Ian Hill

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For the New Zealand diplomat, see Ian Hill (diplomat).
Ian Hill
Priest feast 36 - Ian Hill.jpg
Background information
Birth name Ian Frank Hill
Born (1951-01-20) 20 January 1951 (age 64)
West Bromwich, England
Genres Heavy metal, speed metal, hard rock
Instruments Bass guitar
Years active 1969–present
Labels Columbia
Associated acts Judas Priest
Notable instruments
Spector bass

Ian Frank Hill (born 20 January 1951, in West Bromwich, England) is a founding member and bassist for the Birmingham-based Grammy award winning heavy metal band, Judas Priest. His only three songwriter credits for Judas Priest are "Winter" and "Caviar and Meths", both featured on the first Priest-album Rocka Rolla, and "Invader", featured on Stained Class. As of 2011, Hill is the last constant member of Judas Priest following the departure of KK Downing.


Hill learned how to play the double bass from his father, a bass player for local jazz acts. His father died when he was only fifteen, but his contribution to Hill was the foundation for years to come. In 1970, together with schoolmate K.K. Downing, Hill formed pioneering heavy metal band Judas Priest. He has been playing bass with the band ever since and has witnessed them achieve platinum-covered status around the world.

Hill is known[citation needed] for his solid and melodic bass playing, which proved to be the ideal background for the dual guitars of K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton and Rob Halford's operatic vocals. He also played a twin-neck bass guitar in concert on the DVD Electric Eye. During the early years of the band, he played bass finger-picking, but in the band's later years, he began playing with a pick which he felt adds "attack" to the songs. On rare occasions, he still plays with his fingers.

Hill is also responsible for finding the singer for Judas Priest, Rob Halford. He met him while he was dating Halford's sister and mentioned that he needed a new vocalist for his band. Halford accepted leaving his band 'Hiroshima', and brought along drummer John Hinch, who would later be dropped by the band after one album due to "musical inadequacy", according to Tipton in later years.[citation needed]

Musical equipment[edit]

For the early years of Judas Priest's work, Hill played a 1970s Fender Jazz Bass, later switching to Hamer in the mid 1980s. Hill currently plays Spector basses after switching to this brand during the late 1980s. Spector are currently producing an Ian Hill signature bass guitar, based on Hill's late 80s NS-2 and is fitted with an extra narrow neck and has an optional tuning of BEAD. As of 2014, this model is still in production.[1]

While Hill has used a wide range of different amplifers through his career, he has been using SWR products since the late 1990s. His current rig consists of two SWR SM1500 amplifiers and four SWR TRIAD cabinets.[2] During the Jugulator and Demolition recording sessions, Hill used a 5 string Spector bass to access the lower registers needed through the use of down tuned guitars by Tipton and Downing.

Personal life[edit]

Hill married Rob Halford's sister, Sue, in 1976 and they divorced in 1984. Together they have a son, Alex, who was born in 1980. Hill lived in Florida while he was married to his second wife. They had a daughter with the same name.[3] He met his present wife in 1999, and married in 2006.

He now resides in Staffordshire, England.

He is a supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club.


For a more comprehensive list, see Judas Priest discography.