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    The band Freight was formed by schoolmates Kenneth "K.K." Downing and Ian Hill in 1969. They quickly found drummer John Ellis, and decided that they needed a vocalist. In 1970, a band called Judas Priest had broken up, and Al Atkins was out of a job. He was quickly hired by Ian and K.K., who then renamed their band Judas Priest since the name was available.

    In late 1970, Al joined K.K. and Ian's band and brought the name with him, but the two were completely different entities (so DO NOT add the members of the 'other' Judas Priest to the former members box!). The two guitarists were not in the band at the same time.

    A demo was recorded in July, 1971, and the band opened for acts like Budgie and Slade.

    That same year, drummer Alan "Skip" Moore came in for a brief while, and was then replaced by Chris "Congo" Campbell. Al Atkins left in early 1973. Campbell thought the band had little future and left too. The band nearly broke up, before Ian Hill's girlfriend Sue suggested her brother Rob for a vocalist. He arrived in May 1973, bringing his Hiroshima bandmate, drummer John Hinch with him.

    In April, 1974, Glenn Tipton of the Flying Hat Band came in as second guitarist, and an album, Rocka Rolla, was recorded for Gull Records. Gull wanted the band to add a horn section, but mercifully they refused, honing their guitar-driven attack instead.

    In the fall of 1975, Hinch was fired for incompetence, and "Skip" Moore returned. The band recorded the legendary Sad Wings of Destiny album and were signed by CBS records. Moore left and session drummer Simon Phillips appeared on the Sin After Sin album.

    A US tour opening for REO Speedwagon was booked and drummer Les Binks was found in June, 1977. This line-up would record two studio albums and a legendary live release, Priest in the East. Then, Les Binks left - he disappeared for many years after an appearance in Tytan in 1981, possibly killed in a bizarre gardening accident, before surfacing in the Fainting Goats with former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton in 1999.

    Dave Holland was brought in and six studio albums and a live album were recorded with this line-up before Holland left in 1989, sick of the rock and roll lifestyle. Scott Travis of Racer X was found as a replacement and the album Painkiller was recorded, being released in 1990.

    As the band was preparing to record Painkiller, a lawsuit was filed in 1990 against them by the parents of two young men that had ostensibly attempted suicide (one succeeded, one failed and was left disfigured, dying some time later of health complications) after allegedly listening to Stained Class backwards during a night of excessive alcohol and drug use. The parents alleged that hidden messages in the recordings had encouraged the teenagers to kill themselves. The lawsuit ran from July to August 1990 before ultimately being thrown out.

    In July of 1991, Halford announced his departure (via fax!) effective the end of the tour. August 17th, 1991 was his last gig with Priest. He went on to form more modern-minded bands in Fight and Two, before returning to more familiar climes with the eponymous Halford project.

    Judas Priest stagnated for several years before finding vocalist Tim Ripper Owens of Winters Bane, who also played in a Priest tribute band. He was hired in 1996 and two studio albums and two live albums were recorded by this line-up. Constant rumours of a Halford reunion over the six-year tenure of Owens heated up around 2002 and ended up being confirmed in July 2003.

    Judas Priest announced on December 7th, 2010 that their Epitaph World Tour would be the band's farewell tour. It should run up until 2012.

    K.K. Downing retired from the band as of April 20th, 2011.

    Compilation appearances include the following:

    • "Exciter" on The Sounds Album Vol 4: The Heavy Metal Album (Sounds/CBS, 1979)
    • "Breaking the Law" on Axe Attack (K-tel , 1980)
    • "United"" on Axe Attack Vol. 2 (K-tel , 1981)
    • "Heading Out to the Highway" on Heavy Metal Express (CBS, 1981)
    • "The Ripper" on Metal Attack - The Cream of Hard Rock (Intercord, 1982)
    • "Riding on the Wind" on That's Heavy (CBS, 1983)
    • "The Hellion/Electric Eye" on The Rock Machine Still Turns You On Vol. 1 (Epic, 1983)
    • "You'e Got Another Thing Comin'" on Masters of Metal Vol. 2 (K-tel, 1984)
    • "Diamonds and Rust" and "Cheater" on + Heavy (Victoria, 1984)
    • "Rocka Rolla" on Metal Killers (Kastle Killers, 1984)
    • "Hot Rockin'" and "Riding on the Wind" on Heavy Metal Wars (CBS, 1984)
    • "The Ripper" on Metal For Breakfast (Attic, 1984)
    • "The Ripper" on Metal Treasures and Vinyl Heavies (Action Replay, 1984)
    • "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" on White Hot (K-tel, 1984)
    • "Screaming for Vengeance" on Giants of Steel (Roadrunner, 1984)
    • "Never Satisfied" on Metal Concussion (Bandit, 1985)
    • "Some Heads are Gonna Roll" on Metal Wars (K-tel, 1985)
    • "Deceiver" on Metal Madness (Concept, 1985)
    • "Freewheel Burning" on Metal Hammer Vol. II (RCA, 1985)
    • "One for the Road", "Never Satisfied", "Genocide" and "Victim of Changes" on Heavy Metal Monsters (Cambra, 1985)
    • "Diamonds and Rust" on Let Them Eat Metal (RCA, 1986)
    • "Love Bites" on Slave to the Metal (Priority, 1986)
    • "Deceiver" on Masters of Metal (K-tel, 1986)
    • "Hot Rockin'" and "Riding on the Wind" on Heavy Metal Wars (CBS, 1990)
    • "Take These Chains" on Masters of Metal - Metal Rage (K-tel, 1986)
    • "Love Bites" on Metal for Lunch (Attic, 1986)
    • "Sinner (live)" on Metal Force (K-tel, 1987)
    • "Parental Guidance" Metal Masters (K-tel, 1987)
    • "Freewheel Burning" on Metal Meltdown (K-tel, 1988)
    • "Screamin' For Vengeance" on Metal Giants (Columbia, 1988)
    • "Breaking the Law" on Protect the Innocent - 30 Metal Monsters (Telstar, 1989)
    • "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and "Living After Midnight" on The Heavy's - Metal Marathon (Ariola, 1989)
    • Breaking the Law" on Giants of Rock - The Metal Decade 1980-81 Vol. 1 (Teldec, 1990)
    • "Screaming For Vengeance" on Giants of Rock - The Metal Decade 1982-83 Vol. 2 (Teldec, 1990)
    • "Turbo Lover" on Giants of Rock - The Metal Decade 1986-87 Vol. 4 (EastWest, 1991)
    • "Ram it Down" on Giants of Rock - The Metal Decade 1988-89 Vol. 5 (EastWest, 1991)
    • "Night Crawler" on Red Hot Metal (Dover, 1991)
    • "Take on the World" on The Metal Box (Knight, 1991)
    • "Living After Midnight" on Marquee Metal (Polygram, 1991)
    • "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" on Loud & Proud - Six Pack - Six Great Hits (Sony Music Special Products, 1997)

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  • First six Judas Priest albums are damn good. Because all of us can be divided into the two categories: never satisfied sinners and victims of changes.

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