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 Post subject: History
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:48 pm 
The Lord of all that matters
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Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:53 pm
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Location: Central Hell
Favorite Band: The Lords of the New Church, Cult

Their original line up consisted of Peter "Biff" Byford on vocals, Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver on guitars, Steve Dawson on bass and drummer Pete Gill. Early in their career the band changed their name from "Son of a Bitch" to Saxon, and gained support slots on tour with more established bands such as Mot‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö?°rhead.

In 1979 the band signed to the Carrere record label and released their eponymous debut album. In 1980 follow-up album Wheels of Steel spawned two hit singles: the title track, and the crowd favourite 747 (Strangers in the Night). The Strong Arm of the Law album, considered by fans to be one of their best recordings, was released later that same year, and chart success continued with singles from their next release, Denim and Leather. The title track to that album is seen as an anthem of the early 1980s metal movement.

A relentless series of headlining tours around the U.K. capitalised on this success, but Saxon were never able to break into the lucrative U.S. market. After 1983's Power and the Glory album, Saxon went in an increasingly commercial direction, but with little success despite signing to major record label EMI. Indeed, the move did little more than alienate their core fanbase. They were seen by detractors as the epitome of the heavy metal clich‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö‚àǬ¨¬®¬¨¬©. Recently, they have returned to their less overtly commercial roots, and still have a cult following.

Saxon recently did a 25th Anniversary of NWOBHM tour of Germany beginning in early March 2005. To celebrate the anniversary of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), the band played songs they recorded during the 1980s.

Throughout the band's history line-up changes have been common, but with Byford and Quinn remaining as constants. Gill left in 1981 after injuring his hand, to be replaced by Nigel Glockler, formerly of Toyah Willcox's band, who was himself replaced twice - briefly between 1987 and 1988 (by Nigel Durham), and, more permanently, following an injury of his own in 1998. Gill later went on to play for Mot‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö?°rhead. Dawson departed in 1986 - his replacement, Paul Johnson, lasted two years before leaving. Nibbs Carter has filled the position ever since. Fellow founder member Oliver departed in 1995 and was replaced by Doug Scarratt.

Since then the line-up has been fairly stable apart from the departure of a few drummers. Following Glockler's departure, German Fritz Randow took up the position until 2004. His replacement was former Stratovarius man J‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö?°rg Michael.

The line-up that played on the recent Lionheart album consisted of Byford on vocals, guitarists Quinn and Scarrat, Carter on bass and Michael on drums. The German originally agreed to perform on the album as a session musician, but following his firing from Stratovarius was hired as a full-time member. Following the rapid reunion of Stratovarius, Michael departed after only a year in the job, opening the door for Glockler to return to Saxon.

Dawson and Oliver both went on to form a new incarnation of Son of a Bitch, which later transformed into an alternative Saxon. A legal battle saw the rights to the name go to Byford's version of the group, with the other outfit performing under the name Oliver-Dawson Saxon.

Spinal Tap
Dawson has claimed that the character of Derek Smalls from the spoof-metal band Spinal Tap was strongly influenced by him, particularly his prominent facial hair and his penchant for playing to the gallery by fingering his bass with his left hand while throwing a mano cornuto with his right.


Current lineup
Biff Byford - vocals
Doug Scarratt - guitar
Paul Quinn - guitar
Nibbs Carter - bass
Nigel Glockler - drums

Original lineup
Biff Byford - vocals
Graham Oliver - guitar
Paul Quinn - guitar
Steve Dawson - bass
Pete Gill - drums

Former members
Fritz Randow - drums and percussion
J‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö‚àÇ‚Äö?Ñ??‚àö‚Ć‚àö?°rg Michael - drums and percussion
Graham Oliver - guitar
Paul Johnson - bass
Steve Dawson - bass
Nigel Durham - drums
Pete Gill - drums


Studio albums
(1979) Saxon
(1980) Wheels of Steel - #5 UK
(1980) Strong Arm of the Law- #11 UK
(1981) Denim and Leather - #9 UK
(1983) Power and the Glory - #15 UK, #155 US
(1984) Crusader - #18 UK, #174 US
(1985) Innocence Is No Excuse - #36 UK, #133 US
(1986) Rock the Nations - #34 UK, #149 US
(1988) Destiny #49 UK
(1991) Solid Ball of Rock
(1992) Forever Free
(1995) Dogs of War
(1997) Unleash the Beast
(1999) Metalhead
(2001) Killing Ground
(2002) Heavy Metal Thunder
(2004) Lionheart

Live albums

(1982) The Eagle Has Landed - #5 UK
(1989) Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies
(1990) Greatest Hits Live
(1997) Live at Donnington
(1998) The Eagle Has Landed, Vol. 2
(1999) BBC Sessions
(2000) Live at Donnington, 1980
(2002) Live in the Raw
(2006) The Eagle Has Landed, Vol. 3

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