Breadfan: an anthem of money and greed
Never Turn Your Back on a Friend LP cover
Breadfan is an iconic song by the Welsh heavy metal band Budgie featured on their 1973 album Never Turn Your Back on a Friend. Known for their blues-infused hard rock sound, Budgie was one of the earliest heavy metal bands and had a significant influence on the development of the genre, particularly on the new wave of British heavy metal and later acts like Metallica.
In 1988, Budgie's song gained even more acclaim as Metallica included their cover as the B-side to their singles Harvester of Sorrow and Eye of the Beholder. This definitive moment solidified Budgie's enduring influence and cemented their impact on subsequent generations of metal bands. Metallica's version can also be heard on their 1998 album Garage Inc. and became a staple in their live shows.
The song title refers to a person's relationship with money, with "bread" being a slang term for money. In an interview, Budgie's vocalist and bassist Burke Shelley explained the meaning behind the song:
It is our anthem. And it is Breadfan–not "Bread Van" like a lot of people once thought! Lyric-wise it’s just about someone who likes money. I came up with the word–back then money was commonly called "bread". Generally, I grew up with very little money. We weren’t a rich family. I was aware it’s good to have it, but you do see people—around bands especially—being greedy.
Listen to Breadfan by Budgie:
Coriously, the song adheres to a musical form reminiscent of the Baroque era in classical music, wherein the inclusion of a contrasting middle section was deemed essential. Breadfan embraces that tradition, featuring a catchy guitar riff as its core which takes center stage in a solo mode for the initial 18 seconds. The music then gracefully transitions into a slower and more introspective middle part around the three-minute mark. However, just as the Baroque compositions did, this song revives its initial energetic hook once again in the final part bringing the track full circle with a dynamic and engaging conclusion.