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SAGA

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Saga biography
Formed in 1977 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada - Disbanded (announced) in 2017

SAGA... one of the most famous Canadian Hard Progresssive with excellent albums including all elements which made the band's reputation: a taste for symphonism and melodies and real talent for efficient riffs.

From 1978 to 1980, SAGA produced a number of quintessentially "progressive" rock albums. These first albums emerged neo-progressive style bands like IQ, PENDRAGON and PALLAS. In the early's 80's they further perfected their style and seemed a bit as viable as their Canadian compatriots RUSH. Until 1989, suddenly SAGA re-emerged with arguably their strongest album to date: "The Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes". They went totally haywire in 1995, releasing "Generation 13" to be a real concept album.

Throughout the years, they created their own particular and unique brand of music. Well, they're still around and they are still making great music but unfortunately radio stations no longer play intelligent, riveting, songs anymore. So, if you're into groups like KANSAS, ASIA, RUSH, STYX, or YES, a new dimension of music awaits you... SAGA!

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SAGA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SAGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 224 ratings
Saga
1978
3.18 | 218 ratings
Images At Twilight
1979
3.67 | 230 ratings
Silent Knight
1980
3.67 | 257 ratings
Worlds Apart
1981
3.53 | 192 ratings
Heads Or Tales
1983
3.03 | 142 ratings
Behaviour
1985
2.21 | 108 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1987
3.02 | 100 ratings
The Beginners Guide to Throwing Shapes
1989
3.50 | 122 ratings
The Security Of Illusion
1993
2.09 | 92 ratings
Steel Umbrellas
1994
3.94 | 157 ratings
Generation 13
1995
2.26 | 84 ratings
Pleasure & The Pain
1997
3.46 | 119 ratings
Full Circle
1999
3.53 | 130 ratings
House Of Cards
2001
3.27 | 108 ratings
Marathon
2003
3.45 | 102 ratings
Network
2004
3.80 | 175 ratings
Trust
2006
3.59 | 119 ratings
10.000 Days
2007
3.51 | 106 ratings
The Human Condition
2009
3.27 | 92 ratings
20/20
2012
3.22 | 81 ratings
Sagacity
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Symmetry
2021

SAGA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 102 ratings
In Transit
1982
4.05 | 36 ratings
Detours
1999
3.76 | 36 ratings
The Chapters Live
2005
3.47 | 26 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited (CD)
2007
2.66 | 23 ratings
Contact Live in Munich
2009
3.11 | 19 ratings
Heads Or Tales Live
2011
4.20 | 10 ratings
Spin It Again! Live in Munich
2013
3.94 | 7 ratings
Live in Hamburg
2016
4.70 | 9 ratings
So Good So Far - Live at Rock of Ages
2018

SAGA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.47 | 17 ratings
Silhouette
2003
3.98 | 14 ratings
All Areas: Live in Bonn 2002
2004
4.42 | 29 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited
2007
3.60 | 15 ratings
Contact - Live In Munich (DVD)
2009
4.44 | 9 ratings
Spin it again! - Live in Munich
2013

SAGA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Saga
1985
3.00 | 3 ratings
Time's Up
1986
2.96 | 15 ratings
The Works
1991
2.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up: Best
1992
4.30 | 11 ratings
All The Best 1978 - 1993
1993
1.82 | 12 ratings
The Very Best Of Saga
1994
3.16 | 12 ratings
Defining Moments (Volume 1)
1994
2.67 | 6 ratings
Saga Softworks
1995
2.00 | 2 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1995
2.50 | 8 ratings
How Do I Look
1997
2.60 | 5 ratings
Remember When
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
2013
3.85 | 4 ratings
Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity
2015
2.15 | 4 ratings
The Polydor Legacy
2017

SAGA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
How Long?
1978
2.50 | 2 ratings
Slow Motion
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
On the Loose
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Time's Up
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Synposis
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Flyer
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scratching the Surface (remixed version)
1983
2.87 | 4 ratings
Scratchin' the Surface
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Take a Chance
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
What Do I Know?
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
Only Time Will Tell
1987
2.00 | 1 ratings
Angel
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Gotta Love It
1991
2.00 | 1 ratings
(You Were) Never Alone
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
On the Loose
1995
3.18 | 19 ratings
Phase One
1997
3.50 | 6 ratings
Home
1999
3.50 | 6 ratings
Money Talks
2001
4.36 | 13 ratings
It's Your Life
2006

SAGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Generation 13 by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.94 | 157 ratings

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Generation 13
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars The eleventh of the legendary albums of the Canadian group which in just a few records has revolutionized the sound and the progressive energy of rock, of rock FM! a concept album where everything is linked from the progressive futuristic intro, the sequences of the other tracks to the big final titles tinged with a progressive atmosphere. Over time, a reminder is needed, especially since I had neglected to talk about it until now, prog on! . More FM-style rock songs for the radio and buffered sounds with solo microphones during the verses, a progressive must, a far too little-known concept album, far too underground that has its place in my opinion with the best concept albums of all time , almost a Misplaced Chidhood certainly. 70 minutes of fairly short but therefore linked tracks that send you into the progressive musical stratosphere, an album that only gives you one desire, that of putting back the replay. A memory, of having seen them during their tour following its release, of being amazed at the first notes of the intro, but quite disappointed to have understood three songs later that we would not have more of this dique during the concert.

A musical boost that will not follow, the group resuming its faults to offer records that are alike from the next.

 Worlds Apart by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.67 | 257 ratings

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Worlds Apart
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars The fourth of the 4 mythical albums of the Canadian group which in a few discs revolutionized the sound and the progressive energy of rock, of rock FM! an almost concept album where everything is linked up to the two big final titles tinged with progressive atmosphere. Over time, a booster shot is necessary, especially since I had neglected to talk about it until now, prog on! The less good of the four, with a transition of the sound, the voice, more disjointed, which "turns" in circles; yes even if I am a fan, I understand that he lacks the little extra to surf following his previous colleagues. A suspended record with 2 other chapters that leaves hope.
 Silent Knight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.67 | 230 ratings

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Silent Knight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars The third of the 4 mythical albums of the Canadian group which in a few discs revolutionized the sound and the progressive energy of rock, of rock FM! an almost concept album where everything is linked up to the two big final titles tinged with progressive atmosphere. Over time, a booster shot is necessary, especially since I had neglected to talk about it until now, prog on! A title floats, the don't be late, hymn of the group, an extraordinary chapter which eclipses a little the other titles of fact. We have here a very good record with an immense title which can make think that the other titles are just average, like the stairway to heaven for Led Zeppelin.

A record that can be listened to as a concept.

 Images At Twilight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.18 | 218 ratings

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Images At Twilight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars The second of the 4 mythical albums of the Canadian group which in a few discs revolutionized the sound and the progressive energy of rock, of rock FM! an almost concept album where everything is linked up to the two big final titles tinged with progressive atmosphere. Over time, a booster shot is necessary, especially since I had neglected to talk about it until now, prog on! the winged robot on the cover was a plus at the time when you could choose an album ... with its cover. Above the first chapter with its legendary introduction to the piano. Songs more rock FM typed for the radio and sound stamped with solo microphones during the verses, a must.
 The Beginners Guide to Throwing Shapes by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.02 | 100 ratings

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The Beginners Guide to Throwing Shapes
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The year 1989 rolled around, and by this time, prog was considered outdated and Saga was a band that had started out strong, became really popular for a short time, then fizzled out with the less interesting and more pop-sounding albums "Behavior" and the awful "Wildest Dreams", the latter album turning the band into more of a joke. The band was still only a core trio consisting of the Crichton brothers and Sadler on vocals. Other than that, session musicians were used with Curt Cress appearing on drums for "Wildest Dreams". Cress would return for the next album, but carrying the same line-up as the previous flop was not really what the fans were looking for.

Saga released "The Beginners Guide to Throwing Shapes" and tried to convince the public that this album was a return to their original sound. Listening to this album, you do tend to get a feeling that they were giving it a good shot, and they actually turn out a much better album than "Wildest Dreams". However, it didn't quite reach the pinnacle of "Heads and Tails" and everything else that came out before it. The good news is that there is more prog on this album than there had been of late. The bad news is that the guitar pretty much carries the instrumental sound, while the keyboards are used more for some neat fill and short riffs here and there, so that original sound isn't quite there. It's no accident that the band was trying to have a more guitar-heavy sound because that was the direction popular music was going at the time. The band is also a bit to afraid to completely let go of the popular style, just in case there was some room in the top 40 for them. It turned out, there just wasn't room for them. Fans were disappointed by the last few albums and didn't think this one was going to bring them back quite yet. There was pretty much no chance of winning over new fans either, as Saga had the prog background and reputation, so many considered them dinosaurs. As a result, this album did not sell very well in any country.

