Turbo (Judas Priest album)

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Judas Priest Turbo.jpg
Studio album by Judas Priest
Released 14 April 1986
Recorded June – November 1985
Studio Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
Genre Heavy metal, glam metal
Length 40:58
Label Columbia
Producer Tom Allom
Judas Priest chronology
Defenders of the Faith
Singles from Turbo
  1. "Turbo Lover" / "Hot for Love"
    Released: April 1986
  2. "Locked In" / "Reckless"
    Released: May 1986
  3. "Parental Guidance"
    Released: 1986 (Europe only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Metal Hammer (GER) 6/7 stars[2]
PopMatters (mixed)[3]
Martin Popoff 6/10 stars[4]

Turbo is the tenth studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, recorded in June – November 1985 at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas and mixed in January and February 1986, at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California. Turbo was first released by Columbia on 14 April 1986. A remastered CD was released in 2002, including two bonus tracks. The album marked the band's first use of guitar synthesizers.


Following the success of their previous album, Defenders of the Faith, Judas Priest initially recorded a double album which was intended to be released under the title Twin Turbos. This idea was scrapped. Instead, the material was split up, with the more commercial songs appearing as the album Turbo. The lyrical content on Turbo was markedly different from previous Judas Priest albums, with more emphasis on grounded subjects such as love and romance rather than the band's usual sci-fi and fantasy themes. On the whole, it was a response to the changed music scene of the mid-1980s which was becoming focused more on light, synth-driven pop rather than the driving hard rock of the 70s-early 80s.

After concluding the Faith World Tour at the end of 1984, the band took their first-ever extended hiatus and did not perform at all during 1985 except for an appearance at the Live Aid Concert where only three songs were played. Work began on Turbo that summer and finished late in the year. During this time, singer Rob Halford struggled with increasing substance abuse and violent feuds with his romantic partner. After the latter committed suicide in front of Halford, he resolved to get clean and so checked into rehab where he spent a month during December 1985-January 1986. He made an energetic recovery and his live performances during the subsequent tour were described as some of his strongest ever.

With the album being released in April 1986, Turbo was an instant commercial success. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on 10 June 1986 and Platinum on 24 July 1987.[5] and the album reached No. 33 in the UK and No. 17 on Billboard 200, marking the apex of Priest's commercial success and being the band´s highest chart position until 2005´s Angel of Retribution.[6] The music videos supporting "Turbo Lover" and "Locked In" enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV, furthering the success of the album commercially.

The cover was once again done by graphic artist Doug Johnson, who designed the Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith covers. The cover shows a female hand gripping a gear stick.

"Reckless" was asked to be on the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun, but Judas Priest declined, both because they thought the film would flop and because it would have meant leaving the song off Turbo. However, their next album, Ram It Down, contained a cover of "Johnny B. Goode" that was featured in the soundtrack for the movie of the same title. "Reckless" and "Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days" were also Judas Priest's first songs to be played lower than E tuning.

"Parental Guidance" was allegedly written as a response to Tipper Gore's attack on the band, and heavy metal in general, in the mid-1980s. Her organization, the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), had placed the band's song "Eat Me Alive" (from Defenders of the Faith) at No. 3 on their list of offensive songs, referred to as the "Filthy 15." The PMRC alleged that the song was obscene because it encouraged the performance of oral sex at gunpoint.[7]

Turbo was the first Judas Priest album in which the credits section lists which lead breaks Tipton and Downing play on.[8]


While Turbo sold well initially, being certified Gold by the RIAA on 10 June 1986 and Platinum on 24 July 1987,[5] and reaching No. 33 in the UK and No. 17 on Billboard 200, the band´s highest chart position until 2005´s Angel of Retribution.[9] Long-term reaction from fans was quite negative[citation needed]. The band's use of guitar synthesizers and the introduction of hints of glam metal[1] into their image were particularly unpopular with the band's fanbase at the time.[citation needed] The album would be Priest's final platinum-selling album. Sales tapered off and the subsequent live album from the otherwise successful Fuel for Life tour tanked by the band´s standards, only going Gold after a string of Platinum certified albums.[5]

Seven of the album´s nine songs were performed during the Fuel for Life tour with "Hot for Love" being the least played of those. The title track has remained in the band´s set lists since then. During the tour, the band also dispensed with the leather and studs look they'd sported since 1978 and went for a slightly more colourful "glam" wardrobe. A number of older songs such as "Sinner" and "Exciter" were also dropped from the live setlist, leading KK Downing to remark "People ask why we don't play Sinner anymore. I tell them it's because we've all repented."

Rob Halford referred to Turbo as the "love/hate Judas Priest album". In 2008 he told Kerrang!:

The only agenda we've ever had in Priest was to really give every album its own life and I think we've achieved that on everything from Rocka Rolla up to the new one, Nostradamus. That said, if ever there was a controversial record in terms of what people might have expected from us, it's Turbo. It was the fact that we moved into a different atmosphere, but that's where we were at that particular time. Some of the technological advances like the pedal boards that Glenn and KK used were giving us options for different sounds and experimentation. Personally I think there are still some great tracks on that album ... It's one of the recordings that divide opinion."[10]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Turbo Lover"   5:33
2. "Locked In"   4:19
3. "Private Property"   4:29
4. "Parental Guidance"   3:25
5. "Rock You All Around the World"   3:37
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Out in the Cold"   6:27
7. "Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days"   4:39
8. "Hot for Love"   4:12
9. "Reckless"   4:17


Judas Priest
Additional musician
  • Jeff Martin – backing vocals on "Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days"
  • Produced by Tom Allom
  • Engineered by Bill Dooley, assisted by Paul Wertheimer and Sean Burrows
  • Mixed by Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing, Tom Allom, and Bill Dooley
  • Equipment surveillance by Tom Calcaterra
  • Mastered by Bernie Grundman
  • Cover design by Doug Johnson


Chart (1986) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[11] 56
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[12] 57
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[13] 28
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[14] 13
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 10
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 26
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 33
US Billboard 200[18] 17


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[19] Gold 50,000^
Australia (ARIA)[20] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[21] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^
Worldwide sales: 2,500,000

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Judas Priest - Turbo review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  2. ^ Kessler, Sebastian (15 July 2014). "Metal-Geschichte: Alle Judas Priest-Alben im Review Metal aus über 30 Jahren" (in German). Metal Hammer. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 
  3. ^ Begrand, Adrien (20 June 2002). "Judas Priest: Turbo / Priest...Live!". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5. 
  5. ^ a b c "RIAA Searchable Database: search for Judas Priest". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2015-06-22. 
  6. ^ "Judas Priest Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  7. ^ "Judas Priest Info Pages - Turbo". Thexquorum.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  8. ^ Judas Priest - Turbo Liner Notes
  9. ^ "Judas Priest Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  10. ^ Travers, Paul (24 May 2008). "Treasure chest. An Intimate Portrait of Love in Rock. Rob Halford". Kerrang!. No. 1211. p. 52. 
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  12. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Judas Priest – Turbo" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Judas Priest – Turbo". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Judas Priest – Turbo". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Judas Priest – Turbo". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Judas Priest – Turbo". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Judas Priest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Judas Priest – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Judas Priest. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Spanish album certifications – Judas Priest – British Steel" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España.  Select the "Chart", enter ' in the field "Year". Select ' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1980 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  21. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Judas Priest – British Steel". Music Canada. 
  22. ^ "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]