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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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You've got Another Thing Coming, the Godfather of Metal is so f**kin bad a** that Terminex has him doing the music 4 there commercial. Lol. Unreal. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Between The Hammer& The Anvil, , luv the dynamic duo that only Kk and Glenn can do. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Um robertbrisbi n i i or watever ur name is .r u f**kin serious dude ? Then wtf u on Priest page if ur so burnt out on em. Go back 2 ur f**kin John Mellencamp or Boy George station. U def don't belong on this Metal Page . Especially the Godfather of Metal. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Diamonds and Rust, , F**kin-A, the Godfather of Metal! !Always puts me in a good mood regardless wats going on in my life. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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okay
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I got burned out on this band. Rob is cool, but I am over them. Please quit playing Judas Priest on any of my channels.
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one of the best voices ever. He's gay though. Not for me. Dancing is for women.
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Tyrant, ,, A nice nite cap with non other than the Godfather of Metal! !Rock On Everyone
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Lmfao Brett I luv ya man. Ur a f**kin trip. Don't ever change my friend. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Grinder,,,, British Steele is one of there best in my opinion. Every song on there is f**kin killer. The GODFATHER OF METAL will never lose his title of being a true Metal God. An he's still touring an making cds.. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Still trying to find out what is so great about this terrible band.
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Rob Halford was good with FFDP on Lift Me Up
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alabastervil l i s 0
i love riden on the wind
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Yes I'm riding on the wind!
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inuyasha final act is about to end
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Metal meltdown.Hav e you ever seen the high priestess of metal get mad?Never cross her,she'll pound your a** and kick your dog on the way out the door!
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Beyond The Realms Of Death, , F**kin-A. . ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Aww thxs John that means alot. ROCK Hard Ride Free this one's 4 u kk, my friend. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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bobs burgers is just as bad as the cleveland show. I hate the guy girl with the glasses and cleveland jr. I miss dethklok and at least childrens hospital is new.
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judas priest isnt on my list for my birthday party.
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April. I like Linda Yeo the best. She's the one.
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We all love u April,the music will help the healing process.
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Sigue
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Fever,,, gotta b one of there best 2 in my opinion. Luv this whole album. Screaming For Vengeance tour was f**kin mind blowing. Thxs again Brett, John, kk, lsd, an u Rwurzbach my friends. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Turbo Lover one of my favorites. . Great f**kin album. Luv this Priest classsic. .. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Blood Red Skies, luv that tune. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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I agree Brett, but u know me anything The GODFATHER OF METAL does is awesome. ROCK ON EVERYONE 4 me
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Dessert Plains luv this Priest classsic. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Listening to desert plains by Judas Priest. This song was a bit of a departure from their usual hard and heavy. Still a classic and still Diggin it today!
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Don't Go,, F**kin-A, , I've been outta commission 4 a few days but it's so good 2 b back. Thank u Brett my friend. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Run of the mill?!! F**k yeah!!!
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april is a friend of mine and heater. We need redstonefox with us. Eli.
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There's only one thing that kicks more a** than Judas Priest...... Their biggest fan April. :)
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atx1984atx
YES!! JUDAS PRIEST!
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Us festival kick a** that made judas in the usa
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gumbey48
I saw them at the US festival in 1983. Heavy Metal Rules!
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Bloodstone, off another killer album. Can never get enough of The Godfather of Metal! ROCK On Everyone
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Hell bent for leather,can' t get enough of JP!!!
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Judas is rising - Hell yeah!!!
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Diamonds and Rust, another great by non other than the Godfather of Metal! !Rock On Everyone
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Genocide, , can't ever get enough of the Godfather of Metal! !Rock On Everyone
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I saw Priest at a small convention center in the summer of '81(Yes I am very old) It was the loudest concert I've ever been to and the only one where I walked out of it stone deaf. Maiden was the opening act. that was one hell of a Metal show!
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Living After Midnight, , Classic Priest. Thank u Brett u know it my friend I do bleed Judas Priest no doubt about it. British Steele a true Classic by non other than the Godfather of Metal! ROCK On Everyone
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blistering it dont get know better than that ps viking tim
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tlandry043
Actually I like listening to JP and shoving gerbils up my butt
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Best of the best!! Judas priest rules!
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nicko252008
Why are you listening to priest if you don't like them? Who let the children in here? This board is for adults only PRIEST ROCKS!!
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I have a friend that's hellbent for leather she looks like Lita Ford but bleeds Judas Priest...Who e v e r she decides to be I think she's the coolest! Keep rocking it hard spike you know I'm your biggest fan!
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Great band! Rob Halford is one of the best voices in the Heavy Metal genre!
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AWESOME BAND!!!!
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