Saga fans should not completely write this one off though. This album may have done some work to redeem the band as future albums would begin to see more and more fans slowly come back into the fold. The guitar work on this album is actually very good, but even with it being the center piece of the instruments, there still isn't enough of it, and the daring keyboard work of yesteryear was sadly missing. But, if you do happen to see this album out there, it is one that you should think twice before passing it off as another 1980s misfire. There are some redeeming songs on here that bring back hope of the band's glory days. "How Do I Look", "Starting All Over" and "Shapes" give the album a respectable start, but after this, the songs in the middle start to sound too similar, following similar patterns. The album also ends on a high note with the most progressive song on the album, the 7+ minute "Giant".

Overall, however, in chronological order, this album gets lost in the struggle to win back fans and respect. The band manages to bring back some of the feel of the earlier albums, but really shows no progression. This is a bit understandable as the band had regressed so far, that even a hesitant approach to the sound of their better days is an improvement in comparison. It's just that, looking at the full picture, it only manages to become an okay album, but nothing to get too excited about. The first and last parts of the album are pretty good, but the rest of it falls into the trap of being too formulaic.

 Generation 13 by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.94 | 157 ratings

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Generation 13
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Saga was one of those bands that was hit and miss through most of it's history. Before 1995, they had some really great albums and some very less-than-mediocre albums. When they decided to do a concept album based upon a novel, they pulled out all of the creative stops that the band possessed and come up with perhaps their best and most progressive album, "Generation 13". This is the album that we always knew they had in them, but they always seemed constrained to produce. It is a complete concept album that is best experienced as a whole, although a handful of songs on this 25 track gigantic album do also work well alone; for example, the excellent "We Hope Your Feeling Better" which has a memorable and singable riff, and the heavy "The Cross (Home #3)". But this album was meant to be a complete suite, and is best when listened to in that way.

As with the best concept albums, the tracks are all tied together, most of them flow from one into the other almost seamlessly. As such, the listener experiences a wide range of emotions, and Sadler's vocals have never sounded better or as convincing as he emits all of the required emotions. There is even some characterization in the vocals, with one character actually approaching a "dirty" vocals style, but never to the point that it is annoying, and only for short durations, and done as the storyline requires. Don't let that frighten you away, it happens quite infrequently and is done for dramatic purposes.

Also, as with the greatest rock-operas and concept albums, there are several thematic elements that appear several times throughout this album. However, these themes are not overly abused as is the case with some of the lesser concept albums. You tend to recognize them when they appear in various forms, but you are never left with the attitude that they are overdone.

Many of the tracks appear in various parts or variations as certain ideas pop up in the story line. Also, there are several tracks that act as intermezzos that pass from one scene to another, however, most of these don't feel like filler, but instead they help build the concept playing around with themes and ideas of the concept in the best way possible. Yes, the tracks are mostly short, staying between the less than a minute up to just over 5 minutes, however, you end up feeling like you are moving smoothly along with the story and the entire album plays like a long continuous suite. But, you don't feel like you are constantly being barraged by sound just for the sake of cohesiveness, you still feel like most tracks are their own ideas, and it is usually easy to tell when you move from one scene to another.

All in all, this is a great example of how a concept album with a story line should be done. The story does not overcrowd the music and the music serves to tell the story, it all works together brilliantly. This album is definitely one of the bands crowing achievements, however, it continues to be mostly ignored. The band consists of the same classic line-up even though up to this point, there had been other personnel come and go. If ever there was a come-back album that more attention should be paid to, it is this one. Generation 13 is the hidden gem that everyone seems to have missed, not only in Saga's discography, but also in music history.

 Saga by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.68 | 224 ratings

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Saga
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Not as proggy as I was led to believe, there is more HALL & OATES, AMBROSIA, or SNIFF'N'THE TEARS here than classic prog rock. I'm guessing that it's the PETER BARDENS/LOVERBOY keys that have people including them in Prog World.

