The heavy metal legend Judas Priest has been mainstays of the metal genre since their formation in West Bromwich, England, in 1969 under the name Freight. After changing their name to Judas Priest in 1970, the band became pioneers in the metal genre throughout the decade, taking it from where previous acts like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple had brought it and pushing it further. Reaching mainstream fame in 1980 with their album British Steel - specifically through songs like "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight" - Judas Priest has been causing wild eruptions of energy at countless live performances over the decades. Known for pioneering the idea of having two guitarists in a metal band rather than just one, Judas Priest has cemented its legacy as one of a handful of bands that stands synonymous with the heavy metal genre. In 2018, the band released its most recent album, Firepower, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US and for which they've recently concluded a worldwide tour on June 29, 2019.
Defenders of the Metal Faith
Judas Priest currently consists of vocalist and frontman Rob Halford, bassist Ian Hill, drummer Scott Travis and guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner. Faulkner was personally handpicked by Tipton to join the band after the retirement of longtime guitarist KK Downing. In the earliest years of the band's existence, before they released their debut studio album Rocka Rolla in 1974, many members came and went, including original vocalist Al Atkins. Atkins was replaced in 1973 by Halford, whose great vocal range impressed the rest of the band. Eventually, the band settled on the lineup of Halford on vocals, Tipton and Downing on guitars, Hill on bass and John Hinch on the drums to record Rocka Rolla. However, it wasn't until two years later in 1976, with the release of its album Sad Wings of Destiny, that Judas Priest truly hit its stride. The album remains beloved by fans to this day, featuring songs like "Victim of Changes" - a staple of Judas Priest live performances - "The Ripper" and "Tyrant," which the group has recently brought back into its setlist. The 1970s saw the release of three more classic studio albums, which, while poorly produced, are regarded by fans as having some of the best songs in Priest's oeuvre. In 1980, Judas Priest rose to mainstream acclaim with its album British Steel and has since been making songs that bring the house down whenever the band plays live. At last, in 2010, the band won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for its song "Dissident Aggressor." Despite the retirement of their guitarist KK Downing in 2011, Judas Priest shows no signs of stopping.
Where can I buy Judas Priest tickets?
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What awards has Judas Priest won?
Besides the one Grammy Award that the band had won in 2010, Judas Priest has also been nominated for four more Grammys (in 1991, 1999 and 2009). In 2018, Judas Priest won the Maximum Metal Award from Metal Hammer. The band also won Metal Storm Awards for Best Heavy Metal Album and Biggest Surprise in 2005 and 2018, respectively. British rock and metal magazine Kerrang! also inducted the group into its Hall of Fame in 2007 and awarded the members its Inspiration Award in 2015.
What are some venues and events that Judas Priest has performed at?
Judas Priest has performed at heavy metal festivals all over the world, including Ozzfest and Germany's Wacken Open Air festival.
What is a typical Judas Priest setlist like?
During its recently concluded Firepower tour, Judas Priest was fond of opening shows with the song "Necromancer," at the opening of which Halford would walk out on stage dressed in a glittering purple cape and top hat, holding a staff and looking like a magician. From there, the band would go on to play fan favorites like "The Sentinel," "Breaking the Law," "Painkiller," "Tyrant," "Judas Rising," "All Guns Blazing," "Victim of Changes," "Living After Midnight" and especially "Hell Bent for Leather," for which Halford would customarily ride out on stage on a motorcycle.
Why has Glenn Tipton been absent from many of Judas Priest's recent live performances?
Though still formally with the band, Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2018. Battling the illness often leaves him exhausted and unable to play live with the rest of Judas Priest during concerts. When Tipton is unable to play, guitarist and backstage record producer Andy Sneap often fills in and plays his parts.
What are some bands that are similar to Judas Priest?