JUDAS PRIEST are an English heavy metal band formed in
England, in 1969. The band have sold close to 50 million albums to
date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands
of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the
latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record
production, repeated changes of drummer and lack of major commercial
success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified
sound on the album British Steel , which helped shoot them to rock
superstar status. In 1989, they were named as defendants in an
unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that subliminal messages on the song
Better By You, Better Than Me " had caused the suicide attempts of
two young men.
The band's membership has seen much turnover, including a revolving
cast of drummers in the 1970s, and the temporary departure of singer
Rob Halford in the early 1990s. The current line-up consists of
Glenn Tipton and
Richie Faulkner , bassist Ian
Hill , and drummer
Scott Travis . The band's best-selling album is
Screaming for Vengeance with their most commercially successful
line-up, featuring Halford, Tipton, Hill, guitarist
K. K. Downing ,
and drummer Dave Holland . Tipton and Hill are the only two members of
the band to appear on every album.
Their influence, while mainly Halford's operatic vocal style and the
twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton, has been adopted by many
bands. Their image of leather, spikes, and other taboo articles of
clothing were widely influential during the glam metal era of the
The Guardian referred to British Steel as the record that
defines heavy metal. Despite a decline in exposure during the mid
1990s, the band has once again seen a resurgence, including worldwide
tours, being inaugural inductees into the
VH1 Rock Honors in 2006,
Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010, and their
songs featured in video games such as
Guitar Hero and the Rock Band
* 1 History
* 1.1 Origins (1969–1974)
Rocka Rolla (1974–1975)
Sad Wings of Destiny (1975–1977)
* 1.4 Major label debut (1977–1979)
* 1.5 Mainstream success years (1979–1991)
Subliminal message trial
* 1.6 Halford leaves and Ripper Owens (1991–2003)
* 1.7 Reunion and
Angel of Retribution (2003–2006)
* 1.9 Downing\'s retirement and
Epitaph World Tour (2010–2011)
Redeemer of Souls (2011–2015)
* 1.11 Next album (2015-present)
* 2 Musical style and influence
* 2.1 Musical style
* 2.2 Vocal style and influences
* 2.3 Media recognition
* 2.4 Fashion
* 3 In popular culture
* 4 Members
* 5 Discography
* 6 References
* 7 External links
An earlier band with a different line-up had been formed in the West
Midlands area in 1969 by
Al Atkins (lead vocals), Bruno Stapenhill
(bass, born Brian Stapenhill, in 1948, Stone Cross, W. Bromwich), John
Partridge (drums, born c. 1948, W. Bromwich), and John Perry (guitar).
Perry was killed in a suicide-related car accident, according to Al
Atkins, shortly after the band's formation and was subsequently
replaced by Ernie Chataway. Stapenhill came up with the name Judas
Bob Dylan 's song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas
Priest " and they rehearsed at his house in Stone Cross. The band
played their first gig on 25 November 1969 at The George Hotel in
Walsall and then toured Scotland in December 1969 and January 1970.
The group disbanded in April 1970 after their last gig on 20 April at
The Youth Centre in
The line-up that took over the name of
Judas Priest included lead
guitarist Kenny "K. K." Downing , bassist Ian \'Skull\' Hill and
drummer John Ellis. The first two had known each other since early
childhood, growing up on the Yew Tree estate in
Walsall and became
close friends in their early teens, when they shared similar musical
Black Sabbath ,
Led Zeppelin , Queen ,
Deep Purple , Jimi
The Who , Cream ,
The Yardbirds ) and learned to play
instruments. The band was founded in October 1970 in Birmingham. They
agreed to join with Atkins, who suggested using his old band's name,
and rehearsed at Atkins' mother-in-law's house in Stone Cross. The
reformed group played their first gig on 16 March 1971 at St John's
With Downing as acting leader, the band moved away from their
original blues influences to play hard rock. The quartet played around
Birmingham and the surrounding areas with various drummers until 1974,
sometimes opening for bands such as Budgie ,
Thin Lizzy , and Trapeze
. Eventually, financial difficulties and problems with their
Tony Iommi 's company, IMA, led to the departure of Allan
Atkins and drummer Chris Campbell in May 1973. At the time, Ian Hill
was dating a
Walsall woman who suggested her brother,
Rob Halford ,
as the band's singer. Halford joined them, bringing drummer John Hinch
from his previous band, Hiroshima. This line-up toured the UK, often
supporting Budgie, and even headlining some shows in Norway and
ROCKA ROLLA (1974–1975)
Before the band entered the studio to record their first album, their
record company suggested they add another musician to the line-up. As
Downing was reluctant to incorporate a keyboard or horn player into
the band, he chose another lead guitarist, Glenn Tipton, in April
1974, from the Stafford-based
Flying Hat Band as their new member. The
two guitarists worked together to adapt the existing material and
Tipton also received credits as a songwriter. In August 1974, the band
released their debut single "
Rocka Rolla " and followed this a month
later with an album of the same name .
