Rob Halford - lead vocals; K. K. Downing - guitar; Glenn Tipton - guitar; Ian Hill - bass; Dave Holland - drums
The modern metal music genre certainly owes a great deal to this classic early '80s lineup of Judas Priest. Originally formed in 1968 in Birmingham, England, "Priest" (as the fans call them) drew their influence from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, another Birmingham band that had started just a year earlier. The group had been together for eight years and released seven albums prior to this performance, which was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio broadcast. When this show was cut, 12 years after the band's inception, only K. K. Downing and Ian Hill remained from the initial lineup.
Their 1978 breakthrough album, Stained Class, had established Judas Priest as metal superstars, clad mostly in black leather and chains. Other hit albums soon followed, including Hell Bent for Leather, British Steel and the platinum live album, Unleashed in the East. Those LPs, along with a number of FM radio hits such as "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight," would firmly establish Judas Priest as kings of metal around the globe.
This 1982 concert features the classic Priest lineup, and documents just how powerful the band was as a live act. They would remain at the top of their game through the early '90s, when lead vocalist Rob Halford would reveal he was gay and leave soon after to explore music more in the vein of a Nine Inch Nails. The group carried on with a singer named "Ripper" Owens, who they found in a Judas Priest clone band (and who's story is immortalized in the Mark Wahlberg film Rock Star). When the band's back catalog was revamped in 2003, Halford returned to the fold, and Owens left amicably. They recently released a new studio album in 2005.