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Judas Priest

Judas Priest was one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the '70s, spearheading the New Wave of British Heavy Metal late in the decade. Decked out in leather and chains, the band fused the gothic doom of Black Sabbath with the riffs and speed of Led Zeppelin, as well as adding a vicious two-lead guitar attack; in doing so, they set the pace for much popular heavy metal from 1975 until 1985, as well as laying the groundwork for the speed and death metal of the '80s.

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1970, the group's core members were guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill. Joined by Alan Atkins and drummer John Ellis, the band played their first concert in 1971. Atkins' previous band was called Judas Priest, yet the members decided it was the best name for the new group. The band played numerous shows throughout 1971; during the year, Ellis was replaced by Alan Moore; by the end of the year, Chris Campbell replaced Moore. After a solid year of touring the U.K., Atkins and Campbell left the band in 1973 and were replaced by vocalist Rob Halford and drummer John Hinch. They continued touring, including a visit to Germany and the Netherlands in 1974. By the time the tour was completed, they had secured a record contract with Gull, an independent U.K. label. Before recording their debut album, Judas Priest added guitarist Glenn Tipton.

Rocka Rolla was released in September of 1974 to almost no attention. The following year, they gave a well-received performance at the Reading Festival and Hinch departed the band; he was replaced by Alan Moore. Later that year, the group released Sad Wings of Destiny, which earned some positive reviews. However, the lack of sales was putting the band in a dire financial situation, which was remedied by an international contract with CBS Records. Sin After Sin (1977) was the first album released under that contract; it was recorded with Simon Phillips, who replaced Moore. The record received positive reviews and the band departed for their first American tour, with Les Binks on drums.

When they returned to England, Judas Priest recorded 1978's Stained Class, the record that established them as an international force in metal. Along with 1979's Hell Bent for Leather (Killing Machine in the U.K.), Stained Class defined the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. A significant number of bands adopted Priest's leather-clad image and hard, driving sound, making their music harder, faster, and louder. After releasing Hell Bent for Leather, the band recorded the live album Unleashed in the East (1979) in Japan; it became their first platinum album in America. Les Binks left the band in 1979; he was replaced by former Trapeze drummer Dave Holland. Their next album, 1980's British Steel, entered the British charts at number three, launched the hit singles "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight," and was their second American platinum record; Point of Entry, released the following year, was nearly as successful.

At the beginning of the '80s, Judas Priest was a top concert attraction around the world, in addition to being a best-selling recording artist. Featuring the hit single "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," Screaming for Vengeance (1982) marked the height of their popularity, peaking at number 17 in America and selling over a million copies. Two years later, Defenders of the Faith nearly matched its predecessor's performance, yet metal tastes were beginning to change, as Metallica and other speed/thrash metal groups started to grow in popularity. That shift was evident on 1986's Turbo, where Judas Priest seemed out of touch with current trends; nevertheless, the record sold over a million copies in America on the basis of name recognition alone. However, 1987's Priest...Live! was their first album since Stained Class not to go gold. Ram It Down (1988) was a return to raw metal and returned the group to gold status. Dave Holland left after this record and was replaced by Scott Travis for 1990's Painkiller. Like Ram It Down, Painkiller didn't make an impact outside the band's die-hard fans, yet the group was still a popular concert act.

In the early '90s, Rob Halford began his own thrash band, Fight, and soon left Judas Priest. In 1996, following a solo album by Glenn Tipton, the band rebounded with a new young singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens (formerly a member of a Priest tribute band and of Winter's Bane). They spent the next year recording Jugulator amongst much self-perpetuated hype concerning Priest's return to their roots. The album debuted at number 82 on the Billboard album charts upon its release in late 1997. Halford had by then disbanded Fight following a decrease in interest and signed with Trent Reznor's Nothing label with a new project, Two. In the meantime, the remaining members of Judas Priest forged on with '98 Live Meltdown, a live set recorded during their inaugural tour with Ripper on the mike. Around the same time, a movie was readying production to be based on Ripper's rags-to-riches story of how he got to front his all-time favorite band. Although Priest was originally supposed to be involved with the film, they ultimately pulled out, but production went on anyway without the band's blessing (the movie, Rock Star, was eventually released in the summer of 2001, starring Mark Wahlberg in the lead role). Rob Halford in the meantime disbanded Two after just a single album, 1997's Voyeurs, and returned back to his metal roots with a quintet simply named Halford. The group issued their debut in 2000, Resurrection, following it with a worldwide tour that saw the new group open up Iron Maiden's Brave New World U.S. tour, and issue a live set one year later (which included a healthy helping of Priest classics) -- Live Insurrection.

