started out by gaining support slots on tour with more established bands such as Motörhead. In 1979, the band signed to the French record label Carrere run by Freddy Cannon in the UK and released their eponymous debut album.
Peter Rodney "Biff" Byford is an English singer best known as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Saxon.
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.
Graham Oliver is an English guitarist who was born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire. He was a founder member and main songwriter in the heavy metal band Saxon from 1976 to 1995.
In 1980, the band's follow-up album Wheels of Steel , was released and charted at #5 in the UK. It spawned two hit singles: the title track, and the crowd favourite "747 (Strangers in the Night)". The album quickly provided the band with success and they began a series of long-lasting tours across the UK. On 16 August, Saxon appeared at the first Monsters of Rock Festival where they received a very positive reception from the crowd. The band's set was recorded but was not officially released until 2000. In April, Saxon made the first of many appearances on Top of the Pops , where they performed the hit single "Wheels of Steel".
Wheels of Steel is the second studio album by the English heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in 1980 and reached Gold status in the UK.
Monsters of Rock was an annual hard rock and heavy metal music festival held in Castle Donington, England from 1980 to 1996, taking place every year except 1989 and 1993. It later branched into other locations such as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. The programme was shown every Thursday evening on BBC One, except for a short period on Fridays in mid-1973 before being again moved to Fridays at 7:30pm in 1996 and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005. Each weekly programme consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart. Additionally, there was a special edition of the programme on Christmas Day, featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year.
Strong Arm of the Law was released later in the year, charting at #11 in the UK. It is considered by many fans to be their best album, and it helped to keep the band's popularity increasing. Two singles were released from this album: the title track and Dallas 1PM, the latter written about the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Sold out tours of Europe and the UK followed as the album charted in several European countries. The band had also gained great success in Japan where the single Motorcycle Man had stayed in the charts for almost 6 months.
Strong Arm of The Law is the third studio album by the English heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in 1980, four months after Wheels of Steel, and debuted on the UK chart at No. 11.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas, while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was riding with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally's wife Nellie when he was fatally shot by former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald firing in ambush from a nearby building. Governor Connally was seriously wounded in the attack. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where President Kennedy was pronounced dead about thirty minutes after the shooting; Connally recovered from his injuries.
In 1981, the band released their fourth album Denim And Leather which they dedicated to their fan base. The album is still popular today and the title track "Denim And Leather" is regarded as a metal anthem. The album also featured many other fan favourites such as "Princess of the Night", "Never Surrender" and "And the Bands Played On" which were all UK Top 20 hits. Denim And Leather followed its predecessor's success and went Gold in several European countries including the UK. By this time the band was seen as the leaders of the NWOBHM movement with future greats Iron Maiden and Def Leppard following close behind.
"And the Bands Played On" is a single by heavy metal band Saxon from their 1981 album Denim and Leather. It peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and is Saxon's most successful single to date. The album version has a cold ending at 2:48, but the single version continues slightly longer to 2:53 and has a fade ending. The 7" single version has yet to appear on CD.
Just as the band was about to embark on a long tour to follow the success of Denim And Leather, drummer Pete Gill left the band after injuring his hand. The band had to quickly replace him with Nigel Glockler formerly of Toyah, who had to learn the entire set within a day and a half just before the tour was about to begin. Glockler is still with the band today.
Peter Gill is an English former heavy metal drummer, formerly a member of The Glitter Band, Saxon and Motörhead.
Nigel Glockler is an English musician, best known as the longtime drummer for the heavy metal band Saxon, which he first joined in 1981. His surname is sometimes misspelled as "Glockner".
Toyah was an English new wave band fronted by Toyah Willcox between 1977 and 1983. The only other consistent band member throughout this period was Joel Bogen, Willcox's principal co-writer and guitarist.
A series of headlining tours around the UK and a sold out tour in Europe with support act Ozzy Osbourne, resulted in The Eagle Has Landed (1982 UK no 5). Originally planned as a double live album, the record company decided to release it as a single live album despite protests from the band. The Eagle Has Landed is still highly regarded[ by whom? ][ citation needed ]. Saxon also played the 1982 Monsters Of Rock Festival again and became the first band to appear there twice.[ citation needed ]
As the NWOBHM movement began to fade, 1983's Power & the Glory , their highest selling album to date, saw Saxon cement themselves as the leading metal act in Europe along with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The "Power and Glory Tour" was an arena tour that began in Europe, and was a huge success. The US leg of the tour with support act Accept proved to be successful and Saxon found themselves becoming a major act in the US as the album, in its first week of release, sold more than 15,000 copies in Los Angeles alone. The emerging glam metal scene in America would however prevent the band's conquest of the American market, as the genre was increasing in mainstream popularity. The cover art of the album was produced by Hollywood film director Ridley Scott. In late 1983 Saxon left Carrere.
