Song of the Day – Budgie: “Breadfan”

budgie-tnVirtually unknown in the U.S. until Metallica included this song on their 1998 Garage, Inc. album of cover songs (Metallica originally included it as one of two songs on the B-side of the 1988 single release of “Harvester of Sorrows” from the …And Justice For All album, but seriously, who buys Metallica singles?), Budgie were one of the earliest and best heavy metal bands. Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, the mastermind and mainstay of the band was bassist and vocalist Burke Shelley, who was Geddy Lee before Geddy Lee was Geddy Lee. With off-the-beaten-path song titles like “In The Grip Of A Tyrefitter’s Hand” and”Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman”, blistering guitar and bass rave-ups interspersed with Mellotron-laden prog-rock interludes,  not to mention Shelley’s banshee wail vocals, Budgie are cited as an influence by metal bands, including many of the giants of the genre, to this day. Not only did they make great-sounding, well-produced studio albums, they could bring it live as well, as evidenced by the 1998 live compilation Heavier Than Air – Rarest Eggs, consisting of, for the most part, sub-par sound quality, but brilliant playing and singing.

Their third album, 1973’s Never Turn Your Back On A Friend (which features, as does their second album Squawk, a Roger Dean album cover) includes the 10-minute teen-angst ballad “Parents”, the aforementioned “Tyrefitter’s Hand”, and this, their best-known song. With its jackhammer riff, interspersed with syncopated build-ups to the vocals, it grabs you by the throat, lets go during the tasty mellow interlude, and then returns to that glorious riff before ending six minutes after it began. If you’re a fan of hard rock and/or heavy metal, you owe it to yourself to check out this song, and more importantly, this band.