Judas Priest: British Steel (1980)


Crazy to think that “British Steel” by Judas Priest is 40 years young this year.

Crazier to think that it took me 40 years to finally own a physical copy of this album!


Ok, so the story goes that when I discovered Priest in 1979  the fantastic live opus “Unleashed In The East” hit the streets. I loved that album but being 12 years young in 1979 and 13 years young in 1980 and hitting 14 years old in 1981 my allowance would only take me so far at the time. 

The brilliant “Point of Entry” album by Priest in 1981 I bought as I needed some cassette tapes as the family was headed to a campground outside of Thunder Bay for 2 weeks. I needed Metal and the recently released “Point of Entry” satisfied my desire for the sonics that JP delivered on Point of Entry. I still also remember taking out to camp with me the Creem issue(August 1981) that had singer Rob Halford on the cover.  (See the picture below.)


Over the years when Priest released new music as in Screaming For Vengeance(1982)” Defenders of the Faith (1984) Turbo (1986) Priest Live (1987) I was pretty in synch at getting the albums basically on or close to release day.

“British Steel” I had dubbed on cassette throughout the early 80s. By the end of the decade though when CD’s became the rage I never bit and purchased them. Who knows why? 

In 2010 British Steel had its 30th Birthday and Judas Priest reissued it with bonus tracks and a live show from 2010 where Priest played the album front to back.

I bought it but from iTunes so I’m sure you physical product lovers out there (I know who you are) would disqualify me on said purchase. lol

Not until September 2020 when RSD was going on and I ordered the Ace Frehley album “Trouble Walking” from Montreal to make it worthwhile since I was paying $15 for postage why not include a second album at a cheaper price to make the postage a little easier to accept!

British Steel is just that a classic! Nine songs make up this fabulous platter served up by Rob Halford and the boys!

Side One lifts off with Breaking The Law. As Preist do they do indeed go about breaking the law on this album as the next eight tracks that follow are classics!

Lot’s of great metal on here as the vocals of Rob Halford are top-notch from the get-go as his two co songwriters on the album Guitarists KK Downing and Glenn Tipton lay down their own law on the six strings! Dave Holland (drums) and Ian Hill(bass) are a very simple yet effective rhythm section that gets the job done in servicing these tunes.

Ok, deKe enough about the word Law!

Seriously though there are all kinds of metal on here. Fast ripping tunes like Rapid Fire and album closer Steeler.  Tunes that have such a cool breakdown in them and build up like Grinder, songs that have always gone over well in concert those being Living After Midnight and of course Breaking The What?? Breaking The What?? Breaking The Law!

Ok, I promise now! I won’t say the word Law again! 

If you were to ask me what my favorite track from this album would be I would have to go to Side 2 and that would be track seven You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise.

Love this tune as Halford delivers the perfect vocal especially when he sings the line of…

“I grow sick and tired of the same old lies”

Give it a listen and hear Halford soar at the 1:26 minute of the tune. It’s those little octave changes that always grab me as a listener!

What a stellar track that along with the rest of the album is indeed British Steel!




49 thoughts on “Judas Priest: British Steel (1980)”

    1. Oddly enough I was going to say the same thing. I found the first five tracks good with the rest of the album pretty boring! Don’t even get me started on “Breaking the Law,” I don’t need to hear that track again.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah true, Judas Priest aren’t the only band that does it. I had a convo about a similar topic with John about why Def Leppard doesn’t play more songs from their other albums and they only play the hits. He basically said people want to see the hits (at least the so-called fans do) and they need the money!

        Btw, I love “Living After Midnight” but I’m close to being sick of that song!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. 100 percent.
        Tracks like The Rage starts off like a Police song before it moves into a hard rock song.
        Grinder sounds like an AC/DC cut and so does You Don’t Have to Be old.
        There is speed metal and everything else thrown in. It’s one of my impact albums.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My real concern is how come on the 2001 reissue, they included “Red, White & Blue” from the ‘Turbo’ sessions?!?! It made no sense to include it and it completely ruined the vibe of album when listening to it on Spotify!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Boy, we have some Debbie Downers in this comment section, lol

    I’m with you on You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise! Love that tune! Grinder is one of my favourite album tracks. That riff is so much fun to play on the guitar. You got a solid album for $25!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I remember and actually know this one! Our band back in the day covered Living After Midnight. I remember Breaking the Law also very well. Living After Midnight had an Alice Cooper feel to me…great riff and vocals.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I remember the song “Living after Midnight” too- probably the first thing I heard by them, not a bad song though I gather from the comments maybe the big fans of the band didn’t like it as much.
    Real eye-opener in the blog is that magazine – man, what a range of artists Creem covered in one issue – Spandau Ballet to Dead Kennedys!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Creem was a great read. Being a metalhead I would read about those bands you mentioned because I had to justify buying the magazine as they had a wider scope than Hit Parader or Circus.
      I’m a big fan of Priest’s work from 1979-1987. They put out an album Firepower a few years back that was quite good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the album that got me into Judas Priest so I have no shame in boldly declaring that I like it. I agree “Breaking the Law” gets over played but “Living After Midnight” is my favourite song on the album anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The Law states that you have to have owned at least 5 copies of this album like me! I think I have original vinyl, reissue vinyl, reissue CD, deluxe CD, and I also had original cassette. Add in an iTunes purchase for an exclusive bonus track.

    Better late than never!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a late-comer to owning my own copy of this, too. As a 14yo I taped my dad’s copy – he bought it not long after it came out. I only ended up buying it on CD about 3 years ago. I play it as much these days as I did when I was 14. Superb album!

    Liked by 1 person

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