Peter Rodney "Biff" Byford is an English singer best known as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Saxon. Byford sang and played bass with a band called Coast from around 1973 to 1976 along with drummer Al Dodd and future Saxon guitarist Paul Quinn, when he formed Saxon with guitarists Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn, bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Pete Gill; the band was called Son of a Bitch, but changed to Saxon in 1978. They released their self-titled debut album in 1979, became part of what was known as the new wave of British heavy metal, which included bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest; the band had commercial success as well, charting eight UK Top 40 albums and five Top 40 singles between 1980 and 1986. At the end of the 1980s, the band declined in popularity, Oliver and Dawson formed a new band with the same name, though they were forced to change it to Oliver/Dawson Saxon. Saxon maintained a recording and touring career centred on Germany for much of the 1990s, before coming back into broader attention with 2007's The Inner Sanctum.
In April 2007, Byford released his autobiography, entitled Never Surrender after the Saxon song of the same name. Gigwise.com reported on 18 January 2010 that Byford was launching a campaign to have Britons declare heavy metal as their religion in the United Kingdom Census 2011, inspired by the Jedi census phenomenon. With Saxon with Air PavilionKaizoku – vocals on "She's Hot Stuff"with FastwayBad Bad Girls with Freedom CallTaragon – narration on "Tears of Taragon"with DestructionInventor of Evil – vocals on "The Alliance of Hellhoundz"with HelloweenGambling with the Devil – spoken word on "Crack the Riddle" 7 Sinners – spoken word on'Who is Mr. Madman?'with DoroCelebrate – The Night of the Warlock – vocals on "Celebrate" with AvantasiaThe Mystery of Time with The Scintilla ProjectThe Hybrid Never Surrender, 2007 Official Biff Byford Facebook Page Never Surrender Google Books entry Biff Byford at imdb.com
New wave of British heavy metal
The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music. Although encompassing diverse mainstream and underground styles, the music of the NWOBHM is best remembered for drawing on the heavy metal of the 1970s and infusing it with the intensity of punk rock to produce fast and aggressive songs; the DIY attitude of the new metal bands led to the spread of raw-sounding, self-produced recordings and a proliferation of independent record labels. Song lyrics were about escapist themes such as mythology, fantasy and the rock lifestyle; the NWOBHM began as an underground phenomenon growing in parallel to punk and ignored by the media.
It was only through the promotion of rock DJ Neal Kay and Sounds' campaigning that it reached the public consciousness and gained radio airplay and success in the UK. The movement involved young, white and working-class musicians and fans, who suffered the hardships brought on by rising unemployment for years after the 1973–75 recession; as a reaction to their bleak reality, they created a community separate from mainstream society to enjoy each other's company and their favourite loud music. The NWOBHM was criticised for the excessive hype generated by local media in favour of talentless musicians. Nonetheless, it generated a renewal in the genre of heavy metal music and furthered the progress of the heavy metal subculture, whose updated behavioural and visual codes were adopted by metal fans worldwide after the spread of the music to continental Europe, North America and Japan; the movement spawned a thousand heavy metal bands, but only a few survived the advent of MTV and the rise of the more commercial glam metal in the second half of the 1980s.
Among them, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard became international stars, Motörhead and Saxon had considerable success. Other groups, such as Diamond Head and Raven, remained underground, but were a major influence on the successful extreme metal subgenres of the late 1980s and 1990s. Many bands from the NWOBHM reunited in the 2000s and remained active through live performances and new studio albums. In the second half of the 1970s, the United Kingdom was in a state of social unrest and widespread poverty as a result of the ineffective social politics of both Conservative and Labour Party governments during a three-year period of economic recession; as a consequence of deindustrialization, the unemployment rate was exceptionally high among working class youth. It continued to rise in the early 1980s, peaking in February 1983; the discontent of so many people caused social unrest with frequent strikes, culminated in a series of riots. During this period, the mass of young people, deprived of the prospect of relatively low-skill jobs that were available to the previous generations, searched for different ways to earn money in the music and entertainment businesses.
The explosion of new bands and new musical styles coming from the UK in the late 1970s was a result of their efforts to make a living in the economic depression that hit the country before the governments of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The desperation and the violent reaction of a generation robbed of a safe future are well-represented by the British punk movement of 1977–1978, whose rebellion against the establishment continued diluted in the new wave and post-punk music of the 1980s; these self-proclaimed punks were politically militant, relishing their anarchic attitude and stage practices like pogo dancing. They wore short and spiked hairstyles or shaved heads with safety pins and ripped clothes, considered musical prowess unimportant as long as the music was simple and loud. However, not all working-class male youths embraced the punk movement; the UK was a cradle of the first wave of heavy metal, born at the end of the 1960s and flowered in the early 1970s. Of the many British bands that came to prominence during that period, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple achieved worldwide success and critical acclaim.
