Running Wild

Album: Hell Bent For Leather (1978)
Play Video


  • This song was written by guitarist Glenn Tipton, and was a live staple from its release up to 1980, and also during 2001-2002 when Tim "Ripper" Owens was in as lead singer, replacing Rob Halford, who returned in 2003. Halford has also performed the song with his solo band.
  • "Running Wild" has a lot of Judas Priest hallmarks, including a twin-guitar attack from Tipton and KK Downing, and a lyric about living with unbridled abandon. Its propulsive energy made it a great live track.
  • The band wrote this in the studio at a time when they were crazy busy but united in their ambitions. After wrapping up their Stained Class tour in August 1978 with five shows in Japan, they returned home and got right to work on their next album, which included "Running Wild" and was called Killing Machine everywhere but America, where their record company didn't want it associated with recent school shootings. There, the album was called Hell Bent For Leather, named after one of the tracks. This worked out pretty well for them when American fans adopted that phrase as a kind of credo for Judas Priest, which was the first metal act to outfit themselves in leather and studs.
  • Some have accused Iron Maiden of stealing the song's riff and using it for their 2000 track "The Wicker Man."
  • The German heavy metal band Running Wild took their name from this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden, for above 2

Comments: 1

  • Trent from Edmonton, AbMaiden didn't steal the riff for "The Wicker Man". In fact, they inspired the riff from the song in their concert video Raising Hell where the woman gets her head drilled apart.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Wedding Bell Blues

Wedding Bell BluesSong Writing

When a song describes a wedding, it's rarely something to celebrate - with one big exception.

Mark Arm of Mudhoney

Mark Arm of MudhoneySongwriter Interviews

When he was asked to write a song for the Singles soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."


MetallicaFact or Fiction

Beef with Bon Jovi? An unfortunate Spandex period? See if you can spot the true stories in this Metallica version of Fact or Fiction.

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")Song Writing

Wes Edwards takes us behind the scenes of videos he shot for Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Chase Bryant. The train was real - the airplane was not.