Technical problems during the recording contributed to the poor sound
quality of the record. Producer
Rodger Bain , whose resume included
Black Sabbath 's first three albums as well as Budgie 's first album,
dominated the production of the album and made decisions with which
the band did not agree. Bain also chose to leave fan favourites from
the band's live set, such as "Tyrant", "Genocide" and "The Ripper ",
off the album and he cut the song "Caviar and Meths" from a 10-minute
song down to a 2-minute instrumental.
The tour for
Rocka Rolla was Judas Priest's first international tour
with dates in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark including
one show at Hotel Klubben in Tønsberg, one hour from Oslo, Norway,
which scored them a somewhat negative review in the local press. The
album flopped upon release, leaving Priest in dire financial straits.
Priest attempted to secure a deal with Gull Records to get a monthly
pay of 50 pounds, however, because Gull Records were struggling as
well, they declined.
Rocka Rolla (1974) has been for the most part
dismissed by the band and none of its songs were played live after
1976 except for "Never Satisfied", which was revived during the
Epitaph Tour in 2011.
SAD WINGS OF DESTINY (1975–1977)
The band participated more in the production of their next album,
recorded during November and December 1975, and chose the producers
themselves. The result,
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976), included a
variety of old material, including the aforementioned stage favourites
and immediately shifted the band from a psychedelic sound to straight
gritty metal with the opening track, the progressive epic "Victim of
Changes ". This song was a combination of "Whiskey Woman", a stage
classic from the
Al Atkins era of Judas Priest, and "Red Light Lady",
a song that Halford had written with his previous group, Hiroshima.
This album and a strong performance at the 1975
helped to raise wider interest in the band and expand their fanbase.
MAJOR LABEL DEBUT (1977–1979)
Their next album, 1977's
Sin After Sin , was the first Priest record
under a major label, CBS , and the first of eleven consecutive albums
to be certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. With the termination of
their contract with their previous label Gull, the band lost the
rights to their first two albums.
Sin After Sin was produced by
Deep Purple bass player
Roger Glover , and the band chose to use
session drummer Simon Phillips for the recordings. He declined to
become a permanent member of Judas Priest, so the band hired Les Binks
on Glover's recommendation. Together, they recorded 1978's Stained
Class , produced by Dennis MacKay, and
Killing Machine (released in
America as Hell Bent for Leather). Binks, credited with co-writing
Beyond the Realms of Death ", now regarded as one of the band's
classics, was an accomplished and technically skilled drummer and his
addition added a dexterous edge to the band's sound. Binks also played
Unleashed in the East (1979), which was recorded live in Japan
Killing Machine tour. While the first three Judas Priest
albums had considerable traces of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and
Deep Purple in them, as well as ballads,
Stained Class did not contain
any ballads aside from "Beyond the Realms of Death". Killing Machine
was the first nod to a more commercial sound, with simpler songs that
brought back some blues influences. At about the same time, the band
members adopted their now-famous "leather-and-studs" image.
MAINSTREAM SUCCESS YEARS (1979–1991)
Judas Priest performing in 1981, during their World Wide Blitz
Following the release of
Killing Machine (1978) was the live release
from the supporting tour,
Unleashed in the East (1979). It was the
first of many
Judas Priest albums to go platinum. There was some
criticism of the band's use of studio enhancements and overdubbing in
what was marketed as a live album. By this point the playing style of
the band had grown progressively heavier, with live versions of songs
such as "Exciter" and "Diamonds and Rust" sounding much heavier and
faster than their studio counterparts.
