Saxon are, next to Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, one of the few surviving bands of the NWOBHM scene. They were formed in Barnsley in the late seventies as "Son of a Bitch". They changed their name and released their first album on the French " Carrere " label ( better known for its Disco acts! ) in 1979.They became one of the UK's most popular metal acts and had a number of Top 20 hits. Vocalist Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn are the only two remaining original members, and they've ensured that Saxon have few equals in the metal scene. They released one of the year's best metal albums, "Metalhead", a few months ago. Long may they continue!

Saxon 
 Saxon - You ain't no Angel, from "Rock the Nations", released in 1986, the ninth album from what must be one of England's longest lasting metal acts, next to Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Demon. You probably think we're running out of new/different bands to play, because Saxon are another one of those bands that have already been well represented on these pages in the past, but favourites are favourites! And no, we haven't run out of bands to play! Consistently delivering the goods, Saxon have, over the years, always delivered the goods, thanks to excellent songwriting, musicianship and a great front man and vocalist in Biff Byford. They've released in excess of twenty albums, studio and live, since they first started out in 1979. A seriously powerful hard rock/metal act, they're certainly one of the best of their genre, and, besides, we both really enjoy their music!

Saxon 
 Saxon - You ain't no Angel, from "Rock the Nations", released in 1986, the ninth album from what must be one of England's longest lasting metal acts, next to Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Demon. You probably think we're running out of new/different bands to play, because Saxon are another one of those bands that have already been well represented on these pages in the past, but favourites are favourites! And no, we haven't run out of bands to play! Consistently delivering the goods, Saxon have, over the years, always delivered the goods, thanks to excellent songwriting, musicianship and a great front man and vocalist in Biff Byford. They've released in excess of twenty albums, studio and live, since they first started out in 1979. A seriously powerful hard rock/metal act, they're certainly one of the best of their genre, and, besides, we both really enjoy their music!

Saxon 
Saxon - Rock 'n Roll Gypsy, from "Rock 'n Roll Gypsies" in 1989, their 11th album. Featuring the "classic" line-up of Peter "Biff" Byford on vocals, Nibs Carter on bass, Nigel Glockler on drums and Paul Quinn and G raham Oliver on guitars, this great live album was recorded in Budapest and eastern Europe in 1988. If you're a regular Dinosaur Days listener, you'll know that we hold this this excellent British metal outfit in very high regard. Formed as Son of a Bitch in the north of England in the late seventies, Saxon became one of the fore-runners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene. Having gone through a number of personnel changes, the core of the band has r emained strong to this day, with Byford, Quinn and Carter being the longest remaining members (as at 1999's "Metalhead", at any rate). You can't keep a good band down, it would seem - a new Saxon album is due in the not too distant future. You can bet your socks we'll feature it as a new release when we get it!  
Uriah Heep 
  

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Biography by Ed Rivadavia
Saxon was one of the early leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, along with Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. The band was formed in Barnsley in 1977 by vocalist Biff Byford, guitarists Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn, bassist Steve Dawson, and drummer Pete Gill. Originally calling themselves Son of a Bitch, they soon decided to find a more subtle name, settling on Saxon. Like many young metal bands of the day, Saxon found it difficult to land a record deal in post-punk England, but eventually signed with French-based Carrere Records. Though Saxon's 1979 self-titled debut album was marred by a lightweight production job, the band built a strong following touring Britain as support group to Motörhead and Nazareth. The band capitalized on this exposure with their sophomore effort the following year. Wheels of Steel featured a much heavier, metallic sound which finally did their songs justice. The album was immediately heralded as a NWOBHM classic by fans and critics alike and the band was apparently on their way.

They released two more fine albums, Strong Arm of the Law and Denim and Leather, over the next year while touring relentlessly across Britain, Europe, and the U.S. Even the loss of founding drummer Pete Gill to Motörhead (replaced by Nigel Glockler) didn't slow their momentum, and a live album, The Eagle Has Landed, capped their hot streak in 1982.

Though they'd barely dented America, Saxon's early success was only rivaled by Iron Maiden, and the band seemed poised on the brink of worldwide success. Then a strange thing happened. A series of unfocused, lackluster albums (Power and the Glory and Crusader) stopped the band cold in its tracks. And when they attempted to follow the trend set by other British bands like Whitesnake (who cracked the U.S. with a peroxide-fueled fashion makeover), the band's career went into an irreversible slide.

1985's Innocence Is No Excuse featured great songs, but old fans balked at the slick production and new fans failed to take notice, prompting bassist and principal songwriter Steve Dawson to quit the band. He was replaced by Paul Johnson and Saxon limped through the rest of the decade recording weak pop-metal albums in a desperate, but futile, attempt to connect with American fans while slowly corroding their European fan base. By the time they released their tenth studio album, Solid Ball of Rock in 1990, Saxon had been reduced to Spinal Tap-like dinosaur status.

Having reached the lowest low, the members of Saxon finally gave up their dreams of ever making any headway in America, dropped their pretenses, and returned to their British metal roots. This resulted in their strongest material in years: 1992's Forever Free; 1995's excellent Dogs of War (after which guitarist Graham Oliver departed to re-form Son of a Bitch with Pete Gill and Steve Dawson); 1997's Unleash the Beast; and 1999's Metal Head. The band even managed to land a new U.S. record deal with CMC International for the latter two discs, which also led to their first American tour in almost a decade. 

 

Steve Dawson
Peter Gill
Nigel Glockler
Graham Oliver
Fritz Randow
Biff Byford
Paul Johnson
Doug Scarratt
Nibbs Carter
Paul Quinn

Krokus
Warlock Pinchers
Ronnie James Dio
Rainbow & Stars
Candlemass
Motörhead
Def Leppard
Iron Maiden
Judas Priest
Diamond Head

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Saxon - 1979 - Saxon - 2/5

Saxon - 1980 - Strong Arm of the Law - 4.5/5

Saxon - 1980 - Wheels of Steel - 4/5

Saxon - 1981 - Denim and Leather - 4.5/5

Saxon - 1983 - Power & Glory - 2.5/5

Saxon - 1984 - Crusader - 2.5/5

Saxon - 1985 - Innocence Is No Excuse - 3/5

Saxon - 1986 - Rock the Nations - 1/5

Saxon - 1988 - Destiny - 1/5

Saxon - 1991 - Solid Ball of Rock - 2/5

Saxon - 1992 - Forever Free - 3/5

Saxon - 1995 - Dogs of War - 3/5

Saxon - 1997 - Unleash the Beast - 2/5

Saxon - 1999 - Metalhead - 2.5/5

Saxon - 2000 - Diamonds and Nuggets - 2/5

Saxon - 2001 - Killing Ground - 2.5/5

Saxon - 2002 - Coming to the Rescue - 3.5/5

Saxon - 2002 - Heavy Metal Thunder - 2.5/5

Saxon - 2002 - Stallions of the Highway - 4/5

Saxon - 2004 - Lionheart - 3.5/5

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