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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biff Byford
Byford in 2016
Byford in 2016
Background information
Birth namePeter Rodney Byford
Born (1951-01-15) 15 January 1951 (age 69)
Honley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
GenresHeavy metal, hard rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, drums, flute, recorder
Years active1970–present
Associated actsSaxon, Fastway, Air Pavilion, Avantasia, Helloween, Destruction

Peter Rodney "Biff" Byford (born 15 January 1951 in Honley, West Yorkshire)[1][2] is an English singer best known as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Saxon.

Early life

Byford was born the youngest of four children to Earnest Charles and Irene Byford. He has a brother, a half-sister from his father's side, Enid, who is 20 years older than him and a half-brother Michael from his mother.[3]

Byford was just 11 years old when his mother died. "Being so young," he says, "it was a crushing blow. But that, I think, is when that will to survive was built in.”

Only two years later his father, whom Byford describes as a violent alcoholic, suffered a terrible accident while at work at a textile mill, losing an arm after it was entangled in a piece of heavy machinery.

He joined a youth club band at 14. When he was 15, in 1966, having left school to work as a junior carpenter, his first steady girlfriend, Linda, fell pregnant. They were promptly married. But the marriage didn't last, even though the couple had two children.

At 18, in 1969, he was employed at the Shuttle Eye pit at Flockton, near Huddersfield. At six-foot-one he was considered too tall to work underground, in tunnels only three feet high. So instead he worked in the boiler house, manning a giant steam engine that drew up the coal from a mile deep.

Musical career

He was taught to play guitar by his best friend's brother, who led a local blues group. Byford switched to bass, and passed through various bands in the Barnsley area. His first appearance on an album was in 1971 when he played flute[4] and wrote a few of the songs on the self titled debut album by psychedelic rockers Jumble Lane, a Holyground Records release.[5] He started singing backing vocals when he joined the Iron Mad Wilkinson Band, named after a local industrialist.[6]

Byford sang and played bass with a local power trio called Coast from around 1973 to 1976 along with drummer Al Dodd and future Saxon guitarist Paul Quinn,[7] when he formed Saxon with guitarists Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn, bassist Steve Dawson and former Glitter Band drummer Pete Gill. The band was originally called Son of a Bitch, but changed to Saxon in 1978. They released their self-titled debut album in 1979, and became part of what was known as the new wave of British heavy metal, which also included bands like Iron Maiden, Demon and Def Leppard. The band had commercial success as well, charting eight consecutive UK Top 40 albums and five Top 40 singles between 1980 and 1986.

At the end of the 1980s, the band declined in popularity, with 1988's Destiny being their last UK charting album until 2007. Oliver and Dawson left the band and formed a new band with the same name,[8] though they were later forced to change it to Oliver/Dawson Saxon. (Byford's) Saxon maintained a recording and touring career centred on Germany for much of the 1990s, before coming back into broader attention with 2007's The Inner Sanctum.[9]

In April 2007, Byford released his autobiography, entitled Never Surrender after the Saxon song of the same name. reported on 18 January 2010[10] that Byford was launching a campaign to have Britons declare heavy metal as their religion in the United Kingdom Census 2011, inspired by the Jedi census phenomenon (where 2001 Census results suggested that Jediism was the UK's fourth most popular religion).

Byford released his first solo album, titled "School of Hard Knocks" – featuring guest appearances by Phil Campbell, Alex Holzwarth, Nicholas Barker, Dave Kemp and Nibbs Carter – in February 2020.[11]


with Saxon
  • School of Hard Knocks (2020)
with Air Pavilion
  • Kaizoku (1989) – vocals on "She's Hot Stuff"
with Fastway
  • Bad Bad Girls (1990)
with Freedom Call
  • Taragon (1999) – narration on "Tears of Taragon (Story Version)"
with Destruction
with Helloween
with Doro
with Avantasia
with The Scintilla Project
  • The Hybrid (2014)


  • Never Surrender, 2007


  1. ^ Chloe Glover (30 August 2014). "Saxon's Biff Byford: He's sold 15 million albums, influenced Metallica and toured the world – but did you know he was from Huddersfield?". Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  2. ^ Elliott, Paul (2 March 2013). "At Homes With Saxon". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  3. ^ Byford, Biff (27 October 2019). "Never Surrender (Or Nearly Good Looking). An Autobiography By Biff Byford And John Tucker" (PDF).
  4. ^ ElliottT07:00:00.187Z, Paul. "Saxon frontman Biff Byford on Yorkshire, Metallica and rock'n'roll". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Jumble Lane – Jumble Lane". Discogs. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  6. ^ Elliott, Paul (2 March 2013). "At Homes With Saxon". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  7. ^ "A Chat With STEVE Dobby DAWSON of Oliver/Dawson Saxon (Interview)". Decibel Geek. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  8. ^ BYFORD v OLIVER AND DAWSON – High Court Decides Saxon Name Archived 14 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (3 March 2003). Retrieved on 20 August 2012.
  9. ^ Retrieved 15 July 2009 Sputnik Music ''The Inner Sanctum Review''. Retrieved on 20 August 2012.
  10. ^ Campaign Launched To Get Heavy Metal Recognised As A Religion. Gigwise (18 January 2010). Retrieved on 20 August 2012.
  11. ^ "SAXON's BIFF BYFORD On Musical Direction Of His Solo Album: 'It's Mixed In All Sorts Of Styles That I Like'". 7 June 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 14:39
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