80’s Music: Judas Priest

Right behind AC/DC for best metal band of the decade is the Priest.  Their first 3 records of the 80’s are all classics of the genre.  Judas Priest had been around awhile and had produced a few good songs, but i was 1980’s British Steel which changed things.  The twin guitar attack of the band makes them unique and then the operatic screams of Rob Halford set them over the top.  Living after Midnight was the first song that was played by AOR stations, but it’s Breaking the Law which I think of first with this record.  The speed guitar sound and rage to the song show a more punk influence than a blues influence. Fun, campy video.

Their follow-up, Point of Entry is often forgotten, but it might be their most consistent record.  All the songs are very tight, which a lot of Priest fans don’t like, but I’m a big fan. I suggest you check out the song Desert Plains, as it has all the qualities of great Priest.  For here I have chosen Hot Rockin’, which was a staple of early MTV.  The video features the band working out on a Universal machine, clad in only jeans.  Kind of a dirtbag version of Olivia Newton-John’s Physical.  Don’t worry, by the end the band is leather and Halford is flaming.  (I had no idea he was at the time.)

I can remember seeing the band on the Screaming for a Vengeance tour and it was the only time I felt like the Devil might exist.  The sound they produced was prodigious and it was like I could feel my heart beating faster from the noise coming out of their massive speakers.  Casual listeners know this record from You’ve got another thing comin’, but my favorite Priest song is the amazing guitar solo from The Hellion which leads into Electric Eye.  Here is a live video from the same tour I witnessed.  This is the band at it’s peak.

After this 3 record run, the band fell-off considerably.  Freewheel Burning is the best song from the rest of their 80’s product.

After a decade of Halford off on his own, while the band had a former tribute singer replace him, the band reunited  and they sound great.  Not from the 80’s, but here is a newer song called Judas Rising. Throw your devil horns in the air and wave them like just don’t care.

Finally, here’s a cover by the great female band, The Donna’s.  They are Livin’ After Midnight.


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