This Blog Knows How to Rock

I’m not sure where or when I got into Saxon. In the early 80s, I was really into metal, particularly British metal, and I think that’s where Saxon came in. They were right there with the front-runners of the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal. If I remember correctly, I even saw them live at one point. As a young military member, I was at a base not too far from Memphis, and it seemed like there were always great shows somewhere in the city. At least once a month we’d load up on Meisterbräu and go to a concert. With a designated driver, of course....

Moving on.

For a little bit of metal history, Saxon formed in 1976, in Britain. 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 Motörhead. The band’s second album, Wheels of Steel, is still considered a classic metal album.

In 1995, Oliver and Dawson left and started their own band, briefly using the Son of a Bitch name. Meanwhile, Byford and Quinn continued on as Saxon. Oliver and Dawson decided they wanted the Saxon name for themselves, and a legal battle ensued. A final court settlement was reached in October 2003, awarding naming rights to Biff's group, with the other faction allowed to continue as Oliver Dawson Saxon.

And in another weird Saxon story, Dawson has claimed that he was the primary influence for the Spinal Tap character Derek Smalls. This supposedly from his prominent facial hair and the way he plays the bass with his left hand while throwing metal with his right.

I’ve a couple of things tonight from a couple of early Saxon albums. No Life ‘til Metal has this to say about Power and the Glory: "One powerful NWOBHM disc that is just as strong today as it was in the early 80's. Saxon out did themselves on this disc. Why they never became as big as they deserved to be is beyond me. Not a bad song on this disc, which is unusual for a Saxon disc as most do have at least one stinker. ‘This Town Rocks’ (pushes) the bounds of Spinal Tap silliness, but still manages to fit in overall” and this about Crusader: “Many considered this a disappointment, as it was less aggressive and more melodic than past albums. I liked it when it was a new release and still enjoy it today. OK, there are a few Spinal Tap silly clunkers like ‘Bad Boys (Like to Rock 'N' Roll)’ and ‘Rock City,’ but songs like ‘Crusader’ ... (are) fine examples of Saxon's brand of biker metal!”

All right, so I’ve included some Spinal Tap-type stuff here. Whattaya want fer nuthin’?

This Town Rocks.mp3 from Power and the Glory 1983
Power and the Glory.mp3 from Power and the Glory 1983
Rock City.mp3 from Crusader 1984
A Little Bit of What You Fancy.mp3 from Crusader 1984


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