Judas Priest

1969-
Rob HalfordVocals1972-1992, 2003-
Ken DowningGuitar1970-2011
Ian HillBass1970-
Dave HollandDrums1979-1989
Glenn TiptonGuitar1974-
Tim "Ripper" OwensVocals1996-2003
Richie FaulknerGuitar2011-
Scott TravisDrums1989-
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • The band name is often attributed to the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest," but they actually took the name from another English band that had broken up. The phrase "Judas Priest" is also a bit of early movie and TV slang, uttered by actors onscreen as an alternative to saying "Jesus Christ" because the studios did not want to risk offending audience members. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Haltom City, TX
  • Halford is openly gay. He came out in 1998 at a time when many entertainers were reluctant to do so. Fans of the hard-rocking singer were shocked, but there was no backlash and the admission had little effect on his career.
  • In 1985, two Nevada teenagers shot themselves after listening to the Judas Priest album Stained Class. One of the boys died, but the one who survived claimed the music compelled them to attempt suicide. The mother of the boy that died sued the band, but the case was dismissed five years later.
  • Halford was a lighting engineer for stage productions before joining Judas Priest. His love of theatrics translated to the band's concerts, where they use various combinations of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, spotlights and oversized props to create elaborate effects. A trademark of the band is Halford's entrance on a motorcycle.
  • In 1986, two guys made a 15-minute video in the parking lot of a Judas Priest concert called Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which perfectly captures '80s heavy metal culture and became a cult favorite in the days when viral videos were disseminated on VHS. You can see it at heavymetalparkinglot.com.
  • Owens sang in a cover band before replacing Halford as lead singer. The 2001 movie Rock Star is loosely based on his life.
  • In July of 2003, Rob Halford and Judas Priest announced that they had reunited. They had a successful reunion tour in 2004 and were included in Ozzfest 2004. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cody - San Antonio, TX
  • Halford has said that his favorite book is the thesaurus. He likes to put words in his lyrics that are very unusual.
  • Judas Priest were erroneously called "black metal" during the band's appearance in Season 25 of The Simpsons. In the following week's opening credits by way of apology, Bart wrote, "Judas Priest is not death metal" on the board.
  • Asked by Missouri's KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio what hobbies he likes to partake in, Glen Tipton replied that his main love is fishing. "I like to fly fish," the Judas Priest guitarist said. "And I go to Scotland and Ireland and places like that. And I've got some fantastic friends from all over the world I've been fishing with. It's very difficult to do any on tour, to fish; you need a complete day and you've usually gotta get well out of town. But that's what I love; I love the countryside, I love animals and I love to fish."
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Comments: 18

