Rob Halford in July 2018 in Bulgaria
|Birth name||Robert John Arthur Halford|
|Also known as||Metal God|
|Born||25 August 1951|
Sutton Coldfield, England
Robert John Arthur Halford (born 25 August 1951) is an English singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest. He is famous for his powerful wide-ranging voice and his now-trademark leather-and-studs image, both of which became revolutionary in heavy metal.In addition to his work with Judas Priest, he has been involved with several side projects, including Fight, Two and Halford.
A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.
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 are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They 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 struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.
AllMusic says of Halford: "There have been few vocalists in the history of heavy metal whose singing style has been as influential and instantly recognizable... able to effortlessly alternate between a throaty growl and an ear-splitting falsetto".Halford was voted number 33 in the greatest voices in rock by Planet Rock listeners in 2009. He was nicknamed "Metal God" by fans.
AllMusic is an online database music website. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on artists and bands. It was launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web.
Planet Rock is a radio station in the United Kingdom owned by Bauer Radio. The station broadcasts classic rock music from the 1960s onwards. It is available nationally on Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and Online, and to some locations via DAB. Planet Rock forms part of Bauer Radio's portfolio of radio brands. It has won a Sony Award five times.
Halford was born in Sutton Coldfield, but raised on the Beechdale housing estate in Walsall,a town to the northwest of Birmingham in England's West Midlands. His early influences included soul screamers, such as Little Richard, Janis Joplin and Robert Plant.
Sutton Coldfield, officially the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, is a town and civil parish in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. The town lies about 7 miles northeast of Birmingham City Centre and borders Little Aston, North Warwickshire, Lichfield, Erdington and South Staffordshire. Its 2011 Census population was 95,107 – an increase of 6.7% since the 2001 Census.
Walsall is a large industrial and market town in the West Midlands of England. Historically part of Staffordshire, it is located 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Birmingham, 6 miles (10 km) east of Wolverhampton and 9 miles (14 km) from Lichfield.
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. With an estimated population of 1,137,100 as of 2017, Birmingham is the cultural, social, financial and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main centre of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population in 2011 of 2,440,986. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 3.7 million. Birmingham is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".
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Halford was introduced to Judas Priest co-founder Ian Hill by his sister, who was dating Hill at the time.Halford, a manager of a porn cinema, joined the band as singer, bringing with him drummer John Hinch from his previous band, Hiroshima.
Ian Frank Hill is an English musician, best known as the bassist of the heavy metal band Judas Priest.
An adult movie theatre is a euphemistic term for a movie theatre specifically designed for the exhibition of pornographic films.
In August 1974, the band debuted with the single "Rocka Rolla", before releasing an album of the same name a month later. The next albums were Sad Wings of Destiny (1976); 1977's Sin After Sin ; and 1978's Stained Class and Killing Machine (released in America as Hell Bent for Leather). 1979 brought their first live recording with Unleashed in the East .
"Rocka Rolla" is the debut single by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, first released in August 1974, and later released as the title track of their first album the following month.
Sad Wings of Destiny is the second studio album by the English heavy metal group Judas Priest, released in 1976. It is considered the album on which Judas Priest consolidated their sound and image, and songs from it such as "Victim of Changes" and "The Ripper" have since become live standards. It is the only album to feature drummer Alan Moore.
Sin After Sin is the third studio album by English heavy metal group Judas Priest, released in 1977. It was remastered in 2001 with two bonus tracks added.
In 1980, the band released British Steel , then Point of Entry in 1981, featuring the song "Heading Out to the Highway".
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.
Point of Entry is the seventh studio album from the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. It was released on 26 February 1981.
"Heading Out to the Highway" is a song by British heavy metal band Judas Priest from their 1981 album Point of Entry. It was released as a single later that year.
The 1982 album Screaming for Vengeance had a song, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", which garnered strong US radio airplay, and the popular follow-up Defenders of the Faith was released in 1984. Turbo was released in April 1986. In May 1988, Ram It Down was released.
In September 1990, the Painkiller album dropped the 1980s-style synthesizers for almost all of the songs. Along with a change in musical style, the band's look changed as well. Halford emerged with all-new tattoos, including a bent Judas Priest cross on his right arm and ring around his other, as well as a few on his shoulders. He also began shaving his head.
During the tour for Painkiller in August 1991 at a show in Toronto, Halford rode onstage on a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle, dressed in motorcycle leathers, as part of the show. He collided with a half-raised drum riser and fell off the motorcycle, breaking his nose.
After regaining consciousness, Halford returned and performed the whole concert. In the band's Behind the Music episode, he named the accident as one of the events that caused the rift between him and the rest of the band that would eventually force them apart.
