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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!

SAGA Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy SAGA Music


SAGA - 5 Original AlbumsSAGA - 5 Original Albums
Universal 2015
$25.83
$27.56 (used)
The Beginner's Guide to Throwing ShapesThe Beginner's Guide to Throwing Shapes
Extra tracks
EARMUSIC 2017
$5.25
$2.68 (used)
Heads or TalesHeads or Tales
Polydor 1994
$9.91
$5.49 (used)
5 Original Albums Vol.15 Original Albums Vol.1
POLYDOR IMPORT 2013
$33.71
The Security of IllusionThe Security of Illusion
Extra tracks
EARMUSIC 2017
$5.12
$2.40 (used)
Images at TwilightImages at Twilight
Universal 2001
$9.73
$7.05 (used)
The WorksThe Works
Bon Aire / BMG
$2.03 (used)
Worlds ApartWorlds Apart
Polydor Records 1994
$12.32
$13.14 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SERGIO & ODAIR ASSAD Saga dos Migrantes (CD, 1996) NM USD $9.99 [0 bids]
USD $12.99 Buy It Now
THE SAGA CONTINUES-P.DIDDY 2001 [used] BAD BOY RECORDS DOUBLE VINYL LP USD $12.00 [0 bids]
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Diddy - Saga Continues (Parental Advisory, 2001) USD $5.00 [0 bids]
3h 28m
KATCH 22 - IT'S SOFT ROCK & ALLSORTS IT'S KATCH 22- POP-BEAT-SAGA-EX LP 1968 USD $37.50 Buy It Now 3h 38m
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Saga: Behaviour UK Vinyl LP 1985 USD $2.49 [0 bids]
5h 4m
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Saga Heads or Tales LP 1983 USD $6.23 Buy It Now 5h 11m
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Duke Ellington Immortal Sessions LP Sagapan SAGA6902 EX/EX 1976 Immortal Session USD $11.25 Buy It Now 6h 12m
The Twilight Saga: New Moon by Original Soundtrack (CD, Oct-2009, Atlantic... USD $1.70 [0 bids]
6h 18m
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6h 42m
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SAGA Images At Twilight 1979 POLYDOR RECORDS VINYL LP USD $11.24 Buy It Now 6h 47m
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SLEEVELESS LP : EX- !! The Blackbyrds/No Destination/1968 Saga Stereo LP USD $6.24 [0 bids]
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LP -vinyl Saga (3) ?- in transit Polydor ?- 2374 200/1982 USD $3.65 Buy It Now 8h 58m
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Dinah Washington Back To The Blues ERO 8070 Saga Eros LP 1968 UK USD $11.24 Buy It Now 10h 5m
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SAGA "IN TRANSIT" 1982 LP (LIVE) USD $8.74 Buy It Now 10h 17m
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10h 26m
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11h 13m
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12h 7m
Charlie Parker, Vol 7 GET HAPPY 1969 Vinyl Record *USED* SAGA EROS ERO 8053 USD $12.49 [0 bids]
12h 35m
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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)

3.69 | 202 ratings
Saga
1978
3.15 | 199 ratings
Images At Twilight
1979
3.65 | 209 ratings
Silent Knight
1980
3.66 | 235 ratings
Worlds Apart
1981
3.54 | 175 ratings
Heads Or Tales
1983
3.04 | 132 ratings
Behaviour
1985
2.21 | 101 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1987
3.03 | 91 ratings
The Beginners Guide To Throwing Shapes
1989
3.53 | 116 ratings
The Security Of Illusion
1993
2.09 | 88 ratings
Steel Umbrellas
1994
3.87 | 142 ratings
Generation 13
1995
2.27 | 79 ratings
Pleasure & The Pain
1997
3.46 | 115 ratings
Full Circle
1999
3.52 | 122 ratings
House Of Cards
2001
3.28 | 102 ratings
Marathon
2003
3.44 | 99 ratings
Network
2004
3.80 | 169 ratings
Trust
2006
3.60 | 114 ratings
10.000 Days
2007
3.52 | 99 ratings
The Human Condition
2009
3.27 | 90 ratings
20/20
2012
3.22 | 76 ratings
Sagacity
2014

