Judas Priest Tickets for Sale

Blessed with as many lives as a cat, not only have the protean "Priest" undergone nearly seasonal lineup changes, but on numerous occasions they have completely reinvented their sound to keep up with shifts in public taste. Originally deeply immersed in Progressive Metal elements (composing epic fantasy narratives in song), they soon switched roles from Conan-rockers to leather-clad, would-be Hell's Angels. Focusing their power into smoking, twin guitar testosterone fests, Judas Priest's Stained Class and Hell Bent for Leather catalyzed the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Once the arrival of Metallica and other Speed Metal acts made the Priest's mid-tempo, work-the-body assault sound outmoded and irrelevant, the band again huddled together and came up with a new game plan. They came out swinging, hoping for a swift KO. Painkiller (1990) was a blue ribbon entry in the Thrash category, much faster and heavier than anything else in the band's career; but when the album's tepid reception helped precipitate lead singer Rob Halford's defection from Judas Priest, the band's final transformation was already afoot. The remaining members hired themselves a new vocalist and, with a magician's finesse, turned a nine-lived cat into a chicken with its head hacked off.

This enduring heavy metal outfit was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969, by K.K. Downing (b. Kenneth Downing; guitar) and close friend, Ian Hill (b. 20 January 1952; bass). As another hopeful, struggling young rock band, they played their first gig in Essington in 1971 with a line-up completed by Alan Atkins (vocals) and John Ellis (drums). The name Judas Priest came from Atkins' previous band (who took it from a Bob Dylan song, "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest") before he joined up with Hill and Downing. Constant gigging continued, with Alan Moore taking over on drums, only to be replaced at the end of 1971 by Chris Campbell. Most of 1972 was spent on the road in the UK, and in 1973 both Atkins and Campbell departed, leaving the nucleus of Hill and Downing (in 1991 Atkins released a debut solo album that included "Victim Of Changes", a song he co-wrote in Judas Priest's infancy). At this point, their fortunes took a turn for the better. Vocalist and ex-theatrical lighting engineer Rob Halford (b. 25 August 1951, Walsall, England) and drummer John Hinch, both from the band Hiroshima, joined the unit. More UK shows ensued as their following grew steadily, culminating in the addition of second guitarist Glenn Tipton (b. 25 October 1948; ex-Flying Hat Band).
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In 1974 Judas Priest toured abroad for the first time in Germany and the Netherlands, and returned home to a record contract with the small UK label Gull. The band made their vinyl debut with Rocka Rolla in September 1974. Disappointed with the recording, the band failed to make any impact, and Hinch left to be replaced by the returning Alan Moore. In 1975 the band's appearance at the Reading Festival brought them to the attention of a much wider audience. Sad Wings Of Destiny was an improvement on the debut, with production assistance from Jeffrey Calvert and Max West. However, despite good reviews, their financial situation remained desperate, and Alan Moore left for the second and final time. A worldwide contract with CBS Records saved the day, and Sin After Sin was a strong collection, with Simon Philips sitting in for Moore. The band then visited America for the first time with drummer Les Binks, who appeared on Stained Class, an album that showed Priest at a high watermark in their powers. Killing Machine yielded the first UK hit single, "Take On The World", and featured shorter, punchier, but still familiar, rock songs. The formidable Unleashed In The East was recorded on the 1979 Japanese tour, and in that year, Binks was replaced on drums by Dave Holland of Trapeze.

After major tours with both Kiss and AC/DC, Judas Priest's popularity began to gather momentum. British Steel smashed into the UK Top 5, and included the Top 20 singles "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight". After appearing at the 1980 Donington Festival, they began recording Point Of Entry. It provided the hit single "Hot Rockin", and was followed by sell-out UK and US tours. The period surrounding Screaming For Vengeance was phenomenally successful for the band. The hit single, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", was followed by a lucrative six-month US tour, with the album achieving platinum status in the USA. Defenders Of The Faith offered a similar potent brand of headstrong metal to Screaming For Vengeance. Turbo, however, proved slightly more commercial and was poorly received, Judas Priest's traditional metal fans reacting with indifference to innovations that included the use of synthesized guitars. Ram It Down saw a return to pure heavy metal by comparison, but now the band's popularity had begun to wane. Scott Travis (b. Norfolk, Virginia, USA; ex-Racer X) replaced Dave Holland for the return to form that was Painkiller. Although no longer universally popular, Judas Priest were still a major live attraction and remained the epitome of heavy metal, with screaming guitars matched by screaming vocalist, and the protagonists clad in studs and black leather.
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