Saxon signed with EMI Records in 1984, with their first release on the label being Crusader . Though still heavy, critics felt the album had a more commercial sound, and fans began to wonder what direction the band was taking. Despite its commercial sound, the title track became a fan favourite. The album sold over 2 million copies and the 1984 world tour "The World Crusade" was a success both in Europe and America. In the US they had Mötley Crüe and Krokus as support for many shows of the tour as the band spent one year on the road. By this time the band was considered as headliners for 1984's Monsters of Rock at Donington, but scheduling issues and record label disputes kept the band from participating.
With the release of Innocence Is No Excuse in 1985, the band continued to take a more commercial direction and this created a division amongst fans as the band's once raw, heavy sound had been watered down to gain more attraction to the large US market. The album has, however, gained more appreciation both from fans and critics as time has passed since its initial release.[ citation needed ] A huge sold out world tour in support of the album followed, but tensions began to appear within the band and by early 1986, bassist Steve Dawson was fired from the band, and Saxon was forced to record their eighth studio album Rock the Nations without a replacement bassist. With Elton John making guest appearances as pianist on 2 tracks, and Byford recording the bass parts, the album charted higher than its predecessor and was considered a success. They hired bassist Paul Johnson to play for the band's European arena tour that followed. In the summer of 1986, Saxon headlined the Reading Festival and toured the United States.
In 1987, the band took time off from constant touring and recording that had begun in the mid 1970s, and only a minor tour of the U.S. and Canada was scheduled. In early 1987, Nigel Glockler left the band and was replaced by Nigel Durham.
The band found it hard to attain chart success in America; the release of Destiny (1988) did not change this, and Saxon were later dropped by EMI. In 1988 Paul Johnson was replaced by Nibbs Carter. At the time, Carter was only 22 and would later be credited for revitalising the band. Nigel Glockler also decided to return to the band. 1989 saw the release of Rock n Roll Gypsies a live album recorded on an arena tour of eastern Europe in 1988, but by 1989, the gigs at the big stadiums and arenas of Europe and the US were few and far between and with no record deal, Saxon's future was uncertain.
The band eventually decided to embark on a European tour titled '10 Years Of Denim And Leather' which proved to be a successful move as the band was re-established as a popular act. In 1990, they signed to Virgin Records and started work on their new album Solid Ball of Rock , which was released in 1991 and proved to be a successful album for Saxon. New bass Player Nibbs Carter co-wrote three songs. In 1992, Saxon carried on this success with the release of Forever Free . The album was produced by Biff Byford and Herwig Ursin. A UK version of the album featured an alternate cover with a "Space Marine" from the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame. "Iron Wheels" was released as a single. The song was written about and dedicated to Byford's father who worked in the coal mines of Yorkshire.
During 1994, Saxon recorded the album Dogs of War . Just after recording was completed, Graham Oliver was fired by the band.The band replaced Oliver with Doug Scarratt, a long time friend of drummer Nigel Glockler. Saxon recorded a new music video for Dogs of War. 1996 saw the release of another live album, The Eagle Has Landed Pt II. They also recorded a cover of the Judas Priest song "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", for a tribute album entitled A Tribute to Judas Priest: Legends of Metal .
Saxon released Unleash the Beast , which was produced by Kalle Trapp and Saxon, in 1997. Saxon began their Unleash The Beast tour in May, where they played in Europe. Unleash the Beast reached the top 100 in the charts in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. In November they played two gigs in Brazil (São Paulo and Santos) and ended the year with a Christmas show in Belgium. In 1998, the band toured the US, as well as also playing the Brazilian Monsters Of Rock. After relentless touring drummer Nigel Glockler took time off to recover from a neck and shoulder injury. He was temporally replaced by Fritz Randow.
September 1999 saw the release of Metalhead . The album received praise in Germany where Saxon had begun to play the Wacken Open Air Festival, where they later became a regular fixture. Saxon also headlined the first Bloodstock Festival in the UK. In 2001, they again headlined the Wacken Open Air Festival and recorded the live DVD "Saxon Chronicles". Saxon also released the album Killing Ground during the same year. In 2002, Saxon released Heavy Metal Thunder, a compilation album featuring re-recorded versions of songs from the band's biggest selling albums.
In 1999, former members Graham Oliver and Steven Dawson registered 'Saxon' as a trade mark. They then maintained that they had exclusive rights to the name and tried to prevent Biff Byford and Saxon's promoters and merchandisers from using the name. Byford applied to the Trade Mark Registry to have the trade mark declared invalid. He applied on the basis that the registration had been obtained in bad faith and that he was entitled to prevent use of the trade mark by bringing an action for 'passing off', that is an action to stop others misrepresenting themselves as Saxon. In 2003, the High Court declared that it was Byford and the current members of the band who owned the name, and were therefore in a position to prevent Oliver and Dawson passing themselves off as Saxon.After this Oliver and Dawson renamed their band Oliver/Dawson Saxon.