After spending nearly 20 years with Judas Priest, Halford announced to the band on 4 July 1991 that he was leaving, and he also sued their label, Sony, for restrictive practices. Halford would leave the band in May 1992.
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Halford first formed the band Fight with Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis, bassist Jack "Jay Jay" Brown and guitarists Brian Tilse and Russ Parrish, recording two albums between 1993 and 1995: War of Words (1993) and, after Parish's departure and his replacement by Mark Chausee, A Small Deadly Space (1995). While the first one was a straightforward tough and solid metal record, the second record had a grungier sound, making it less appealing to fans who had developed a taste for his debut album.
Between the albums, Fight released an EP, Mutations, featuring War of Words studio versions, live cuts and alternate mixes. Immediately before this, Halford had recorded a track called "Light Comes Out of Black" for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer . The song featured music provided by Pantera, although their contribution is uncredited. After Fight, he collaborated with guitarist John Lowery in an industrial-influenced project called 2wo which was executively produced by Trent Reznor and released on his Nothing Records label.
Halford returned to his metal roots in 2000 with his band Halford and the widely acclaimed album Resurrection (2000), produced by Roy Z. He joined the Metal 2000 tour with Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche to support the album. A live album in 2001 was followed up by Crucible (2002).
Halford's reunion with Judas Priest had been speculated about when he was no longer in the line-up, at least since the release of the Resurrection album, which some critics[ who? ] claimed sounded more like Judas Priest than the band's previous album Jugulator (1997). Halford initially ruled it out, then reconsidered, stating in 2002 that "Gut instinct tells me that at some point it will happen".
In July 2003, Halford returned to his former band, and they released Angel of Retribution in 2005. The world tour that accompanied the release marked the band's 30th anniversary. In 2008, Halford recorded Nostradamus with Judas Priest, and appeared with the band on the Metal Masters Tour.
In 2011, Judas Priest embarked upon what was billed as their final world tour as a group, titled the "Epitaph" tour.
Subsequent to the tour's announcement, Halford stated that he would continue to move forward with his solo band.
Despite the "final tour" announcement in 2011, Halford and Judas Priest (minus K. K. Downing, who left the group prior to the Epitaph tour) recorded another album, Redeemer of Souls , which was released in 2014, the album supported by a concert tour.
In 2017, Judas Priest began to work on another studio album with Halford. The album, Firepower , was released March 9, 2018.
Halford has performed as the vocalist for Black Sabbath at three shows. He replaced Ronnie James Dio for two nights in November 1992, when Dio elected not to open a show for Ozzy Osbourne. Halford also filled in for Osbourne in Black Sabbath on 26 August 2004 (one day after Halford's 53rd birthday) at an Ozzfest show in Camden, New Jersey, since Osbourne could not perform due to bronchitis.
In early 2008, Halford expressed a desire in making a black metal album, citing encouragement from former Emperor frontman Ihsahn.He said he'd "love to but it's all about finding the time". He provides his voice to the video game Brütal Legend , released in October 2009, where he voices General Lionwhyte, as well as the leader of the Fire Barons, he heavily influenced the appearance of the latter.
In 2002, Halford had a small role as a sex shop assistant in the film Spun .
Halford developed the clothing line Metal God Apparel with plans to develop retail sales through 2010.
Halford had a brief cameo in a recent commercial for Virgin Mobile, appearing as a priest. His line in the commercial is "Let us pray". Judas Priest's 1977 album, "Sin After Sin" contained a song titled "Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest".
In 2013, he did a collaboration with Five Finger Death Punch in their album "The Wrong Side Of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell" for the song "Lift Me Up".
As of 2014, Halford lived in the USA but also maintained a house in Walsall.
Halford is able to play several instruments, including guitar, bass, harmonica, keyboards, and drums.
In an interview with Motor Trend, he revealed that he has owned a variety of classic cars, including a 1970s Aston Martin DBS, a Chevrolet Corvette and a Mercury Cougar. He did not have a driver's licence until the age of 38;as of 2010, his main car was a 2006 Cadillac DTS.
Halford underwent two surgeries; back surgery in 2013and umbilical hernia surgery in 2014.
In 1998, Halford publicly revealed his homosexuality.He broke down in tears saying, "It's a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I've done that and I've freed myself. It's a great feeling for me to finally let go and make this statement—especially to The Advocate, because this magazine has brought me so much comfort over the years. Obviously this is just a wonderful day for me."