Les Binks quit in late 1979, as he was unhappy with the band's desire
to move towards a simplified radio rock sound, so they replaced him
with Dave Holland , formerly of the band Trapeze . With this line-up,
Judas Priest recorded six studio and one live album, which garnered
different degrees of critical and financial success.
In 1980, the band released British Steel . The songs were shorter and
had more mainstream radio hooks, but retained the familiar heavy metal
feel. Tracks such as "United ", "
Breaking the Law ", and "Living After
Midnight " were frequently played on the radio. The next release,
Point of Entry , followed the same formula, and the tour in
support of the album featured new songs such as "Solar Angels" and
Heading Out to the Highway ".
The 1982 album
Screaming for Vengeance featured "You\'ve Got Another
Thing Comin\' ", which became a major radio hit in the US. Songs such
as "Electric Eye " and "Riding on the Wind" also appeared on this
album, and proved to be popular live. "
(Take These) Chains " (by Bob
Halligan, Jr ) was released as a single and received heavy airplay.
This album went Double Platinum.
On Sunday, May 29, 1983 the band played on Heavy Metal Day of the US
Festival , a music festival in
San Bernardino, California sponsored by
Steve Wozniak . The band was fourth in the lineup that also included
Quiet Riot ,
Mötley Crüe ,
Ozzy Osbourne , Triumph , Scorpions , and
Van Halen . Downing and Tipton performing in
San Sebastián ,
Spain, during their World Conqueror Tour of 1984.
Priest continued their success through the mid-1980s. "Freewheel
Burning ", released in 1983, was a regular on rock radio. Its album
Defenders of the Faith was released the following year. Some critics
dubbed it "
Screaming for Vengeance II", due to its musical similarity
to the previous album.
On 13 July 1985, Judas Priest, along with
Black Sabbath and other
performers, played at
Live Aid . The band played at
JFK Stadium in
Philadelphia . Their setlist was "Living After Midnight", "The Green
Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)" and "(You've Got) Another
Turbo was released in April 1986. The band adopted a more colourful
stage look and gave their music a more mainstream feel by adding
guitar synthesisers. The album also went Platinum and had a successful
arena tour in support, with 100 concerts in North America, Europe and
Japan in 1986. A live album recorded on the tour, titled
Priest...Live! , was released the next year, offering live tracks from
the era. The video documentary
Heavy Metal Parking Lot was created by
Jeff Krulik and John Heyn in 1986. It documents the heavy metal fans
waiting on 31 May 1986 for a
Judas Priest concert (with special guests
Dokken ) at the Capital Center (later renamed US Airways Arena ) in
Landover, Maryland .
Rob Halford in 1988. One of Priest's
trademark stage stunts was to have Halford ride a motorbike on stage.
In May 1988,
Ram It Down was released, featuring several reworked
songs left over from Turbo , in addition to new songs. The band
recorded three tracks with pop producers Stock-Aitken-Waterman: two
originals, "Runaround" and "I Will Return", and a cover of The
Stylistics' hit "You Are Everything"; however, they were ultimately
not included on this album due to a management decision. A reviewer
Ram It Down a "stylistic evolution" that resulted from the
band's "..attempt to rid themselves of the tech synthesiser
approach..and return to the traditional metal of their fading glory
days." The reviewer argued the album showed "...how far behind they
were lagging... the thrashers they helped influence" in earlier years.
In 1989, longtime drummer Dave Holland left the band.
In September 1990, the Painkiller album used a new drummer, Scott
Travis (formerly from Racer X ). This comeback album dropped the
1980s-style synthesisers for all songs except "
A Touch of Evil ". The
tour used bands such as Annihilator ,
Pantera , Sepultura
and Testament as opening bands, and culminated in the Rock in Rio
performance in Brazil in front of 100,000+ fans.
Part of the
Judas Priest stage show often featured Halford riding
onstage on a
Harley-Davidson motorbike, dressed in motorcycle leathers
and sunglasses. In a Toronto show in August 1991, Halford was
seriously injured as he rode on stage, when he collided with a drum
riser hidden behind clouds of dry ice mist. Though the show was
delayed, he performed the set before going to a hospital. Hill later
noted "he must have been in agony". In a 2007 interview, Rob claimed
the accident had nothing to do with his departure from the band.
