Victim of Changes

Album: Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)


  • This song was composed by fusing two earlier songs. The main part of the song, including the riffs, came from "Whisky Woman," which was written in 1972 while original Priest singer Al Atkins was still in the band. The softer passage, building up tension for the climaxing ending of the song, came from a song singer Rob Halford had written called "Red Light Lady." K.K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and Al Atkins are all credited for writing the song.
  • The song is known for its unusual intro, with Tipton and Downing playing a twin guitar harmony which slowly fades in, then ends in the main riff. In early writing stages, the intro was different, and similar to the intro that would be used for an unreleased Priest song called "Mother Sun."
  • The song's lyrics have been debated by Priest fans. The song seems to focus on a woman who is past her prime, which leads her to drown her sorrows in alcohol when she can't find a man anymore. At first glance, she might seem like the "Victim of Changes," but later in the song, the "I" of the lyrics (a man speaking to the woman) reveals a certain affection for her, and a dissatisfaction because he's lost her and he can't have her back, making him the victim. This has never been cleared up.f
  • This song strongly added to Rob Halford's reputation as the "Metal God," as his singing and especially screaming has become legendary and largely influential. When Tim "Ripper" Owens auditioned to be Rob's replacement in 1996, they had him sing over a live version of the song with the vocals taken out. Said Owens: "I sang the very first line of 'Victim of Changes,' and Glenn (Tipton) said, 'Alright Owens, you've got the gig!" (Thanks to Michael Toney, who interviewed Owens for the book Tales From The Stage.)
  • Various bands have covered this song, including the German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Sweden, for all above

Comments: 3

  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrI still love Sad Wings of Destiney FAV metal album of all time !!!
  • Anthony from Parsippany, NjGood God, pluck me. This song is killer on "Unleashed". Priest from "RockaRolla" right through to "British Steel"...unbelievable. Sin After Sin is my personal favorite.
  • Factguynobull from Dallas, TxThe woman is the "victim" (of her own vices), the guy is not the victim he just feels sympathy/pity and some lust from his past memories for her. Quick note the other song that merged with this one was called Red Light District which is a famous Hooker place/stop so it could be that she has been a victim for a long time. Very complex song, nothing has topped this song (From Judas Priest) to this day.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie CombinationSong Writing

In 1986, a Stephen King novella was made into a movie, with a classic song serving as title, soundtrack and tone.

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.