The success of the music genre called heavy rock at the time, generated a community of UK fans with strong ties to psychedelia, hippie doctrines and biker subculture. Each of these bands was in crisis in the mid-to-late 1970s: Led Zeppelin were plagued by discord and personal tragedies and had drastically reduced their activities, Black Sabbath fired their charismatic but unreliable frontman Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple disbanded; as a consequence, the whole movement lost much of its momentum and media interest, which were refocused on what British writer Malc Macmillan calls "the more fashionable or lucrative markets of the day" such as disco, mod revival, new wave and electronic music. Just like progressive rock acts and other mainstream music groups of the 1970s, heavy rock bands were viewed as – in the words of journalist Garry Bushell – "lumbering dinosaurs" by a music press infatuated with punk rock and new wave; some writers declared the premature demise of heavy metal altogether. The crisis of British heavy rock giants left space for the rise of other rock bands in the mid-1970s, including Queen, Budgie, Bad Company, Status Qu
Destiny (Saxon album)
Destiny is the ninth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1988. It is the only studio album to feature the rhythm section of drummer Nigel Durham and bassist Paul Johnson on it. Biff Byford - vocals Graham Oliver - guitar Paul Quinn - guitar Paul Johnson - bass guitar Nigel Durham - drumsAdditional musiciansStephen Laws Clifford - keyboards Dave Taggart - backing vocals George Lamb - backing vocals Phil Caffrey - backing vocals Steve Mann - backing vocalsProductionStephan Galfas - producer Spencer Henderson - engineer James Allen-Jones - engineer Hook and Manor, Berkshire, UK - recording location Swanyard Studios, London - mixing location Sterling Sound, New York - mastering location
Solid Ball of Rock
Solid Ball of Rock is the tenth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1991. Five of its 11 tracks were written by new bassist Nibbs Carter. "For our audience – and without an audience there is no band – our focus returned on Solid Ball of Rock…" noted singer Biff Byford. "Since we've been right on it." SaxonBiff Byford – vocals, engineer Graham Oliver – guitar Paul Quinn – guitar Nibbs Carter – bass guitar Nigel Glockler – drumsProductionKalle Trapp — producer, engineer
Rock the Nations
Rock the Nations is the eighth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1986. The album is the first not to feature original bassist Steve Dawson, who had left the band earlier in 1986. For the recording of this album, vocalist Biff Byford, who had incidentally begun his career as a singer/bassist, recorded all the bass parts in Dawson's place. However, Paul Johnson joined the band as bassist before the album was released and is therefore credited in the liner notes. Rock the Nations received mixed reviews from critics. Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic gave the album two stars out of five and said in his review for the band's previous album Innocence Is No Excuse that "Saxon's internal chemistry was unbalanced by the subsequent departure of key songwriter Dawson -- a loss from which they would take years to recover." In his review for this album, he said that although the album was "graced with a somewhat rougher sound more in line with the band's New Wave of British Heavy Metal early years" it was still "arguably less heavy than its predecessor" and criticised the songs "We Came Here to Rock", "Running Hot" and the title track for being "cliché-ridden" and "Waiting For The Night" and "Northern Lady" for being "unconvincingly sappy ballads", though he did regard "Party'til You Puke" as being "good for a laugh" and of interest for the guest appearance of Elton John.
However, he concluded that the album is one that "the Saxon faithful would rather forget". Canadian journalist Martin Popoff found Rock The Nations "a liitle more full-bodied production-wise and less overtly metallic and by-the-book construction-wise" than Innocence Is No Excuse, "while still suffering for coasting on's scant laurels". All tracks written except where noted. Bonus tracks 15-17 recorded live at Reading Festival, 23 August 1986. Biff Byford - vocals, bass guitar Graham Oliver - guitar Paul Quinn - guitar Paul Johnson - bass guitar Nigel Glockler - drumsProductionGary Lyons - producer Wisseloord Studios, Netherlands - recording location Wisseloord Studios - mixing location Elton John - piano on tracks 7 and 9 Paul R. Gregory - artwork
Power & the Glory
Power & the Glory is the fifth studio album by heavy metal band Saxon released in 1983. The album sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. This is the first Saxon studio album with new drummer Nigel Glockler and was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall of 1982; the album peaked at #15 in the UK Albums Chart. It reached No.1 in the Metal charts in Sweden, Norway and Germany selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide. It was their first album to enter the Billboard 200 in the US, peaking at #155. A retrospective AllMusic review by Eduardo Rivadavia gave the album three out of five stars. Rivadavia criticised the mixing, saying that the album "sounds as though it was recorded in a tin can, albeit a very large tin can" eliminating the "big, in-your-face, gritty" sound heard on the band's past albums, he criticised the material itself, saying that "despite a few sparks generated by "Redline," "Warrior," and the proto-thrashing "This Town Rocks," only the anthemic title track showed enough staying power to earn a frequent slot in Saxon's live repertoire".
Canadian journalist Martin Popoff writes quite the opposite and considers Power & the Glory Saxon's best album, praising the production and the contribution of "new ass-kicking drummer Nigel Glockler" to "working a metal magic, the embodiment of the NWOBHM's ideals now made real."In 2005, Power & the Glory was ranked number 376 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. All tracks written by Paul Quinn, Graham Oliver, Steve Dawson and Nigel Glockler. "Power and the Glory" was released as a single in April 1983. It reached number 32 on the UK Singles Chart; the song is lyrics relating to war and battles. A music video was made for the song with band members running through a castle with dead dolls. Biff Byford - vocals Graham Oliver - guitar Paul Quinn - guitar Steve Dawson - bass guitar Nigel Glockler - drumsProductionJeff Glixman - producer Jeff Glixman - engineer Cheryl Bordagary - engineer Les Horn - engineer Axis Sound Studio, Atlanta - recording and mixing location
Dogs of War (album)
Dogs of War is the twelfth studio album by the heavy metal band Saxon, released in 1995. It is the last album with Graham Oliver on guitar. All lyrics written by Byford/Glockler. A 2006 CD re-issue on SPV/Steamhammer Records includes two bonus live tracks: "The Great White Buffalo" and "Denim and Leather" recorded in 1995. Biff Byford - vocals Graham Oliver - guitars Paul Quinn - guitars Nibbs Carter - bass guitar Nigel Glockler - drums Rainer Hainsel - guitars ProductionBiff Byford - producer, mixing Rainer Hänsel - producer Kalle Trapp - mixing engineer John Mc Lane - mixing engineer Gems Studio in Boston, England - recording location Karo Studios, Germany - mixing location Paul R. Gregory - artwork