Subliminal Message Trial
In the middle of 1990, the band was involved in a civil action that
alleged they were responsible for the self-inflicted gunshot wounds in
1985 of 20-year-old James Vance and 18-year-old Raymond Belknap in
Sparks, Nevada , USA. On 23 December 1985, Vance and Belknap, after
hours of drinking alcohol, smoking cannabis and allegedly listening to
Judas Priest, went to a playground at a church in Sparks with a
12-gauge shotgun to end their lives. Belknap was the first to place
the shotgun under his chin. He died instantly after pulling the
trigger. Vance then shot himself but survived, suffering severe facial
injuries. Following numerous complications, Vance too died in 1988,
three years after the suicide pact.
The men's parents and their legal team alleged that a subliminal
message of "do it" had been included in the
Judas Priest song "Better
By You, Better Than Me " (a cover of the
Spooky Tooth number) from
Stained Class (1978). They alleged the command in the song triggered
the suicide attempt. The trial lasted from 16 July to 24 August 1990,
when the suit was dismissed after the judge ruled that the so-called
"do it" message was a result of an accidental mixup of background
lyrics. One of the defence witnesses, Dr. Timothy E. Moore, wrote an
Skeptical Inquirer chronicling the trial. The trial was
covered in the 1991 documentary Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind
James Vance Vs. Judas Priest.
Bill Hicks ridiculed the lawsuit as part of his act,
pointing out the absurdity of the notion that a successful band would
wish to kill off their purchasing fanbase.
HALFORD LEAVES AND RIPPER OWENS (1991–2003)
After the Painkiller tour in 1991, Halford left Judas Priest. In
September 1991, there were indications of internal tensions within the
band. Halford went on to form a street-style thrash metal group named
Fight , with
Scott Travis on drums for the recording sessions. He
formed this band to explore new musical territory, but due to
contractual obligations, he remained with
Judas Priest until May 1992.
Halford collaborated with
Judas Priest in the release of a
compilation album entitled Metal Works \'73-\'93 to commemorate their
20th anniversary. He also appeared in a video by the same title,
documenting their history, in which his departure from the band was
officially announced later that year.
In a 1998 interview on
MTV , Halford publicly revealed his
Tim "Ripper" Owens , who had previously sung in a Judas Priest
tribute band called British Steel, was hired in 1996 as Judas Priest's
new singer. This line-up released two albums,
Jugulator (1997) and
Demolition (2001), as well as two live double-albums – \'98 Live
Meltdown and Live in London (2003), the latter of which had a live DVD
Jugulator sold relatively well, it was given
REUNION AND ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION (2003–2006)
Judas Priest performing in 2005
After eleven years apart, faced with an ever-growing demand for a
Judas Priest and
Rob Halford announced they would reunite in
July 2003, to coincide with the release of the
Metalogy box set
(despite Halford's earlier insistence that he "would never do it" ).
They did a concert tour in Europe in 2004, and co-headlined the 2004
Ozzfest , being named as the "premier act" by almost all US media
coverage of the event.
Judas Priest and "Ripper" Owens parted
amicably, with Owens joining American heavy metal band
Iced Earth .
A new studio album,
Angel of Retribution , was released on 1 March
2005 (US) on
Sony Music /
Epic Records to critical and commercial
success. A global tour in support of the album ensued. As for the band
Halford, writing for the fourth release was cut off. After the
Retribution tour in June 2006, however, Halford announced he would
create his own record company, Metal God Entertainment, where he would
release all his solo material under his own control. In November 2006
he remastered his back catalogue and released it exclusively through
Apple\'s iTunes Store . Two new songs allegedly set for the fourth
release, "Forgotten Generation" and "Drop Out", were released through
iTunes as well.
Judas Priest in typical heavy metal attire
performing at the
VH1 Rock Honors in Las Vegas on 25 May 2006.
Along with Queen , Kiss and
Def Leppard ,
Judas Priest was an
inaugural inductee into the "
VH1 Rock Honors ". The ceremony took
place 25 May 2006 in Las Vegas , Nevada, and first aired on 31 May.
