To come up with a Top 10 Judas Priest song list was hard. Hell, to come up with a Top 10 cd list would have been just as hard. Mike was pissed because I made him choose ten KISS songs last month, so this is my punishment. Hope all of you enjoy and feedback is always welcome….So, Here we go…
10. Freewheel Burning- ( Defenders of the Faith) If you are a Judas Priest fan and you do not get excited and goose bumps on the opening riffs of this song something is wrong. When people said Rob and the band were getting soft and commercial, this was his response. Just the powder keg of licks from Tipton and KK make this song incredible, and Rob doing that nod to thrash metal vocal delivery just makes this song such a classic.
9. The Green Manalishi-(Hell Bent for Leather) what an underrated song. When people talk about HBFL, it is always the title track, Burnin’ Up, Before the Dawn and Killing Machine that people forget about this song. While the other songs are incredible, and could be easily in a top ten list this won out because this is just such an incredible air guitar, Rob vocal showcase. This has all the classic Priest trademarks from the riffs and Rob just complimenting the instruments with his delivery. God, this upsets me because I love all these songs the same, and that this won out was hard.
8. Jugulator-(Jugulator) I know to Priest fans this is sacrilege, “that was not really a Priest cd, or a series of cds”. How many of us, bought Jugulator just out of curiosity to see how this would play out? I was all for Sebastian Bach or Devin Townsend being the lead singer and to know they both were not the pick that some unknown from a Priest tribute band was, made me very curious to see what this would sound like and I was not letdown. And, to all the Ripper haters, I liked this cd a lot. Listen to the band energy mixed with Ripper’s passion, how can you not get behind this album? This cd seemed to me that Priest was hungry, and that they were playing to re-establish themselves and wanting to get this young unknown some spotlight. Jugulator to me is a showcase of what brought Ripper to the band’s attention. He gives his best vocal performance of his career on this cd and this song. I know people will want more traditional Priest songs in this list, but I cannot deny how awesome this song is.
7. Turbo Lover-(Turbo) this was in the time when Priest and Maiden decided to use synths and keyboards. Another sacrilege cd to those so called Priest fans, but I liked Turbo. Talk about a band that went from one extreme to the other in the series of 3 cds. Screaming for Vengeance that fans thought was too commercial to Defenders that put them back in the good graces of the head bangers to Turbo that went into a different direction all together. Whereas most of the songs on this list I can praise the riffs and the energy, this song has neither. It just is such a different song for Priest that I really dug it for what it was. To me, a cd like Turbo if it was released today they would be smeared all over every internet metal site by those so called “ die hards” who refuse to let their favorite bands change, but will bitch when they put out the same shit cd to cd. I am glad that Priest has always done things they wanted and could care less what people thought.
6. Breaking the Law-(British Steel) now we are into those staple songs. This to metal fans is like the Star Spangled Banner. I have seen live shows that Rob did not even have to sing the song; the whole crowd did it for him. If there was a top 100 metal classics ever, you know this would be pretty high on that list. Even non fans know this song; I bet if you played just a lick of the song in a group of assorted personalities and ages, that 9 out of 10 would know this song and tell you they are not metal fans. To do a 10 list of metal and most importantly Priest and not have this song in it, is like having a top ten most important events in history and not naming when man first walked on the moon. This is that one song that no matter who you are, you have to know this song and be a fan.
5. Grinder-(British Steel) British Steel to me is the heavy metal bible. If I ever did a top ten metal cds or most influential cds ever, this would be a top contender on both lists. Grinder with the guitar riffs and Rob putting those metal god vocals on display, this song to me is that song that no matter what you are doing when it comes on you stop all, turn it up and just head bang.
4.Rapid Fire (British Steel)-This song and this whole cd has made such an impact on my life. When you are a young kid who has long hair and does not fit in at an all redneck school, and you go to a store and see this album with a razor blade on it, telling you that it is the heaviest album of the year. And you take it home, and close your door and put on the headphones to the family turntable and this song hits, with that drum to guitar fury and the vocals then kick in, you realize you are not alone. From that 13 year old kid in 1981 who just discovered Priest for the first time, I say thank you for putting this album out, you made my teen years so much more fun. I cannot remember half of the girls I dated or friends I had back then, but I can sure remember putting the needle on this album for the first time and getting to the end of Breaking the Law and thinking “holy fuck, is this an awesome record so far” And then, Rapid Fire starting and feeling a rush go thru my body like nothing I ever felt in my life.
3. Painkiller-(Painkiller) after Ram it Down did anyone see this cd, fury and energy coming? I was not the biggest fan of Ram it Down; while it was ok in some songs, I felt it was a sign that maybe Priest was slipping. Then, came Painkiller and they had to know about bands changing the metal scene like Pantera and Biohazard at that time, and decided to show people they had some tricks of their own. I feel with this cd, fans do not give it the respect it deserves and will always be considered second to this cd by them or that cd. If this was a top 20 list, All Guns Blazing and Metal Meltdown would have been listed as well. I think Painkiller showcases a band that even though they were around for almost twenty years at this time, felt like they had something to prove. What an angry and furious cd. Painkiller is all about the drum blasts, the infusion of new blood in the band with Scott playing drums and that Rob wanted to give the new blood in the genre a run for its money. A criminally underrated cd and song.
2. Bloodstone-(Screaming for Vengeance) I will be honest; the whole Screaming for Vengeance could tie for number two. I know this is a touch of the metal god going sort of commercial, but I thought the songs on this cd proved to people that Priest were more than just a metal band, that they could write songs and get on top 40 radio stations. I remember as a kid listening to Casey Kasem doing the Top 40 and Judas Priest You got Another Thing Coming debuting on the countdown. Think about this, metal at this time was still the red headed step child of music, beside Quiet Riot’s Metal Health going to number one on Billboard album charts, in this era metal was starting to get more widespread appeal and for me Screaming for Vengeance can be as sell out as fans will accuse them of being, it is still a strong cd even today. Oh yeah Bloodstone, I really am a fan of this song, and to me from the guitar riffs that open the song, to Rob just giving a great vocal delivery, this is the best song on Screaming for Vengeance to me. I love the chorus and just the infectious guitar riffs and almost sing along lyrics. This is what makes Priest so special; I feel no other band could pull this song off.
1. Love Bites-(Defenders of the Faith) anyone who knows me knows this is no shock. Defenders of the Faith could have been my whole top ten. In 1984, my very first concert and this is the first song they opened the show with. To see Rob appear in the mouth when the Metallian opened and start singing, it was just a moment in time that will forever be etched into things that I would never trade in my life. I remember the girl I was dating at the time, holding my hand and we were all in amazement and that no matter what else could happen, our lives at that moment were forever changed. And when Rob starts screaming on the top of the Metallian, “Love- Love” and Tipton and KK are in front of the stage doing the signature guitar poses, it was magic. This is what music was made for, an escape, a memory of that moment in your life when you felt alive, or the first time you heard this song. I would love to tell Rob face to face or on a podcast, “do you know what your music means to me?” Priest is one of the bands I can forgive and support all that they do. Rob solo, the Two cd, and all the Fight stuff, and the Tipton solo record. This is to me the greatest Priest cd ever, and this is the only song that could have been number one.