Complete List Of Judas Priest Band Members presents the lineup changes of a band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. Judas Priest is one of the most iconic and enduring bands in the heavy metal genre. The band’s inception can be traced back to Al Atkins, a local musician who wanted to form a group. Atkins recruited bassist Brian “Bruno” Stapenhill, drummer John Partridge, and guitarist John Perry, thereby forming the first iteration of the band. Tragically, Perry died in a road accident, and Ernie Chataway took his place. Atkins named the band Judas Priest after the Bob Dylan song “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.”
The band underwent several lineup changes in its early years before settling into the iconic core of vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and bassist Ian Hill. Drummer Dave Holland joined in 1979, solidifying the classic lineup that would go on to create some of the most defining albums in heavy metal history. The band’s first album, Rocka Rolla, was released in 1974 but failed to make a significant impact. It wasn’t until their third album, Sin After Sin, in 1977 that the band began to gain traction, particularly in the United States.
The 1980 release of British Steel marked a turning point for Judas Priest, with tracks like “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” becoming anthems of the genre. The album also marked a shift toward a more commercial, radio-friendly sound, and it played a significant role in defining the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).
Judas Priest continued to build on their success throughout the 1980s with albums like Screaming for Vengeance (1982) and Defenders of the Faith (1984). However, their momentum slowed a bit in the early ’90s, and in 1992, Rob Halford left the band to pursue a solo career. Tim “Ripper” Owens replaced him, and the band released two albums, Jugulator and Demolition, neither of which matched the commercial success of their earlier works. Halford returned in 2003, and the band has since released several more albums, including Angel of Retribution (2005) and Firepower (2018).
CURRENT JUDAS PRIEST BAND MEMBERS
Ian Hill is a founding member of Judas Priest, originating from West Bromwich, England. Hill has been with the band since its inception in 1969 and is the only member to have performed on every Judas Priest album. He plays the bass guitar and although he has not been as prominently featured in songwriting as some of the other members, his steady bass lines have been crucial to the band’s heavy metal sound. Hill has played on all of the band’s albums, from their 1974 debut Rocka Rolla to their most recent release as of 2021, Firepower. Outside of Judas Priest, Hill has been relatively low-profile, dedicating the majority of his musical career to the band.
Rob Halford, known as the “Metal God,” hails from Walsall, England, and joined Judas Priest in 1973. He is renowned for his powerful vocals, encompassing a multi-octave range. Halford has been a key songwriter for the band and is responsible for many of the band’s hit songs like “Breaking the Law” and “Painkiller.” He initially left the band in 1992 to pursue a solo career and other projects like Fight and Halford, but rejoined in 2003. He has been on every Judas Priest album except for Jugulator (1997) and Demolition (2001), which featured Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals.
Glenn Tipton, originally from Blackheath, England, joined the band in 1974, just in time for the recording of their debut album Rocka Rolla. Tipton has been one of the primary songwriters for Judas Priest, and his guitar work, often featuring dual leads with fellow guitarist K.K. Downing, has been a staple of the band’s sound. Popular songs like “Electric Eye” and “Hell Bent for Leather” showcase his musicianship. Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which led him to step back from touring activities in 2018, although he still participates in the band’s studio work.
Scott Travis is the only American in this British band, hailing from Norfolk, Virginia. He joined Judas Priest in 1989 and made his debut on the critically acclaimed album Painkiller. Travis brought a more aggressive style of drumming to the band, which was instrumental in shaping their sound in the 1990s and beyond. He has been a consistent member since his introduction and has played on every album from Painkiller onwards. Outside of Judas Priest, Travis has also drummed for the band Racer X.
Richie Faulkner, from London, England, joined Judas Priest in 2011, filling the void left by K.K. Downing’s departure. He made his recording debut with the band on the album Redeemer of Souls in 2014 and has been part of the songwriting team since. He also contributed to their most recent album as of 2021, Firepower. Faulkner’s arrival has been credited with injecting new energy into the band, and he has been well-received by fans. Prior to joining Judas Priest, he played with the likes of Lauren Harris and Christopher Lee.
FORMER JUDAS PRIEST BAND MEMBERS AND TOURING MEMBERS
Al Atkins is one of the founding members of Judas Priest, originating from West Bromwich, England. He served as the band’s original vocalist from 1969 until his departure in 1973. Atkins did not appear on any of the band’s commercial albums but did contribute to some early demos. He was replaced by Rob Halford, and his exit occurred before the recording of the band’s debut album, Rocka Rolla. However, he did write songs that would later appear on Judas Priest albums, such as “Victim of Changes.” Atkins has had a solo career after leaving Judas Priest, releasing several albums and continuing to perform in various capacities.
Brian “Bruno” Stapenhill
Brian “Bruno” Stapenhill was one of the original members of Judas Priest, participating in the band’s earliest formations. Also from West Bromwich, he played bass but left before the band gained commercial recognition. Stapenhill did not appear on any of Judas Priest’s albums and exited the band in its nascent years. His contribution to the band is often overshadowed by later members who contributed to Judas Priest’s rise to stardom.
John Partridge was the original drummer of Judas Priest, hailing from West Bromwich, England, like most early members of the band. Similar to Stapenhill, Partridge did not appear on any of the band’s official albums and was part of the band only during its formative years before they signed a record deal. He was replaced by other drummers as the band evolved into the iconic heavy metal group it is known as today.
