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Sunday Old School: Saxon, Britain's Most Loyal Heavy Metal Band

Some bands play heavy metal. Other bands embody it. And nobody embodies heavy metal quite like Saxon have been doing for over thirty years. Whilst the band appear to be somewhat overlooked these days, to a die hard fan of metal, there's no denying that Saxon are one of the greatest bands to ever emerge from the United Kingdom. The group was founded in the Yorkshire town of Barnsley back in 1976 under the name Son Of A Bitch but wisely decided to change the name to Saxon, which represented a long-time lyrical theme of the band, namely it's fascination with British history. The band quickly built up a following, becoming one of the leading bands in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and gained support slots with the likes of Motorhead before releasing their self-titled debut in 1979. While the first album didn't fare too well commercially or critically, the 1980 release "Wheels Of Steel" earned the band two hit singles with the album's title track and the song, "747 (Strangers In The Night)" along with the future fan favourite, "Motorcycle Man." The album itself proved successful too as it hit the British album charts at number five. The band released a third album, "Strong Arm Of The Law" only four months after "Wheels Of Steel," which also did well critically and sales wise and featured some of the band's best known work including, "20,000 Feet," "Dallas 1PM" and the title track. After this, the band completed the third album in what is regarded as their "classic album trilogy" and released "Denim And Leather" in 1981. The album also entered the British album charts, this time at number nine and once again featured future live staples such as "Princess Of The Night," "And The Bands Played On" and the anthemic title track.

Saxon then released "Power & The Glory," which, while not being their most acclaimed album in their catalogue, is their best selling. As a result of the record's success, the band were able to embark on a headlining run of European arenas, taking a little known German band by the name of Accept along with them. Saxon continued their streak of commercial success when they released "Crusader" in 1984 and took two struggling bands on the road with them named Krokus and Motley Crue, allowing these bands to reach wider audiences. The band were to experience a backlash of sorts however, when they released "Innocence Is No Excuse" in 1985, with many European fans accusing the band of "selling out" to try and reach a more commerical audience in America, though in recent years it has earned a place in the hearts of fans. The group continued to do well throughout the rest of the decade, but found major success in America somewhat hard to find, resulting in the band being released from EMI Records after the "Destiny" album was released in 1989. They then signed to Virgin Records and released a string of albums which went largely unnoticed by the media.

A career resurgence of sorts began to happen in the late '90s however, with the band being invited to headline such festivals as Bloodstock and Wacken Open Air. Commercial success reared it's head once again in 2007 when they took part in Harvey Goldsmith's "Get Your Act Together," where Goldsmith attempted to restore the band to the popularity it had experienced in the 1980s. He did so by bringing in two new producers to oversee the band's new single, "If I Was You," from their album, "The Inner Sanctum." The single entered the top ten in countries all around the globe. Their most recent album, "Into The Labyrinth" has seen them continue to gain critical acclaim and tour with the likes of Anvil and Doro supporting them. Although "Into The Labyrinth" was only released last year, there is reportedly already plans to record a new album, along with a new documentary movie on the way entitled, "Heavy Metal Thunder." Whether you're a fan or not, no-one can dispute that Saxon have earned their place in heavy metal history by being one of the hardest working and most dedicated bands in the business, with a loyalty to their genre that is unquestionable.

Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder

Saxon - Motorcycle Man

Saxon - Dogs Of War

Saxon - If I Was You

Saxon - I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive) featuring Lemmy and Angry Anderson

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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20 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Saxon"

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TheIronMan's avatar

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1. TheIronMan writes:

YAY! Finally another one. I had run out a while ago. Never even heard about Saxon, but I am gonna check them out. For sure.

# May 30, 2010 @ 11:22 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

2. Diamond Oz writes:

Wow I'm surprised you've never heard of Saxon! Hope you like them!

# May 30, 2010 @ 11:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Zukros's avatar

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3. Zukros writes:

Saxon are a great band. Nice article.

