Saga

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Saga

Saga

 

Casual recognition in their own country but superstar status in Europe is the story of Saga. Formed from the core of Fludd, bassist Jim Chricton, Peter Rachon on keyboards and drummer Steve Negus recruited Chricton's younger brother Ian on guitars. Pockets was born. The group toured the local Toronto area doing bars for a few months until singer Michael Sadler left a local group called Truck to become their frontman. His vocal stylings blended with their progressive yet eclectic sound. It wasn't long before the group was noticed by Maze Records and signed to a deal shortly thereafter.

Their self-titled debut was released in '78 and was instantly met with rave reviews for their tight, sophisticated approach. Though the single, "How Long" failed to make an impression on the charts here, it received constant airplay in Britain and Germany. Also heavy on the charts overseas was "Humble Stance".

IMAGES AT TWILIGHT came out a little under a year later and again was met with compliments by the critics. Though "It's Time" and "See Them Smile" did receive airplay in the Toronto area, it failed to make much of an impression anywhere else in North America. Again though, the band's hard-edged guitar sound mixed with progressive keyboard rhythms were more appreciated in Europe, sparking an overseas tour.

1980 saw the release of SILENT KNIGHT. Maturity showed in the writing, evidenced by "Don't Be Late" becoming their first gold single. The album still failed to garner the success they already enjoyed in Europe so again the band spent a good deal of their time touring England and Germany venturing into the former eastern block countries, in support of other radio hits there such as "Help Me Out" and "Careful Where You Step".

Their breakthrough album in North America came in the form of 1981's WORLDS APART. Produced by Rupert Hine ("The Pina Colada Song"), it instantly saw "On The Loose" go platinum followed by "Amnesia" and "Wind Him Up", the tale of an obsessive gambler. The album also saw Rachon replaced on keyboards by Jim Gilmour, singing lead on "No Regrets". A slightly more commercially acceptable sound supported a North American tour, but for the most part, Europe was their bread and butter.

The group's only live record came out in '82. Recorded in Copenhagen and Brussells, IN TRANSIT, though nothing particularly mesmerizing, did showcase the versatility of the group, spanning all four albums. Also noteable was Negus' drum solo on a briefcase, called, oddly enough, "A Briefcase".

HEADS OR TAILS hit the stores the next year and saw the group take a slightly heavier path with "The Flyer", but stayed true to their sophisticated roots with "Catwalk" and "Scratching the Surface". Though still not anywhere near their status in Europe, SAGA was finally getting fairly steady airplay on this side of the ocean.

BEHAVIOUR came out in '85 and contained the hit "What Do I Know". Although still a fine record, the record failed to hold the same magic as some of their earlier efforts. Outside projects kept the group apart until 1987's WILDEST DREAM. "Only Time Will Tell" did go gold here, but the true appreciation of their return was in Europe as always.

The group cut BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO THROWING SHAPES in '89 after another hiatus. The time off proved to do more harm than good, as it turned out to be their worst seller. They put the group on hiatus again soon after.

A greatest hits package was released in '93 and the attention given them saw SAGA reunite again to put out SECURITY OF ILLUSION. Now situated out of Los Angeles, the record marked a turning point for the band. Backed by the driving guitars of "Mind Over Matter" and eclectic rhythms of "Without You", the album quickly went gold in practically all four corners of the earth. They quickly followed up the next year withSTEEL UMBRELLAS. True to Saga fashion, it contained the usual carefully layered rhythms and leads. GENERATION 13 was released in '96, followed by PLEASURE AND PAIN the next year. Though the record execs had long by now abandoned properly supporting the supergroup, both records exemplify Saga's musicianship and sheer brilliance. 1998 saw the release of their double live album, DETOURS. Capturing the group in their brilliantly live best, it was more of a treat for the die-hard fans, as no singles were released.

Saga has unfortunately never received the accolades due them here at home. But in European venues, the story is quite different. The masses in places like Sweden, Germany and Holland have always had eclectic tastes. Saga's progressive melodies have always been a mainstay on the airwaves there. And though their success in North America has been fair to moderate, they've never set out to record radio-friendly songs. But they ARE Canadian ... and one of our greatest exports.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

saga
Saga (1978)

How Long
Humble Stance
Climbing The Ladder
Will It Be You
The Perfectionist
Give'em The Money
Ice Nice
Tired World

Images At Twilight
Images At Twilight (1979)

It's Time
See Them Smile
Slow Motion
You're Not Alone
Take It or Leave It
Images
Hot to Cold
Mouse in a Maze

Silent Knight
Silent Knight (1980)

Don't Be Late
What's It Gonna Be
Time To Go
Compromise
Too Much To Lose
Help Me Out
Someone Should
Careful Where You Step

Worlds Apart
Worlds Apart (1981)

On The Loose
Wind Him Up
Amnesia
Framed
Times Up
The Interview
No Regrets
Conversations
No Stranger

In Transit
In Transit (1982)

Careful Where You Step
Don't Be Late
Humble Stance
Wind Him Up
How Long
No Regrets
A Brief Case
You're Not Alone
On The Loose

Heads Or Tales
Heads Or Tales (1983)

The Flyer
Cat Walk
The Sound of Strangers
The Writing
Intermission
Social Orphan
The Vendetta
Scratching The Surface
The Pitchman

