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The Metal God turns 70: Judas Priest’s Rob Halford celebrates milestone birthday today

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Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, the Metal God himself, celebrates his 70th birthday today.

Halford’s gritty banshee wail is one of the defining voices of heavy metal. He joined Judas Priest in 1973, just in time to record the Birmingham, U.K., band’s debut album — 1974’s Rocka Rolla.

Halford co-wrote most of the band’s songs, helping them become one of the most popular metal acts of the 1970s and ’80s. Among the many classic tunes Halford sang and co-wrote were “Living After Midnight,” “Breaking the Law,” “Hot Rockin'” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.”

The singer left Judas Priest in 1992, and for the next 11 years he focused on solo projects, including the bands Fight and Halford and the industrial-influenced duo 2wo.

During a 1998 MTV interview, Halford revealed that he was gay. While his sexual orientation had long been widely rumored, Rob noted in his 2020 memoir Confess that he decided to keep his homosexuality secret during Priest’s early years because he was worried being openly gay might’ve hurt the group’s career.

Halford rejoined Judas Priest in 2003 and has continued to tour and record with the band ever since. The group’s latest studio album, 2018’s Firepower, peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200, the band’s highest position ever on the chart.

Speaking with ABC Audio last year while promoting Confess, Halford listed some of his favorite Judas Priest albums, singling out Rock Rolla, 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny, 1980’s British Steel, 1986’s Turbo, 1990’s Painkiller, the 2008 “big metal rock opera” Nostradamus and Firepower.

“What a great metal trail Priest has left,” Rob added, “and I’m thrilled beyond words that have been a part of it all.” 

Judas Priest launches a North American tour on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

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