Halford describes himself as "the stately homo of heavy metal". He says that his announcement was "the greatest thing I could have done for myself." He also explains that he did not announce it sooner due to the fear that he was going to cause harm to himself.
Halford speaks negatively about the discrimination that the LGBT community still faces despite the broad social acceptance of homosexuality and the legality of same-sex marriage in some parts of the world. When asked about his thoughts on if his position as the frontman of Judas Priest has opened the door in positivity for some, he said, "That happened to me. I'll try and condense this as quickly as I can. I was away from Priest at the time, I was fronting a band called 2wo with John 5, who's now with Rob Zombie. And I was doing an interview with MTV and talking about music and blah blah blah, and very off the cuff, I said, 'Speaking as a gay man in metal...', blah blah blah. Well, the guy dropped his clip, the producer, because it was big news at the time. In reflection, would I have said that while was in Priest? The thing about gay people is that until we come out of the closet, we're always protecting other people: 'I can't do this, because it's gonna hurt so-and-so. We're trying to live the lives of other people, and that's the worst thing you can do. You've gotta learn to love yourself and live your own life. Then you can go out in the world and try and figure everything else out." He recalled that shortly after the interview, he began to fear negative reactions but was quickly inundated with messages of support from his colleagues and fans.
Halford says that society has not changed as much as he hoped since his announcement, "You'd think there would have been some kind of change and people would have moved on after such a long time. Now that I'm moving through my OAP heavy metal years (laughs), I thought a lot of it would be gone by now. And it's a shame. We don't really get to spend a lot of time on this planet together, so there's no point in wasting it being divided."
In a September 2018 interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Halford said that he knew of his sexuality in his youth, and that the current American administration "doesn't look particularly healthy right now. On the other side of it, (much has changed) so we can reach this level of equality. There is still a hell of a lot more to be done and it's taking forever. Sometimes it's like one step forward, two steps back. But these types of challenges only make us stronger, you know?" He then goes to say that walking out on stage as a gay man in a heavy metal band "is a victory. There's something to be said about standing there and not saying a word. On the flip side of that, I make a hell of a lot of noise on that stage."
In Behind the Music Halford stated that hiding his sexuality during Priest's career caused him a lot of depression and isolation which led to his alcohol and drug abuse.
During the making of Judas Priest's Turbo album in 1986, Halford struggled with increasing substance abuse and violent feuds with his romantic partner. After the latter committed suicide, he resolved to get clean.
He has been clean and sober since going to rehab following a painkiller overdose in 1986, stating that, before that point, he heavily abused drugs and alcohol.He made an energetic recovery and his live performances during the subsequent Turbo tour were described as some of his strongest ever.
He was born and raised in a Christian home, and states the following about his upbringing, "On a religious, more spiritual foundation, that really, for me, has become more important since I became clean and sober on 6 January 1986. That was 25 years ago and I think that’s probably more important to me now, on a daily basis."
In a 2015 interview with Western Canada's Rock N' Roll Breakfast Show, Halford gave a more detailed explanation looking back on the day he quit drugs and alcohol and how it affected his live performances and emotional well being since then, "It's a trail of sobriety that I really know for a fact has helped me in my career and in my life as a musician and as a person. I'd like to feel that I'm better in both worlds in that respect. I think I've improved in a lot of ways because of being able to stay clean and sober. But, you know, it is remarkable. And you can't do it by yourself — you have to use the tools that you're given by other people who have got your back and look out for you. And, again, it comes back, a lot of it, to my fans."
In a 2016 interview with The Washington Times , he was asked what part sobriety has played in the band's longevity, he responded, "Without it? Oh, I'd be dead. Literally, I would be dead."
Halford credits the music as support for helping him through his addiction.
Halford possesses a powerful voice with a wide vocal range which is marked by his high-pitched screams and strong vibrato. However, with age, his lower range has matured and become more powerful. Along with Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson, Halford is one of the pioneers of the pseudo-operatic vocal style later to be adopted by power metal vocalists and regularly appears near the top in lists of the greatest rock vocalists/front-men of all time.
Halford describes himself as "a huge Queen fan" since they began and saw their very early shows.He has called Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of the band, his "ultimate hero" and expressed regret that he never got to know him.
As a vocalist, Halford was influenced by Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin and Robert Plant.He was also influenced by the music of Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, David Bowie, King Crimson, the Rolling Stones, John Mayall and Alice Cooper.
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.
Kenneth "K. K." Downing Jr. is an English guitarist and songwriter, and one of the founder members of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest.
Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. Often noted for his complex playing style and classically influenced solos, he is best known as one of the lead guitarists for heavy metal band Judas Priest.
