|Studio album by|
|Released||14 April 1980|
|Recorded||January–February 1980 at Startling Studios, Ascot, England; United Kingdom|
|Judas Priest chronology|
30th Anniversary CD-Release.
British Steel is the sixth studio album by the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on 14 April 1980. It is also the band's first album with Dave Holland on drums.
British Steel saw the band reprise the commercial sound they had established on Killing Machine . This time, they abandoned some of the dark lyrical themes which had been prominent on their previous releases, but some of it still remains. In a June 2017 appearance on Sirius radio podcast "Rolling Stone Music Now,"Rob Halford said the band may have been inspired by AC/DC on some tracks after supporting them on a European tour in 1979. British Steel was recorded at Tittenhurst Park, home of former Beatle Ringo Starr, a recording studio located on Tittenhurst's grounds, after a false start at Startling Studios in December 1979. Digital sampling was not yet widely available at the time of recording, so the band used analog recording of smashing milk bottles to be included in "Breaking the Law", as well as various sounds in "Metal Gods" produced by billiard cues and trays of cutlery. It is the first Judas Priest album to feature drummer Dave Holland, and it was released in the UK at a discount price of £3.99, with the advertisements in the music press bearing the legend "British Steal". The songs "Breaking the Law", "United", and "Living After Midnight" were released as singles.
The album was remastered in 2001 with two bonus tracks added. Bonus studio track "Red, White, and Blue" was written in the sessions for the Twin Turbos album (which would become Turbo ) and recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau in July 1985.The second bonus track, a live performance of "Grinder", was recorded on 5 May 1984, in Los Angeles during the Defenders of the Faith tour.
In 2009, Judas Priest kicked off their 30th anniversary tour in the US by playing British Steel live in its entirety for the first time. The only other Judas Priest albums of which all the songs have been performed live are Defenders of the Faith and Rocka Rolla , but neither of them were played in the original LP running order or during the same tour (though the original US debut LP had a different running order than the UK version).
The 30th anniversary release of the album came with a DVD and CD of a live show recorded on 17 August 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock Arena in Hollywood, Florida as part of the British Steel 30th Anniversary tour.The live versions of all the British Steel tracks from this release were also made available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series beginning 11 May 2010.
|BBC Music||(favourable) (30th anniv. edition)|
|PopMatters||8/10 (30th anniv. edition)|
The album received positive reviews. AllMusic gave the album five stars out of five, explaining that the album "kick-started heavy metal's glory days of the 1980s", and mentioning that "There are still uptempo slices of metallic mayhem bookending the album in 'Rapid Fire' and 'Steeler,' plus effective moodier pieces in 'Metal Gods'...."Sputnikmusic awarded the album only a 2 out of 5 rating, stating "British Steel starts off quite well with 'Breaking the Law'," mentioning that "The song is simple and short in structure," but then went on to say that "Musically, the band does not really do all that well...at all."
Rolling Stone and BBC Music rated the album favourably, and PopMatters gave the album an 8 out of 10 rating. In 2017, it was ranked 3rd on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .
All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K.K. Downing.
|1.||"Rapid Fire" (Track 2 on original US releases)||4:08|
|2.||"Metal Gods" (Track 3 on original US releases)||4:00|
|3.||"Breaking the Law" (Track 1 on original US releases)||2:35|
|6.||"You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise" (Track 7 on original US releases)||5:04|
|7.||"Living After Midnight" (Track 6 on original US releases)||3:31|
|2001 bonus tracks|
|10.||"Red, White & Blue" (Recorded during the 1985 Turbo sessions)||3:49|
|11.||"Grinder" (Live at Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California; 5 May 1984)||4:49|
All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K.K. Downing except where noted.
|3.||"Breaking the Law"||2:43|
|6.||"You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise"||5:24|
|7.||"Living After Midnight"||4:53|
|10.||"The Ripper" (Tipton)||3:09|
|11.||"Prophecy" (DVD and iTunes version only)||6:12|
|13.||"Victim of Changes" (Al Atkins, Downing, Halford, Tipton)||9:29|
|15.||"Diamonds & Rust" (Joan Baez)||4:07|
|16.||"You've Got Another Thing Coming"||8:58|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||46|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||59|
|Greek Albums (IFPI)||4|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||55|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||20|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||92|
|UK Albums (OCC)||4|
|US Billboard 200||34|
Singles – BPI (UK)
|UK Singles Chart||"Breaking the Law"||12|
|"Living After Midnight"||12|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone