Thursday, 1 March 2012



   Saxon are an English heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Barnsley, Yorkshire. As front-runners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they had 8 UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including 4 UK Top 10 albums. Saxon also had numerous singles in the Top 20 singles chart. Between 1980 and 1987 Saxon established themselves as one of Europe's biggest metal acts, they also had success in Japan and in the USA. In Japan, the single "Motorcycle Man" stayed in the charts for over 5 months. They still tour regularly and have sold more than 13 million albums worldwide.

   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 as a great band once again. He drafted in two new producers to oversee the production of the new single If I Was You (a song about gun culture), which went straight to number one of 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 sold out Sheffield City Hall. Saxon also performed at the 2008 Download Festival.

Band members:

Current members:

  • Biff Byford – vocals (1976–present)
  • Doug Scarratt – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (1996–present)
  • Paul Quinn – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (1976–present)
  • Nigel Glockler – drums (1981–1987, 1988–1999, 2005–present)
  • Nibbs Carter – bass (1988–present)
Former members:

  • Graham Oliver – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (1976–1996)
  • Steve Dawson – bass (1976–1986)
  • David Ward – drums (1976–1978)
  • Pete Gill – drums (1978–1981)
  • Paul Johnson – bass (1986–1988)
  • Trevor Thorton – drums (1998-1999)
  • Fritz Randow – drums (1999–2004)
  • Jorg Michael – drums (2004–2005)


   Saxon is the debut studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon released in 1979 (see 1979 in music).


   Wheels of Steel is the second studio album by heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in 1980 (see 1980 in music).

   Despite its lyric, "747 (Strangers in the Night)" does not appear to be based on any actual incidents.

   The title track is featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City (Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony) and Brütal Legend. It has also been covered by L.A. Guns on their album Rips the Covers Off.


   Strong Arm of The Law is the third studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1980. This was released a few months after the classic Wheels of Steel and debuted on the UK chart at #11.

   "Dallas 1 PM" was written about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


   Denim and Leather is the fourth studio album by English heavy metal band Saxon released in 1981 (see 1981 in music). The name of the album and song was inspired by the popular attire of metalheads in the early 1980s, defined by denim pants and leather jackets. The song is seen as a tribute from the band to their fans while describing the history of the sub-culture and the rise of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). 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 (the previous two being Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law). Following the release of Denim and Leather the band stopped making albums for over a year, trying to reach mainstream success in the United States.

Though the album is not Saxon's best selling, it spawned two of their most successful singles, "And the Bands Played On" and "Princess of the Night". There are nine songs on this album, which are noted for lyrics about a wide range of topics. "Princess of the Night" is a song about a powerful train and "And the Bands Played On" is about the resiliency of the heavy metal (particularly NWOBHM) bands. Other themes for the songs include: partying, the spirit of the music, fighting, and, like many of their songs, motorcycles.


   Power & the Glory is the fifth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1983 (see 1983 in music). This is the first Saxon studio album with new drummer Nigel Glockler.


   Crusader is the sixth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1984 (see 1984 in music). The album sold over 2 million copies.


   Innocence Is No Excuse is the seventh studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1985 (see 1985 in music). it was the group's first album for EMI after a falling-out with their previous label, Carrere Records. The album was a relative disappointment in the group's native UK, only reaching #36 on the British album charts, although its #130 placement on the American charts was the group's highest ever in the USA.

   The song "Everybody Up" was used in the 1985 horror movie Demoni.


   Rock the Nations is the eighth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1986 (see 1986 in music). Elton John, who was recording the tracks for his album Leather Jackets in the same studio, is featured on the songs "Party Til You Puke" and "Northern Lady".


   Destiny is the ninth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1988.


   Solid Ball of Rock is the tenth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1991 (see 1991 in music).

   Interestingly, five of the 11 tracks on Solid Ball of Rock were written by new bassist Nibbs Carter, who co-wrote an additional three songs.


   Forever Free is the eleventh studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1992 (see 1992 in music).

   A UK version of the album features a cover of a biker Space Marine from the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame.


   Dogs of War is the twelfth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1995 (see 1995 in music). It is the last album to feature Graham Oliver on guitar.


   Unleash the Beast is Saxon's thirteenth studio album, released in 1997.


   Metalhead is the fourteenth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1999 (see 1999 in music).


   Killing Ground is the fifteenth full-length studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 2001 (see 2001 in music).

   Killing Ground was also released as a special Digi-pack edition with a bonus disc featuring 8 classics re-recorded tracks which would later appear in Heavy Metal Thunder.

   "The Court of the Crimson King" is a King Crimson cover.


   Lionheart is the sixteenth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 2004 (see 2004 in music). The album title is inspired from Richard Lionheart, King of England. "Beyond the Grave" was released as a single and a video. The album was re-released on 17 February 2006 in digipak format (limited to 10,000 copies) with a bonus DVD-Audio featuring previously unreleased material, videos, rough mixes and a new 5.1 / 96 K mix of the whole album, as well as a Saxon keyholder and a patch.


   The Inner Sanctum is the seventeenth album by the British heavy metal band Saxon, released on March 5, 2007. A limited edition with DVD is available too.

  The single version of "I've Got to Rock (to Stay Alive)" features guest appearances by heavy metal musicians Lemmy Kilmister, Angry Anderson and Andi Deris.


   Into the Labyrinth is the 18th studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon, which was released on 9 January 2009. The album was made in between Saxon 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.

   A proper physical fourteenth track is featured on the Japanese CD pressing, released on Feb, 3rd 2009. Prior to Feb 3rd, the track was only sold as a compressed/lower bit rate download.

   The song "Coming Home" is originally from Saxon's Killing Ground album, in an electric version.

   In November 2008, it was officially announced that the band would hold the 'Riff King' competition, where fans could play a solo for their single "Live to Rock".


   Call To Arms is the 19th studio album by British heavy metal band Saxon. Call to Arms was released the 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.

   A digipack version of the album for the North American market featured a seven track bonus disc containing Saxon's performance at Castle Donington in 1980.

   Call to Arms debuted at number 6 on the UK Rock Albums chart. In the US, the album sold about 700 copies in its first week of release.

   Two of the tracks on the album were written by the band for the movie Hybrid Theory.

   A music video was made for the title track, and was released on 5 August 2011.

  The album artwork is derived from Lord Kitchener Wants You, a World War I-era British Army recruitment poster.

   Saxon frontman Biff Byford has said that the band wanted to "get back to [their] roots," and aimed for a "more working-class sound" with the album.

   Allmusic rated the album as 3.5/5 stars. Reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia commented that the band seems to have "stripped down" their sound. Rivadavia stated that "Surviving Against the Odds", "Chasing the Bullet" and "Ballad of the Working Man" were "refreshingly raw and direct". He also compared "Hammer of the Gods" and "Afterburner" to proto-thrash. Rivadavia ultimately said that Call to Arms can be seen as an "aesthetic cousin" to Denim and Leather from 1981.

   To promote the album, Saxon have embarked on the "Call to Arms World Tour". The band headlined shows in Europe, North and South America, and Japan. Anvil and Crimes of Passion opened for Saxon in Europe, while the North American shows were opened by Borealis. HammerFall appeared as special guests at the UK shows, while Vanderbuys were presented as special guests at shows in Spain.

And now lovers of heavy metal bang your heads to these masterpieces:

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