Wheels of Steel

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Wheels of Steel
Studio album by Saxon
Released 5 May 1980
Recorded Ramport Studios, London, February 1980
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock [1]
Length 38:56
Label Carrere
Producer Pete Hinton and Saxon
Saxon chronology
Wheels of Steel
Strong Arm of the Law
Singles from Wheels of Steel
  1. "Wheels of Steel / Stand Up and Be Counted"
    Released: March 1980
  2. "747 (Strangers in the Night) / See the Light Shining"
    Released: June 1980
  3. "Suzie Hold On / Judgement Day (live)"
    Released: September 1980

Wheels of Steel is the second studio album by the English heavy metal band Saxon. It was released in 1980.

Song notes[edit]

"747 (Strangers in the Night)" is about a power cut that forced planes in New York to remain in ascent in 1965 with the power outage provoking a Scandinavian flight to detour to Kennedy airport in the dark.[2][3]

The title track is featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City (Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony) and Brütal Legend. It has also been covered by L.A. Guns on their album Rips the Covers Off.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
Ultimate-Guitar.com (7.3/10)[6]
Martin Popoff 8/10 stars[7]

The album received positive reviews by critics and is regarded as being amongst the band's strongest work. Eduardo Rivadavia gave the album four and a half out of five stars, considering it an improvement over "their disappointing debut" and said that "the album's songs positively gleamed with a bright, metallic sheen similar to that exhibited by the chrome eagle hoisting a motorcycle wheel on its iconic cover." He praised the song "747 (Strangers in the Night) for being "dramatic" and "lyrically unique", and the song "Suzie Hold On" for being "perhaps the band's finest early ballad", although he criticised the song "Stand Up and Be Counted", feeling that it "hasn't aged all that impressively".[4] Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic gave the album three and a half out of five stars, and although stating that it is "perhaps not one of metal's best albums", also summed up the album positively with "Through driving rhythms, impressive vocal deliveries, and infectious leads, Saxon has succeeded in creating an 39 minute album full of early metal anthems that metal and hard rock fans alike can rock out to."[5] Canadian reviewer Martin Popoff regards Wheels of Steel as a "qualified classic" and "one of really two or three of (NWOBHM) building blocks"; it is "a record on a mission, willing to take responsibility as spokesvinyl for legions of English punters with a thirst for regular metal guys".[7]

The album eventually went on to achieve Platinum status in the UK. [8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Biff Byford, Paul Quinn, Graham Oliver, Steve Dawson and Pete Gill

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Motorcycle Man"   3:56
2. "Stand Up and Be Counted"   3:09
3. "747 (Strangers in the Night)"   4:58
4. "Wheels of Steel"   5:58
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Freeway Mad"   2:41
6. "See the Light Shining"   4:55
7. "Street Fighting Gang"   3:12
8. "Suzie Hold On"   4:34
9. "Machine Gun"   5:23
  • 2009 remaster bonus tracks 13-17 recorded live at Donington, 1980.




  1. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Saxon-Wheels-Of-Steel/master/70726
  2. ^ "The Next Level :: View topic - "The Trigger Effect" - true genesis for 9/11?". Breakfornews.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  3. ^ "747 (Strangers In the Night) Lyric Meaning - Saxon Meanings". Songmeanings.net. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  4. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Saxon Wheels of Steel". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  5. ^ a b Stagno, Mike. "Saxon Wheels of Steel". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  6. ^ "Wheels of Steel review". Ultimate Guitar Archive. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  7. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5. 
  8. ^ http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/saxon-frontman-says-new-album-captured-the-rawness-of-the-band/
  9. ^ "Wheels of Steel". Saxon747.com. Retrieved 2007-12-23.