Timothy S. "Ripper" Owens is an American heavy metal singer who currently performs with Beyond Fear, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and Charred Walls of the Damned. He first gained attention as the lead singer of Judas Priest, and then Iced Earth. He took the nickname "Ripper" from the Judas Priest song "The Ripper" during his time in the tribute band "British Steel".
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.
Painkiller is the twelfth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released in September 1990. It is the last Judas Priest album to feature lead singer Rob Halford until his return for the 2005 album Angel of Retribution and the first to feature drummer Scott Travis.
Stained Class is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released in February 1978. It is the first of three albums to feature drummer Les Binks. It gained notoriety for its dark lyrics and themes, as well as a 1990 civil action trial where the band were accused of backmasking that allegedly led to the suicide attempts of two teenagers. Stained Class was ranked as the greatest Judas Priest album on Stereogum.com, and was described by Steve Huey on Allmusic.com as "Judas Priest's greatest achievement".
Ram It Down is the eleventh studio album by Judas Priest, released in 1988 through Columbia Records; a remastered edition containing two bonus tracks was reissued in 2001. The album earned gold certification on 18 July 1988. The band toured in Europe and North America to support the release of the album. This is the last album to feature long-time drummer Dave Holland.
Bobby Jarzombek is an American heavy metal/progressive metal drummer of Polish ancestry for who has worked with Halford, Sebastian Bach and Riot. He has also recorded and toured with Fates Warning, Arch/Matheos, Iced Earth, Rob Rock, John West, Spastic Ink, and Juggernaut, among others. He is noted for, somewhat uniquely, positioning cymbals behind him, usually over his left and right shoulders.
Fight were an English-American heavy metal band assembled by frontman Rob Halford after his departure from Judas Priest in 1992. He took with him from Judas Priest and Racer X drummer Scott Travis, though Travis also continued to drum for Judas Priest. The line-up was completed by Russ Parrish on guitar, Brian Tilse on guitar and keyboards and Jack "Jay Jay" Brown on bass guitar, the latter of the two former members of Cyanide.
Nostradamus is the sixteenth studio album by English heavy metal band Judas Priest, focusing on the 16th-century writer Nostradamus. It is a double album. The band's first concept album with Rob Halford, it was originally intended to be released in late 2006 before being pushed back to a 2007 release, and was finally released in June 2008 on Epic Records. It is the band's final album to feature K. K. Downing, before his retirement.
"Painkiller" is the opening track on British heavy metal band Judas Priest's 1990 album, Painkiller, and was released as the first single off the album later that year.
The Epitaph World Tour was a concert tour by English heavy metal band, Judas Priest, at the time intended to be the band's farewell tour. The tour commenced in June 2011 and concluded in May 2012. The tour was named after the 6th track from their Sad Wings of Destiny album.
Redeemer of Souls is the seventeenth studio album by the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, which was released on 8 July 2014. It is their first album without founding guitarist K. K. Downing, who quit the band in 2011 and was replaced by new guitarist Richie Faulkner. It also marks the band’s last album to be produced by Glenn Tipton. The album sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, the band's second highest charting position in the US. This marks the band's first top 10 album debut in the US. It has sold 110,000 copies in the US as of February 2016.
Epitaph is a live video released by Judas Priest on DVD and Blu-Ray on 28 May 2013. It was filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo on 26 May 2012, which was the last date of the Epitaph World Tour, where they performed songs from each Halford-era album from Rocka Rolla to Nostradamus. The show was first seen in cinemas in New York City on 14 May and in London on 15 May with special screenings around the world on 16 May. It then premiered on VH1 Classic in the United States on 25 May.
Firepower is the eighteenth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest. It is the first studio album since 1988's Ram It Down to be produced by Tom Allom, and the first one with Andy Sneap as co-producer. The album sold around 49,000 copies in the United States within its first week of release, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the band's highest-charting album in the US. Music videos were made for "Lightning Strike", "Spectre" and "No Surrender".
The Firepower World Tour is a worldwide concert tour by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, in support of the album Firepower. The first North American tour dates were announced on 23 October 2017 with Saxon and Black Star Riders as the supporting bands. European tour dates were announced soon after with Megadeth as the support act. The band would also appear as a special guest for Ozzy Osbourne's performance in Lisbon on 2 July 2018 as part of Osbourne's final world tour. The second North American tour dates were announced on 23 April 2018 as part of a co-headlining tour with Deep Purple. The second European tour dates were announced on 3 September 2018 as the band were announced as special guests once again for Osbourne's final world tour. The third North American tour dates were announced on 3 December 2018 as they would tour with Uriah Heep.
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