Wheels of Steel

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Wheels of Steel
Wheelssaxon.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 April 1980
RecordedFebruary 1980
StudioRamport Studios, London, UK
GenreHeavy metal
Length38:56
LabelCarrere
ProducerPete Hinton and Saxon
Saxon chronology
Saxon
(1979)
Wheels of Steel
(1980)
Strong Arm of the Law
(1980)
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 and reached Platinum status in the UK.

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.[1][2]

The title track is featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (Grand Theft Auto: 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 and bears a strong resemblance to the outro riff of "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" by Black Sabbath, although according to guitarist Graham Oliver the song was actually inspired by the Ted Nugent song "Cat Scratch Fever".[3]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[5]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5 stars[6]

The album received very positive reviews by critics and is today regarded as being a classic metal album helping to define the genre. Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic lists the album as "topping the heap of essential Saxon albums, pretty much hand in hand with its immediate successors, Strong Arm of the Law and Denim and Leather,... effectively setting the template for the band's most successful efforts".[4] 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".[5] Sputnikmusic's Mike Stagno praises "the solid, consistent rhythms that produce the riffy, yet accessible tunes" and Biff Byford's "powerful singing", which make Wheels of Steel "perhaps not one of metal's best albums", but "still a very worthwhile album."[6]

The album eventually went on to achieve Platinum status in the UK.[7]

It was their first album to enter the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #5, and is their highest-charting album in the UK Albums Chart to date.[8][9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Biff Byford, Paul Quinn, Graham Oliver, Steve Dawson and Pete Gill.

Side one
No.TitleLength
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.TitleLength
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.

Personnel[edit]

Saxon
Production
  • Pete Hinton - producer
  • Will Reid Dick - engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Next Level :: View topic - "The Trigger Effect" - true genesis for 9/11?". Breakfornews.com. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  2. ^ "747 (Strangers In the Night) Lyric Meaning - Saxon Meanings". Songmeanings.net. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. ^ Coulson, Gavin (15 September 2010). "Graham Oliver - Classic Saxon Riffs on the Metal Axxe Raider VR2001eview". YouTube. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Saxon Wheels of Steel". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  5. ^ 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. p. 314. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  6. ^ a b Stagno, Mike. "Saxon Wheels of Steel". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  7. ^ "BPI Certified Awards Database: search for Saxon". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 483. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  9. ^ "Saxon | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 February 2018.