Judas Priest Released “Hell Bent For Leather” 40 Years Ago

Judas Priest was already one of the most successful bands of their time in the mid-to late 1970s by the release of their fifth album. Dubbed Killing Machine (Columbia) in Europe, the album was re-titled Hell Bent For Leather for it’s U.S. release and is now commonly known by that name. The album was destined to be a smash anyway with some mega-hits, but the real gem would be their cover of Fleetwood Mac original ‘The Green Manilishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)’. The track would go on to become the best-known song from the album, one of the most loved songs by the band and one of the best cover songs in history.

The album continued the bands’ darker and rougher-hewn sound they had been mining for several albums, in the vein of their local pals Black Sabbath. Hits and deep cuts like ‘Delivering The Goods’, ‘Rock Forever’, ‘Evening Star’, ‘Take On The World’, ‘Running Wild’, among others became live staples and fan favorites for decades. In addition to harder-edged sound, the leather and studs image the band adopted changed heavy metal from this time forward. These became synonymous with heavy metal, setting it apart from others at the time, although punks would also adopt this look too.

The Priest” would scale even higher heights in the future with more classic records to come. Hell Bent For Leather is a strong chapter in the early part of their history. Hails!

KEITH CHACHKES