In 2001 the Ripper-led Priest issued a new album, Demolition, and Priest's entire back catalog for Columbia was reissued with remastered sound and bonus tracks. In 2003 the band -- including Halford -- collaborated on the liner notes and song selections for their mammoth career-encompassing box Metalogy, a collaboration that brought Halford back into the fold. Owens split from the group amicably in 2003, allowing the newly reunited heavy metal legends to plan their global live concert tour in 2004, with their sixteenth studio album, Angel of Retribution, to be released the following year. In 2008 the band released Nostradamus, a sprawling, two-disc conceptual piece that charted the life and times of the famous French seer. On December 7, 2010, Priest broke the news that their upcoming Epitaph world tour would be their last. The following month, however, they clarified that they were not disbanding, announcing that they were working on new material. Before the tour began, founding member Downing left the band over differences with the other members and their management; he was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

Priest worked on their new album during the tour, which ran until 2012. The album's release was delayed several times, but it was eventually announced that it would see the light of day in July 2014. Entitled Redeemer of Souls, it was described by the band as a traditional, crowd-pleasing return to their roots. Coinciding with the announcement of the album's release, they backtracked on their earlier pronouncement and revealed details of another new world tour. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


One of the best concerts of my youth
Put some action in my life!!
Don't u touch, don't get near, don't take me 4 a fool, make no mistake no give or take, keep ur hands off me. PRIVATE PROPERTY, off one of the best albums Turbo. ROCK ON EVERYONE
vintage rock...sorta
Priest is the fricking bomb!! All their albums are so damn sweet!!
Victim of Changes one of my favorites. Theres no word 2 describe Rob on stage performing this Classic ,, F**kin incredible. ROCK ON EVERYONE
The devil is real so beware!
Unleashed in east excellent!
Ya April priest is the ultimate. I've been there live
A Touch Of Evil. My all time fav. Well all Priest is f**kin killer in my opinion. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Bloodstone.. . F**kin-A. .. Great live .... The GODFATHER OF METAL always puts my a** in a good mood. ROCK ON EVERYONE
First thing Aww thxs Johnheater75 ur the best. And 4 ur a** Brett I luv ya 2 spike. Lol. U r without a doubt one of a kind, don't worry my a** ain't changing 4 nobody I'm just me , we've come along way spike. Remember July 30th me , u and Priest, Kiss and booze plenty of booze. U guys rock. Breaking the wat, Breaking the wat, Breaking the Law . F**kin Classic first song I learned on my old a** guitar. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Listening to running wild by Judas Priest!Hey April put the Donny Osmond records away and try this band out. Lmao
Thank u April. U ROCK priestess. U r my best bud too.u know your music. That's soo bad asss. ROCK ON EVERYONE :-)
Well then u r for sure the priestess! There is nobody that knows the music like u.thank u my friend. ROCK ON EVERYONE :-)
Aww idk about all that John, lol. But thank u man. I'm just the mighty Priestess lmao sounds better huh, ur my best bud John here's a lil Genocide for ur Sat morning. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Absolutely April,I'm gonna start playing more of the priest channel. We r always playing tag..u r the music queen for sure!!
Devils Child,,,, F**kin sweeeeet. .. Ur so damn wicked... ROCK ON EVERYONE
Hey u, Johnheater75 I can alwayz count on u my friend. Brett get ur a** 2 typing on here unless ur on ur wuss station and haven't changed it yet. I miss my Priest comments from ya in the morning cause I never know wat ur gonna say 2 brighten my Screaming For Vengeance now that's a thirsty Thursday jam. ROCK ON EVERYONE
U go April
Hey u
Judas Rising ... Awesome album. . ROCK ON EVERYONE
