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On the Loose – Saga

Keyboard solo. Check.

Guitar solo. Check.

Bigger fanbase in Europe vs. North America. Double check.

Sounds like a progressive rock one-hit wonder to our ears. And that’s exactly what Saga was when they hit the Billboard Top 40 for their one and only time in February of 1981 with their biggest hit, “On the Loose.”

Click here to read the “On the Loose” lyrics

Don’t remember Saga? This is another Canadian rock band who, like Rush, hit the Top 40 only once in their career. And like Rush with their one-hit wonder “New World Man” from their 1982 record, Signals, many Saga fans would argue that “On the Loose” is far from that band’s greatest hit.

But MTV played the video. The people listened. And Saga hit #26 on the Billboard Top 40. I vaguely recall hearing the song on the radio back in the 1980s. But, like many one-hit wonders, it has likely been nearly 20 years since “On the Loose” was played over American airwaves. It’s a buried one-hit wonder, in the tradition of Chiliwack’s “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” and “Take Off” by Bob and Doug McKenzie that features Geddy Lee of Rush on vocals and keeps this Canada one-hit wonder tribute alive.

Oh Canada.

Click to listen to more Canadian one-hit wonders

I bought the Saga record Worlds Apart in 1981 and was a big fan. If you like “On the Loose” you will like all of Worlds Apart. If you don’t, well, stay away. Well away.

These guys kept playing and Saga has released 24 albums over a career that began in 1978 and continues today. They hit the Billboard Hot 100 three times with “On the Loose” and “Wind Him Up” from Worlds Apart and “The Flyer” from 1983’s release, The Flyer.

Listen to “On the Loose” by Saga

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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6 Responses to "On the Loose – Saga"

  1. Matt Thurston says:

    I have this song wedged between a Yes song and a .38 Special song on a mix tape I made called “Camaro Cuts, Volume 2”.

  2. Michael Waterman says:

    That comment made me laugh out loud. True story. “On the Loose” completely belongs on all muscle car compilations.

  3. Matt Thurston says:

    Yeah, “Camaro Cuts” was clever because it was a double-entendre: 1.) Tunes or “cuts” to play in your bitchin’ Camaro; and 2.) Song’s favored by people who sport a certain hairstyle popularly known as a mullet, but also known as a “camaro cut”. See: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Camaro%20Cut

  4. Dale says:

    I dont believe Saga has ever charted an album in Japan nor have I ever heard of Saga playing in Europe :S. Fan base in North America is larger than people give them credit before. Our classic rock station (Ontario) regularly rotates at least 5 Saga songs.

  5. Michael Waterman says:

    Dale,

    I stand corrected. Saga is not big in Japan. I’ve changed that in the introduction. They are, however, very big in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. In fact, besides Canada, I would say that Germany is their second-largest market.

    I’m still a Saga fan. In fact, I listened to the Silent Knight album in its entirety a few days ago on vinyl. I always thought “Don’t Be Late” should have been their first hit (I wouldn’t be surprised if “Don’t Be Late” is one of the five songs still played on classic rock stations in Canada). But I haven’t heard Saga on an American radio station for at least 10 years (“On the Loose” and “Wind Him Up” were the only two tracks with staying power in the American market.

    Regardless, thanks for reading and thanks for correcting my mistake.
    Michael Waterman

  6. Dale says:

    LOL i said Europe instead of Japan, wow im an idiot, thanks for correcting my mistake!

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