1. "How Long" (4:01) opens with a computer rhtyhm track sounding like "The Safety Dance" before rhythm & bass guitars and drums set up a CHIC-like disco beat. Singer Michael Sadler enters sounding like a pretentious pseudo Freddie Mercury. With b vox from Peter Rochon, they almost pull it off. Interesting. (8/10)

2. Humble Stance (5:50) (8.75/10)

3. Climbing the Ladder (4:45) electric guitar based, sounding CAMEL-esque before kicking into the four-chord form of the singing verses. Nice keyboard work. (8/10)

4. Will It Be You? (Chapter Four) (7:13) (13/15)

5. Perfectionist (5:46) (8.5/10)

6. Give 'Em the Money (4:25) the APP disco beat is not a great start. (8/10)

7. Ice Nice (6:55) Supertramp? Ambrosia? a combo of the two. Nice keyboard work. (13/15)

8. Tired World (Chapter Six) (7:06) (12.5/15)

Total Time: 44:51

B/four stars; an adequate addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 So Good So Far - Live at Rock of Ages by SAGA album cover Live, 2018
4.70 | 9 ratings

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So Good So Far - Live at Rock of Ages
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by firstlensman

5 stars I was fortunate enough to see Saga at ProgStock 2019 headlining Sunday night! The live performance was outstanding! Michael Sadler still works the stage for everything its got! I picked up this live album which consisted of 2 CDs and a DVD and had it signed by the band. It is nearly the show I saw with a couple of song changes (it is definitely missing 'The 13th Generation' from my favorite Saga album "Generation 13"). The beginning songs and the encore were identical to what I saw at ProgStock 2019. This is a great package to get if you are unfamiliar with Saga. It doesn't have all their songs (after 21 albums, no live performance can cover that ground) but it is a great representation of the band and their music!
 Images At Twilight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.18 | 218 ratings

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Images At Twilight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The band Saga have been with me in a visual sense ever since my early teens. Back then you bought vinyl and sometimes the inserts had these "ads", or what you'd like to call them. The record label at hand wanted to push for other bands in their stable. Anyway, I clearly remember seeing the albums "Images at twilight" and "Silent knight" by Saga that way. I was amused, enthralled and intrigued by what I saw, especially when it came to "Images at twilight". What was that? An incredible sci-fi image of some robotic creature from outer space wreaking havoc upon a major city. That has to be a seriously great album, I surmised, but when I first listened to the bloody thing I was bemused and disappointed. From the speakers came not heavy metal or progressive rock as I liked it. I thought it to be pop music and never ventured back. That is until quite a few years later. I picked it up again and now I heard something completely different, even though the albums content obviously was the same.

By the early 80's music had changed. Progressive rock as it sounded in the 70's had almost all but disappeared. The old giants tried their best at adapting to the new musical climate and sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Saga was new to the game as the new decade dawned upon us all. They took their progressive leanings and molded their own brand of pop infused prog. In that way they tried to create something that would prove viable in the new decade, if they got lucky.

Now, in hindsight, I think they did a pretty good job at doing that. It certainly isn't the new King Crimson or Yes but it is something else. A sort of easily digested pop-rock concoction with clear and entizing prog elements. The songs are concise, the longest being "Images (chapter one)" at 6.29 minutes, most of them land at 4-ish minutes, but filled with some nice synths and cold, screaming electric guitar. It's all very 80's sounding, which is not surprising. It has some new wave-ish, art-rock-ish vibes amidst the pop-rock which is nice.

The album opens with "It's time (chapter three)" which sounds sort of proggy and it sets the tone quite well. It is a pomp rock celebration, not unlike Styx around the same time. The prog light sound of the song is alluring and I like it alot. It's a great statement. After that it rolls along, mixing pop and prog into a radiofriendly typical for the time brew. Not bad at all.

The longest track, "Images (chapter one)" opens up with some nice, harmonious keyboard and guitar. At heart it is a progressively embellished ballad that could be described as a semi-symphonic piece. To me it's one of the moments on the album that really shows their progressive roots. The best track, though, is the last one: "Mouse in a maze". This is serious 80's prog with lovely keyboards, sort of staccato instrumentation and a vocal melody that is wonderful. I love this track and think it's well worth the wait of the first seven tracks. It is a cold, fullbodied, spacey and utterly lovely track. The complexity is at it's peak here but don't expect anything totally avant garde. It's still easily digested.

