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Saga

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Saga - Saga [Maze Records ML-8001] (8 April 1978)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Saga

Released: 8 April 1978
Label: Maze Records
Catalog: ML-8001
Genre: Prog Rock


T R A C K L I S T:
01 How Long
02 Humble Stance
03 Climbing The Ladder
04 Will It Be You? (Chapter Four)
05 The Perfectionist
06 Give 'Em The Money
07 Ice Nice
08 Tired World (Chapter Six)
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Album Review

Saga is the first studio album by the Canadian progressive rock band Saga and was originally released 8th April 1978.

True to the album's legendary status among the fans, there are no Saga concerts without material from the debut. ''Humble Stance'' is very high on the fan favourites' list and therefore a mainstay of the setlists. The song features on all the band's regular live releases. ''How Long'', ''Tired World (Chapter Six)'', ''Perfectionist'' and ''Ice Nice'' are also often played live. ''How Long'' appears on ''In Transit'', ''Detours'' and ''Worlds Apart Revisited''. ''Will It Be You? (Chapter Four)'' is featured on ''The Chapters Live''. ''Perfectionist'' can be found on ''Detours'', ''Contact: Live in Munich'' and ''Spin it Again! Live in Munich''. ''Give 'em the Money'' appears on ''Worlds Apart Revisited''. ''Ice Nice'' is on ''Detours'', ''Worlds Apart Revisited'' and ''Live in Hamburg''. ''Tired World (Chapter Six)'' is featured on ''The Chapters Live'' and ''Spin it Again! Live in Munich''. In other words, all the songs except ''Climbing the Ladder'' (which was never played live) are available in live versions.

''Humble Stance'' is one of only few songs on which Michael Sadler plays bass guitar, while Jim Crichton plays keyboard chords. As it is a regular part of the live setlis - unlike ''It's Time'' or ''No Stranger'', which also feature the same constellation - fans usually know that Saga are going to start playing ''Humble Stance'' as soon as Sadler takes over Jim's bass guitar.

The album cover introduced a trademark - the alien insect that plays a prominent role in the ''Chapters'' *saga*, sometimes called ''Golden Warrior'', ''GoldenBoy'' or ''Harold, the Locust'' (!). While only the first three albums featured this creature, it was later revived for ''Full Circle'', an album that also revived the ''Chapters'', and subsequently became Saga's mascot and has since appeared on numerous releases. It can also be seen as a stage backdrop, e.g. on the current DVD ''Spin It Again! Live in Munich''. What's notable beside the very striking image of the insect is that it has changed a lot over the years. The locusts on the cover of ''Images at Twilight'' and ''Silent Knight'' look quite different from the one featured on the debut. Then again, on ''Full Circle'' you can see the next step of the metamorphosis - the locust sheds its old skin and it is this image that features on most following Saga releases.

Two of the songs, ''Will It Be You? (Chapter Four),'' and ''Tired World (Chapter Six),'' were part of a series of eight (but later sixteen) songs that Saga included within their first four albums called ''The Chapters'', which told the story of a young Albert Einstein. These songs were later included on The Chapters LIVE, an album that the band recorded in 2005. To date, there's been no official compilation of the chapters in their studio incarnation. [wikipedia.org]


Saga - Images At Twilight [Maze Records ML-8002] (1979)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Images At Twilight

Released: 1979
Label: Maze Records
Catalog: ML-8002
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 It's Time (Chapter Three)
02 See Them Smile
03 Slow Motion
04 You're Not Alone
05 Take It Or Leave It
06 Images (Chapter One)
07 Hot To Cold
08 Mouse In A Maze
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Album Review

Images At Twilight is the second studio album by the Canadian progressive rock band Saga and was originally released in October 1979. [wikipedia.org]


Saga - Silent Knight [Maze Records ML 8003] (1980)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Silent Knight

Released: 1980
Label: Maze Records
Catalog: ML 8003
Genre: Progressive Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Don't Be Late (Chapter Two)
02 What's It Gonna Be?
03 Time To Go
04 Compromise
05 Too Much To Lose (Chapter Seven)
06 Help Me Out
07 Someone Should
08 Careful Where You Step
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Album Review

Andy Hinds [allmusic.com]

Saga's Silent Knight was released just prior to the Canadian quintet's breakthrough album Worlds Apart. Drawing inspiration from Rush, Genesis, and other '70s progressive rock artists, Saga distills their influences through fairly concise song structures that never sound too indulgent -- sort of like what Asia was doing around the same time (but better). Still, there's plenty of evidence of the group's virtuosity here. Although Silent Knight sounds dated, and even a little quaint at times (due in part to the production), Saga would improve its sound and material immeasurably on the next couple of albums.


