Raw Deal

Album: Sin After Sin (1977)
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Songfacts®:

  • Rob Halford didn't announce he was gay until 1998, but he made little effort to hide it. In "Raw Deal" - a song about a trip to a gay bar - he is essentially coming out, but nobody seemed to notice.

    In a 2000 interview, he explained: "'Raw Deal' was a very open song for me. Yeah, that was like really a moment that I thought people might grasp onto, but it just went vvvrrrrrooomm right over the top of people's heads. But I mean I've never cheapened the music in so much as using it as a platform for my own personal gain. A lot of my lyrics are subjective. A lot of my lyrics don't have a gender placed on them. It's never 'he and she,' because I've always felt that that way it just opens up the listener's possibility to accept it from whatever they want to take it from." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden
  • In his 2020 memoir Confess, Rob Halford wrote: "'Raw Deal' was a coming-out song, a vent of my angst as a gay man in the closet. I thought I might have gone too far, and people would pick up on the lyrics and put two and two together. It could open doors for me, or, more likely, slam them shut in my face. Yet... nothing happened. The band said nothing about the words - they have always had tremendous respect for my lyrics and left them to me - and probably thought I was just telling a story. Nor did critics or fans notice anything. It was a howl of rage that nobody heard."
  • I made the spike about 9 o'clock on a Saturday
    All eyes hit me as I walked into the bar
    The spikey leather guys were foolin' with the denim dudes
    A couple cards played rough stuff, New York, Fire Island


    The hamlet of Fire Island Pines on New York's Fire Island has been a notorious gay hang out for many decades - the Village People even released a song about it in 1977. Speaking with Nikki Preston of 96.7 KCAL Rocks!, Halford recalled that he was concerned he was going too far with his references to gay guys in a Fire Island bar. But when he presented the lyrics to his bandmates, their response was, "This is great. The words fit with the mood and the atmosphere with the song."
  • Halford wrote this song's lyric; the music was written by guitarist Glenn Tipton.
  • This is a rare song where the title shows up only at the end. Rob Halford gives it an unhappy ending, singing that life is just a "rotten, steaming, raw deal."
  • "Raw Deal" is part of Sin After Sin, the third Judas Priest album and their first on a major label: Columbia Records. The band co-produced it with Roger Glover of Deep Purple.

Comments: 3

  • Dan Gillespy from Courtenay BcA very very good song with very super cool guitar leads and guitar riffs.
  • Anthony from Parsippany, NjGood job, Kev82, I agree. While this song is about gayness to the nth power, that never bothered me. This song is a killer and Rob is still one of the greatest singers in history.
  • Kevin from Frederick, MdI don't really care about any "Homosexual Incantations", this song is about attitude, period. At least this is the meaning for me...Halford rules always will, always has!!!!!
    -Kevin82
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