You can’t talk seriously about heavy metal rock without spending some time discussing Rob Halford and Judas Priest! Judas Priest is an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich, West Midlands, in 1969. They have sold over 50 million albums and are often ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time.
The current line-up consists of Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis. The band’s best-selling album is 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance, with their most commercially successful line-up featuring Hill, Halford, Tipton, guitarist K. K. Downing, and drummer Dave Holland. Tipton and Hill are the only two members of the band to appear on every album.
My favorite albums were British Steel released in 1980, Point of Entry released in 1981, Screaming for Vengeance released in 1982, and Defenders of the Faith released in 1984..
Judas Priest has seen several personnel changes over the years including a revolving cast of drummers during the 1970s and the departure of singer Rob Halford in 1992. The American singer Tim “Ripper” Owens replaced Halford in 1996, recording two albums with Judas Priest before Halford returned to the band in 2003.
You’ve Got Another Think Comin! (Live Vengeance Tour, 1982)
Rob Halford’s unique, almost operatic, vocal style combined with the twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton was a significant influence on many heavy metal bands. Judas Priest’s biker image of leather and spikes were widely influential during the 1980s glam metal era.
Living After Midnight (Official Video)
Judas Priest’s unique style defined 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.
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 album, 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).
Judas Priest’s popularity and status as one of the most influential heavy metal bands in history have earned them the nickname “Metal Gods,” also the title of one of their songs.
Heading Out to the Highway (Fuel for Life Tour 1986)
Despite a drop in popularity in the mid-1990s, Judas Priest is again surging into prominence. They are back to performing worldwide tours, were inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006, and The Priest received a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010. Several of their songs are featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series, and Judas Priest has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
The Green Manalishi (Live Vengeance Tour 1982)
Now, almost 40 years later, I still get a kick whenever You’ve Got Another Think Comin, Living After Midnight, or Head Out to the Highway pop up on my iPhone playlist shuffle! And of course, the volume goes up a few notches!
I may be too young to die, but I’ll never be too old to rock and roll!
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