10 Best Judas Priest Songs
The process of choosing the 10 Best Judas Priest songs comes with many sacrifices. After 43 years, 30 singles, 16 studio albums and a mass of studio and live material to take into consideration, all of which has constantly evolved since the band’s inception, you’ll find your brain in a panic in attempting to judge dozens of monumental tracks, which shaped the entire genre of metal. You may even find yourself cowering in the fetal position after many coffee-induced, sleepless nights of arranging and rearranging tracks in a seemingly endless rotation. However, we’re happy to report that we’ve returned from the psychogenic abyss with our final list of the 10 Best Judas Priest Songs!
Released on the band’s 1986 album, ‘Turbo,’ the track ‘Turbo Lover’ showcases the synth-addiction that consumed the ’80s, turning it into a heavier, more respected realm by the metal gods of Judas Priest. Celebrating the band’s connection with motorcycle culture and everything leather, ‘Turbo Lover’ brought the band back into the rock ‘n’ roll territory that Judas Priest claimed before the release of their heavy metal masterpieces ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ (1982) and ‘Defenders of the Faith’ (1984).
‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin”
‘You Got Another Thing Comin” will always be one of the landmark tracks in the career of Judas Priest. Released on the essential ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ album, the song takes a simpler and more radio-friendly approach to the sound of Judas Priest, with Rob Halford’s voice powerfully steering the track, despite the ‘Metal God’ resisting to use his legendary voice at full capacity.
Let’s slow things down a bit with ‘Dreamer Deceiver’ from Priest’s second full-length, ‘Sad Wings of Destiny.’ The song is one of Judas Priest’s first epic tracks, along with ‘Victim of Changes,’ which also claims a spot on our best Judas Priest Songs list. The album version of ‘Dreamer Deceiver’ is great, but to fully grasp the tune, we recommend checking out one of Priest’s live performances of the song from the mid-’70s.
As the first track from Judas Priest’s 1984 masterpiece, ‘Defenders of the Faith,’ the high-octane ‘Freewheel Burning’ is one of the greatest opening tracks in rock history. Halford doesn’t mess around with ‘Freewheel Burning,’ unleashing the domineering power of his voice after a beastly opening riff from guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. ‘Freewheel Burning’ is absolute essential listening for any music fan, and perfectly demonstrates the profound power that Rob Halford was continuing to conjure as a vocalist.
‘Victim of Changes’
Some of Judas Priest’s most breathtaking works present themselves as slower, guitar-driven classic rock pieces. ‘Victim of Changes’ was released in 1976 on the ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ album, and the influence of Black Sabbath is enormously prevalent throughout the song. From the powerful Tony Iommi-style riffing, to the surprising hint of Ozzy Osbourne present in Rob Halford’s vocal performance, ‘Victim of Changes’ is your quintessential heavy metal powerhouse of a track.
‘Living After Midnight’
Perhaps the greatest Judas Priest song to sing along with, ‘Living After Midnight’ was the first single off the legendary ‘British Steel’ album, which was Priest’s first album to attain gold status in the United States. The iconic heavy metal cut has since been covered by bands such as Disturbed and L.A. Guns, as well as the team of Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler on the the 2011 tribute album ‘The Chosen Few.’
‘The Hellion/Electric Eye’
With one of the greatest instrumental intros in metal history bleeding into one of Judas Priest’s most definitive songs, ‘The Hellion/Electric Eye’ is an iconic concoction. The adjoined pieces kick off the legendary Priest masterwork ‘Screaming For Vengeance,’ with the title ‘Electric Eye’ referencing the George Orwell opus ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ in which the novel’s totalitarian government oversees the actions of all its citizens.
‘Beyond the Realms of Death’
‘Beyond the Realms of Death’ represents the pinnacle of what Judas Priest have been able to accomplish as musicians. Released as one of the closing tracks on the 1978 full-length ‘Stained Class,’ the six-string duo of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing entice fans with monumental solos, which many fans consider to be paramount in the career of Priest. Rob Halford also delivers a huge vocal performance, erupting with powerful screams along with softer, more purely beautiful singing.
Holy effing drums! ‘Painkiller’ goes through many stages during its six minutes, but if you aren’t captivated by the track’s opening drum part, we may suggest a psychological evaluation. ‘Painkiller’ shows no weakness as Rob Halford carries a unique falsetto singing style, while the song’s main riff repeatedly punches you in the face with fists of sonic brilliance. The track has too many great chunks to describe in a short post, such as the acceleration to K.K. Downing’s fret-melting sweeps that seem to defy all time signatures.
Although ‘The Sentinel’ was never released as an official single, it has survived the test of time as a fan favorite and as a cornerstone of Judas Priest’s live performances. ‘The Sentinel’ showcases the band’s powerful rock and heavy metal characteristics, with the inclusion of an epic intro, huge riffs, blistering solos, masterful progression and one of Rob Halford’s strongest performances ever put to tape, boasting his entire vocal range. ‘The Sentinel’ is the perfect Priest track to both light a spark inside potential fans and give the hardcore followers something to drool over. To us, this makes ‘The Sentinel’ the quintessential Judas Priest cut.