Happy Birthday today (July 6) to original Saxon guitarist Graham Oliver. He's 65. Also celebrating is Brian Haner aka Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold (36).

Saxon formed in 1977 out of South Yorkshire, England and were one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal. The band had success in the U.K. and the U.S. in the 1980’s and influenced bands  like Metallica, Motley Crue, and Pantera. Cheers to one of my favorite names in heavy metal, Biff Byford! I’m hoping to see Saxon live for the first time this fall in Hartford CT. The band will be touring with UFO on the British Invasion Tour 2017 when they hit Webster Theater Sept. 30.

Avenged Sevenfold formed out of Huntington Beach, California in 1999. The band’s current lineup features M. Shadows on lead vocals, Synyster Gates on lead guitar, Zacky Vengeance on rhythm guitar, Johnny Christ on bass, and drummer Brooks Wackerman. The band’s breakthrough album was their third release, 2005’s City of Evil which went on to sell 2.5 million copies and became the band’s best selling album. The album featured the singles “Bat Country” and “Beast and the Harlot”. They released a self-titled album in 2007 followed by their fifth album Nightmare in 2010 which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Their last album was 2016’s The Stage.

Synyster Gates
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