Judas Priest

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About Judas Priest

Judas Priest have had a profound influence on countless hard-rock and metal subgenres. Anchored by leather-clad vocalist Rob Halford’s wicked screams and a propulsive guitar attack, the Birmingham, England, group inspired both homegrown movements (the late-’70s New Wave of British Heavy Metal) and global phenomena (thrash metal and its poppier cousin, hair metal). Formed in 1969, Judas Priest took a few years to find their footing, but they settled on a lineup featuring Halford, guitarists K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and bassist Ian Hill for their 1974 debut single, “Rocka Rolla.” A major-label record deal raised the band’s profile considerably, leading to their 1980 breakthrough, British Steel—which featured the confrontational “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight”—and 1982’s Screaming for Vengeance, home to the defiant “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.” Judas Priest continued to enjoy mainstream success throughout the decade and beyond, thanks to 1990’s turbocharged Painkiller and an enthusiastic stamp of approval on the TV show Beavis and Butt-head. In a rarity for the metal world, Halford came out as gay in 1998, a revelation that underscored that the black-leather metalhead image Judas Priest had helped popularize was also Halford’s nod to gay leather-bar culture. Over the years, the group have weathered multiple lineup changes—Downing and Tipton retired from the band in 2011 and 2018, respectively—but they remain a creative force, with 2018’s Firepower becoming a Top 10 album all over the world.

Birmingham, England
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