Rights To First Two JUDAS PRIEST Albums Acquired By REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING
April 25, 2023
Reach Music Publishing has acquired both the master and publishing rights of JUDAS PRIEST's "Rocka Rolla" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny" albums from Gull Entertainments.
Reach will be working in partnership with JUDAS PRIEST on these two albums and is planning a variety of projects to be announced later this year, including special releases for the 50th anniversary of "Rocka Rolla" in 2024.
"Rocka Rolla" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny" are JUDAS PRIEST's first two albums, released by Gull Records in 1974 and 1976, respectively. They are seen as important albums in the development of heavy metal music, beginning the band's 50-year history and containing classic songs such as "Victim Of Changes", "The Ripper" and "Rocka Rolla".
JUDAS PRIEST subsequently signed to CBS Records (now Sony) to release their third album in 1977, but the ownership rights of both masters and publishing to the first two JUDAS PRIEST albums remained with Gull for almost 50 years — until their sale to Reach.
Prior to this deal with Gull, Reach already had an existing relationship with JUDAS PRIEST as the co-publisher of band member Glenn Tipton.
In 2021, Reach Music announced the acquisition of a 50% copyright interest in, as well as worldwide administration rights to, the Glenn Tipton song catalog, beginning with songs released in 1977, and including iconic tracks such as "Breaking The Law", "Living After Midnight" and "You've Got Another Thing Coming". The current acquisition from Gull reunites the full catalogue with Tipton and Reach, to include compositions from the 1974 and 1976 JUDAS PRIEST album releases.
Furthermore, in addition to Glenn Tipton, the acquisition of the first two JUDAS PRIEST albums sees Reach enter into deals with the other members of JUDAS PRIEST from that time period — Rob Halford, Ian Hill and K.K. Downing — as Reach will be representing the compositions co-written by them from those two albums.
2022 was a landmark year for JUDAS PRIEST as they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Michael Closter, president and owner of Reach Music, said: "The acquisition of the masters and publishing for the albums 'Rocka Rolla' and 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' was a monumental opportunity for Reach Music, coming not long after JUDAS PRIEST's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. This deal happened with the approval of JUDAS PRIEST and their manager Jayne Andrews, and I'm so excited to begin working closely with them on a variety of special projects, including releasing high-quality reissues."
He added: "I want to thank David Howells, owner of Gull, who signed JUDAS PRIEST in 1974 and released their first two albums. He has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career spanning 65 years in the music industry. Thank you for your trust in doing this sale for these essential and historically important JUDAS PRIEST albums."
Howells said: "I'm very happy to have met Michael Closter and to pass the mantle on to Reach Music after Gull Records first released these JUDAS PRIEST albums almost 50 years ago. I'm looking forward to seeing what projects Reach and JUDAS PRIEST do together in the future with these iconic recordings."
In a November 2020 interview with "That Jamieson Show", Halford spoke about the fact that PRIEST still did not own the rights to "Rocka Rolla" and "Sad Wings Of Destiny", even though it had been four and a half decades since they were released.
"We've gone back and forth with the owners of those records," he said. "And it's a shame. I hope one day we can bring them back into the PRIEST fold, because they're valuable — they're like treasures, really. And I think that's probably why the people that still own them understand that, because they're keeping [the albums] rehashed and so forth.
"Like any band that's been privileged enough to have a long life like PRIEST — 50 years now — some extraordinary things happen in your first one, two, three albums. Especially the difference between 'Rocka Rolla' and 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' — it's just like this Grand Canyon effect in the way that the band really grew exponentially in such a short space of time.
"And yeah, we would love to get them back. We never say never. We keep going back to 'em every so often and say, 'Look, what's it gonna take?' Because they're important to us. And I'd like to feel that one day we'll own those masters again."
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