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TOUR

Band Members Album Singles Artwork Promo Videos Lyrics/Leads

January 1980 February 1980

1980

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BRITISH STEEL

 

     "Judas Priest deftly defy death on their latest volcanic eruption, British Steel. It rocks with a classic heavy-metal vengeance, fueled by the machine-gun rhythms and crackling guitar attack of punk offspring like the Ramones and the Damned. The result is a collection of killer cuts.
     "Judas Priest is waging a war. On British Steel they even sound like they're winning."
- David Fricke, Rolling Stone magazine, 1980

 

BAND MEMBERS:


Judas Priest L-R:
K.K. Downing: Guitars
Rob Halford: Vocals
Glenn Tipton: Guitars
Dave Holland: Drums
Ian Hill: Bass Guitar

Management: Mike Dolan, Jim Dawson, Arnakata Ltd. (UK); Arnakata Management Inc. (US)

ALBUM:

RE-MASTERS Series Running Order
Rapid Fire Metal Gods Breaking The Law Grinder United
You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise Living After Midnight
The Rage Steeler

RE-MASTERS Series Bonus tracks:
Red, White & Blue Grinder (Live)

  • Released in April 1980 by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 84160), Columbia Records (US Cat. # 36443) and
    Epic/Sony Music Group (JPN Cat. # 28.3P-208)
  • Reissued on CD January 1984 and April 1989 by Columbia Records
  • THE RE-MASTERS UK/European CD released May 7, 2001 by Sony Music/Columbia Records (UK Cat. # 502131)
  • THE RE-MASTERS North American CD released May 29, 2001 by Sony Music/Legacy Records (US Cat. # CK 855752)

Recorded at Startling Studios, Ascot, England January - February 1980
Produced by Tom Allom
Engineered by Lou Austin
Mastered at CBS Recording Studios, New York, NY on the Discomputer System by Stewart Romain
Cut by Ray Staff at Trident Studios, London, England

Certification: RIAA Gold August 23, 1982; Platinum August 9, 1989
Chart position: UK #4; Billboard 200 Pop Albums #34
 

     "British Steel was a major breakthrough for Priest. We actually wrote and recorded the whole thing in about four or five weeks and it was just one of those albums that felt right. To be quite honest, I don't think there's a bad track on it."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "There's something very natural about driving along the highways in America and turning the radio on and hearing Judas Priest. We were made for America and the youth of America fell in love with the band very quickly."

- Glenn Tipton,
VH1 Behind The Music, 2001

     “It was the British Steel experience, around 1980. That was when we were swept up in the media and all of that. That was when we noticed some good things coming along for all the hard work we were putting into it.
     "Oh yeah, my favorite Judas Priest album is still British Steel, hands down!”

- Rob Halford, EDGE magazine, May 2003

     "That was the big breakthrough for Priest. It was the record that started to break down any walls of oppression in the biggest sense. Once songs like 'Living After Midnight' and 'Breaking The Law' started to hit the airwaves, then that just segued into other things.
     "As we progressed in the eighties, it just exploded. Once the Americans got hold of this thing coming from Britain and took it into their own kind of style and approach, everything went global.

- Rob Halford, SOUND OF THE BEAST, 2003

SINGLES:

  • Living After Midnight/Delivering The Goods released in March 1980 by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 8379)
    Charted # 12 in the UK

  • Breaking The Law/Metal Gods released in May 1980 as both a promo and a Ltd. Edition gatefold with satin razor blade patch by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 8644)
    Charted # 12 in the UK

  • United/Grinder released in August 1980 with full color poster by CBS Records Inc. (UK Cat. # 8897)
    Charted # 26 in the UK

ARTWORK:

Album Design: Roslav Szaybo
Front Cover Photography: R. Elsdale
Back Cover Photography: R. Ellis
Retouching: Gerrard Studio

     "A lot of people think the razor blade hanging around my neck is for crank or cocaine. I've never touched either of those things. I've smoked some dope and I've drank millions of gallons of whiskey. But the cover of British Steel has a picture of a fist holding a razor blade, and that thing rearranged my whole way of thinking about a whole lotta shit, dude. So my chick got me this necklace, and it's fucking been there forever."
- Dimebag Darrell, Guitar magazine, May 1999

For the band's tribute to their British roots and the defining album of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, CBS Records' Roslav Szaybo created perhaps the most famous and defining of all the Judas Priest album covers for British Steel.

