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Baker's Dozen

(13 On The) Wheels Of Steel: Biff Byford Of Saxon's Favourite LPs
Michael Hann , February 13th, 2020 10:48

Biff Byford guides Michael Hann through the 13 records of riff-heavy magic that shaped Saxon


Yes – Close To The Edge
I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, but Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson of Saxon were into the bluesy bands - simple but with a lot of groove. But me and Paul Quinn were into more muso bands like Genesis and King Crimson. That was the type of stuff we played, with more jamming and improvisation. As a bass player and singer, my goal was to play like Chris Squire. I used to try and learn the songs – it took me about six months to learn ‘Roundabout’. I‘ve talked to Rick Wakeman about Yes, and he said Jon Anderson would structure melodies like I do it. They would sit in a room and arrange things around the vocals, and we do that because it gives me more freedom to write. I could listen to this all day. NWOBHM bands liked Yes because the musicianship was great - it moves away from blues feel to a jazz feel. A lot of these guys were university trained, but we learned from listening to music. We knew nothing about music theory or scales, but prog rock really made you better as musicians when you learned to play it. It seemed unattainable because it was so good.