It was desperate times for Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire region in the 1980s. Deep recession had thrown tens of thousands on the dole and its traditional steel industry lay in ruins. But far from accepting its plight, it became a UK leader in a new wave of heavy metal and this is the story.
Sheffield’s stairway to hell was led by South Yorkshire band Saxon – complete with Steel City drumming legend Pete Gill – but no one could have predicted the unrivalled success of Def Leppard, a band that became, and continue to be, one of the hottest properties in the USA.
Sheffield’s own Bruce Dickinson helped turn Iron Maiden into one of the biggest forces in the heavy metal universe and a pair of former miners, the Bailey Brothers, became two of the most influential voices of the movement right across Europe as well as becoming widely recognised as the originators of the ‘air guitar’ phenomenon.
There might have been looming nuclear war and three million on the dole but you’d never have known it if you’d have climbed the hallowed stairs to legendary Sheffield rock club Rebels or glammed it up at spandex-charged Roxys Rock Night.
‘Signing On For The Devil’ is Neil Anderson’s story of Sheffield’s rise to its position as capital of eighties heavy metal, how the scene started and how its rock scene still thrives today thanks to a new generation of bands like 65daysofstatic and Bring Me The Horizon.
It follows his best selling ‘Take It To The Limit’ book released in 2009 that chronicles the life of legendary Sheffield venue The Limit.