My review won't really add anything new. This is a three star album with it's good parts and some less interesting bits. Still it is a very enjoyable album and sometimes that is quite enough. If you like 80's prog or want to see where prog went after the 70's I think this is quite a good album to listen to. Especially since Saga was a new band back then, not having lived through the past decade and now feverishly tried to forge their former sound into something new. This is a new band forming their sound in what was to be their decade. Saga fared reasonably well throughout the 80's and released several albums and are still around. By now dinosaurs in the same way Yes and Genesis were in 1981. Still, I love dinosaurs and I love that cover.

 Saga by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.68 | 224 ratings

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Saga
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The late 70s was hardly the peak period for progressive rock bands as the musical styles were shifting but some acts that were emerging skillfully walked the tightrope between the sophistication of the early part of the decade with the more pop oriented new wave that was gaining popularity towards the end. One of Canada's most prolific and enduring bands SAGA was amongst the first to bravely tackle this hybridization in perfect form. While emerging from a band name Fludd and then starting out under the Pockets moniker, SAGA has become one of Canada's greatest export having sold millions of albums alongside Rush and Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

The band hit a high note right from the start and found some moderate success of the eponymously titled debut album which was released in the early part of 1978. The sound of the band stood somewhere between the sophisticated keyboard driven prog of Kansas and the more mainstream rock of bands like Styx and Supertramp with the unique charismatic vocal charm of lead vocalist Michael Sadler and more progressive elements. While the band's overall sound and style has changed throughout the years as has the lineup, on the debut SAGA, they unleashed a keyboard and Moog rich pastiche of catchy grooves augmented by synthesizer solos, dreamy atmospheres and new wave guitar charm.

The trademark alien insect debuted as well which played a prominent role in another unique feature of the band, namely the interesting concept of "The Chapters" collection of tracks that appeared scattered out of order throughout various albums. Two of them, 4 and 6 appeared on this debut album. The "Chapters" display SAGA's more sophisticated approach in lyrical content keeping them more on the prog side of the equation than bands like Supertramp, Journey or Toto. It recounts the tale of a young Albert Einstein and would find all of the tracks compiled later on "The Chapters LIVE" but to date has not been released in a compilation form with the original studio tracks sitting side by side. Sounds like an anniversary bash release if you ask me.

In the beginning, SAGA was all about the Moog and this album is just drenched in keyboards here, keyboards there, keyboards everywhere which has given this first release by SAGA the claim to be one of the first neo-prog albums as it very much sounds similar to the wild synthesizer-drench antics that Marillion would conduct in their music all throughout the 80s albeit Marillion nurtured the progressive elements to even greater lengths. Nevertheless, the bouncy beat, the rich synth drenched motifs and the brash bravado of the lead singer certainly bring the Fish led era of Marillion to mind when i'm listening to this. The poppy infectious tracks gleefully hook you upon first contact along with interesting twists and turns but never deviate from the general pop formulaic approach.

Four of the five members contributed Moog and keyboards to this album leaving only guitarist Ian Crichton to focus on one instrument and he doesn't disappoint as he prognosticates the new wave and progressive pop styles of Asia and Genesis that would fully take root in the early 80s when MTV would provide a new format for the synth generation of pop and rock music. SAGA may have been too early at this stage for the video star status but still found an instant crowd with a major following in Germany. The second track "Humble Stance" has become one of the band's all time favorites and has been performed in virtually every live appearance since. While the pop hooks are characteristic of the album's overall feel, some of the keyboard solos are quite exquisite as they not only deliver amazing speedy effects but supreme virtuosity.

While SAGA hasn't become a household name like some of the other bands of the era, their music is definitely unique for the time in how it incorporates hard rock, power pop and symphonic prog into a unique mix that took the logical next step in musical hybridization which would become the norm in the synth-dominated 80s. While SAGA themselves would succumb to the simpler radio friendly hits that were expected in the following decade, on this debut album they deliver the perfect mix of prog pomp mixed with catchy new wave danceability a full five years before bands like Asia and Yes found new life with their own progressive pop styles. This is quite the brilliant album if not perfect. The perfect 70s crossover album for sure.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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