View Full Version : SAGA

Spectral Morn
17-01-2009, 00:40
Saga had lots of prog influnces but a sound unique to there own. They have lots of keyboards a really good drummer and guitarist and vocals are top notch too.

Very good description John. I most certainly agree.:):):):):):):):):)

Neil is far more knowledgeable about this than me.
For me Saga were a band that made a lot more sense Live than on record but In Transit is a good place to start. They are almost AOR at times but on the earlier albums always manage not to go to far down that road a very talented band but one of those bands that will be either love or hate.
I used to love watching It Bites play as well; in many respects it was a shame they had that big hit "calling all those hereos" it was not really what they were about.

Hi John and Nick

My fave subject(well one of them). Saga. Are my all time fave band. However like most bands they have lost their way a bit and produced one stinker of an album (Generation 13 IMHO). John's seen them live, several times, sadly I have not:( Musically they were heavily influenced by Prog bands like Gentle Giant, but as John says their sound is quite unique. In the early days their sound was very heavily keyboard lead, with multiple, overlaid parts but this was punctuated by excellent guitar playing and a fantastic drummer. Lyrics were very much sci-fi themed, and for the first five albums a concept story was revealed in what they called The Chapters. This reappeared later, and they even released a live album of all the Chapters complete. Their first five albums are a mix of Pomp rock and Prog with the odd more traditional melodic rock song. During the next phase they did swing a bit more towards AOR but still managed to avoid most of the cliches of that genre(not that I mind, cause I also love AOR). In the mid 90's to now the style has moved from a mix of Prog/Aor/Pomp/heavy rock all blended together with a few sort of ballads. Sadly they lost steam a bit in the last few years and their lead singer quit to pursue more time with his family and do solo projects. I fear that Saga was the sum of the parts, and with Michael Sadler now gone( he has a wonderfully rich melodic voice) it really will not be Saga. I will list the albums and put the style beside the titles.

Saga-- Saga 1978 (self titled first lp originally on their own label Maze records) light quirky keyboard prog with some heavier bits but heavy by the density of keyboards. Great album

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WYXirpaOST4&feature=related Humble Stance

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv94U27oU5U&feature=related How Long

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HrkVWVgwwfc&feature=related Don't be late

Images at Twilight 1980 (heavier style with more guitar parts but still featuring lots of keyboards. More a Pomp/Prog album with hints of Aor. Not quite as good as the first Imho but still very good.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=05lyvwvFhG4 Images (music on video, sorry)

Silent Knight 1981 (stunning and my fave early album. Some longer songs with more over layering of keyboards. This was one of the first rock albums I ever got, and I still love it)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8g7sToyx0&feature=related To much to loose

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGrmxQr9xk&feature=related Careful where you step

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0MgHFrvpjb8&feature=related Whats it gonna be

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=dLteg9vD100&feature=related Whats it gonna be (better quality modern video)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=U6BmeJXlmSQ&feature=related Compromise

Worlds Apart 1982 (regarded by many as their best album. Stunning blend of prog/aor/pomp.)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=3tS9MgTGwfs&feature=related Wind him up

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=w4k_fINnpCc&feature=related compromise

In Transit Live 1982 (as mentioned by John, great live album)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=redbX2364Rc&feature=related A brief case (live fave drum solo from Steve Negus)

Heads or Tails 1983 (Change in style,still Saga but a bit more Aor, but quirky and in away slightly New Romantic think Ultra Vox but heavier, sort of)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vsddjlZgdfc&feature=related Scratching the surface

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=llzFNz95NCQ&feature=related The flyer

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=bBSrvyFJCCc&feature=related The catwalk

Behaviour 1985 (change in style again and my fave Saga album. This is a fantastic mix of Aor and Prog. The song writing is awesome. Every track is a winner in my opinion.)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oricZ9XbHlM&feature=related Take a chance

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wMH4n6WTQF8&feature=related Take a chance (heavier version)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_SIZbGCXN4I&feature=related You and the night (Fabulous I love this song)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WFYoYfQC8_0&feature=related Listen to your heart (sorry no video just music)

Widest dreams 1987 (difficult album as Steve Negus their drummer had left as had Jim Gilmour their main keyboard player. This is a weaker album but still good. Light and breezy keyboard Aor. However I still like this album)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oricZ9XbHlM&feature=related Only time will tell

The security of illusion 1989
The beginners guide to throwing shapes 1993 ( I put these together as they are more Aor than their earlier material. Still Saga but less prog. Great albums but more for the melodic rock crowd (Me) )

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=slLW1ozkCvI Scarecrow

Steel Umbrellas 1994 (great album like Behaviour meets Wildest dreams and all the original band back together.)

Generation 13 1995 (CRAP)

Pleasure and pain 1997 (poor but better than the previous effort,quite heavy)

Detours Live 1998 (good live album)

At this point they start to loose their way a bit. The albums are good but some of the magic has gone a bit and there is a bit of rehashing of older material. Full Circle 1999,House of Cards 2001,Marathon 2003,Network 2004, Chapters Live 2005 , Trust 2005, 10000 Days 2007. Of these albums none are really stand outs but Marathon, The Chapters Live and Trust are quite good with the others lacking a bit. Their last album 10000 Days(the length of time Saga had been a band)is IMHO a poor farewell album, I was very disappointed with this. I had hoped for the magic to be back but treading water is closer to the mark. Some good songs but not really essential.Shame.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NnT-AtLJpTg Goodbye

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uH-W23jpXy0&feature=related The One

The first 4 albums are worth a punt if you like Prog/pomp mix. If you prefer more melodic keyboard focused rock, then everything else is worth a look with the highlighted albums being essential ones.

Regards D S D L---Neil :)

17-01-2009, 06:45
Thanks Neil
A great write up to a great Band did you get hold of the video
The atmosphere at a Saga gig was very special
Always thought the gutarist was really underatted some great unique riffs
Here is a clip that brings across the atmosphere at a Saga gig
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=3tS9MgTGwfs&feature=related or

17-01-2009, 08:54
Wow thanks you for the 'Saga' primer - I'll definitely check them out... I'll report back when I've had a chance to given em a listen!

Spectral Morn
17-01-2009, 11:55
Hi Nick and John And anyone else who might like Saga or be interested.

Lots of videos and in sections relating to the albums they came from. A few of my faves aren't there as I could not find them. I put John's clips into context, in my first post/thread.


Regards D S D L----Neil:)

Meant to do this last night, but to tired.