Saga - Worlds Apart [Maze Records ML-8004] (09-1981)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Worlds Apart

Released: 09-1981
Label: Maze Records
Catalog: ML-8004
Genre: Rock


T R A C K L I S T:
01 On The Loose
02 Time's Up
03 Wind Him Up
04 Amnesia
05 Framed
06 The Interview
07 No Regrets (Chapter V)
08 Conversations
09 No Stranger (Chapter VIII)
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Album Review

Andy Hinds [allmusic.com]

Saga's first major-label release was also the band's commercial breakthrough; the single ''On the Loose'' was not only a radio hit, but one of the first videos to be featured on the fledgling MTV network. Fortunately, the rest of the album holds up nearly as well as that fine single; fleshing out the songs' arrangements with lots of interesting instrumental detail, the band manages to maintain their progressive rock roots while producing strong, effective pop tunes. The lyrics are interesting and intelligent without being pretentious or eggheaded. World's Apart is the work of a band at the peak of its skill and inspiration, and may be Saga's best album.


Saga - Worlds Apart [Portrait FR 38246] (1982)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Worlds Apart

Released: 1982
Label: Portrait
Catalog: FR 38246
Genre: Rock, Progressive Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 On The Loose
02 Wind Him Up
03 Amnesia
04 Framed
05 Time's Up
06 The Interview
07 No Regrets (Chapter V)
08 Conversations
09 No Stranger (Chapter VIII)
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Album Review

Andy Hinds [allmusic.com]

Saga's first major-label release was also the band's commercial breakthrough; the single ''On the Loose'' was not only a radio hit, but one of the first videos to be featured on the fledgling MTV network. Fortunately, the rest of the album holds up nearly as well as that fine single; fleshing out the songs' arrangements with lots of interesting instrumental detail, the band manages to maintain their progressive rock roots while producing strong, effective pop tunes. The lyrics are interesting and intelligent without being pretentious or eggheaded. World's Apart is the work of a band at the peak of its skill and inspiration, and may be Saga's best album.


Saga - In Transit [Maze Records ML 8006] (1982)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

In Transit

Released: 1982
Label: Maze Records
Catalog: ML 8006
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Careful Where You Step
02 Don't Be Late
03 Humble Stance
04 Wind Him Up
05 How Long
06 No Regrets
07 A Brief Case
08 You're Not Alone
09 On The Loose
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Album Review

Mike DeGagne [allmusic.com]

In Transit is one of this Canadian band's best albums, which is not often said about a live release. Saga's progressive edge is toned down by Michael Sadler's serious vocal style, which is both highly energetic and pleasantly soft. Like Marillion, their songs involve short keyboard stints followed by gracious electric guitar work, with intricate themes being unraveled in the lyrics all the while. This album radiates with the band's electrifying fervor, and by not being too progressive or pretentious, each song ends up being immensely entertaining. "Humble Stance," with the precision of Ian Crichton's guitar playing, is stunning, as is the drumming on "Wind Him Up." The synthesizer is used wisely on "How Long," faintly shimmering in and out amongst the clarity of Sadler's voice. Ending with the spirited bombast of "On the Loose," the album as a whole has no weak moments, and not a lot of crowd interference either, which can sometimes tarnish a live album. Saga produces a comfortable balance of progressive elements and straight-ahead rock, so that their music can be appreciated by fans of both styles. In Transit is solid evidence of this.


Saga - Heads Or Tales  [Portrait FR 38999] (1983)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Heads Or Tales

Released: 1983
Label: Portrait
Catalog: FR 38999
Genre: Rock


T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Flyer
02 Cat Walk
03 The Sound Of Strangers
04 The Writing
05 Intermission
06 Social Orphan
07 The Vendetta (Still Helpless)
08 Scratching The Surface
09 The Pitchman
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Album Review

Heads Or Tales is the fifth studio album by the Canadian progressive rock band Saga and was originally released in 1983. The album was the second of the band's to be produced by Rupert Hine. Although it did not receive the commercial success of the previous collaboration between the band and Hine, both ''The Flyer'' and ''Cat Walk'' became respectable radio hits for the band with the album eventually securing gold status in Canada (50 000) and Germany (250 000). A third single from the album, ''Scratching The Surface'', making a regular appearance in the band's concert line-up during the late-1990s and 2000s as a piano solo played by singer Jim Gilmour during a break by the other band members. [wikipedia.org]


Saga - Behavior (Portrait BFR 40145) (1985)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Behavior

Released: 1985
Label: Portrait
Catalog: BFR 40145
Genre: Pop / Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Listen To Your Heart
02 Take A Chance
03 What Do I Know
04 Misbehavior
05 Nine Lives Of Miss Midi
06 You And The Night
07 Out Of The Shadows
08 Easy Way Out
09 Promises
10 Here I Am
11 (Goodbye) Once Upon A Time
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Album Review

by Mike DeGagne [allmusic.com]

When Saga started out in the late '70s, their culmination of keyboards and guitar presented them with a sound that was nothing short of progressive. As the '80s approached, they began to slim down their long instrumental rock suites and play shorter songs with more lyrics, eventually taking on a sound that veered more toward a commercial feel. Behaviour represents a little of both, with some of the tracks gleaming with radio savvy while a few still involve the band's unmistakable progressive flair but to a lesser extent. "Take a Chance" rides on it's clickety-clack rhythm and subdued but expressive vocal surge, while the lonely, midnight appeal of "What Do I Know" became one of their most frequented radio singles. Although Saga gained most of their recognition in Canada and Europe (particularly Germany), Behaviour's all-around Rush-like appeal helped to widen the spotlight a little. "Misbehaviour" and "Nine Lives of Miss Midi" both contain elements of progressive rock in their instrumental overtones and in their lyrics, but the drift toward mainstream arises here as well with the vocals sounding friendlier and the keyboard excursions kept to a minimum without overcompensating. With the band producing most of the album themselves, Behaviour begins to reveal sharper songwriting and finessed musicianship that gave way to an almost wholesale change in their style, but later albums would prove that their progressive tendencies were far from abandoned.


