British Steel (album)

Last updated
British Steel
Judas Priest British Steel.jpg
Studio album by
Released14 April 1980
RecordedJanuary–February 1980 at Startling Studios, Ascot, England; United Kingdom
Genre Heavy metal
Length36:10
Label Columbia
Producer Tom Allom
Judas Priest chronology
Unleashed in the East
(1979)
British Steel
(1980)
Point of Entry
(1981)
Alternative cover
British steel deluxe.jpg
30th Anniversary CD-Release.
Singles from British Steel
  1. "Living After Midnight"
    Released: March 21, 1980
  2. "Breaking the Law"
    Released: 1980
  3. "United"
    Released: August 15, 1980

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.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Judas Priest British heavy metal band

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. They have sold over 50 million copies of their albums, and are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band had struggled with indifferent record production and a lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel.

David Holland was an English heavy metal drummer born in Northampton, England, best remembered for his stints with Trapeze from 1969 to 1979 and Judas Priest from 1979 to 1989.

Contents

Overview

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," [1] Rob Halford said the band may have been inspired by AC/DC on some tracks after supporting them on a European tour in 1979. [2] 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. [3] 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. [3]

<i>Killing Machine</i> 1978 studio album by Judas Priest

Killing Machine is the fifth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest. With its release in October 1978, the album pushed the band towards a more commercial style; however, it still contained the dark lyrical themes of their previous albums. At about the same time, the band members adopted their now-famous "leather-and-studs" fashion image, inspired by Rob Halford's interest in gay leather culture. It is the band's last studio album to feature drummer Les Binks.

AC/DC Australian hard rock band formed in Sydney in 1973

AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their music has been variously described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal; however, the band themselves describe their music as simply "rock and roll".

Tittenhurst Park

Tittenhurst Park is a Grade II listed early Georgian country house in an estate of 72 acres off London Road at Beggar's Bush near Ascot and over the parish border into Sunningdale, both in the English county of Berkshire. It was famously the home of musicians John Lennon and Yoko Ono from the late summer of 1969 until August 1971, and then the home of Ringo Starr and family until the late 1980s. Starr sold the property to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, in 1989.

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. [3] 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.

<i>Turbo</i> (Judas Priest album) 1986 studio album by Judas Priest

Turbo is the tenth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released by Columbia on 14 April 1986. A remastered CD was released in 2001, including two bonus tracks. A 30th anniversary edition, released on 3 February 2017 titled Turbo 30, contains 3 CDs which features the album plus 2 CDs of a live recorded performance at Sandstone Amphitheater near Kansas City, Missouri, on 22 May 1986. The album marked the band's first use of guitar synthesizers.

Compass Point Studios was founded in 1977 by Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Records. In the late 1970s and mid-1980s, many musical artists from across the world came to the Bahamas to record music at its facilities. Many producers, including Chris Blackwell himself, used the studio to produce recordings. AC/DC's Back In Black, the third highest selling album ever, was just one of the many albums recorded there. Other well-known artists who recorded there include: Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Julio Iglesias, Serge Gainsbourg, The Rolling Stones, Etta James, Colin James, The Tragically Hip, Grace Jones, Lil Kim, Shakira, Celine Dion, U2, Saga, Robert Palmer, Thompson Twins, Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Electric Light Orchestra, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, James Brown, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Bonnie Tyler, Björk, The B-52's, Lenny Kravitz, Spandau Ballet and David Bowie.

Nassau, Bahamas Largest city and capital of the Bahamas

Nassau is the capital and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has an estimated population of 274,400 as of 2016, just over 70% of the population of the country (≈391,000). Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for the Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and the United States. The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a business district. Nassau is the site of the House of Assembly and various judicial departments and was considered historically to be a stronghold of pirates. The city was named in honour of William III of England, Prince of Orange-Nassau.

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).

<i>Defenders of the Faith</i> 1984 studio album by Judas Priest

Defenders of the Faith is the ninth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Three tracks were released as singles: "Freewheel Burning", "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll" and "Love Bites". The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

<i>Rocka Rolla</i> 1974 studio album by Judas Priest

Rocka Rolla is the debut studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on 6 September 1974 by Gull Records. It was produced by Rodger Bain, who had made a name for himself as the producer of Black Sabbath's first three albums. It is the only album to feature drummer John Hinch.

