Judas Priest

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in Birmingham in 1969. They have sold over 50 million albums and are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and a lack of major commercial success until 1980, when the album British Steel brought them notable mainstream attention.

The band’s membership has seen much turnover. During the 1970s, the core of bassist Ian Hill, lead singer Rob Halford and guitarists Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing saw a revolving cast of drummers, before Dave Holland joined them for ten years from 1979 to 1989. Since Holland’s departure, Scott Travis has been the band’s drummer. Halford left the band in 1992, and after a four year hiatus, Judas Priest regrouped in 1996 with Tim “Ripper” Owens, formerly of Winter’s Bane, replacing Halford. After two albums with Owens, Halford returned to the band in 2003. Downing left the band in 2011, replaced by Richie Faulkner. The current line-up consists of Hill, Tipton, Travis, Halford and Faulkner; although Tipton remains as an official member of Judas Priest, he has limited his touring activities since 2018 due to Parkinson’s disease, with Andy Sneap filling in for him. Hill and Tipton are the only two of the band to appear on every album.

Halford’s operatic vocal style and the twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton have been a major influence on heavy metal bands. Judas Priest’s image of leather, spikes, and other taboo articles of clothing was widely influential during the glam metal era of the 1980s. The Guardian referred to British Steel as the record that defines heavy metal. Despite a decline in exposure during the mid-1990s, the band has once again seen a resurgence, including worldwide tours, being inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006, receiving a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010, and having their songs featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series. In 2022, Judas Priest were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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