British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST have been presented with a special plaque commemorating an incredible 50 years in music and over 50 million album sales worldwide. The presentation was made on the eve of the band's induction in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Los Angeles last month.
There are few heavy metal bands that have managed to scale the heights that JUDAS PRIEST have during their 50-year career. Their presence and influence remains at an all-time high as evidenced by 2018's "Firepower" being the highest-charting album of their career, a 2010 Grammy Award win for "Best Metal Performance", plus being a 2006 VH1 Rock Honors recipient. JUDAS PRIEST originally formed in 1969 in Birmingham, England (an area that many feel birthed heavy metal). Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill would be the nucleus of musicians (along with several different drummers over the years) that would go on to change the face of heavy metal. The current lineup, which changed in 2011, consists of Halford, Tipton, Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis.
Following early albums such as "Rocka Rolla", "Sin After Sin" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny", JUDAS PRIEST redefined heavy music forever with the 1980 release of iconic album "British Steel". Subsequent albums such as "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Painkiller" established the band as "Metal Gods", identified by charismatic Halford's characteristic soaring high-pitched vocals.
PRIEST received the Musical Excellence Award at this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which honored Eminem, Dolly Parton, DURAN DURAN, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, EURYTHMICS and Carly Simon in the Performers category.
The JUDAS PRIEST members who got inducted include current members Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis, along with former members Downing, Les Binks (drums) and late drummer Dave Holland.
Halford, Hill, Tipton and Travis were joined by Binks, Downing and Faulkner for a three-song medley consisting of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".
PRIEST was inducted into the Rock Hall by fellow rock legend Cooper, who described them as "the definitive metal band." He added: "They defined the sound we know of heavy metal and their sound is unmistakable. And what can you say about Rob Halford's voice? Never have screams covered such a range. Is there any emotion that he can't express?
"They're electrifying on stage and one of the hardest-hitting live bands in the history of rock and roll. PRIEST has carried the flag of hard rock and heavy metal proudly for something like 50 years, never wavering or following trends or pretending to be anything but exactly what they are," Cooper said. "They are flying high tonight. Much deserved and long overdue."
In his acceptance speech, Halford told the crowd: "I'm the gay guy in the band. We call ourselves the heavy metal community which is all-inclusive, no matter what your sexual identity is, what you look like, or what you believe in or don't believe in. Everybody's welcome."
Halford also addressed the fact that PRIEST recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, saying: "We should get out another 50 years, but the joy about music is that it lives forever. And that's the reason why we're here. We live for heavy metal. We live for music. And we're living for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."
The members of PRIEST have dealt with various health setbacks in recent years. Halford recently publicly revealed that he battled prostate cancer during the pandemic. He previously mentioned his cancer battle in the new chapter added to the updated paperback edition of his autobiography, "Confess". In "Confess", Halford revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years.
Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection during the band's performance at the Louder Than Life festival in September 2021. Faulkner was rushed to the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital where the cardiothoracic surgery team needed approximately 10 hours to complete a life-saving surgery.
Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease eight years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT.
Pictured with the band, left to right, are: Jo Kalli (Sony Music U.K.),Scott Carter (Sony Music U.S.),Jayne Andrews (manager),Michael Closter and Scott Rubin (Reach Music Publishing).