British Steel (album)

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British Steel
Judas Priest British Steel.jpg
Studio album by Judas Priest
Released 14 April 1980
11 May 2010 (30th Anniversary Edition)
Recorded January–February 1980 at Startling Studios, Ascot, England; United Kingdom
Genre Heavy metal
Length 36:10
Label Columbia
Producer Tom Allom
Judas Priest chronology
Unleashed in the East
British Steel
Point of Entry
Alternative cover
30th Anniversary CD-Release.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating 5/5 stars (30th DE)[1]
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
BBC Music favourable (Anniversary)[3]
PopMatters 8/10 (Anniversary)[4]
Rolling Stone favourable[5]

British Steel is the sixth album by the British heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on 14 April 1980.


British Steel saw the band reprise the commercial sound they had established on Killing Machine. This time, they abandoned some of the dark lyrical themes which had been prominent on their previous releases, but some of it still remains. British Steel was recorded at Tittenhurst Park, home of former Beatle Ringo Starr, a recording studio located on Tittenhurst's grounds, after a false start at Startling Studios in December 1979. Digital sampling was not yet widely available at the time of recording, so the band used analog recording of smashing milk bottles to be included in "Breaking the Law", as well as various sounds in "Metal Gods" produced by billiard cues and trays of cutlery.[6] It was released in the UK at a discount price of £3.99, with the advertisements in the music press bearing the legend "British Steal". Songs "Breaking the Law", "United", and "Living After Midnight" were released as singles.[6]

British Steel is the first Judas Priest album to feature drummer Dave Holland. It is also their first album on which all the songs were written by only current members of the band, as all previous albums featured cover songs and/or songs written by former members. [7]

The album was remastered in 2001 with two bonus tracks added. Bonus studio track "Red, White, and Blue" was written in the sessions for the Twin Turbos album (which would become Turbo) and recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau in July 1985.[6] The second bonus track, a live performance of "Grinder", was recorded on 5 May 1984, in Los Angeles during the Defenders of the Faith tour.

In 2009, Judas Priest kicked off their 30th anniversary tour in the US by playing British Steel live in its entirety for the first time. The only other Judas Priest albums of which all the songs have been performed live are Defenders of the Faith and Rocka Rolla, but neither of them were played in the original LP running order or during the same tour (though the original US LP had a different running order than the UK version).

The 30th anniversary release of the album came with a DVD and CD of a live show recorded on 17 August 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock Arena in Hollywood, Florida as part of the British Steel 30th Anniversary tour.[8] The live versions of all the British Steel tracks from this release were also made available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series beginning 11 May 2010.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K.K. Downing

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Rapid Fire" (Track 2 on original US releases) 4:08
2. "Metal Gods" (Track 3 on original US releases) 4:00
3. "Breaking the Law" (Track 1 on original US releases) 2:35
4. "Grinder"   3:58
5. "United"   3:35
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise" (Track 7 on original US releases) 5:04
7. "Living After Midnight" (Track 6 on original US releases) 3:31
8. "The Rage"   4:44
9. "Steeler"   4:30

30th Anniversary Edition - bonus live CD/DVD[edit]

All tracks written by Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and K.K. Downing except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Rapid Fire"   4:18
2. "Metal Gods"   4:34
3. "Breaking the Law"   2:43
4. "Grinder"   4:06
5. "United"   3:45
6. "You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise"   5:24
7. "Living After Midnight"   4:53
8. "The Rage"   5:04
9. "Steeler"   5:23
10. "The Ripper" (Tipton) 3:09
11. "Prophecy" (DVD and iTunes version only) 6:12
12. "Hell Patrol"   3:57
13. "Victim of Changes" (Al Atkins, Downing, Halford, Tipton) 9:29
14. "Freewheel Burning"   5:49
15. "Diamonds & Rust" (Joan Baez) 4:07
16. "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"   8:58


Judas Priest


Chart (1980–2010) Peak
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[10] 46
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[11] 59
Greek Albums (IFPI)[12] 4
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[13] 55
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 20
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 92
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 4
US Billboard 200[17] 34

SinglesBPI (UK)

Chart (1980) Name Position
UK Singles Chart «Breaking the Law»[18] 12
«Living After Midnight»[19] 12
«United»[20] 26


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[21] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[22] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Judas Priest - 'British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition'". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  2. ^ "British Steel review". AllMusic. 
  3. ^ Doran, John (6 May 2010). "Review of Judas Priest - British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition". BBC Online. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  4. ^ Begrand, Adrien (28 May 2010). "Judas Priest: British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone review of British Steel". Rolling Stone. 2 October 1980. Archived from the original on 1 January 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c British Steel (remastered edition) (Media notes). Judas Priest. Sony Music Entertainment. 1980. 
  7. ^ The band's debutRocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny featured songwriting from the band's original lead vocalist Al Atkins; Sin After Sin includes a cover of Joan Baez's "Diamonds & Rust"; Stained Class has a cover of Spooky Tooth's "Better By You, Better Than Me"; and the US version of Killing Machine (titled Hell Bent for Leather) features a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi".
  8. ^ "Judas Priest Store". 17 August 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ "DLC Week of 5/11 - Judas Priest's British Steel (Live)! // Rock Band®". Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  10. ^ "Judas Priest: British Steel" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  11. ^ " – Judas Priest – British Steel". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  12. ^ " – Judas Priest – British Steel". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  13. ^ " – Judas Priest – British Steel". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  14. ^ " – Judas Priest – British Steel". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  15. ^ " – Judas Priest – British Steel". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Judas Priest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Judas Priest – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Judas Priest. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  18. ^ "breaking+the+law | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". 
  19. ^ "living+after+midnight | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". 
  20. ^ "united | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". 
  21. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Judas Priest – British Steel". Music Canada. 
  22. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  23. ^ "British album certifications – Judas Priest – British Steel". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter British Steel in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Judas Priest – British Steel". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]