Fritz Randow left the band in 2004. His replacement was former Stratovarius member Jörg Michael. 2004 also saw the release of Lionheart their 16th studio album. The album title was inspired from Richard Lionheart, King of England. "Beyond the Grave" was released as a single and a music video. The album received positive reviews and the title track remains a fan favorite.Nigel Glockler rejoined the band in 2005. In 2006, the band released the live album, The Eagle Has Landed – part 3 . The band were due to play that year's Dubai Desert Rock Festival and perform alongside Megadeth. Just before the band were due to play Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing had withdrawn the band's permission to play the festival. It was rumored that the historical lyrics in Crusader were the reason for this.
In 2007, Saxon were the subject of an episode of Harvey Goldsmith's Get Your Act Together. As part of his programme, Goldsmith wanted to try and restore their popularity and cement their reputation once again. He drafted in two new producers to oversee the production of a new single "If I Was You" (a song about gun culture), which went to number one in the Rock Charts in over 10 countries (becoming their most successful single for over 12 years).At the end of the programme, Saxon played at the half sold out Sheffield City Hall. Saxon also performed at the 2008 Download Festival.
Saxon's The Inner Sanctum album, released in Europe on 5 March 2007, and North America on 3 April, was seen by critics as their best work in years.The band then started a world tour in support of the album.
Saxon released a new studio album, Into the Labyrinth , on 12 January 2009. The album received positive reviews and continued the success that The Inner Sanctum had created.The band also headlined the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. In February, it was announced that the band were cancelling the Spanish leg of their European tour with Iced Earth, due to scheduling issues. At the start of 2009 they toured the UK with Doro, and again at the end of the year they did a UK tour. In August of that year, they played at Sonisphere. In September Saxon announced the release of Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie, a documentary on the band's history from the beginning.
Continuing their success in the UK, Saxon performed at the 2010 Download Festival, which took place at Donington Park between 11 and 13 June. The band played the Wheels of Steel album in its entirety to mark the 30th anniversary of its release.
Saxon released their nineteenth studio album, Call to Arms , on 3 June 2011. It debuted at number 6 on the UK Rock Albums chart.The band embarked on a world tour which saw them visit the US; Saxon also revisited the UK for a second leg of the tour. The band announced on their Call To Arms tour that a number of fans at each venue each paying £10 would be able to watch them soundcheck. This was donated to the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and Childline charities.
In December, Byford joined Metallica on stage to perform "Motorcycle Man" for the band's 30th anniversary show. Saxon were billed as special guests supporting Judas Priest at Hammersmith Apollo on 26 May 2012. Saxon also played Download Festival 2012, and were recorded playing "Wheels Of Steel" for the festival's Highlights show shown on Sky Arts. On 13 February 2012, the band announced that they were releasing a new live DVD and CD package entitled Heavy Metal Thunder - Live: Eagles Over Wacken , which compiled their 2004, 2007 and 2009 performances at the Wacken Open Air across various formats. In March, Saxon won the Metal Hammer 2012 Golden God award for 'Best UK band'.
In October, the band announced that their next studio album would be titled Sacrifice and it was released on 25 February 2013.On 11 December 2012 Heavy Metal Thunder - The Movie saw an international release and was the first Blu-ray release for the band. 2013 also saw the release of a new compilation album Unplugged and Strung Up . 2014 saw the release of a new live album named St. George’s Day Sacrifice - Live in Manchester . The band also embarked on a tour in October of that year named Warriors of the Road.
During an interview in November 2014, Biff Byford revealed plans for the band's next studio album, saying: "We're making the new album in January, February and March".In a March 2015 interview, Byford described the album as a mixture of Rock and roll and Heavy metal. When asked about a possible release date, Byford said: "We're looking at maybe at a summer release. It just depends on whether it's ready or not. We're looking at finishing the album by the end of April. We're keeping our fingers crossed."
On 1 August 2015, the band announced 16 October as the release date of Battering Ram and also premiered the official video of the title track.
On 14 September 2016, Biff Byford announced on Facebook that Saxon were working on a new album with producer Andy Sneap, for an early 2017 release.In October 2016, the band announced a tour in the U.S. for the early spring of 2017 with UFO. In a 16 March 2017 interview with former Anthrax vocalist Neil Turbin on Canada's The Metal Voice in Los Angeles, California, Biff Byford gave an update on the new album saying that several songs were already recorded with a few more to complete, with an estimated release date for early 2018.