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. [4] 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. [5]

Hollywood, Florida City in Florida, United States

Hollywood is a city in Broward County, Florida, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The average temperature is between 68 and 83 °F. As of July 1, 2017, Hollywood had a population of 153,627. Founded in 1925, the city grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, and is now the twelfth-largest city in Florida. Hollywood is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.

<i>Rock Band</i> series of music video games

Rock Band is a series of music video games developed by Harmonix and MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts for the Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSP, Wii, Xbox One and Xbox 360 game systems. The series, inspired by Harmonix's previous efforts on the Guitar Hero series, allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular rock music songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and drums parts to songs, as well as sing into a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical notes while playing instruments, and by their ability to match the singer's pitch on vocals.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
About.com Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg (30th anniv. edition) [6]
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [7]
BBC Music (favourable) (30th anniv. edition) [8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [9]
PopMatters 8/10 (30th anniv. edition) [10]
Rolling Stone (favourable) [11]
Sputnikmusic 2.0/5.0
Record Collector Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg (30th anniv. edition) [12]

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 saying that "There are still uptempo slices of metallic mayhem bookending the album in 'Rapid Fire' and 'Steeler', plus effective moodier pieces in 'Metal Gods '". [13] Sputnikmusic awarded the album only a 2 out of 5 rating, stating "British Steel starts off quite well with 'Breaking the Law '", saying that "The song is simple and short in structure", but then went on to say, "Musically, the band does not really do all that well ... at all." [14]

AllMusic Online music database

AllMusic is an online music database. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on musical artists and bands. It launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web. As of 2015, AllMusic is owned by RhythmOne.

Sputnikmusic is a music community website offering music criticism and music news alongside features commonly associated with wiki-style websites. The format of the website is unusual in that it includes both professional and amateur content, distinguishing it from professionally written music websites such as Pitchfork Media and Tiny Mix Tapes, as well as collecting and presenting a wiki-style metadata database in a manner comparable to Rate Your Music and Discogs.

Breaking the Law song by Judas Priest

"Breaking the Law" is a song by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, originally released on their 1980 album British Steel. The song is one of the band's better known singles, and is readily recognised by its opening guitar riff.

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". [15] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . [16]

Track listing

All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K. K. Downing.

Side one
No.TitleLength
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
4."Grinder"3:58
5."United"3:35
Side two
No.TitleLength
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
8."The Rage"4:44
9."Steeler"4:30

30th Anniversary Edition – bonus live CD/DVD

All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K. K. Downing except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Rapid Fire"4:18
2."Metal Gods"4:34
3."Breaking the Law"2:43
4."Grinder"4:06
5."United"3:45
6."You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise"5:24
7."Living After Midnight"4:53
8."The Rage"5:04
9."Steeler"5:23
10."The Ripper" (Tipton)3:09
11."Prophecy" (DVD and iTunes version only)6:12
12."Hell Patrol"3:57
13."Victim of Changes" (Al Atkins, Downing, Halford, Tipton)9:29
14."Freewheel Burning"5:49
15."Diamonds & Rust" (Joan Baez)4:07
16."You've Got Another Thing Coming"8:58

Personnel

Judas Priest
Production

Charts

Chart (1980–2010)Peak
position
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) [17] 46
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [18] 59
Greek Albums (IFPI) [19] 4
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) [20] 55
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) [21] 20
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [22] 92
UK Albums (OCC) [23] 4
US Billboard 200 [24] 34
Singles – BPI (UK)
Chart (1980)NamePosition
UK Singles Chart"Breaking the Law" [25] 12
"Living After Midnight" [26] 12
"United" [27] 26

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [28] Gold0^
Sweden (GLF) [29] year =1980 Platinum0^
United Kingdom (BPI) [30] Silver60,000^
United States (RIAA) [31] Platinum1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

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References

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