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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

Comments

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pole position
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I love the video for freewheel burning.
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nicko252008
Hell Yeees, Priest kinda day! keep on rockin!
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F**kin-A! ! First song on this fine Thursday morning. Electric Eye, but it sounds so much better when Pandora plays the Hellion version. Anyway u here it The Godfather of Metal sounds sweeeeet. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Reckless,, off a great album Turbo is on of my favorites. Anything that The GODFATHER OF METAL does is f**kin amazing. Agreed Mike Smith.... ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Moomoo007- you need to tell that to ur butt buddy little fat nutsack. Dudes the biggest fagg leaving ridiculous comments thinking he knows what he's talking about. Dudes just a low life that prolly takes it in the a** by his daddy willingly... . not cool! I can understand why he's so full of hate but damn. Grow a pair u f**king balls fat nutsack.
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Steeler!
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Hell Bent For Leather, ,,, f**kin sweeeeet way 2 start out this hump day..with The GODFATHER OF METAL! ROCK On Everyone
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Jugulator ??? Great album with ripper owens you have demolition why not jugulator ????
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Back atcha Brett ur the best an u 2 John.. the Godfather of Metal! !nuff said. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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2 guys got married in harlingen texas. I'm never going there.
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Speed of Led Zeppelin? WTF! I like Zep (not love) but Jimmy Page, in my book, is not the lightning you make him out to seem.
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That makes no sense at all moo moo.its hardly accurate?
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You sure the monkey is not from Asia;
Wasted Years\../
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Moo ur a fuking tard
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Gay people are responsible for killing thousands of people! They were the first ones to have sex with a monkey from Africa infected with AIDS, then they raped a straight dude and infected the rest of the population.
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alabastervil l i s 0
you cant deny the talent that rob and the whole band had and have, i dont care if he is gay that is his private life , if i go see him and he uses the stage to sing all the songs i love an he isnt preaching about the gay life then no harm no foul.
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To my sister from another Mr. ...U r the best Spike!
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Thank u contractingd b appreciate that I just luv my Priest an all the other great bands I grew up with. Not like 2 days music at all, in my opinion. Take care and Rock On
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April you rock.priest Rock the 80s
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Heading Out To The Highway, , great way 2 start out this hump day with non other than the Godfather of Metal! !Rock On Everyone
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jim johnston and his band are cool
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Riding On The Wind,, F**kin-A sweeeeet. Luv this album. Godfather of Metal is still rockin an will continue. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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mfijut0
Cool we used to play this in high school
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electric eye is easy to play with tabs
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Electric Eye ain't the same without the Hellion starting first. But it's still my fav. F**kin awesome live. Rob is def the Godfather of Metal an always will be. Idc wat ppl say on here cause there f**kin ignorant an have no f**kin clue wat metal is about. U tell em John, an Brett. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Btw thxs Brett, back atcha my friend.
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Lochness, great f**kin album. Say wat u will about Rob, he still sounds better than ever. To u all f**kin idiots that need attention anyway u can get it, go 2 another page. The GODFATHER OF METAL ,, will go down in history and his legend will live on. U f**kin ppl that talk the stupidest s**t have no f**kin clue wat music is all about. That's a f**kin fact. . ROCK ON EVERYONE
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chuck billy sings better than rob
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steve grimmet is the banshee
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the banshee from grim reaper sings better than rob. Too bad grim reaper copied their look from dave mustaine when he was in a band called panic.
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locked in is the best jp song ever
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nicko252008
Hater gonna hate on the metal god. PREIST! RULES!
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Yeah, well my name ain't cooter? So now who's gay?
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Went to 8 of there concerts in the 80s .they freaking rock
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Sounds like you guys no a lot about BIENG gay
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Hell yeah man!!! Halford is the man
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Priest will always rock n it does not matter if rob is gay his voice is golden
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Fuk all y'all. Priest is still touring u fukin toolbags!! If u r a homophobe? Then don't listen to it. Halford could outplay any of u knuckleheads . Truth hurts,huh?
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nicko252008
you must have a tiny penis
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Apparently you do or else you wouldn't comment ya douche. Instead of riding out on a Harley now, Halford has to ride out on a hov a round with an oxygen bottle. Is Judas Queef still relevant?
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Have you guys every listened to any of Rob's interviews? His songs ARE gay. He is singing about doing dudes in the butt.
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For my friends Spike. She stands up for what she believes in, that's why she'll always be a friend of mine!
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Wtf ever MooMoo007 ur a piece of wk dude. I'm not gay but I luv penis's.. Ur a f**kin moron.. The Ripper, great f**kin song, by the Godfather of Metal! !Rock On Everyone
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nicko252008
Anyone who goes on a bunch of bands pages and makes corny a** hate comments doesn't even have a penis!
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Locked In great tune off Turbo, that's one of my fav albums. Thank u John I really appreciate it. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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U got me locked in!!! The priest is back on y'all, time to turn it up!! Thank u priestess!my heart is with y'all
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Screaming For Vengeance, F**kin-A. . One of the Godfather of Metal best album. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Thxs John ur a great friend. Living After Midnight, luv British Steele great album.. Rockin with The GODFATHER OF METAL on hump day.. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Good night priestess. Wishing u and Chris well!! Rock on
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