Now in their fourth decade of making music, continuing the tradition that they helped create, Saxon are still a tour de force in heavy metal music. The Band are comprised of members Peter “Biff” Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn & Doug Scarratt (guitars), Nibbs Carter (bass) & Nigel Glockler (drums).
Saxon were the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM), they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including four UK Top 10 albums and two Top 5 albums. They 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 among Europe's most successful metal acts. The band tour regularly and have sold more than 13 million albums worldwide.
The band was formed in Barnsley in 1977 by Peter “Biff” Byford on vocals, Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver on guitars, Steve "Dobby" Dawson on bass, Pete Gill on drums and were originally named "Son of a Bitch". In 1979, the band changed their name to Saxon and signed to French record label Carrere who then released their eponymous debut album.
‘Wheels of Steel’, released in 1980, charted at #5 in the UK and stayed in those charts for six months. It resulted in two hit songs: the title track and the crowd favourite "747 (Strangers in the Night)". As a result, Saxon began a series of long UK tours. On 16 August, they earned a positive reception at the first Monsters of Rock festival, commemorated by the following year's "And the Bands Played On". Their set was recorded, but not officially released until 2000. In April of that year, Saxon made the first of many appearances on Top of the Pops, performing the hit "Wheels of Steel".
‘Strong Arm of the Law’ was released later in the year, charting at #11 in the UK. Two singles were issued: the title track and "Dallas 1PM", the latter about the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
In 1981, the band released their fourth album ‘Denim and Leather’, its title track is regarded as a metal anthem. The album also featured fan favourites such as "Princess of the Night", "Never Surrender" and "And the Bands Played On" – all UK Top 20 hits.
Just as the band was to embark on a long tour to follow the success of ‘Denim And Leather’, drummer Pete Gill left, after injuring his hand. The band quickly replaced him with Nigel Glockler, formerly of Toyah, who had to learn the entire set within a day and a half. Glockler is still with the band today.
In 1982 Saxon released the live album The Eagle Has Landed , charting at #5 in the UK. Saxon also played the Monsters Of Rock festival again in 1982, becoming the first band to appear there twice.
1983's Power & the Glory became the band’s best selling album Worldwide to date with the album’s cover artwork by Hollywood film director Ridley Scott.
In 1984 the band released their sixth studio album ‘Crusader’ with a successful worldwide tour that followed, named "The World Crusade”.
The band then signed with EMI Records and in 1985 ‘Innocence Is No Excuse’ was released. Following another Worldwide tour the band parted ways with bassist Steve Dawson. For the recording of the band’s eight studio album ‘Rock The Nations’ bass parts were played by Biff Byford, with Elton John making guest appearances as pianist on 2 tracks. In the summer of 1986, Saxon headlined the Reading Festival and toured the United States.
1988 saw the release of ‘Destiny’ with Tim “Nibbs” Carter joining the band on bass. 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 and in 1990, they signed to Virgin Records and started work on their new album ‘Solid Ball of Rock’, which was released in 1991. In 1992, Saxon sustained this success with the release of ‘Forever Free’. During 1994, the band parted ways with Graham Oliver, with Doug Scarratt joining the band. 1996 saw the release of another live album, ‘The Eagle Has Landed Pt II’.
Saxon released ‘Unleash the Beast’ in 1997. September 1999 saw the release of ‘Metalhead’. In 2002, Saxon released Heavy Metal Thunder, a compilation album featuring re-recorded versions of songs from the band's biggest selling albums. 2004 saw the release of ‘Lionheart’ their 16th studio album, with Jörg Michael performing drums. Nigel Glockler rejoined the band in 2005. In 2006, the band released the live album, ‘The Eagle Has Landed – part 3’.
Saxon's critically acclaimed ‘The Inner Sanctum’ album was released in 2007. In 2009 the band ‘ Into the Labyrinth’ and also headlined the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. Continuing their success in the UK, Saxon performed at the 2010 Download Festival. 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 and twentieth studio album ‘Sacrifice’ in February 2013.
Their latest studio album, ‘Thunderbolt’, was released on 2 February 2018.
2019 saw the bands 40th anniversary and the release of the fourth “The Eagle Has Landed” live album – aptly titled “The Eagle Has Landed 40” and included headline festival dates with the huge “Castles & Eagles” stage Set.
2020 sees the band working on a new studio album and also a special covers albums entitled “Influences” which is just that – songs that influenced the band in their earlier days.
March 19th 2021 sees the release of "Inspirations" a collection of cover songs that influenced Saxon.
SAXON LINE UP
Biff Byford, Vocals
Paul Quinn, Guitar
Doug Scarratt, Guitar
Nibbs Carter, Bass
Nigel Glockler, Drums
Jörg Michael - Drums and Percussion
Fritz Randow - Drums and Percussion
Graham Oliver - Guitar
Paul Johnson Bass
Steve Dawson - Bass
Nigel Durham - Drums
Pete Gill - Drums