Saxon were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), a movement that breathed new life into the genre in the early ’80s. The success of bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden would set the stage for the worldwide explosion of metal’s popularity in the mid-eighties. Saxon never experienced quite the same level of mainstream success in America that many of their contemporaries found, but none the less their contribution to the movement is immeasurable. The band soldiers on to this day and is still a favorite with hardcore metal fans the world over.
Here below is Saxon performing the title track of their second album, 1980’s Wheels of Steel.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, the radio station of Miami University of Ohio, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio. It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.