Behaviour
Behaviour (1985)

Listen To Your Heart
Take A Chance
What Do I Know
Misbehaviour
Nine Lives of Miss Midi
You And The Night
Out Of The Shadows
Easy Way Out
Promises
Here I Am
Once Upon A Time

Wildest Dreams
Wildest Dreams (1987)

Don't Put Out The Fire
Only Time Will Tell
Wildest Dreams
Chase The Wind
We've Been Here Before
The Way of The World
Angel
Don't Look Down

The Beginners Guide
The Beginners Guide To Throwing Shapes (1989)

How Do I Look
Starting All Over
Shape
Odd Man Out
The Nineties
Scarecrow
As I Am
Waiting In The Wings
Giant

The Works
The Works (1990)

Gotta Love It
How Long
What Do I Know
Only Time Will Tell
Humble Stance
Don't Be Late
The Vendetta
Time's Up
The Flyer
Angel
As I Am
On The Loose
Chase The Wind
You And The Night
The Call
Scratching The Surface
Take A Chance
Starting All Over
Slow Motion
Cat Walk
Once Upon A Time
Solsbury Hill
Out Of The Shadows
Careful Where You Step
Wildest Dreams
Help Me Out
Wind Him Up
A Brief Case

Security Of Illusion
Security Of Illusion (1993)

Entracte
Mind Over Matter
Once Is Never Enough
Alone Again Tonight
I'll Leave It In Your Hands
The Security of Illusion
Stand Up
Days Like These
Viola
No Man's Land
Without You

All the Best
All the Best (1993)

On The Loose
Wind Him Up
How Long
What Do I Know
Only Time Will Tell
Humble Stance
Amnesia
Scratching The Surface
The Flyer
Cat Walk
Help Me Out
Mind Over Matter
Times Up
Don't Be Late
Without You

Steel Umbrellas
Steel Umbrellas (1994)

Why Not
Never Alone
Bet On This
Shake That Tree
Password Pirate
I Walk With You
(Walking On) Thin Ice
Steamroller
Say Goodbye to Hollywood
Feed The Fire

The Very Best Of...
The Very Best Of... (1994)

Wind Him Up
Never Alone
Wildest Dreams
Humble Stance
You And The Night
The Flyer
The Security of Illusion
Why Not
How Long
Only Time Will Tell
Starting All Over
What Do I Know
Help Me Out
Say Goodbye to Hollywood
On The Loose

Defining Moments
Defining Moments (1994)

Without You
Cat Walk
Times Up
Listen To Your Heart
Wind Him Up
You And The Night
Don't Be Late
On The Loose
Nine Lives of Miss Midi
Ice Nice
(Walking On) Thin Ice
Odd Man Out
Once Is Never Enough
I Walk With You
Once Upon A Time

Generation 13
Generation 13 (1995)

Chances Are #1
Generation 13 (Theme #1)
All Will Change a) The Cross (Home #3)
Danger Whistle a) Leave Her Alone
I'll Never Be Like You a) My Name Is Sam
The 13th Generation
The Cross
The Learning Tree
I'll Never Be Like You (Once Again)
Snake Oil a) We Hope You're Feeling Better
My Name Is Sam (Your Time is Up)
Generation 13 (Theme #2)
Where Are You Now? a) Screw'em
No Strings Attached
All Will Change
The Victim
One Small Step
a) Sam's New Friend
b) We Hope You're Feeling Better
Chances Are #2

Pleasure & The Pain
Pleasure & The Pain (1997)

Heaven Can Wait
How Do You Feel
Welcome To The Zoo
Where's My Money?
You're Not Alone '97
Taxman
You Were Made For Me
Gonna Give It To Ya
Fantastically Wrong
Pleasure & The Pain

Phase One
Phase One (1997)

Half The Time
Old Man
Hangman
You're Not Alone (demo)
Mouse in a Maze (demo)
Don't Bother
Hot to Cold (demo)
Don't Step Out of Line

How do I Look
How do I Look (1998)

How Do I Look
Starting All Over
Waiting In The Wings
Take It or Leave It
The Way of The World
The Sound of Strangers
Time To Go
Wildest Dreams
The Flyer
Amnesia
Too Much To Lose
See Them Smile
On The Loose
Wind Him Up

DeTours
DeTours (1998)

In The Hall of The Mountain King William
How Long
The Perfectionist
Careful Where You Step
Ice Nice
Don't Be Late
Interview
Wind Him Up
Welcome To The Zoo
Take A Chance
William's Walkabout
The Cross
Scratching The Surface
On The Loose
The Security of Illusion
I Walk With You
Times Up
Heaven Can Wait
The Flyer
You're Not Alone
Framed
Humble Stance

Full Circle
Full Circle (1999)

Remember When
The One
Follow Me
Uncle Albert's Eyes
Home
Don't Say Goodbye
Time Bomb
Not This Way
A Night To Remember
Goodbye


House of Cards
House of Cards (2001)

God Knows
The Runaway
Always There
Ashes To Ashes
Once In A Lifetime
Only Human
That's How We Like It
Watching The Clock
We'll Meet Again
Money Talks
House of Cards
So Far So Good (bonus)


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