Rock of Ages: Judas Priest 40 Years of British Metal Dominance

Next week I turn 56 years old ( or young ) depending on your take I guess, and one of the most glaring things that I've really taken note of over the last ten years is that many of the bands that I've grown up listening to have pretty much faded away.

And as far as the bands that have stuck around, most of them have either had changes in their line ups (except for one band that recently were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ) or their music over time has taken a musical detour.

But one band even with personnel changes over the years have continued to stay true to one form of music, and that form of music is...


The band that I'm talking about has been putting out the metal for 40 years now and that band is synonymous with the genre and that band is Judas Priest.

Priest was formed all the way back in 1969 in Birmingham, England and the line up of twin lead guitarists K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, bass guitarist Ian Hill, drummer (the first of several) John Hinch and after the departure of (again in this case...the first of several lead singers) lead singer Al Atkins lead singer Rob Halford the band Judas Priest went on a tour of the UK, and even headlining some shows in Norway and Germany.

Over the next 40 years Judas Priest would be the band that would be universally associated with a special brand of Heavy Metal, introducing metal studs and leather and of course Halford's trademark metal motor cycle into their live concert performances, as well as being mentioned as a major influence on other musical genres including Power and Thrash metal...but of course the one tag that this band is universally associated with is that of "Metal Gods!"

Priest has in it's 40 years of metal dominance produced much to the delight of their fans 16 albums (or CD's) as well as three live albums and several concert videos...of which I currently own four...Live in London featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens on lead vocals, Rising in the East, British Steel Anniversary tour concert and their latest concert release for their just concluded Epitath tour, a tour that included new lead guitarist Richie Faulkner who replaced former and founding member K.K.Downing.

Now it had been reported that Epitath was actually Priest's final tour as the band had said that they were going to be retiring from touring (and I thought that it was also leaked that they were going to call it a day as a band as well), but at this time the band was reported to be working on the aforementioned concert dvd as well as new music for a new album release.

My next few "Rock of Ages" hubs will feature reviews of the concert dvds for the "British Steel" anniversary show and the new "Epitath" concert show as well.

And for a taste of what you'll see on the Epitath dvd, take a look at this performance of "The Green Manalishi!"

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Comments 8 comments

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 3 years ago from The Garden State

Love the Priest... been a fan since I first saw the video for "Heading Out to the Highway" on MTV back in 1981 (I was 11 years old). My first concert was JP and Dokken on the "Turbo" tour in 1986. I have seen Priest four times and Halford twice as a solo artist. I even saw Tim "Ripper" Owens' Priest tribute band "British Steel" a year or so before he joined the real deal.

I'll be bummed to see Priest hang it up but they've earned their well deserved retirement.

animekid profile image

animekid 3 years ago from Upstate NY Author

Hi Fat Freddys Cat!

I've only seen Priest live twice, both times when they played here at the Fair Grounds in Middletown back in the 80's when Rob went with the new "Shaved" look and before he left the band to pursue his own projects back then such as that solo album Voyeur and then when (I guess) he formed Fight.

And I loved "Old" MTV when they were an actual music channel and featured many of the bands I grew up on including Priest. As far as the band calling it a day, I'll certainly be saddened but till then I keep on hoping for more of the same from Priest and Rob's other band Halford. :)

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 3 years ago from The Garden State

I've seen Rob once with "Fight" (1993) and again with the Halford band (opening for Iron Maiden in 2000)... I have to say, I have never heard him in better voice than I did at that Fight gig. Of course, the fact that I was standing six feet away from ROB F'N HALFORD in a little tiny nightclub on the New Jersey shore probably increased the excitement of that particular gig, but his voice was absolutely stellar, he hit every note pitch perfect. It was amazing!!

animekid profile image

animekid 3 years ago from Upstate NY Author

Okay now I'm jealous! :)

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 3 years ago from The Garden State

Haha, sorry, that wasn't my intent!! :)

animekid profile image

animekid 3 years ago from Upstate NY Author

That's alright, no probs my friend. :)

Hackslap profile image

Hackslap 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Am an 80's metal-head in spirit so its no surprise I have some Judas Priest anthems in my collection ... "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll".."Turbo Lover"..'Blood Red Skies" ... .. although I must admit this attachment to priest has been marred since I heard the news of Dave Holland's criminal conviction (that he sexually abused a 17 yr old mentally ill boy during drumming lessons) ... a band itself ..nobody can replace KK Downing..Glenn Tipton..Rob Halford n Holland's lineup..

animekid profile image

animekid 2 years ago from Upstate NY Author

Hello there Hackslap.

I understand your feelings about the 80's Priest lineup with Holland behind the drums, but honestly I have to say that Scott Travis kinda buries Dave as an all around drummer.

How do you feel about K.K. leaving the band and his replacement Richie Faulkner?

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