Take On The World

Album: Hell Bent For Leather (1978)
Charted: 14


  • In this Judas Priest rocker, lead singer Rob Halford steps up to the podium to lead the metal masses, ensuring their voices can be heard. "It was us making a strong connection with, and commitment to, our fans," he said in his memoir, Confess. "Metal was still routinely derided back then, and here was an anthemic statement of our faith in the value of the music that we, and our fans, believed in. We were in this together."
  • Rob Halford loved the theatricality of Queen and how they made connections to their fans, so when Queen released their stadium stompers "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" in 1977, Halford took notice. "Take On The World" is palpably influenced by those songs.
  • Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton wrote the music for this song, with Halford composing the lyric. At the time, Tipton as blasting out lots of original riffs; he came up with one for "Hell Bent For Leather" around the same time.
  • Judas Priest had a legion of fans in their native UK at this time and were starting to break through in America. They expected their albums to sell well, but were shocked when "Take On The World" landed on the UK singles chart, giving them a hit. This meant an appearance on Top Of The Pops, the upbeat variety show that's a British institution, showcasing the most popular songs of the day. On January 25, 1979, they made their debut on the show performing "Take On The World" in an episode that also featured Blondie, Leif Garrett, and Donny & Marie Osmond. According to Halford, he got in a row with Marie Osmond because she objected to his bullwhip.
  • This was included on the fifth Judas Priest album, which was titled Killing Machine everywhere except America, where their label wanted to steer clear of murder references in the wake of school shootings. There, it was titled Hell Bent For Leather, which ended up being a better choice: That phrase became a slogan for the band.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Is That Song Public Domain?

Is That Song Public Domain?Fact or Fiction

Are classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the public domain?

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Scott Stapp

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Dr. John

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.