On 1 June 2017, Saxon were victims of a robbery theft when their passports, phones and wallets were stolen from their dressing room in Umeå, Sweden. The band have been able to travel following the incident, but some of the crew have not. A statement was issued: "[We've had] no luck in tracking the phones but we are checking regularly and the police are involved. We also have a witness, so hopefully this person is caught — especially before he strikes again!".On 15 June 2017, Byford revealed that the title of their new studio album was Thunderbolt . Saxon and UFO teamed up again for another round of shows in North America for the fall. On 7 November 2017, the band announced that the album would be officially released on 2 February 2018. To support the album, they briefly toured Europe and the UK with Diamond Head, Rock Goddess and Magnum from late February to early March 2018, and was the support act along with Black Star Riders for Judas Priest's Firepower World Tour from mid March to early May 2018.
In an October 2018 interview with Sonic Perspectives, Byford confirmed that Saxon will "definitely" record a new album sometime in 2019. He was quoted as saying, "We don't have to have too much commitment to timings. We're an established band — we can pretty much do what we want. If we feel like writing, then we write. If we don't feel like writing, then we don't write. Simple as that."
Dogs of War is the twelfth studio album by the heavy metal band Saxon, released in 1995. It is the last album with Graham Oliver on guitar.
Denim and Leather is the fourth studio album by English heavy metal band Saxon released in 1981. The album was certified Gold status in the U.K. This was the last album with the classic line up of Saxon, as drummer Pete Gill would leave the band due to a hand injury, later joining Motörhead; this was also seen as the last of their triptych of classic albums.
BBC Sessions / Live at Reading Festival '86 is a live compilation album by the British heavy metal band Saxon. It was recorded live in studio by the famous British record producer Tony Wilson for the BBC Radio 1 shows of the early 1980s and at the 1986 Reading Festival, where Saxon were the headliners.
Greatest Hits Live is the third live album by the band Saxon. It was released in 1990 just one year after their previous live album Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies to celebrate the tenth anniversary years of the band's activity, together with a VHS of the concert. This '10 Years Of Denim And Leather' concert was later released on DVD as Saxon 'Live Legends' with the extra track Strong Arm of the Law.
Crusader is the sixth studio album by the heavy metal band Saxon released in 1984. The album sold over 2 million copies.
Power & the Glory is the fifth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1983. The album sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. This is the first Saxon studio album with new drummer Nigel Glockler and was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall of 1982.
Innocence Is No Excuse is the seventh studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1985. It was the group's first album for EMI after a falling-out with their previous label, Carrere Records, and their last with original bassist Steve Dawson.
Solid Ball of Rock is the tenth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1991. Five of its 11 tracks were written by new bassist Nibbs Carter, who cowrote another three songs.
Rock the Nations is the eighth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1986.
Live is the first video album by the British heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in VHS and Laserdisc in 1983 by PolyGram Videos. The video has not been released on DVD so far. Even so, it is available in full on YouTube and bootleg format / pro-shot. The video still brings some video clips recorded for the release of Power and Glory disc, as the title track, Suzy Hold On and Nightmare.
The Eagle Has Landed is the first live album by heavy metal band Saxon and the first album featuring their long time drummer Nigel Glockler. It was recorded during the European leg of the world tour supporting the album Denim and Leather and released in 1982. The album reached no.5 in the UK charts.
The Inner Sanctum is the seventeenth studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon, released on 5 March 2007. It is the first album by the band to feature drummer Nigel Glockler since 1997's Unleash the Beast. A limited edition with DVD is available too.
The Eagle Has Landed – Part II is a double live album by the English heavy metal band Saxon. It is the fourth live album by the band and the first recording to feature Doug Scarratt instead of Graham Oliver, who had left just after the release of Dogs of War.
The Eagle Has Landed - Part III is a double live album by the English heavy metal band Saxon, released in 2006.
Into the Labyrinth, the eighteenth studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon, was released on 9 January 2009. It was made between tours in 2008 and written by the band in England and at Biff Byford's house in France. The first single "Live to Rock" was released on 17 October 2008. The album sold about 1,000 copies in the US in the week after its release.
Call To Arms is the nineteenth studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon. Call to Arms was released 3 June in Europe; 6 June in Denmark, Finland, and the UK; 8 June in Greece and Poland; 10 June in France. Previously, it was due to be released on 23 May 2011. The album was released on 27 September in North America by EMI. Current Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey made a guest appearance on the album.
Sacrifice is the twentieth studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon. It was released on 1 March 2013 in Europe, 4 March in the United Kingdom and 26 March in the United States.
Thunderbolt is the twenty-second studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon, released on 2 February 2018.
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