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

3.69 | 94 ratings
In Transit
1982
4.05 | 36 ratings
Detours
1999
3.77 | 36 ratings
The Chapters Live
2005
3.47 | 26 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited (CD)
2007
2.72 | 23 ratings
Contact Live in Munich
2009
3.11 | 19 ratings
Heads Or Tales Live
2011
4.43 | 7 ratings
Spin It Again! Live in Munich
2013
3.94 | 7 ratings
Live in Hamburg
2016
4.67 | 6 ratings
So Good So Far - Live at Rock of Ages
2018

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

3.47 | 15 ratings
Silhouette
2003
3.98 | 13 ratings
All Areas: Live in Bonn 2002
2004
4.41 | 28 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited
2007
3.60 | 14 ratings
Contact - Live In Munich (DVD)
2009
4.43 | 7 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 | 2 ratings
Time's Up
1986
3.05 | 13 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 | 11 ratings
The Very Best Of Saga
1994
3.16 | 12 ratings
Defining Moments (Volume 1)
1994
2.80 | 5 ratings
Saga Softworks
1995
2.00 | 2 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1995
2.71 | 7 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
 Images At Twilight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.15 | 199 ratings

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Images At Twilight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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
3.69 | 202 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.

 Saga by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.69 | 202 ratings

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Saga
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First album from one of the Canada's most important prog-rock bands!

And while this album can be considered a typical AOR flick of the late 70's it contains enough interesting elements which will appeal prog lovers. The keyboards are very present through the whole record and the complex guitar work and syncopated riffs from Ian Crichton are a pleasure to hear, and they are definitely one of the trademarks that make the sound of Saga a very recognizable one, along with the excellent vocals from Michael Sadler.

Sadly, the album has some flaws in the form of a pair of strange and lackluster tracks (the boring and pseudo-punk la Stranglers Humble Stance, for example) which lower the general level of the album. The production sounds also a bit dated today, especially the weak and unspectacular drums.

But don't take me wrong! The album is excellent and it managed to insufflate new energy to the genre in the late 70's while other consolidated acts like Yes, Camel and Jethro Tull were failing to evolve toward new horizons.

Best Tracks: How Long (typical Saga track, very rhythmic and funny), Climbing the Ladder (Michael Sadler demonstrates why he is one of the finest prog-rock singers and the keyboard and guitar solos are wonderful), Will it be You? (epic, with great vocal melodies and very progressive) and Perfectionist (a true Saga classic and the last song they played live in their final show in Puerto Rico!)

Conclusion: Saga started their career gracefully with a very good record full with splendid vocal melodies, a great and very particular guitar sound and their typical AOR feeling mixed with wonderful progressive passages.

It's not perfect by any means, but Saga is still one of the best albums of this recently disbanded band and a worthy addition to any prog music collection.

We will miss you, guys!

My rating: ****

 20/20 by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.27 | 90 ratings

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20/20
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Saga is a band which aged admirably good!

And 20/20 was another solid release from them, being also a very welcomed return of their classic singer Michael Sadler after The Human Condition with Rob Moratti on vocals, who was only three years in the band, between 2008 and 2011. And let's be honest, Sadler is the right singer for this band and his form in 2012 was still impressive. It's very rewarding to hear than he sings as good in his 60's as he did in his 20's. Great!

And the rest of the band was also in a great form here. Ian Crichton guitars are so fun to hear as ever, with his talented rhythms, the drums are powerful, and Jim Gilmour shows why he is one of the most elegant keyboards player in prog history. The production is also very good although I miss a bit more power in some riffs. But everything sounds just fine!

The songwriting, on the other side, is sadly a bit more irregular. In 20/20 we can hear a pair of modern Saga hymns like Six Feet Under and One of These Days, which sound so catchy and funny as ever, mixed with some lackluster tracks like Another Day Out of Sight, Ball and Chain and Lost for Words. Nevertheless, the album is overall good, clearly winning the fine tracks over the mediocre ones, making the hearing of this record rather pleasant in the long term.