John Perry was initially slated to be the guitarist for Judas Priest and was involved in the formation of the band. However, tragically, he died before the band really began its journey, leading to the inclusion of Ernie Chataway. Perry did not have the opportunity to record with Judas Priest due to his untimely death.
Ernie Chataway was an early guitarist for Judas Priest, joining the band following John Perry’s death. He was part of the band during its very early days and, like several other founding members, did not appear on any of the band’s commercially released albums. Chataway left the band before it signed its first record deal and went on to other projects.
Fred Woolley was another drummer who participated in Judas Priest’s formative years, following the departure of John Partridge. Like other early members, Woolley did not appear on any of the band’s commercial albums and left before Judas Priest rose to fame. His contributions are largely limited to the band’s pre-signing years.
K. K. Downing
K. K. Downing, born Kenneth Downing Jr., is from West Bromwich, England, and was one of the original guitarists for Judas Priest. He joined the band in 1970 and remained a vital member until his departure in 2011. Downing’s contributions can be heard on numerous iconic albums including British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, and Painkiller, among others. He was known for his dual guitar work with Glenn Tipton, forming one of heavy metal’s most enduring and celebrated guitar duos. Downing co-wrote many of Judas Priest’s hits including “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” and “Breaking the Law.” After leaving Judas Priest, he has been involved in other projects and even wrote an autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest.”
John Ellis was one of the early drummers for Judas Priest. He joined the band in 1971 and played on their debut album, Rocka Rolla, released in 1974. Hailing from Yew Tree Estate in West Bromwich, Ellis was part of the band during its transitional phase as it evolved from a blues-rock outfit into the heavy metal pioneers they are known as today. Ellis left the band after the debut album, making way for future drummers who would contribute to Judas Priest’s defining sound.
Alan “Skip” Moore
Alan “Skip” Moore was a drummer for Judas Priest and participated in the recording of their debut album, Rocka Rolla. However, he left the band shortly after and was replaced by John Ellis, who is credited on the album. Like many early members, Moore was part of Judas Priest’s formative years and did not participate in their rise to fame.
Chris “Congo” Campbell
Chris “Congo” Campbell was a drummer who joined Judas Priest briefly after the departure of John Hinch in 1975. Despite his short stint with the band, he did not record on any of their albums. Campbell was a part of the lineup for a brief period before being replaced, as the band continued its search for a stable drummer.
John Hinch, originally from Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, served as the drummer for Judas Priest around the time of their debut album Rocka Rolla in 1974. He was part of the band’s shift towards a more definitive heavy metal sound but left shortly after the album was released. Despite his short tenure, Hinch’s contributions on the debut album remain a part of Judas Priest’s early history.
Simon Phillips is a renowned British drummer who briefly collaborated with Judas Priest in the late 1970s. Although he never became an official member of the band, he played drums on a couple of tracks for the 1977 album Sin After Sin. Born in London, England, Phillips has a broad musical career that spans various genres. Outside of his brief stint with Judas Priest, he’s worked with an extensive list of artists including Toto, Mike Oldfield, and The Who.
Les Binks is an Irish drummer who joined Judas Priest in 1977, contributing to the albums Stained Class and Killing Machine (also known as Hell Bent for Leather in the U.S.). Born in Portadown, Northern Ireland, Binks is credited with helping to solidify the band’s heavy metal sound. After his departure from Judas Priest in 1979, he went on to play in other bands and projects but remains most famous for his time with Judas Priest.
Dave Holland was the drummer for Judas Priest from 1979 to 1989, contributing to some of the band’s most iconic albums including British Steel, Point of Entry, and Screaming for Vengeance. Born in Northampton, England, Holland was an essential part of the rhythm section during a peak period for the band. After leaving Judas Priest, Holland was involved in various other musical projects but faced legal troubles that overshadowed his musical career.
Tim “Ripper” Owens
Tim “Ripper” Owens, an American vocalist from Akron, Ohio, joined Judas Priest in 1996 following Rob Halford’s departure. Owens recorded two studio albums with the band: Jugulator in 1997 and Demolition in 2001. Although these albums received mixed reviews, Owens’ vocal abilities were widely praised. He left the band in 2003 when Rob Halford returned. Owens then joined other projects like Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen’s band and continues to have a successful career in heavy metal.
Jeff Martin is an American drummer and vocalist who briefly served as a touring drummer for Judas Priest in 1991. Born in Tacoma, Washington, he is better known for his work with bands like Racer X and Badlands. His stint with Judas Priest was relatively short-lived, but he remains a notable figure in the heavy metal scene.
Don Airey, an English keyboardist born in Sunderland, contributed to Judas Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class. Although not an official member of the band, his keyboard work added another dimension to the album. Airey has had an illustrious career, playing with other iconic bands like Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rainbow.
Andy Sneap is an English musician and producer who joined Judas Priest as a touring guitarist in 2018, filling in for Glenn Tipton who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Born in Huddersfield, England, Sneap has been a prominent figure in heavy metal, both as a musician and as a producer. Although he hasn’t recorded any studio albums with Judas Priest, his contributions during live performances have been well-received by fans and critics alike.
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