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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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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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Harford still kicking a** at 63 saw them in November.
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tlandry043
Instead of a motorcycle Rob has to come out on stage in a Hov-a-round with an oxygen bottle. He needs some rogaine too.
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Saints In Hell, , F**kin-A. ROCK ON EVERYONE with non other than The Godfather of Metal
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You've Got Another Thing Coming, , one of there best albums ( Screaming For Vengeance) tour was such a great concert. This whole album rocks. The GODFATHER OF METAL is still Goin strong regardless of how old he is. Halford made his mark an lasting impression an will def f**kin go down as The Metal God. .F**kin Fact! Rock On Everyone
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Great band! Rob Halford is one the best singers in the Heavy Metal genre.
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♿️
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Agreed matt.casilla s 9 . Victim of Changes f**kin amazing seeing the Godfather of Metal on stage performing this Classic. .. Back then that's when concerts were all general admission an mind blowing. Glad I grew up seeing so many of those great musicians. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Defenders of the faith tour was rockin. Too bad you metal maniacs missed it
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nicko252008
Krokus could never hang with the big boys.
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Electric Eye, Hellion a f**kin True Classic! ! One of my favs amongst all the others. There's no better way to start out a Friday morning with The GODFATHER OF METAL himself. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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nicko252008
Rob Halford is a METAL GOD! hell yes!
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Tyrant great Classic Priest. . ROCK ON EVERYONE
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One Shot At Glory,, a Classy Godfather of Metal on this Thursday morning. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Ehhem anyyway, in its own way turbo is a well crafted song with a good line good guitar and a chilling crescendo... i f it was on an island it would be a great song. There are some good/great songs if your a fan in the mettallion years. Peas.
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nicko252008
Stupid tooth is more like it.
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nicko252008
If you don't like Priest get the phuck off the page LOSERS. get a life, nobody wants to join your s**tty band, and you prob suck a** at guitar. Halford RULES. oh and krokus there not even that good.
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tlandry043
You should probably feed Rob some fat free egg drop soup. Getting a little thick and a fat puss gut.
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Hell yeah April,what a fine way to enjoy Easter.besid e s listening to some awesome priest
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The Green Manalishi killer f**kin tune on this Easter morning. Happy Easter everyone an ROCK ON
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Private Property good tune for a Thursday morning. Turbo is a great cd.but I luv the Godfather of Metal older stuff 2. Anything he did or does is f**kin killer. Last yrs tour just proves he's still the Godfather of Metal an always will b. ROCK ON EVERYONE
Report as inappropriate
How bout Starbreaker? ! ! Wicked good! Judas Priest rules with an iron fist!!
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Has anyone heard a version of rock hard ride free with a different chorus? I had it on cd, and nobody believes me!! What is the name of it?!
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Wow, old priest. Nothing like it man.
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I don't care Robs gay.. More chicks for me!! Personally British Steel, Screaming for vengeance, Defenders of the Faith.. The good ol daze.. I miss the stages of Priest, Maiden etc.. What a trip
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nicko252008
Is the 2001 demolition cover suppose to be a parody of the deliverance self titled cover? either way it's cool. it's all metal to me.
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I'm just happy that we have the priest to bless us all in the metal kingdom.ive been saved!!!!!! ��
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Brett I was told a Green Manalishi is a type of LSD illusion. Lol. But wat do I know except it's a killer f**kin Priest tune. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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The Hellion, Electric Eye F**kin-A my all time fav.. The GODFATHER OF METAL !!! Rock On Everyone
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The Sentinel F**kin-A killer Classic Priest. .. thxs Brett, an Rich u guys r great friends. No green_tyrant I didnt. But I had heard that before. Thxs man . Always luv learning more about the Godfather of Metal! ! Rock On Everyone
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Err jp.hate auto correct.
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Hey April, did you know that the oringinal green manalishi was done by fleet wood Mac not Jo.
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iono but it has a two prong crown...
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April is the Sentinal guarding over all things Priest! ROCK ON High Priestess.
Report as inappropriate
April do you know what a Green Manalishi is? I bet Rich does that guy knows everything about rock 'n roll!
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