The Judas Priest History Part II
1975 1976 1977
1978 1979 1980
1981 1982 1983
1984 1985 1986
1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992
1993 1994 1995
The year is spent touring Europe in support of Rock Rolla, even though the band
is totally dissatisfied with the LP. Of the album, Rob Halford states; "The way the
record was put on vinyl makes it sound like we recorded it in a garbage can."
On an up note, Priest manages to land a gig at the Reading Festival where they
impress everyone with their power and energy.
Drummer John Hinch quits the band after the Reading show and former
skinbeater Alan Moore is reenlisted as the band prepares material for album #2.
Sad Wings of Destiny is released. It is released on a small underfinanced label;
this puts a great deal of stress on the band since the company is unable to provide
Priest with any tour support. The band actually had to take day jobs to make
The Sad Wings of Destiny sessions were held at London's Morgan Studios in
December 1975 and was released in March 1976. They toured extensively in
Britain despite no support from their record company.
The group sticks together during the hard times and is eventually rewarded with a
worldwide deal with CBS/Columbia.
Having signed the international contract with CBS/Columbia, the band heads into
the studio to record their third album, Sin After Sin, with Deep Purple bassist
Roger Glover serving as producer. (Drumming for the band on a temporary basis
is Simon Phillips.)
After the release of Sin After Sin in the spring of '77, an American tour follows.
The most popular in Britain at the time was the Sex Pistols and there really was
no audience for the "heavy metal" sound, yet the band has a greater acceptance in
America than they do in Britian.
Priest's debut U.S. concert takes place on June 17, 1977, in Amarillo Texas. The
band members find themselves playing 7-8,000-seat halls opening for REO
Speedwagon! (The only complaint comes from K.K. who says he can't stand the
Priest's inaugural Stateside outing ends with two exciting performances with Led
Zeppelin at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.
Priest's commercial momentum continues with the release of Stained Class in
February of '78.
The band plays U.K. concerts later on that same month before heading back to
the States in March, where they start off gigging with Foghat. On this tour, Priest
will gain invaluable exposure.
August, 1978, marks the band's first appearances in Japan.
After Japan, the group completes a new studio record with producer James
Guthrie. Titled Killing Machine in the U.K., the Lp is released in Britain in
October '78 with a British tour coinciding with its release.
The Killing Machine album comes out in the States under the title Hell Bent For
Leather and includes an extra track, "The Green Manalishi." A 45-date U.S. tour
commences on February 27, 1979, and lasts through May 6.
Priest enjoy their first British hit single with Take On The World, and tour the
world, including the orient, in support of their breakthrough LP, Hell Bent For
Leather. While the commercial success isn't imminent upon it's release, it helps to
solidify the band's look and sound as one of the most potent forces in the rock
During the summer of '79, Priest mix the tapes for a live album at Ringo Starr's
studio in Ascot, England. Drummer Les Binks leaves the band. Arriving to fill his
slot is Dave Holland.
Unleashed In The East hits record stores in September while the band is on the
road with Kiss. A series of headline North America dates follows and 1979
finally ends with the group trekking through Europe with AC/DC.
The band records British Steel during the early months of 1980 and the album is
released in the last week of a March U.K. tour, entering the British charts at
The album will get considerable airplay in the States. A successful road stint
results in the record being certified gold by the RIAA.
Priest play at the first Castle Donnington "Monsters Of Rock" festival.
In the fall of 1980, the band heads off to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza to
record a new studio LP.
Point Of Entry surfaces in the spring of '81 and has different sleeve designs in
Europe and the States. Some will claim disappointment in Point Of Entry due to
the album's more progressive approach. Still, it proves to be one of their most
A world tour kicks off in February and keeps Priest on the road until November.
During a brief summer break, the group starts working on material for the next
After spending much of 1981 on tour, the band allows itself more time to record
over the next few months and sessions are held in Ibiza once again. The mixes are
completed in Miami and Screaming For Vengeance finally emerges in the summer
of '82. The band supports the album with a nine-month world tour, which sees
them criss-crossing the United States for six months. (The American tour kicked
off on August 26, 1982 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.)
The hard work pays off. Screaming For Vengeance is eventually certified
platinum and with that, Priest finally begins to receive the respect they deserve.
Priest takes 1983 a bit easier.
Screaming For Vengeance proves to be the band's barrier-breaking success.
Their tour winds up in the spring, and the group members begin writing material
for their next LP.
Over Memorial Day Weekend in May, the band performs in front of over
300,000 fans at the California US Festival.
Priest's affairs are now being handled by top manager Bill Curbishley.
The group spends the rest of '83 working on a new album with Tom Allom, who
has established himself as an excellent producer for Priest.
The group's next album, Defenders Of The Faith , fails to generate immediate
press and fan support equal to that of its predecessor. While the album helps
Priest cement their position as the godfathers of metal's latest resurgence--a
movement led by the likes of Ratt and Motley Crue, who both sight Priest as a
major influence--they are met with unexpected resistence by their usually loyal
After finishing the new album in December, Priest appear at a heavy metal rock
festival in Dortmund, West Germany, and also film the "Freewheel Burning" video
The band is in Europe as Defenders Of The Faith hits the street. On March 16,
another marathon tour of the States kicks off in Niagara Falls.
The Defenders Of The Faith tour winds up in Japan and in October '84, Glenn,
Rob and K.K. start working on new material in Marbella, Spain.
This was a quiet year with no album releases or tours, and Priest reflected back
on the whirlwind activity of the past few years. From February to early spring,
they took their time recording the next album, in the enviable surroundings of
Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. Digital recording techniques had just
been introduced, and producer Tom Allom and the band were intent on using it to
enhance the overall sound capabilities of the new album.