Best Tracks: Six Feet Under (the typical Sadler vocal melodies are back!), Anywhere You Wanna Go (an interesting mid-tempo), One of These Days (a great and classic saga song which bring On the Loose to mind!) and Till the Well Runs Dry (the most progressive one, containing an outstanding guitar solo)

Conclusion: 20/20 brought nothing new to Saga's discography, with the exceptions of a few experiments like the semi acoustic Ellery. But it's a very solid release with a pair of excellent tracks, a few good ones and only three mediocre compositions. So, the bright side clearly wins here!

The band plays beautifully, the very missed Sadler's voice was in a great form and the production is also good enough. So, if you like some of the classic Saga albums and you have not heard this release from 2012, you will be gladly surprised! This band still sounded fresh, not boring and most important, not bored after so many years making music together.

My rating: ***

 Scratchin' the Surface by SAGA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
2.87 | 4 ratings

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Scratchin' the Surface
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As the cover art alone surely immediately reveals to those familiar with Saga, this single is an outtake from the Canadian band's fifth album Heads Or Tales (1983). It's usually regarded as the first one to be more pop than prog, but I'd like to think it closes their classic era, not only because the song material is stronger than on its followers, but partly for subjective reasons also: Heads Or Tales, like two other Saga albums, was among my big brother's vinyls when I was in my early teens, so there's the nostalgia factor. And of course it has much better cover design compared to e.g. Behaviour (1985) or Wildest Dreams (1987).

'Scratchin' the Surface' is closest to a ballad on that album, sung rather tenderly by keyboardist Jim Gilmour instead of Michael Sadler, who handles the suitably powerful chorus. Mostly because of that dual nature of the song I like it quite a lot, even though it's not as interesting as the band's finest [earlier] songs. Some time ago, after listening to the album first time for years, I had this song playing in my head when I was slowly waking up from sleep, and it felt surprisingly nice, so I let it linger in my mind while biking to work.

The B side track 'Sound of Strangers' is also taken from Heads Or Tales. It's a bit duller pop-rock song, but some details in the typically keyboard-oriented arrangement save it from being a bore. 2 stars rounded up for the nice sleeve.

 Behaviour by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.04 | 132 ratings

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Behaviour
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After the successes of 'Worlds Apart' and 'Heads or Tails', Saga got a taste of fame and Michael Sadler wanted more popularity. 'Behaviour' is their 6th album released in 1985, and a big departure from the Progressive Rock sound they had before this album. This was their major move to the Pop/Rock sound, and because of the popularity of their single from this album, 'What Do I Know', this album sold quite well. But it would be the last one that would sell well in the US and most other countries. The new Pop sound turned their old fans against them and their new fans would not stay faithful. But by the time Saga realized that they couldn't rely on the Power Pop fan base to support them, the damage had already been done as Steve Negus (Drummer) and Jim Gilmour (Keyboardist) had been told there was no place for them on the band anymore, mainly because of their resistance to take the band in the Pop direction.

The music still has Sadler's distinctive vocals, but it obviously has a more pop oriented feel, with a lot more typical sounding keyboards and guitars. The sound is an obvious 80's rock sound, but not in a new wave sense as a heavy rock/pop sense. Because of this shift, the music is pretty typical sounding with not a lot of the excitement and ingenuity of their previous progressive rock sound. Now, when you listen to it, it sounds quite dated and can be easily traced to the 80's Power Pop that was also followed by Jefferson Starship, Asia, Alan Parsons and so many others. You keep thinking that they will break out into one of their awesome instrumental breaks or slip into a tricky meter or two, but it never happens.

Most of the songs are quite upbeat, but quite typical of the sound of the day. There are a few ballads that help break away from the same-ness of the sound, namely 'You and the Night' and portions of '(Goodbye) Once Upon a Time', but they are also quite standard ballads that don't really save the album at all. It is also hard to find any real emotion anywhere in this album.

Saga would eventually return to the Progressive Rock sound from time to time, but it hasn't been easy for them to get back their original fan base. They could never chart again except for in Germany and Switzerland, but even there the never regained their popularity. But they still press on, and there is something to be said about that. But as for this album, it's best to stay away from it unless you love the power pop of the 80s.

