Biff Byford Credits Pete Townshend’s Songwriting For The Who’s Impact

Saxon is a heavy metal band, but that doesn’t mean rock classics can’t influence them. After their first cover album ‘Inspirations,’ they are now getting ready to release the follow-up to pay tribute to the artists who inspired them, including the Who. Speaking to Total Rock, Biff Byford detailed the Who’s influence and noted that Pete Townshend’s songwriting had a significant impact on the band’s success.

“You have to be brave with these things,” Byford said about their decision to cover the Who song ‘Substitute.’ “Don’t forget that we did the ‘Immigrant Song’ on the first one, which is a difficult song. Not many people cover Led Zeppelin. [And] ‘Speed King,’ Deep Purple. I think tackling the Who, we could’ve gone for a big, heavier track like ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ or any of those massive [ones].”

The singer continued, “We wanted to go for a song that we heard on the radio in the ’60s, back when we were teenagers. They were teenagers as well when they did it. So, yeah, I mean, the Who were a massive band from our teenage years. I just loved the band. So I thought, ‘We had to do a Who song,’ and that one is a great song. The lyrics are great. He is a great lyricist, Townshend. So I thought that would be cool to do and see if we can do a good version.”

According to Bill Byford, the Who has significantly influenced Saxon. He said that it came out at a time when both they and the Who were teenagers, so being inspired by their success was almost inevitable. Moreover, Byford claimed the Who owes their impact to Pete Townshend, whom he considers a great lyricist.

The band released ‘Inspirations,’ their first album featuring covers, in March 2021. Produced by Biff Byford himself, the album features cover songs of artists from the 1960s and 1970s that influenced the band throughout the years. Songs mainly were from hard rock, psychedelic rock, and blues rock, and Saxon tried playing close to the music styles of the bands they covered.

‘Inspirations’ featured covers from the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Crow, Jimi Hendrix, Motörhead, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Toto, AC/DC, and the Kinks. Set to release on March 24, ‘More Inspirations’ has covers of songs by other names, like the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, the Who, Alice Cooper, KISS, the Animals, and more.