Meanwhile, the ambitious young skinsman, Scott Travis, from Norfolk, Virginia,
was in the process of moving to Los Angeles to join a band called Racer X...
Rob Halford made an appearance on Ronnie James Dio’s Hear n’ Aid as one of the lead vocalists on the song “Stars”.
After their long sabbatical they released their eleventh album, Turbo in March.
Still not managing to surpass the quality and venom of "Screaming For
Vengeance", the album received even more mixed reactions than "Point Of
Entry". The old fans didn't much approve of the introduction of electronic effects
and synth guitars. Priest did, however, succeed to draw new fans to the band as
"Turbo" was in keeping with Eighties style metal and the album reached no. 33 in
England but only stayed in the charts for four weeks.
In May the band set off on their worldwide "Turbo - Fuel For Life" tour, visiting
almost everywhere except Britain. Halford started displaying eccentric (for a rock
star) behaviour and insisted on travelling the entire German leg by train.
"Fuel For Life"'s massive set of eighteen songs was captured on the Priest...Live!
double platter released in June and later also on the "Priest...Live!" video. The
album only made it to no. 47 in the charts mainly because Priest hadn't visited
Britain since 1984, and the U.K. audience were starting to forget what the band
looked like and, with the emergence of thrash and speed metal, they were
beginning to look elsewhere for their thrills.
With the remake of the Chuck Berry classic "Johnny B Goode" for the movie
"Johnny Be Good", Priest's british fans found new interest for the band. The
press, however, were less enthustiastic about Priest's return, regarding them as
"has-beens" and "irrelevant to today's music". The new album Ram It Down ,
released in May, though not revolutionary in content, did achive a no. 24 position
in the album charts, reflecting Priest's slow but sure return to homebase, and their
international tour this year also included Britain.
After completing another gruelling European and American tour, drummer Dave
Holland, troubled by family illness, quit Priest. In the meantime, Los Angeles band
Racer X had split up leaving drummer Scott Travis open to offers. Rob Halford
had been familiar with RacerX for a number of years so when Rob asked Scott
Travis about joining Priest it was a dream come true for Scott - the Priest fan
who asked for Glenn's autograph on the "Screaming For Vengeance" tour of
The new decade began and Priest started rehearsing with their new dynamic
drummer for their first album in two years. They pre-produced all the songs in
their rehearsal studio in Spain and when they had the whole album they band flew
over to Holland to lay down the tracks. Although "Painkiller" could have been
released early in 1990, the release date had to be set back as certain events
unfolded in the Reno courts.
The parents of two Priest fans, James Vance and Raymond Belknap, who died in
a suicide pact had decided to blame the tragedy on the band themselves. They
claimed that subliminal messages uttered on the backward play of "Better By You
Better Than Me" from the "Stained Class" album had spurred the teenagers on to
commit suicide. Priest had now to face the naked hostility of the parents and their
lawyers and also cancel the planned European tour. The bottom line was that the
Vances and the Belknaps were claiming $6.2 million damages from Priest for
their sons' suicides.
After weeks of courtroom drama, during which time the media coverage
escalated, Judge Jerry Whitehead ruled that Priest were in no way responsible for
the boys' deaths. The most important, and saddest, reason for this decision was
that both teenagers had been brought up in violent and deprived surroundings,
had failed in school, and had been taking drugs and were severly depressed on
the day of their suicide pact.
A relieved but shattered Priest left the Nevada courtroom in August and their
delayed career continued with the release of "Painkiller" in September, and a
barnstorming US tour in October.
The "Painkiller" tour moves on to Europe and a sensational performance at Rock
In Rio II in Brazil, which proved that Priest was still capable of "Pounding the
world like a battering ram" after all these years.
Vocalist Rob Halford shocks the fans and the rest of the band declaring that he
want's to leave Priest and pursue a solo career. Taking drummer Scott Travis
with him, Halford starts the band Fight.
Fight releases the debut album "War Of Words" and CBS releases a
double-album called Metal Works with 32 songs selected by the Priest members
Priest is still left disabled without a vocalist and the question arises if this is the end
of Judas Priest?
Another year passes without news about the band.
he band starts looking for a new vocalist by advertising in magazines. The
response is overwhelming; over a thousand applicants from all over the world are
interested in trying to fill the gap after Halford. After some intense listening to all
the singers, the band comes down to about thirty possible candidates.
Glenn and K.K. begins to write material for a new album.
Scott Travis comes back to Priest when Fight is broken up and the news about
the new album reaches him.
One day in March, Scott Travis brings a videotape to the studio. They play it,
and are stunned. The man they're looking at is Tim Owens, a 28 year old vocalist
from Akron, Ohio, and they have never seen or heard anyone like him before. He
is brought over to England to do an audition, and by just singing the first verse of
"Victim Of Changes", Glenn stops the tape and tells him "OK, you've got the
job!". The band has found the one they were looking for and starts the recording
of the new album which is titled "Jugulator".
Glenn Tipton starts recording his first solo album "Baptizm Of Fire" together with,
among others, Cozy Powell, Robert Trujillo, Billy Sheehan and John Entwhistle.
Originally, Tipton only intended to play the guitar on the album, but after some
attempts on the vocals, he decides to do the singing too.
"Baptizm Of Fire" is released in February and gets well recieved by the critics.
Meanwhile the work on "Jugulator" continues...
Originally supposed to be released in May, the album is delayed until the end of
October. Seven years of silence from the band is now broken.