Priest's roots go way back to Birmingham, England, in the late sixties, when they were formed by mates Ian Hill on bass and guitarist K.K. Downing.( Incidentally, they took the name from a Bob Dylan song, "Tha Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest ). Vocalist and ex-theatrical lighting engineer Rob Halford and drummer John Hinch, both of whom had been in Hiroshima, ( the band, not the city, and not the funky fusion one, either! ), joined Priest in the early seventies, as did second guitarist Glen Tipton. They went through more changes ( they were victims of changes... sorry - couldn't resist! ) in the drumming department, with Alan Moore, Simon Phillips, Les Binks and finally Dave Holland from Trapeze. Their popularity began to soar, especially with 1980's "British Steel ", but it was this album, "Screaming for Vengeance ", that really made them huge in the US. They went on to record a number of excellent albums before Halford left to start his own band, Fight, in the early 1990's. It was a while before they finally settled on a new vocalist, but American Ripper Owens has proved to be just as good as Halford. Check out their "Metal Meltdown" live album and hear for yourself. Ex-Racer X drummer Scott Travis has been with the band for a number of years now. Judas Priest is a legend and it would be nice to see them return to where they belong - at the top of the list of the great heavy metal bands of the world.

Judas Priest - One for the Road, taken off " Rocka Rolla ", their debut album, released in 1974. Priest have already been extensively covered in these pages a few weeks back, so if you want to know more about their roots, refer to the earlier write-up. This track was featured because of numerous requests to hear something from their earlier days, and "Rocka Rolla" is a good place to start. Even at this early stage ( although it wasn't so early, seeing that their roots go back to the late sixties!) you can hear how good this band actually were. Halford was already starting to wear jocks that were too tight for him (!), and Downing and Tipton were churning out licks that were to influence countless bands over the next twenty years. Informed sources tell us that at one stage, Priest even had a horn section accompanying them at times! Anyway, you know their material - all you have to do is go out and buy the albums you don't already have. None of them will disappoint.

Judas Priest 
Judas Priest - Victim of Changes, from "Sad Wings of Destiny", their second album, released in 1976. Once again, due to many requests, we featured one of the UK's best and most famous hard rock/metal acts. Priest's history goes way back to the English Midlands in the late sixties when an early version of the band, including a horn section (!), was put together by bassist Ian Hill and guitarist K.K. Downing. It's not known if any recordings were ever made at that early stage (can you imagine what Priest must have sounded like with a brass section??). Downing and Hill were joined by vocalist Alan Atkin, ( who gave the band their name, taken from the name of his previous band. "Judas Priest", incidentally, was actually borrowed from a Bob Dylan song, "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"), and drummer John Ellis. Ellis was later replaced by Alan Moore, who, in turn, was replaced by Chris Campbell at the end of 1971. Both Atkins and Campbell left the band in 1973, and vocalist and ex-theatrical lighting engineer Rob Halford, together with drummer John Hinch, joined Priest from the band Hiroshima. Ex-Flying Hat Band guitarist Glen Tipton joined in 1974, and the seeds of one of the most powerful bands to emerge from the UK were sown.They secured a deal with Gull Records (If, Illusion,etc) and released their debut album, "Rocka Rolla" in 1974. Although quite good, the album failed to make any impact and Hinch left to be replaced by the returning Moore, who played on our featured album. Despite good reviews, their financial situation remained desperate, and Moore left for the second and final time (he was later replaced by the great Simon Phillips). Fortunately, a worldwide deal with CBS Records saved the day and, as we now all know, Priest went on to very great things in the world of hard rock/metal, but that's another story.   

Judas Priest 
Judas Priest - The Hellion/Electric Eye, from "Screaming for Vengeance", in 1982, one of their best known and most successful albums. You know their story well, if you're a regular Dinosaur Days listener and reader of these pages. We get many requests to feature the music of one of metal's most respected bands and it's pretty obvious that the band are held in high esteem. The main reason why we featured them this week is partly to let you know that Sony Music will shortly be releasing this, our featured album, "British Steel", "Defenders of the Faith" and "Point of Entry" in a remastered format, together with previously unreleased live and bonus tracks. The other reason? Nobody does it quite like Priest - they're certainly one of our top metal bands of all time. 

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Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
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, Rocka Rolla, Judas Priest added guitarist Glenn Tipton. They released the record 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 began the 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 diehard 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 mic. Around the same time, a movie was readying production that was 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 titled simply...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 issuing 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. 


Simon Phillips
Les Binks
Chris Campbell
K.K. Downing
Rob Halford
Ian Hill
John Hinch
Dave Holland
Alan Moore
Glenn Tipton
Scott Travis
Alan Atkins
Tim "Ripper" Owens
John Ellis

Ozzy Osbourne
Iron Maiden
Diamond Head
Running Wild
Thin Lizzy
The Darkness
Grim Reaper
Ritchie Blackmore
Twisted Sister
Quiet Riot

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Judas Priest - 1974 - Rocka Rolla - 2.5/5

Judas Priest - 1976 - Sad Wings of Destiny - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1977 - Sin After Sin - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1978 - Killing Machine - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1978 - Stained Class - 4.5/5

Judas Priest - 1979 - Hell Bent for Leather - 4.5/5

Judas Priest - 1979 - Unleashed in the East - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1980 - British Steel - 4.5/5

Judas Priest - 1981 - Point of Entry - 3.5/5
Judas Priest - 1982 - Screaming for Vengeance - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1984 - Defenders of the Faith - 3.5/5

Judas Priest - 1986 - Turbo - 2.5/5

Judas Priest - 1987 - Priest...Live - 2/5

Judas Priest - 1988 - Ram It Down - 2/5

Judas Priest - 1990 - Painkiller - 4/5

Judas Priest - 1997 - Jugulator - 2/5

Judas Priest - 1998 - 98 Live Meltdonw - 2/5

Judas Priest - 1998 - Priest in the East - 4/5

Judas Priest - 2000 - Genocide - 4/5

Judas Priest - 2001 - Demolition - 3/5

Judas Priest - 2003 - Live in London - 2.5/5

Judas Priest - 2003 - Living After Midnight - 4/5

Judas Priest - 2005 - Angel of Retribution - 3/5



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