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Earlier this month, Judas Priest’s classic album British Steel turned 40 years. The sound, however, remains fresh and popular among metal fans.
With the moderate success of their previous studio album Killing Machine (released as Hell Bent For Leather in US releases), Judas Priest wanted to capitalize on the commercial success. The band was inspired by AC/DC after touring with them in 1979. With the album’s release in 1980, British Steel was sold at a discount and became their “breakthrough” album despite having five studio albums before in the 1970s.
Let’s take a glance at some classic pieces:
“Living After Midnight” still remains one of Priest’s popular songs. The song itself speaks of the hedonistic lifestyle of the late 70s to early 80s. This piece came to be during the midnight hours when lead singer Rob Halford was awakened by the loud guitar of Glenn Tipton. After Halford’s comment to Tipton about him “really living after midnight,” Tipton liked that comment and thus the title was born.
“Breaking the Law” is a radio masterpiece because of its famous, recognizable riff. The song is about a person hitting rock bottom in life; crime is the solution to move up. The music video is also memorable with the security guard “performing” with a fake guitar. The sound of glass breaking is due to milk bottles being smashed; since there was no internet the band recorded the sound to be put in.
“United” is the third single that is meant to be a shout-aloud song for crowds when played in the company of friends or when performed by Priest in their concerts.
“Metal Gods” also has sound effects: cutlery on cutlery trays being shaken to imitate the sound of marching metal feet. Because of the recording being taken place at Tittenhurst Park, the home of Ringo Starr, the credits of the sound effects are of Starr’s forks and knives.
Judas Preist has yet to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: they were nominated but not inducted in the 2018 class and now are nominated for the 2020 class. It’s only a matter of time that Judas Priest will reach their rock immortality later this year.