Saxon are an English heavy metal band who formed in 1976, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As front-runners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they had 8 UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including 4 UK Top 10 albums. Saxon also had numerous singles in the Top 20 singles chart. Between 1980 and 1987 Saxon established themselves as one of Europes biggest metal acts, they also had success in Japan and in the USA. In Japan, the single "Motorcycle Man" stayed in the charts for over 5 months. They still tour regularly and have sold more than 13 million albums worldwide. Saxon have also influenced many bands such as Metallica and Megadeth.
Saxon began with a lineup formed by Peter "Biff" Byford on vocals, Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver on guitars, Steve "Dobby" Dawson on bass and drummer David Ward. 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. In 1979, the band signed to the French record label Carrere and released their eponymous debut album.
In 1980, the follow-up album Wheels of Steel (UK no 5) spawned two hit singles: the title track, and the crowd favorite "747 (Strangers in the Night)". Saxon also appeared on Top Of The Pops this year which helped their hits climb the charts. On August 16th 1980 Saxon appeared at the very first Monsters of Rock Festival where they received a great reception from the crowd. The bands set was recorded but not officially released until 2000. Strong Arm of the Law (UK no 11), considered by fans to be one of their best recordings, was released later that same year. Two singles were released from this album: Strong Arm of the Law and Dallas 1PM, the latter about the assassination of President Kennedy.
In 1981, the band had toured most of the world and were getting less time to record new material. With the band touring the world they had gained notable success in Japan where the single Motorcycle Man had stayed in the charts for around 5 months. Nearing the end of 1981 the band released their fourth album Denim And Leather which was dedicated to their fan base. The album is still very popular today and the title track Denim And Leather is considered to be an anthem of that era. The album also featured many other fan favorites Princess of the Night, Never Surrender and The Bands Played On. The Bands Played On was a dedicated song wrote about Saxons performance at 1980 Monsters Of Rock Festival. Denim And Leather charted success all over Europe and went silver in the UK.
Just as the band was about to embark on a huge tour to follow the success of Denim And Leather the bands drummer at the time Pete Gill dropped out due to damaged hand. The band quickly replaced him with Nigel Glockler formerly of Toyah Willcoxs band who had to learn the whole set within a day and a half just before the tour was about to begin.
A relentless series of headlining tours around the UK capitalised on this success and a sold out tour of Europe with Ozzy Osbourne as support act (this contradicts the Wikipedia entry for OzzYs Blizzard_of_Ozz_Tour) highlighted Saxons immense ability on the road and was set in stone with the live release The Eagle Has Landed (1982 UK no 5). The band also played the 1982 Monsters Of Rock Festival again and became the first band to appear twice.
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