  • Austin Garcia from CaliforniaWHOOPS! Someone has the order of best heavy metal vocalists questionable... I say, Where's Geoff Tate???, Rob Halford always, and forever, and (KBP) AKA King Diamond, of course. RJD will be in my heart forever. Can any one remember Randy Jackson, ZEBRA?? He could hold a note for a second....
  • Anthony from Parsippany, NjHere's the order of best metal singers people....Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson. Done. By the way, anyone know why the 57 drummers Priest went through? And, right on...who cares that Rob is gay. I'm not and I would still love to hang out with him. And, Ripper Ownens blows...plain and simple. If you younger pups never heard "Sin After Sin", I strongly suggest you get it. Priest's best album.
  • Vince from Long Island, NyHalford also used to sing opera.Listen to Delivering the Goods. You can here him stretch his voice.
  • N.i. from Baltimore, MdMatt from Cherry Hill: I agree that "Painkiller" is definitely metal. But you gotta admit, it's way heavier than their previous work, and although it's a great album, it isn't representative of the general sound that made them famous. They may have once been pioneers of the genre, but, like Black Sabbath, their earlier work is accepted into the metal canon mostly by a sort of grandfather clause, and doesn't sound especially heavy by today's standards. (Not that there's anything wrong with that; I happen to prefer classic proto-metal to the modern genre.)
  • Lordkelvin from San Antonio, TxI think JP is one of the greatest band ever. There is no priest without Halford that's for sure! Even though Rob sucks live (no pun intended!!), people like his voice on record and that's what counts. Hey a lot of singers suck live except Dio. Honestly most people can't reproduce what the sing in the studio live. All live albums are really overdubbed. There are very few albums that are truly live. One last thing, I was completely shocked when Halford came out. Yes, I did not see the signs. I thought he was the coolest alive but I had no clue he was a flamer! I was very upset but now I can accept it as a fact of life. I have to say, he is the coolest homo ever. Priest is nothing but metal! Listen to songs albums like sad wings, sinner and stained class. If that's not metal then I don't know what is!! Sin after sin is my favorite album ever and Raw Deal is one of my favorite metal songs. I never thought in a million years that it was about picking up a gay guy in a bar. But the vocal melody and the music sound great what can I say?
  • Matt from Cherry Hill, NjI got a beef with everyone who has ever muttered the phrase "Judas Priest isn't metal." First off they were the first all metal band, (sorry but Sabbath played Blues too so their out) they gave metal its look, attitude, and sound. Still don't believe Priest isn't metal? Listen to one album, Painkiller, in fact just listen to the song Painkiller if that ain't metal nothing is.
  • Danny from Sydney, Australiawoah, i have no idea what i was on when i wrote that - Halford has one of the most powerful, gifted heavy metal voices ever. I stand by Freddy, but King Diamond and Devin Townsend? i don't even remember writing that! i apologise.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScFreddy Mercury was a great singer, but he's not exactly what I'd call metal.
  • Danny from Sydney, AustraliaHalford is good, but King Diamond, Ronnie James Dio, Devin Townsend and Freddy Mercury are better metal singers than him
  • Scott from Edmonton, CanadaRob Halford has the most amazing voice rock and roll has ever heard. Priest started a whole new genre of hard rock. The leather, the 2 lead guitars, the showmanship. If you ever saw them live in the mid to late 80's. It was a show you'll NEVER forget.

    I only hope they'll come through Canada again soon.
  • Steve from Reno, Nv There is no singer in the metal arena that can touch Rob Halford his voice is off the richter scale, so what if he is gay, thats his buissness, Ive been listening to Priest since I was 10 yrs old, Judas Priest layed the groundwork for speed,
    & thrash metal and influenced countless metal acts
    today.Not to mention the dual lead gutairs of K.K
    & Glen which completley rips. Sabbath was heavy But Priest was metal.Judas Priest Truly are the Metal Gods
  • Matt from Charleston, ScHello?! When Halford came out in 1998, he shocked just about No-one. Rumors had been floating around for years, and was pretty much an open secret. I think the only shock might have been public admission, not the fact that he was gay. By the way, I'm sure the band knew early on, when they came to audition him, he was singing Doris Day songs!
  • Matt from River Vale, NjSince Halford rejoined the band in 2004 and saved the OZZFEST 2004 New York show as Judas Priest played better than any other band there that night (including Black Sabbath), and they plan to release a new album later in 2005.
  • Jp from Kelowna, CanadaThese guys drive hard metal. They're awesome
  • Travis from Orange, Cai agree/disagree with janet King Diamond might be better/cooler
  • Janet from Perth, AustraliaI'm really pleased that Rob Halford came back to Judas Priest. He's gotta be one of the best if not the best heavy rock/metal singers ever.
  • Janet from Perth, AustraliaJudas Priest with Rob Halford were one of the best heavy metal bands ever, but I haven't heard or seen them with the new lead singer.
  • Jeff from Haltom City, TxIn my opinion, there is no Judas Priest without Rob Halford. I have nothing at all against Ripper Owens, but the band had Halford for some 30 years, and he was well established as their vocalist.
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