# May 30, 2010 @ 12:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

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4. wilco writes:

damm oz a good posting
still my fav bands afhter all these years
took you a while to do something about saxon
brings me back in time

even did run the dutch fanclub back in the days

live thet still kick a$$
and love there lates album

# May 30, 2010 @ 12:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar

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5. Rychemn writes:

Thanks Oz......love Saxon!!!!!.....brings back such fond memories........for those who don't know them, give it a shot, you won't be dissapointed.

# May 30, 2010 @ 4:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
ElCurto's avatar

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6. ElCurto writes:

..saxon....you were my hero's when i was a kid - hope your around for a lot longer... \m/

# May 30, 2010 @ 5:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HeadbangerHippy's avatar

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7. HeadbangerHippy writes:

Dude! I was just arguing wiht my buddy about how these guys should've gotten as big as Iron Maiden and Motorhead! Great band, a largely over-looked band of Heavy Metal dedication.

# May 30, 2010 @ 6:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar

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8. Hammerheart writes:

\m/ Great article, Oz! Long live Biff and Saxon! \m/

# May 30, 2010 @ 10:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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9. hellrat writes:

cool! denim & leather was one of the building blocks of my metal foundation at around 9 yrs old back in 83-84...princess of the night was one of my absolute favorite tunes

in all honesty though...i quickly began to find a lot of the lyrics/vox arrangements a bit too cheesy for my taste, and subsequently let Saxon slip away as i discovered bands like slayer and metallica....

i think that this element might have contributed to their lack of comparable popularity 'Hippy....kind of like iced earth in a way....some fvcking KILLER music and good singing, but a lot of the lyrics are unbearably cheeseball :)

these bands seem to do a lot better in non english speaking countries....where the 'cheese' element often goes unnoticed or overlooked???

still, i DO respect ol saxon, and they bring up fond memories of my formative METAL years.....and i'm glad they're still truckin!!

thanks for another great lesson Oz Man \m/ X \m/

# May 31, 2010 @ 4:10 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
HeadbangerHippy's avatar

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10. HeadbangerHippy writes:

A fair enough theory Hellrat! I have noticed lots of bands that write lyrics about Metal and all the cheesiness that goes along with it, often are the over-looked ones. Still, lots of respect to them, there is nothing like a chest-beating, cheesy, old-school Metal anthem!

# May 31, 2010 @ 7:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar

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11. OlafBerzerker writes:

good read oz , i to remember the denim and leather but not much else after that. Saxons story reads a little like that of Anvil . Hard working true to metal bands that dont quite reap the rewards that alot of lesser bands have.

# May 31, 2010 @ 8:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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12. hellrat writes:

agreed 'Hippy! once in a while, i do love my good old fashioned Cheese metal as well !

but to be fair, saxon ain't ALL cheese....nor is iced earth

hey oz, have you done IE yet? they would make a good sunday lesson as well !

cheers dudes :)

# May 31, 2010 @ 9:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

13. hellrat writes:

'but to be fair, saxon ain't ALL cheese---as you well know..."

my fat little fingers can't keep up with my looney mind!!

# May 31, 2010 @ 10:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

14. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers for the feedback guys! I am planning to do one on Iced Earth at some point, as I'm yet to cover a proper power metal band. But there's a few other bands I want to do beforehand, especially some of the black metal groups, as well as a few overlooked thrashers. Though I've already written next week's article and it's not a thrash or black metal band, that's all I'll say for now ;)

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 3:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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15. hellrat writes:

am looking forward to it :)

# Jun 1, 2010 @ 8:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

16. hellrat writes:

norsk svart METAL....

starts with E and ends with R

a worthy topic indeed...THE absolute defining black!!!

# Jun 4, 2010 @ 1:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

17. Diamond Oz writes:

I will definitely be doing them someday Hellrat

# Jun 4, 2010 @ 3:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

18. hellrat writes:

i done said it before, but i'll say it again....

oz man, you're the BEST :)

cheers mate

# Jun 4, 2010 @ 12:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

19. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers fella. I'll make sure I have their article done by next month for ya.

# Jun 5, 2010 @ 3:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

20. hellrat writes:

thanks buddy :)

you gotta include some of the video from the wacken reunion show...

fvcking INSANE

oooh yeah

# Jun 6, 2010 @ 9:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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