Their presentation was preceded by
Godsmack performing a medley of
"Electric Eye "/"Victim of Changes "/"Hell Bent for Leather ." Judas
Priest then played "
Breaking the Law ", "
The Green Manalishi (With The
Two-Pronged Crown) " and "You\'ve Got Another Thing Comin\' ", before
which Halford rode a Harley onstage.
In a June 2006 interview with MTV.com, Halford said of the group's
concept album about the 16th-century French writer
Nostradamus is all about metal, isn't he? He was an alchemist as well
as a seer – a person of extraordinary talent. He had an amazing life
that was full of trial and tribulation and joy and sorrow. He's a very
human character and a world-famous individual. You can take his name
and translate it into any language and everybody knows about him, and
that's important because we're dealing with a worldwide audience." In
addition to digging new lyrical ground for the band, the album would
contain musical elements which might surprise fans. "It's going to
have a lot of depth", Halford said. "There'll be a lot of symphonic
elements. We might orchestrate it, without it being overblown. There
may be a massive choir at parts and keyboards will be featured more
prominently, whereas they've always been in the background before."
Nostradamus was released in June 2008; the band began a
support tour in that same month.
In early February 2009, the band joined the ranks of bands speaking
out against ticket-touting ("scalping"), issuing a statement
condemning the practice of selling tickets at well above face value,
and urging fans to buy tickets only from official sources. In the
Judas Priest continued their tour, bringing their "Priest
Feast" (with guests
Megadeth and Testament ) to multiple arenas in
England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland in February and March 2009. From
there the tour progressed to multiple venues in Sweden. Later in
Judas Priest performed in Portugal (at Lisbon on the Atlantic
Pavilion), which they had not visited since 2005. The tour then
Milan , Italy, and then Paris, France; Halford had last
Judas Priest in Paris in 1991. Judas Priest
Sweden Rock Festival in June 2008.
From June through August 2009,
Judas Priest completed a North
American tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of
British Steel (1980); the album was performed in its entirety on each
tour date, with some other songs thrown in. This tour was to be a
joint effort with fellow Englishman
David Coverdale and
Whitesnake would have to leave the tour after the show
in Denver, Colorado on 11 August 2009 due to Coverdale falling ill
with a serious throat infection; he was advised to stop singing
immediately to avoid permanently damaging his vocal cords.
On 14 July 2009,
Judas Priest released a new live album, featuring 11
previously unreleased live tracks from the 2005 and 2008 world tours,
A Touch of Evil: Live . The performance of "
Dissident Aggressor " won
Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance .
In May 2010, Halford said the band had been offered a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame, but "we've just never been there when they
wanted to do the ceremony." He also revealed that a
was still being contemplated: "We were in Hollywood recently and met
with some producers and agents, so there are a lot of things going on
behind the scenes."
DOWNING\'S RETIREMENT AND EPITAPH WORLD TOUR (2010–2011)
Judas Priest announced on 7 December 2010, that their Epitaph World
Tour would be the band's farewell tour and would run up until 2012.
In a January 2011 interview,
Rob Halford said about the band's
impending retirement: "I think it's time, you know. We're not the
first band to say farewell, it's just the way everyone comes to at
some point and we're gonna say a few more things early next year, so I
think the main thing that we just want to ask everybody to consider is
don't be sad about this, start celebrating and rejoicing over all the
great things we've done in Judas Priest." Judas Priest
performing at the Sauna Open Air in 2011
On 27 January 2011, it was announced that
Judas Priest was in the
process of writing new material; the band also clarified their plans
for the future, saying that "...this is by no means the end of the
band. In fact, we are presently writing new material, but we do intend
this to be the last major world tour." Speaking at a press conference
in Los Angeles on 26 May of the new material
Glenn Tipton said: "It's
quite a mixed bag. Really, there's more sentiment on this album. In a
way, I suppose, it's also our farewell album, although it might not be
our last one. There are some anthems on there, which pay tribute to
On 20 April 2011, it was announced that
K. K. Downing had retired
from the band and would not complete the Epitaph World Tour. Downing
cited differences with the band and the management, and a breakdown in
Richie Faulkner , guitarist for
Lauren Harris 's
band, was announced as his replacement for the Epitaph World Tour.