 So Good So Far - Live at Rock of Ages by SAGA album cover Live, 2018
4.67 | 6 ratings

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

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars This one hell of a way to say goodbye as a band.

This liveconcert was recorded during their farewell tour. The band is really tight, and all of the members of the band have their moments to shine. Most of the songs are just a runthrough their greatest hits, so most songs are on all the other livealbums. The real gems here are: Help Me Out and Will It Be you, because they are very rarely played live.

Michael Sadler is still one of the best vocalists around, and sings fluently annd without a false note. He also plays bassguitar and keyboards throughout the show. Jim Gilmour plays most of the keyboards (and outstanding keyboardsolos) and sings backingvocals and leadvocals on Scratching the Surface.

Jim Crichton is the silent base of the band. Writing most of the material, playing bassguitar, moogbass and keyboards. Drummer Mike Thorne is the best drummer the band had, and is the first drummer that can play the way Steve Negus did (with the double hihat strokes, extended tom-fills etc.).

Ian Crichton is very present in the endmix and has somo extended guitarsolos in Scratching the Surface, Help Me Out and Will It Be You?

The overall production is very, very good. All the instruments are balanced and the sound is really full. The band released a lot of live albums since 1999, and some of them had a really good sound, some a more chaotic sound. But I'm glad this livealbum makes the band sound so extremely tight and balanced.

I guess I will play this album a lot more than their previous livealbum Live in Hamburg.

 Wildest Dreams by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.21 | 101 ratings

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Wildest Dreams
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars The 80s saw the rise of a type of Progressive Pop music that was mixing commercial music with Progressive Rock that was doing a pretty good job of competing with the New Wave craze that was going on. The early 80s saw groups like "Asia", "Yes", "Genesis", and "Saga" find that perfect spot on the radio that satisfied both pop/rock music lovers while keeping their progressive edge. Saga was riding high after the release of "Worlds Apart" and the more guitar heavy "Heads or Tails" and things were looking pretty good for them. But then, after the release of "Behavior", Saga tended to become more pop-oriented, losing almost all of their prog sensibilities, and, even though the sales of the album were decent, fans expected the harder edge, and it was no longer there.

Unfortunately, things got worse with "Wildest Dreams". Saga got a new label in Atlantic, and the company promoted the new release heavily, but once the sales proved poor, the album suddenly became hard to come by, and has now been considered hard to find. The album, however, isn't worth the trouble, as it is moved even further away from Progressive music. The music on this album show no signs of progressiveness, but is just bad commercial music. Nothing on this album leaves any kind of impression, and even with it's move to mainstream, there is nothing on this album that even makes it interesting even to lovers of popular music.

You can't even call this hard rock, it's just straight mid tempo pop. Very emotionless, every thing is quite run of the mill. The only thing that is carried over from the previous albums is the signature sound of the vocals. None of the songs even reach the 5 minute mark, there are no long instrumental passages or interplay among the instruments as before, just MOR music. This album could just have easily been made by "REO Speedwagon" or "Journey" as it resembles the music they were making at the same time. The only distinguishing factor are the vocals. This one is quite boring, even if you are listening to it as a pop album. "Angel" is the only worthwhile song on here, but it's just a pop ballad, with a nice chorus, that's all.

 Worlds Apart by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.66 | 235 ratings

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Worlds Apart
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Saga has always been a puzzler for me. My introduction to the band was pretty much the same as it was for most people, and that was through this album. I heard their singles on the radio, thought "On the Loose" was okay, but was blown away by "Wind Him Up". Then I heard "Framed" on a deep cuts program and was sold on what I had heard and I bought the album. From the start, I thought it was a very good album and played it to pieces. It was one of my favorites at the time. It wasn't until their next album "Heads or Tails", which I also liked, that I learned that this was not their debut album. I also heard the complaints from Saga's fans that "Worlds Apart" was too commercial and sounded nothing like them. I found their earlier albums and noticed that they were a little more progressive, but not enough to think they had sold out. They main thing that I did notice was that Michael's voice did seem a lot more dynamic and a bit more pompous. Come to find out, that was because of producer Rupert Hine, who told him to stop singing like a choirboy.

