Early Career: Judas Priest (Heavy Metal) [Music History]

As some of you might now, I love diggin into bands earlier career and then especially live recordings and demo material. Judas Priest are no exceptions, and to what might surprise the casual fan they were not always drapped in leather from top to toe. They are now known as the metal gods drenched in leather, but before they found their style they had the look of some surviving Summer of Love 1967/Hippie leftovers when it came to dressing. Just take a look at the TV performance from 1975 on Old Grey Whistle Test. Halfords haircut in the 1977 interview is also something from another planet … or how you look 5 years old in daycare πŸ™‚


Budgie was performing with Judas Priest on 11th February 1974 at The Marquee Club in London, England. Back then Glenn Tipton had just joined Judas Priest (according to Rob Halfords self biography, but other rumors says he wasn’t yet a member), and the band was touring in support for fellow hard rockers Budgie. While the Judas Priest show wasn’t recorded by anyone (or at least hasn’t surfaced yet), many of Budgie’s shows back then ended with Budgie calling Judas Priest back on stage to perform “Running from My Soul” for a second time during the same gig, as a special encore. One of these shows was this one at the famous Marquee Club, and it was excellently caught on tape. By the way, it was at this show where Gull Records’ David Howells saw the band and decided to offer them a recording contract. Enjoy this earliest-known live recording with Judas Priest on.


Old Grey Whistle Test was a UK music show aired on BBC2 between 1971 to 1988. The show focused on albums, rather than chart hits covered on BBC1 by Top of the Pops. Judas Priest hadn’t find it’s real style yet as you can see πŸ™‚

  1. Rocka Rolla
  2. Dream Deceiver


1. Victim of Changes
2. Dreamer Deceiver
3. Deciever
4. The Ripper
5. Mother Sun
6. Island of Domination
7. Rocka Rolla

This is the very first known concert recording of Judas Priest playing their own songs. Before their set, John Hinch remembers how the band were very nervous to leave their dressing room and go on stage. No, it wasn’t a case of stage-fright, but actually fear for their own safety – for you see, a band called Stella opened the three-day event, with Judas Priest following next, and the audience responded to Stella by throwing so many cans, bottles and other things at them that they had to quickly exit the stage! Fortunately the members of Judas Priest overcame their apprehension to this hostile crowd and took the stage, opening with “Victim Of Changes” – this time to rapturous applause!- “Last night, it seemed for a while that the only highlight was going to be a young lady in crutch throttling shorts, who flitted about the press arena. Stella, the first act to tread the virgin stage flopped. A three-piece from Durham, they produced a string of monotonous songs about nightmares, a lad who got his thrills wearing concrete boots, and a lunatic on holiday by the seaside. Adding to the atmosphere, the singer did chilling impersonations of Frankenstein’s monster. The lead guitarist, who looked as if he had been involved in an argument with a lawn mower, plunked merrily away. “You get that crazy feeling you don’t want to be a rock star”, droned the singer during one number. Stella are certainly going the right way not to hit the lofty heights of stardom.

When Judas Priest appeared, things looked up. Lesson number one at a festival is to get the audience on their feet and clapping. Judas Priest have a commanding, self assured air. Lead singer Bob Halford, resplendent in medieval style jacket, had the audience in the palm of his hand. Following in the footsteps of Black Sabbath and Budgie, Judas Priest’s music is as heavy as a ton of lead. Guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton set up a relentless assault – cutting across one another and then spiraling off individually. At one point K.K. launched off into a Hendrix style solo, sounds catapulting across from one set of speakers to the other. Strangely, the rhythm section seems to be lacking in the band. Bass and drums were drowned out, as Tipton and Downing thrashed away.” – Reading Evening Post, August 23, 1975 Yes, they wrote Bob Halford… there were a lot of jokes about that, you can imagine πŸ˜€

Text by YouTube uploader VTX


This never-before-seen video is easily the most historically important, and also the earliest known, Judas Priest concert footage to ever surface yet. It is from their legendary performance at the 1975 Reading and Leeds Festival, and was shot on a Super 8 camera. You can clearly see how it was at this stage that the Judas Priest earnestly began moving away from the psychedelic boogie/blues rock of Rocka Rolla and pushing towards the true pure heavy metal sound that they’d go on to develop on Sad Wings of Destiny and Sin After Sin.

Text from YouTube Uploader Emmitt Ibrahim


Ian “Molly” Meldrum interviews Rob Halford & Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest about their new album ‘Sin After Sin’. Countdown was a long-running popular weekly Australian music television show broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 8 November 1974 until 19 July 1987. It was created by Executive Producer Michael Shrimpton, producer/director Robbie Weekes and record producer and music journalist Ian “Molly” Meldrum. Countdown was produced at the studios of the ABC in the Melbourne suburb of Ripponlea.

If you know about any earlier audio/video material that I have missed, please write me a note to nonserviamblog@outlook.com