The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Judas Priest

12-19-07 Judas Priest

(re-run from Aug. ’02)


GENRE: Hard Rock from England, circa 1977

Whoa, Judas Priest…DUDE!

How can I defend owning this LP? Uh…it’s a band from England…it was 1977 and I was 19 years old and didn’t know what I was doing? The cover version of “Diamonds & Rust” (Judas Priest doing a Joan Baez song???) was amusing…

In 1977, I was working full time in a record store. I probably heard this being played in the store. Perhaps it made me look up from my duties of cleaning out the ashtrays? When the Columbia LP promos were handed out, I asked for one of these (which is why my copy has a timing strip and promo insert). So it didn’t cost me anything. As a younger teenager, I did embrace the hard rock of the day – Deep Purple (In Rock, Machine Head), Black Sabbath (the first 4 albums) So, by 1977, let’s just say I hadn’t forgotten what ‘real’ hard rock was like. No matter that the mode of the music was changing…

And, as hard rock albums go, it’s pretty darn good. I remember the aforementioned “Diamonds & Rust” as well as “Sinner” and “Raw Deal” favorably. The guitar playing was decent and the singer was…ridiculous (in a good sort of way).

I would be mistaken if I said that my association with Judas Priest ended at “Sin After Sin”. In the video age, I did, in fact, purchase a 12” single of “Freewheel Burning”, after seeing the video. In the Culture Club sewer of 1984, it was like a breath of fresh…aging British hard rockers. I also recall being given free tickets to see Judas Priest at the Long Beach Arena at some time in the late 70’s or early 80’s. My mind does contain a visual record of seeing Rob Halford (the singer) ride onto the stage on a motorcycle etc.

And unlike my Black Sabbath and Deep Purple LP’s, I never threw away my Judas Priest LP (yes, I had only the one) in the compact disc age (1985 – 1999). I mean, I only had the one and what would I have gotten for it anyway? During those years, whenever inappropriate or disparate cover versions were discussed, I trotted out my copy of “Sin After Sin” to win the argument for what was the ‘furthest stretch of a non-facetious cover version’.

Aw, c’mon! We all have some skeletons in our closets. This is one of my many British skeletons.

2007 addendum: How ‘bout a re-mastered CD of “Sin After Sin”? OK! And I’ve added a few more Priest titles to the big list. But how do the fans feel about Halford being gay?


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

I always think if JP as being part of the NWOBHM since that was around the time I first heard them - [Grinder, I think it was] even if they predate that movement. But you can argue, I think, that they were a distinct influence on the NWOBHM! They remain distinct from the more ornate groundwork of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

As for Halford being gay, didn't we ALL know? Deep down. I mean, the guy always had a leather persona. Hats off for being forthright about it, Mr. Halford, come hell or high water. Say, that's a natural Priest title right there!

Sidebar: I went off The Ramones in 1981 with their "Pleasent Dreams" LP [produced by Graham Gouldman] because I felt the song "We Want The Airwaves" was a blatant rip of Judas Priest's [was it] "Heading Out To The Highway?" By the late 80s I got over it and forgave the Ramones.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I saw The Ramones open for Black Sabbath once. Or was it Motorhead? The brunt: Ramones got boo'd, fans flipped them off until they stopped playing. Extremely amusing.

Yes, Halford was always a leather boy - but - remember, even Freddie mercury didn't exactly "come out to show them", virtually until he died. Something about the British not wanting to hide it, but not wanting to admit it, either.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the JP fans (13-30 years old) bedecked in leather and stud work did not realise that Rob's uniform and peaked cap came from shops catering for the homosexual community. It never occurred to me that Halford was a 'Stately Homo of England' until it was pointed out to me when announced in media


9:02 PM  

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