Saga - Wildest Dreams (Atlantic 81794) (1987)

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Artist:

Saga

Title:

Wildest Dreams

Released: 1987
Label: Atlantic
Catalog: 81794
Genre: Pop / Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Don't Put Out The Fire
02 Only Time Will Tell
03 Wildest Dreams
04 Chase The Wind
05 We've Been Here Before
06 The Way Of The World
07 Angel
08 Don't Look Down
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Saga's Biography

by Mark Deming [allmusic.com]

Over the course of a career that's spanned five decades, Saga have established themselves as one of Canada's most successful progressive rock bands, and have found a loyal, international audience for their ambitious music. Saga was formed in Oakville, Ontario by bassist and keyboard player Jim Crichton, and singer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Michael Sadler; Crichton had been a latter-day member of Toronto rockers Fludd and when he struck up a friendship with Sadler, they began writing songs. Crichton recruited fellow Fludd alumni Steve Negus (drums) and Peter Rochon (keyboards), as well as his brother, Ian Crichton (lead guitar), and the first lineup of Saga was complete, with the new band making their live debut in June 1977. From the outset, Saga was committed to playing original material their own way, and with close to 30 songs already in their repertoire, Saga went into the studio to record an album six months after their first show. The self-financed project was picked up for release by the Canadian branch of Polygram Records, and Saga's self-titled debut was released in June 1978; the album also featured two songs in what would become known as "The Chapters," a non-sequential song cycle which formed a futuristic narrative spread out over several albums. The album sold well in Canada and did surprisingly well in Germany as an import item, and Polygram signed the band to an international deal. For Saga's second album, 1979's Images at Twilight (which spawned a minor hit single in Canada, "It's Time"), Greg Chadd replaced Peter Rochon, and on 1980's Silent Knight, Chadd was out and Jim Gilmour became the band's new keyboard player. Silent Knight sold well in Canada, and Saga's next effort, 1981's Worlds Apart, would be their international breakthrough; produced by Rupert Hine, the album featured a major hit single in "On the Loose" ("Wind Him Up" also reached the Top 40), and earned platinum sales awards in Canada and the United States; the tour that followed produced a live album, 1982's In Transit. 1983's Heads or Tales also sold well, if not as well as its predecessor, and featured another successful single, "The Flyer," while 1985's Behaviour included the hit "What Do I Know." However, Behaviour was Saga's last album with Hine as producer, and their next effort, 1987's Wildest Dreams, found Gilmour out of the band and Steve Negus replaced by session drummer Curt Cress. Gilmour and Negus formed the Gilmour-Negus Project, and Saga went on hiatus following 1989's The Beginner's Guide to Throwing Shapes, which was a commercial disappointment. In 1993, Saga returned with their classic lineup -- Sadler, the Crichton Brothers, Gilmour, and Negus -- for a new album, The Security of Illusion. The album marked a return to the more purely progressive style of Saga's early work, and while it didn't fare well on the Canadian or American sales charts, it sold well in Germany, Sweden, and Scandinavia, where the group had developed a passionate following, and from this point onward, Saga would focus most of their touring and promotional efforts on these markets as well as their native Canada. In 1994, Saga wrote and recorded musical scores for a short-lived American television series, Cobra; this music would become the basis of the 1994 album Steel Umbrellas. 1995's Generation 13 was that prog rock staple, a concept album, and in 1997, as the band celebrated their 20th anniversary, they released two discs -- a new studio set, Pleasure and the Pain, and an archival release, Phase 1, which collected demo recordings of the songs from Images at Twilight. In 2001, the band scored an unexpected hit single in Canada with "Money Talks," an acoustic-flavored tune from the album House of Cards. In 2003, Steve Negus left Saga, and Christian Simpson became the band's new drummer, making his recorded debut on the 2004 album Network. Simpson only lasted two years with Saga, and in 2005, Brian Doerner, formerly of Helix, took over behind the drums. More surprising for many fans was the announcement by Michael Sadler that he would leave Saga at the end of 2007, citing the stress of traveling and a desire to spend more time with his family. Rob Moratti, ex-Final Frontier, was tapped to become Saga's new singer, and he appeared on their 2009 album The Human Condition. In 2011, Saga announced that Michael Sadler had rejoined the lineup, with major tours of Europe and Scandinavia in the works.
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