been lovn' Maiden since 86' junior in HS.
Lmfao now that comment Brett was sooooo much better. Lmao thxs man ur my bud... The Sentinel F**kin-A wat a way 2 start this f**kin wicked Wednesday, ,, Humpppp Dayyyy. . ROCK ON EVERYONE
Wow I just went from Wuss music to wicked.That' s like comparing Marie Osmond to April.You're such a badass. I hope I never piss you off I'm pretty sure you could totally kick my a**!Keep rocking hard sister Lita
The Green Manalishi, , F**kin-A, an u ppl that wanna talk all that s**t about Halford of rite ahead cause u know f**kin nothing about the Godfather of Metal! If u did u would have ur facts straight an ur opinion don't f**kin matter on this page at all. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Thanks April. Its good to start the day with a lil PRIEST. ROCK ON EVERYONE
@tlandry043. I agree w/ you, I don't care for the sunnys'. They're NOT my style. I've either lost or broke ALL my favorite shades. These were a gift. You want them?
Agreed johnheater75 my friend, Some Heads Are Gonna Roll!!! Great Mon morning jam 2 wake up 2... ROCK ON EVERYONE
I've been listening to a lot more priest lately.they are truly the beginning band for speed/heavy metal.people really gotta STOP TALKING SHITT ABOUT A LEGENDARY BAND!music wouldn't be the same without Judas priest.
U r without a doubt a f**kin trip Brett. Lmfao when u told me u were Leaving me a comment on Priest I never know wat 2 expect. Lmao. I don't think u would of wanted 2 c her a** in leather cause she weighed 200lbs. Lol. ROCK ON
Omg LSD wtf u been... I'm so happy 2 c ur back. An thank u btw my friend. Godfather of Metal! !! Rock On Everyone
Judas priest will always be at the top.and FUK everyone of u homophobes.i t ' s awesome asss music u fuktards!
Listening to freewheel burning by Judas Priest.I've been told Donnie Osmond originally wrote this song back in the 70s. Unfortunatel y Marie Osmond refused to perform it with Donnie on stage.Rob Halford heard the song and well,The rest is history... I have to admit though I wouldn't have minded seeing Marie and all that leather;)
Omg so glad 2 finally c ppl on here that know wtf there talking about. I agree Halford will always have the metal god title an who gives a f**k wat his sexuall preference is. Really ppl r u that f**kin ignorant. .. Hell Patrol killer jam. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Apparently you have a lot of downtime. Nice catch me f--k me shades you have on cool breeze . Pedophile alert
judas priest has had more staying power within the rock/metal scene than most metal....... . b a n d s , that is the truth,
don't hate the truth, just accept it
i've heard many s**tty comments relating to Rob's sexuality. first and foremost.... . . . . h e is a musician, a damn good one at that. a killer vocalist. no one has the right to demean him for his sexual identity
Man,if people actually think that halford ,is the reason for gays spreading diseases? Do some fukin reading,befo r e posting something so asinine. That,just makes no fukin sense.idiots
Oh $#!T... sorry tlandry043.. . just me being me in the down time at work... hahaha!
oh my GOD. MooMOo just crawl back under that rock in your closet, lite the fuse, swallow the fist full of sleeping pills and oxycodone, wash it down with a bottle of Drain-O, stick the butter knife into the light socket, slash your femoral artery, put the gun in your mouth and pull the trigger. your ignorance scares ME and i'm fearless. that goes for fat Fat nutsac and tlandry043 as well..
This band is responsible for gay people dying in the 80's. Rob with all his gayness spread a lot of AIDS.
Judas priest is sooooooooooo fukin AWESOME.
Island of Domination, ,,,
Wheels of fire... let it f**kin roll.. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Lmfao Brett ur a f**kin trip. That was the 1st comment I saw at 5:30 this morning. Thxs 4 Makin me laugh my friend. .. LEATHER REBEL !!!!! Rock On Everyone
Rob Halford is a rock GOD. Go away children adults want to hear real music.
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