Downing's retirement leaves bassist
Ian Hill as the only remaining
founder member of the band.
On 25 May 2011,
Judas Priest played during the finale of American
Idol season 10 with James Durbin , making it their first live
performance without K.K. Downing. The band played a mixture of two
songs: "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law".
On 7 June 2011, the band announced that it planned to release the box
Single Cuts , a collection of singles , the following August.
REDEEMER OF SOULS (2011–2015)
In an August 2011 interview with Billboard, Halford explained that he
and Tipton had "about 12 or 14 tracks completely mapped out" for a new
studio album, with four of those tracks already recorded and mixed.
The band made a point to take its time with the album, with Halford
explaining "I'm of the attitude it'll be ready when it's ready I
don't think we're going to slack off. We're determined to do a lot of
work and be just as dedicated as we've always been and take a lot of
care and attention with all the songs. We're not going to just bang
this one out, so to speak."
On 13 September 2011, Priest announced its plans to release a new
compilation album, The Chosen Few , a set of Priest songs chosen by
other iconic heavy metal musicians.
On 5 June 2013,
Rob Halford confirmed that the Epitaph World Tour
would not be the band's final tour. On 22 December, Judas Priest
released a short Christmas message on their official website, which
confirmed that they would be releasing their next album in 2014.
On 17 March 2014 at the Ronnie James Dio Awards in Los Angeles, Rob
Halford announced that the band's 17th studio album was finished. On
28 April, the band released the album's title track "Redeemer of
Souls" for streaming on their official website.
Redeemer of Souls was
released on 8 July 2014. It sold around 32,000 copies in the United
States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The
Billboard 200 chart, the band's highest charting position in the US
after the double-disc concept album, Nostradamus, debuted at No. 11.
This was the band's first top 10 album in the US. The band went on
tour in support of the album which ran from 1 October 2014 until 17
December 2015. The
Redeemer of Souls Tour led to the sixth live album
Battle Cry , which was released on 25 March 2016 after being recorded
at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany on 1 August 2015.
NEXT ALBUM (2015-PRESENT)
In a November 2015 interview with Reverb.com,
Richie Faulkner said
that the band would start work on a new album in 2016. In April 2016,
Loudwire posted a photo showing Rob Halford,
Glenn Tipton and Faulkner
himself in the studio beginning the process of the album, with
Halford confirming in a radio interview that the album would be ready
by early 2017. During an interview at the 2016 edition of the Rock
\'n\' Roll Fantasy Camp , Halford expressed dissatisfaction on making
Redeemer of Souls part two: "I think it's very important that we
make another stand alone record again, a heavy metal record that's
going to have its own legs and just be as different as all of them
have been so far." In October, Faulkner stated that the band would
begin recording in January 2017 and also said that they would not go
on tour until 2018.
When discussing the 30th anniversary release of Turbo with Ultimate
Classic Rock in January 2017, Halford hesitated to say that the band
was "still slaving away in the studio. It's sounding great. I can't
really say any more than that, because it's still very nebulous, but
it is sounding incredibly exciting and I'm sure we'll talk about that
when the time comes." In March, the band confirmed that they had
entered the studio to begin recording the new album with support from
long time producer
Tom Allom along with
Andy Sneap and engineer Mike
Exeter, who worked with the band on the previous album. This marks the
first time since 1988's
Ram It Down that they had worked with Allom.
In an April interview with Planet Rock , Halford issued an update
saying that the band was "still tracking" and "coming to some of the
final moments" of completion of the new album and also promised "a
very exciting 2018 period" with a "big world tour" taking place next
year. In a post on
Instagram , producer
Andy Sneap said that the band
MUSICAL STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Judas Priest's style has always been rooted in heavy metal, and many
of their albums reflect diverse aspects of the genre. For example,
their first album,
Rocka Rolla (1974), is primarily rooted in heavy
blues rock . From
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976) through Stained Class
(1978), their style was somewhat progressive, with complex guitar
passages and poetic lyrics. Songs would often shift in dynamics and
tempo, and the music was some of the heaviest of its day. This would
later have a major influence on progressive metal bands. 1977's Sin
After Sin introduced the combination of the double bass drum and rapid
16th bass rhythms combined with rapid 16th guitar rhythms that came to
define the genre. While the double-bass rhythms of
Judas Priest are
generally measured and technical, the song "
Dissident Aggressor "
(1977) pushed an increase in "tempo and aggression" which was later
adopted by other bands with a much harder-edged approach.