This album was their breakout album. I believe it sold well overseas too. This was their attempt to get their style of progressive rock more accessible, which I think they did quite well. The singles were a great kick in the band's popularity. However, their popularity was short lived, as they tried to return a bit more to their previous sound in "Heads or Tails" which was much more guitar heavy, and a lot of the fans that were picked up after the release of "Worlds Apart" lost interest. Saga never got back that popularity after that, however, there were several die hard fans that would continue to faithfully follow the band through their indecisive years. They made their music even more commercial like on their next albums "Behaviour" and "Wildest Dreams" by completely abandoning any semblance of prog and then returning to prog again several times to try to win back more hardcore prog lovers. I have to admit there were a few later albums that were really good, but I only heard them by borrowing them from friends, I had given up on buying anymore of their music after being disappointed when I purchased a few of their lackluster albums.

So, I am a huge fan of "Worlds Apart" and "Heads or Tails", but not so much after that. "Worlds Apart" features some very complex and bombastic solos and vocals, but it also has plenty of slower, meandering parts too, but I loved the variety and how the slower parts would build on the excitement of the upcoming more complex sections. This album will always hold a special part in my music collection, and every time I wear out a copy, I always get another. It seems that most of the reviewers that love this album have the same love for it that I do, and it doesn't fade away with time.

The album starts off with the big single "On the Loose". It's pretty much straightforward as far as a rock song goes. It has plenty of guitar, keyboards and excellent vocals to catch the attention of MOR radio listeners everywhere. It was a good introduction to the band back then and is a good intro to the album even now. The chorus is a bit repetitive and that is the part of the song that makes it weak for me, though it got my attention, I just thought it was a good rock song way back then. "Wind Him Up" seems to follow the same type of sound at first, but it has a longer and much more interesting instrumental break. This time, the music caught my attention. I liked that the music was quirkier and the vocals were more dynamic, and of course, I was always a sucker for this type of instrumental break, one that had some tricky rhythms and where the spotlight was passed around to all of the instruments and not just a single one.

"Amnesia" is a more midtempo song which, even though it didn't do much as far as being progressive, it was still interesting and unlike most commercial music. The vocals, the heavy bass and the interesting rhythm patterns are really the most interesting thing on this song. "Framed" is my favorite track here as it revisits and expands on the things I like about on "Wind Him Up". This one is not your typical rock song in that it shows a lot more of the progressive side of Saga.

This pattern of slower to mid-tempo songs paired against heavier songs continues throughout the album, and I honestly like everything about it, even the slower parts. There are some nice melodies, some places where the music explores some tempos and themes and other parts where the instrumentals are very expressive as in the call and response pattern of "Conversations", other parts where they just sort of float along like the long introduction before things really kick in again on "No Stranger".

I highly recommend this album if you want to hear the best of Saga and then you can decide if you want to explore more of their sound. I must admit though, that after this album and "Heads or Tails", that I lost interest and never really found anymore Saga albums that I like as much. I have heard some of their more progressive music, but it never really spoke to me like this one did. Even then, because it was not as progressive as it could have been, I can only give it a 4 star rating, but it was the start of something great that never really found any consistency through the years, thus Saga never really found their footing.

 The Polydor Legacy by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
2.15 | 4 ratings

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The Polydor Legacy
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

2 stars This is not really a good compilation album. The title says it focusses on the Polydor years of Saga, but I really wonder who put this albums together.

Wildest Dreams and The Beginner's Guide to Throwing Shapes were not released by Polydor but by Atlantic and Bonaire.

Apart from that; Security of Illusion, Steel Umbrellas, Generation 13 and Pleasure and the Pain were al released through Polydor, and these songs are missing here.

A good thing about this compilation is that it focusses on the really early years of the band, wich is the most popular, and it features the band's greatest hits. So that's what you get, all the hits, up to 1989, and nothing more.

Better compilations are The Works (1991), wich has 3 unreleased tracks and Best of Now/Now and Then (2015), wich focusses on something more than just the mere hitsingles.

Saga is a difficult band to catch in a compilation album, and most of the times it's a grand failure. So I cannot recommend this one to anyone.

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

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