Commonly considered as one of the most influential metal bands of all time, Judas priest was created in 1968 with members Al Atkins
(vocals), K.K. Downing
(Guitar, Backing Vocals), Ian Hill
(Bass, Backing Vocals)and John Pattridge
(drumkit). Originally their songs were blues based, though as time passed and members were chopped and changed the band adopted their own genre of heavy metal.
By 1989 their current members had joined the group including Rob Halford
(Vocals), K.K. Downing
(Guitar, Backing Vocals), Glen Tipton
(Guitar, Backing Vocals), Ian Hill
(Bass, Backing Vocals)and Scott Travis
(Drumkit). Recording twelve studio and two concert albums to large degrees of financial success, Judas Priest has sold well over 30 million albums worldwide.
Late in 1991 Lead Singer Rob Halford left the group and went on to form a metal band of his own by the name of Fight. Rumours had started as early as September 1991 as to his sexuality and the tensions within the group. Fight
produced three albums, combining the classical genre of metal with the new edgier style of popular band Pantera
. Halford officialy left Judas Priest in 1993.
After a 12 year break up, Judas Priest reformed in 2003 performing a live tour through Europe in 2004. The band continues to perform globally even today.
Interesting facts to be noted about Judas Priest:
1. Rob Halford revealed himself to be homosexual in 1998 in a interview on MTV. This came as little surprise to band members as by that time, the rumours had spread worldwide.
2. The band Judas Priest was involved in a subliminal message trial. The following is an article from the site Wikipedia
In summer 1990, the band was involved in a civil action that alleged they were responsible for the suicide attempts in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 19-year old Ray Belknap in Reno, Nevada, USA.7
On December 23, 1985 Vance and Belknap got intoxicated then went to a playground at a Lutheran church in Reno. Belknap shot a 12 gauge shotgun under his chin dying instantly, and Vance followed, but survived with a severely disfigured face. He died approximately three years later due to the effect of his painkillers.8
The boys' parents and their legal team alleged that a subliminal message of "do it" had been included in the song "Better By You, Better Than Me" from the Stained Class album (actually a cover of a Spooky Tooth number), and that the command triggered the suicide attempt.7
The suit was eventually dismissed on its merits, as the band had pointed out that if you were to play any song backwards and tell someone there was a message, it'll sound as though there actually is.7
One of the defense witnesses, Dr Timothy E. Moore, wrote an article for Skeptical Inquirer chronicling the trial.7
The trial was covered in the 1991 documentary Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance Vs. Judas Priest. In the documentary Halford commented that if they wanted to insert subliminal commands in their music, killing their fans would be counterproductive, and they would prefer to insert the command "Buy more of our records". Regarding the prosecution's assertions Halford pointed out that "do it" had no direct message, commenting "Well...do what? Mow the lawn? Have a drink? Watch some television? Wh-wha...do what?"
In popular culture comedian Bill Hicks used a similar notion in one of his stand-up routines, asking "What musician wants his audience dead?" He further performed an apocryphal sketch in a British accent mimicking Judas Priest being "fucking sick of their immense wealth, power, and fame
" and coming up with the subliminal message as a solution to their problems. Also comedian Denis Leary also commented on the trial on his album No Cure For Cancer, saying that heavy metal bands should put more subliminal messages in their records: "Kill the band, kill your parents, then kill yourself".
Jay Leno also mocked the Judas Priest trial, in a somewhat milder form than the comics above-referenced, by saying that Judas Priest forward, sings about cannibalism and devil worship...."So what's it gonna say backwards that it doesn't say forwards? 'Go to church with your family?'"
To summarise, Judas Priest rocks hard. It is in my opinion that they are one of, if not, the most influential metal bands of all time. The sexuality of Rob Halford does not phase me when i say "Listen to Judas Priest, They Rock"
Thanks go to Wikipedia for their article on the Subliminal Message Trial. I suggest you read it, some of the things said are pretty funny. (Hehe disfigured)