OUT NOW - Saxon classic albums Innocence is No Excuse, Rock the Nations and Destiny

On the 10 August Saxon give the deluxe re-release treatment to three more albums through BMG. This time its Innocence is no Excuse, Rock the Nations and Destiny. As before CDs are 24-page media books containing original lyrics, rare photos and memorabilia....featuring bonus tracks including a selection of early demos - some of which didn't make final track listings as we'll as B sides and live recordings. The Vinyl will be Coloured splatter with no bonus tracks.

These were the only Saxon albums I didn’t buy at the time of the original release back in the 80s, as I was in the process of getting a mortgage and getting married. Though these three albums aren’t full of songs that fill the current Saxon live set there are some hidden gems.


Originally released on 24 June 1985, Saxon seventh album Innocence Is No Excuse was their first for then new label EMI after their departure from Carrere Records. This was also their last album to feature long standing bassist Steve Dawson, who alongside vocalist Biff Byford, guitarists Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn and drummer Nigel Glockler recorded the album at Union Studios in Munich, Germany with producer Simon Hanhart. This version features the B-Sides of the singles ‘Back on the Streets’ and Rock n’ roll Gypsy plus demo versions of tracks from the album recorded at Chapel Studio, Thorsby on the CD version.

I’ve always thought this album would have been better if it opened with Back on the Streets rather than Rockin’ Again, It would, to me, have given this collection of songs a better introduction with a bit more bite. There are some good songs on here with Devil Rides Out, Rock n’ Roll Gypsy, Everybody Up and Broken Heroes being my favourites. The bonus tracks are the two B-Sides to the singles to come off the album and five demo tracks which make interesting listening.    


1. Rockin’ Again

2. Call of the Wild

3. Back on the Streets

4. Devil Rides Out

5. Rock n’ Roll Gypsy

6. Broken Heroes

7. Gonna Shout

8. Everybody Up

9. Raise Some Hell

10. Give It Everything You’ve Got

CD Bonus Tracks

11. Live Fast, Die Young (B-side of ‘Back on the Streets’

12. Krakatoa (B-side of ‘Rock n’ Roll Gypsy’)

13. Broken Heroes (Chapel Studio demo)

14. Devil Rides Out (Chapel Studio demo)

15. Rock n’ Roll Gypsy (Chapel Studio demo)

16. Rockin’ Again (Chapel Studio demo)

17. Gonna Shout (Chapel Studio demo)


On 13 October 1986 Saxon released their eighth studio album ‘Rock the Nations’. Recorded at Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum in the Netherlands by Gary Lyons. Biff Byford, who had incidentally begun his career as a singer/bassist, recorded all the bass parts on the album, however Paul Johnson is credited on the album as he joined before the album was released. Rock The Nations also features the unlikely guest of Elton John on piano on the tracks ‘Northern Lady’ and ‘Party ‘til You Puke’. This version features radio edits of the singles from the album, some live B-Sides and three songs recorded by the BBC from Saxon’s set at 1986’s, Reading Festival.

Now this album does have a fantastic opening track, which really set the pulse racing, and it is followed up by the equally exciting Battle Cry. Other great songs on the album include We Came Here to Rock and Northern Lady.  I still don’t see the point in Party ‘til You Puke, sounds like it should be a B side and unfortunately the lyrics to You Ain’t No Angel sound a bit dated now. The album benefits from having a less polished production than Innocence and Destiny, giving it more of a rock album feel. Amongst the bonus tracks are five live recordings with the real stand outs being the three from Saxon’s set at Reading in 1986. These really capture the excitement of the show. They have been available before via the BBC archive series, but if you haven’t already got them they are worth buying this CD for.

1. Rock the Nations

2. Battle Cry

3. Waiting for the Night

4. We Came Here To Rock

5. You Ain’t No Angel

6. Running Hot

7. Party ‘til You Puke

8. Empty Promises

9. Northern Lady

CD Bonus Tracks

10. Chase the Fade (B-side of ‘Waiting for the Night’)

11. Waiting for the Night (7” single edit)

12. Northern Lady (7” single edit)

13. Everybody Up (Live in Madrid, B-side of ‘Northern Lady’)

14. Dallas 1pm (Live in Madrid, B-side of ‘Northern Lady’)

15. Power & the Glory (BBC Live At Reading Festival ’86)

16. Rock the Nations (BBC Live At Reading Festival ’86)

17. Waiting for the Night (BBC Live At Reading Festival ’86)


Saxon’s ninth studio album, Destiny was originally released on 20 June 1988 and was produced by Stephan Galfas at Hook and Manor studio in Berkshire. It is the only album to feature the rhythm section of Nigel Durham (drums) and Paul Johnson (bass) alongside long serving members Biff Byford (vocals), Graham Oliver (guitar) and Paul Quinn (guitar). Being a fan of Christopher Cross’ song writing, Biff came up with the idea of covering his track ‘Ride like the Wind’ as the albums lead single, after giving it a ‘Wheels Of Steel’ style makeover. Now to me the thought of Saxon covering this song horrified me, but how wrong I was. The single got, and still does get, loads of radio and TV air play and still occasionally features in Saxon’s live set. There are one or two other songs of note, like Where the Lighting Strikes, Red Alert and I can’t Wait Anymore.

The bonus tracks include a 12” mix of ‘I Can’t Wait Anymore’ plus live B-Sides which includes good versions of Rock the Nation, Broken Heroes and Gonna Shout and some alternative monitor mixes.


1. Ride like the Wind

2. Where the Lightning Strikes

3. I Can’t Wait Anymore

4. Calm Before the Storm

5. S.O.S.

6. Song for Emma

7. For Whom the Bell Tolls

8. We Are Strong

9. Jericho Siren

10. Red Alert

CD Bonus Tracks

11. I Can’t Wait Anymore (12 mix)

12. Rock the Nations (Live At Hammersmith, B-side of ‘Ride like the Wind’)

13. Broken Heroes (Live In Madrid, B-side of ‘I Can’t Wait Anymore’)

14. Gonna Shout (Live In Madrid, B-side of ‘I Can’t Wait Anymore’)

15. Ride like the Wind (Monitor mix)

16. For Whom the Bells Tolls (Monitor mix)


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