Great Metal Albums of 1980: Saxon- Wheels of Steel


Like so many albums, this was yet another one I first experienced after listening to some of the band’s later ones. I didn’t experience “Wheels of Steel” by Saxon until 1986, when I heard the title track played at Oscar’s Night Club in London. Actually it was in Newbury Park, which is officially part of Essex but that’s not important. It’s also a shame that about two years after I stopped going, it became a McDonald’s. Still, on the night I heard the that song, I knew it was a good one. So, it was only natural that I would have to hear the album.

A good friend of mine stated that “Wheels of Steel” used to be his cruising song and I fully see why. However, the same could be said for the entire album. It’s just one of those albums that you pop in your CD when you just want to drive. Of course you have to have the windows rolled down and the stereo going full blast. I wanted to do that the other day and the temperature was just above freezing.

“Motorcycle Man” is probably the closest that Saxon will ever get to thrash. It’s a good, fast number that you should play with the car windows down, whatever the weather. While the same vibe holds for the rest of the album, I do really like the second song “Stand Up and Be Counted.” “See the Light Shining” is also a standout track for me and although the lyrics to “Street Fighting Gang” remind me of what I call the Rumble Fish effect; (Middle class suburban kids who love the idea of urban style gang fights, but would never participate in one), it is still a good song. All in all, I remain very impressed with “Wheels of Steel.”

Track Listing:

1. Motorcycle Man

2. Stand Up and Be Counted

3. 747 Strangers in the Night

4. Wheels of Steel

5. Freeway Mad

6. See the Light Shining

7. Street Fighting Gang

8. Suzie Hold On

9. Machine Gun



Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson- bass

Pete Gill- drums

If you are ever going on a long drive or just fancy a cruise, then this album in the stereo is a must. “Wheels of Steel” is one of the best driving albums ever no matter what Jeremy Clarkson says. It’s a brilliant metal album as well. On a side note, there’s much about my exploits at Oscar’s in Rock And Roll Children.

Next post: Saxon- Strong Arm of the Law

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London


5 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1980: Saxon- Wheels of Steel”

  1. Saxon seemed like they had magical Metal Fairy Dust sprinkled on them at this point in their career! Such amazing songs!


  2. I’m loving your 1980 albums series…i recently started my own series of classic metal album posts, inspired by my desire to get to know the history of the genre better. Saxon came up on my list, too:


    • Very well thought out and written. People tend to forget that there is a lot of history behind the music and kudos to you from bringing it to light. I hope you’ll continue on my journey through to 1989.


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