Starting with their fifth album,
Killing Machine (1978), the band
began to incorporate a more commercial, radio-friendly style to their
music. British Steel has been referred to as the "record that, more
than any other, codified what we mean by heavy metal". The lyrics and
music were simplified, and this style prevailed up to their seventh
Point of Entry (1981). With their eighth album, Screaming for
Vengeance (1982), the band incorporated a balance of these two styles.
This continued on
Defenders of the Faith (1984). With the follow-up
album, Turbo (1986), the band incorporated guitar synthesizers into
its signature heavy metal sound. On 1988's
Ram It Down the band
retained some of the more commercial qualities of Turbo but also
returned to some of the fast tempo heavy metal found on their earlier
works. This fast-tempo style continued with 1990's Painkiller .
Jugulator (1997) tried to incorporate some of the 1990s contemporary
groove metal styles. Demolition (2001) has a more traditional heavy
metal sound with nu metal elements. Following the return of Halford
Angel of Retribution and
Nostradamus , the band returned to the
style of its early albums.
VOCAL STYLE AND INFLUENCES
Halford listened to and was influenced by
Little Richard , Elvis
Janis Joplin and
Robert Plant as a vocalist. He learned to
push to the limits of his vocal abilities by their vocal
demonstrations on record. He developed a powerful, operatic vocal
style with an impressive range from lower throaty growls to
ear-piercing high screams with strong vibrato. He was also a fan of
Freddie Mercury , referring to him as his ultimate hero.
Judas Priest have influenced a great deal of metal music since the
late-mid 70s. They were ranked by
MTV as the second "Greatest Metal
Band" of all time (after
Black Sabbath ), and
VH1 named them the 78th
greatest artist of all time in 2010. The band has sold over 45
million albums to date.
In addition to the sound,
Judas Priest is also known for being
revolutionary in heavy metal fashion .
Rob Halford thus began
incorporating a macho image of what today is known as hardcore
metal/biker /S soon, several other bands, particularly of the NWOBHM
and early black metal movements, began incorporating Halford's fashion
into their look as well. This sparked a revival in metal in the early
'80s, and catapulted them to fame, in both the mainstream and
underground. Even in the present, it is not uncommon to find metal
artists sporting such a look at concerts.
Their popularity and status as one of the exemplary and influential
heavy metal bands has earned them the nickname "Metal Gods" from their
song of the same name .
IN POPULAR CULTURE
The 2001 drama-comedy film Rock Star starring
Mark Wahlberg , is
based on the story of how
Tim "Ripper" Owens replaced
Rob Halford as
the vocalist in Judas Priest.
Judas Priest song "Electric Eye" was used in the temp score for
Toy Story 3 but was ultimately replaced by another piece of music.
On 5 January 2014, the band appeared in the episode "Steal This
Episode " of comedy cartoon show
The Simpsons playing a parody of
their song "
Breaking the Law ." Their music was referred to as "death
metal ," for which the producers subsequently apologised by having
Bart Simpson write "
Judas Priest is not 'Death Metal'" in the opening
sequence chalkboard gag .
List of Judas Priest band members Current members
Ian Hill – bass, backing vocals (1969–present)
Glenn Tipton – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Rob Halford – lead vocals (1973–1992, 2003–present)
Scott Travis – drums (1989–present)
Richie Faulkner – guitar, backing vocals (2011–present)
Judas Priest discography
Rocka Rolla (1974)
Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
Sin After Sin (1977)
Stained Class (1978)
Killing Machine (1978)
* British Steel (1980)
Point of Entry (1981)
Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
Defenders of the Faith (1984)
* Turbo (1986)
Ram It Down (1988)
* Painkiller (1990)
* Demolition (2001)
Angel of Retribution (2005)
Redeemer of Souls (2014)
* TBA (2017)
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