Heroes End

Album: Stained Class (1978)

Songfacts®:

  • Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton wrote this song. The lyrics tell of three "fallen legends" of the arts: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and James Dean. The song asks why people have to die to become recognized as heroes for their efforts in life.
  • During the subliminal message trial in the early '90s involving the Judas Priest song "Better By You Better Than Me," this was one of the first songs (along with "Beyond the Realms of Death") to be blamed for inspiring two teens to kill themselves. The prosecution said that the lyrics of the song glorified death as heroic, but it was ruled that the lyrics were protected by the First Amendment right of free speech. Later, it turned out that the prosecution had misheard the lyrics of the chorus as:

    But you, you have to die to be a hero
    It's a shame in life
    You make it better dead


    The correct lyrics are:

    Why do you have to die to be a hero
    It's a shame a legend begins at its end
    >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden
  • "Heroes End" is part of Judas Priest's fourth album, Stained Class. At the time, they were coming into their own look and sound, rocking hard with the twin guitars of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and taking the stage in leather outfits.

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