Judas Priest Biography
Judas Priest is one of the most enduring and successful band in Heavy-Metal history. All began in 1969 in Birmingham, ENGLAND, where guitarist Kenneth Downing and bassist Ian Hill decided to start a new band; by 1971, with vocalist Alan Atkins and drummer John Ellis, the group began playing live shows. Over the course of the year, Ellis was replaced by Alan Moore, who left until 1972 and was replaced by black drummer Chris Campbell. After a year of constant gigging, both Atkins and Campbell departed in May of 1973, Downing and Hill enlisted the help of vocalist Rob Halford and drummer John Hinch, the quartet recorded a demo that landed them a deal with Gull Records; the next year Glenn Tipton joined as second guitarist completing the five-piece line-up.
In September of 1974 Judas Priest released its long-awaited debut album,
"Rocka Rolla", to little attention.
Hinch left the crew shortly before the band started to work on their next album, 1976's "Sad Wings Of Destiny", which was recorded with re-enlisted drummer Alan Moore.
A year later, the group lost Moore for the second and final time; Judas Priest enlisted the help of a new drummer, Simon Philips and returned to the studio to record their third LP, "Sin After Sin", which was issued on CBS Records with Deep Purple's Roger Glover producing; this was the band's first U.K. top 40 album. With Les Binks settled behind the drum kit, the band departed for their first American tour where they played as an opening act for Led Zeppelin.
In the spring of 1978 the band released "Stained Class" which cracked the Pop Albums chart in the United States.
The next album, "Killing Machine", generated two British hit singles: "Take On The World" and "Evening Star"; in America their fifth studio-LP was issued in 1979 under the name of "Hell Bent For Leather" as the record company considered the British title too violent; the U.S. edition included an extra-track, the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi"; the disc eventually reached the #128 position on The Official U.S. Pop Albums chart. Before the year's end Judas Priest released the live-album "Unleashed In The East" and replaced Binks with drummer Dave Holland; the live-set hit #70 on the U.S. Pop Albums chart and went platinum.
The following year the band released "British Steel", which crashed into the top 5 of the Official U.K. Albums chart and reached the #34 spot on the U.S. Pop chart; the record yielded two British smash singles, "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight"; most of 1980 was spent on the road touring with acts like Def Leppard, Scorpions and Rainbow.
In the spring of the following year the quintet recorded "Point Of Entry", in America the album duplicate the chart performance of its predecessor and its single "Heading Out To The Highway" hit #10 on The Mainstream Rock chart; another single, "Hot Rockin", found more success in Britain.
The year 1982 saw the release of "Screaming For Vengeance", the record rose to #17 in the United States, the band's highest charting album to date, it included the minor hit "Electric Eye" and the Mainstream Rock top 5 hit "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" helped pump album sales to over a million copies; the record was an huge hit in Europe where reached the #11 spot in their native England.
The follow-up, "Defenders Of The Faith", appeared two years later, the album went on to rise to the top 20 of both The Billboard Top 200 and the National U.K. charts.
"Turbo" followed, trailed in 1986 by the Mainstream Rock top 30 hit single "Locked In"; the full-length disc hit #17 on The Billboard 200 Albums chart and went on to sell over a million units. During the year Judas Priest toured America several times, they decided to release "Priest...Live!", the set climbed into the top 40 of The Billboard 200.
With their next album, "Ram It Down", they returned to the harsh Metal sound but failed to retain their original fans, the record hit #31 on The Billboard Top 200 chart and inched into the top 30 in Britan.
In 1989 Holland left the group and was replaced by drummer Scott Travis who joined in time to record "Painkiller"; this album was issued in autumn of 1990 and reached the #26 position on Billboard's Top 200 spawning the Active Rock top 30 hit "A Touch Of Evil".
That same year, the parents of two fans who committed suicide after listening "Better By You, Better Than Me" from the 1978's "Stained Class" album, dragged Judas Priest into court to defend themselves in a multi-million dollar lawsuit; after three-years court battle the band was declared not guilty.
Rob Halford left the group in 1991, thus began a collaboration with Pantera and later fronted Black Sabbath, finally embarked full-time on his solo project.
In 1997, the veteran Heavy-Metal group resurfaced with 29-year-old vocalist Tim 'Ripper' Owens; their new effort, "Jugulator", reached #82 on The Billboard Top 200 and ascended into the top 50 of the British Albums chart.
Another three and a half years passed before the quintet returned with their next release, "Demolition", but the album was a commercial failure.
Rumors of Halford's return to the group began circulating, the reunion was officially announced during 2003.
Halford, Tipton, Downing, Hill and Travis released "Angel Of Retribution", in March of 2005, the album peaked at #13 on the American Billboard's Top 200 list and included the Active Rock top 30 hit single "Revolution".
Judas Priest's long-delayed next studio album was released in June 2008; the 2-disc set titeled "Nostradamus" was a conceptual album based upon the life and predictions of the 16th century French prophet. It achieved a career-best peak of #11 in U.S. and hit #9 on the Top Canadian Albums chart.