Though a tribute to the Priest's British roots, the cover also made clever use of the most well-known company name where many Midlands folks became part of the workforce. In fact, Glenn Tipton even worked a brief period for the British Steel Corporation, whose stainless steel division produced the popular razor blades depicted on the cover:

     "You see I worked for British Steel for five years, so that's a fairly heavy memory that's implanted in my brain and it was very industrial in those times. It's a very old steelworks with a labyrinth of canals through it and all brickworks and it's almost industrial-revolution-ish. I can remember walking down there at 7:00 in the morning, you know, with the frost on the ground and not being too pleased about it, so it did go with a fair amount of determination to succeed in music, because I didn't really want to get back to that!"
- Glenn Tipton

British and cutting edge was Roslav's message that won many fans, but the establishment saw too much controversy in the original draft/design idea:

     "I remember the hand that gripped the razor blade, and in some countries they thought it was offensive because it looked like it was slicing into the fingers, so they airbrushed it so that it was just actually holding the razor blade, to which we said, 'No, we don't like that - it's got to have the finger slicing there..."
- Glenn Tipton, Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

     "It was portrayed with the razor blade going into the fingers, but no blood, so it is a safe thing to be into this music. Still now, when you look at that cover it just has a tremendous amount of impact."
- Rob Halford,
Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

     "You know, that hand that's cutting into the razor blade - it's a very edgy, kind of almost controversial feel."
- K.K. Downing,
Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

But the band members were not without their own initial reservations about using a razor blade, though for a different reason all-together:

     "There was a little bit of a debate about a razor blade because a razor blade was very evil - it connected you with punk rock and things like that you know; it was the emblem of punk rock..."
- Ian Hill,
Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

British Steel is also the only album cover where the band's logo was incorporated right into the artwork. All other album covers before and after added the logo as a separate element from the artwork, but for this one, Roslav Szaybo cleverly stretched his Priest logo across the razor blade itself:

Absolut Vodka ran some 'Album Cover Series' advertisements - a collection of famous album artwork modified with the Absolut Vodka bottle incorporated into the images. In 2001, Absolut added an ad featuring the British Steel cover, in which they placed a cutout of their vodka bottle in the center of the razor blade and titled it Absolut Priest:

The BRITISH STEEL album cover was even made into a Chu-bop mini bubble gum record that included the lyrics:

   
Judas Priest: Bubble-gum pop?

PROMO VIDEOS:

British Steel's campaign included the first full budget concept videos - a full year before there was even an MTV! Directing the videos was Sex Pistols videographer Julien Temple, who has also gone on to direct films such as EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY and video collections for bands such as the Kinks.


Director Julien Temple

  • Breaking The Law - Directed by Julien Temple and filmed in London's west end SOHO district at Barclay's Bank...

     "Probably one of the first conceptual videos - holding up a bank with guitars instead of guns to rob gold albums instead of bullion was certainly a novelty! What we didn't know was that we were soon to get a gold album for 'British Steel' by legitimate means... I still bank at Barclays, by the way!"
- K.K. Downing,
Metal Works liner note, 1993

     "One of the funny stories is, somebody came in and actually tried to make a withdrawal from the bank while we're doing the recording, cause they closed the bank down."
- Rob Halford, Headbangers Ball, July 31, 2004

Funny enough, the art department made a mistake on this video: They built a cardboard V-neck guitar for the security guard to play, but had placed the "V" upside-down!

  • Living After Midnight - Directed by Julian Temple, filmed at Sheffield Hall. Also performed as a lip-sync on Top Of The Pops.

     "Next time you're going past the Sheffield Steel factory, look at the clock on the wall and you'll see where 'Living After Midnight' was made, on this very stage all those years ago..."
- Rob Halford, Sheffield Hall stage, March 26, 1991

Thanks to the rise of both videos on the newly formed MTV, heavy metal and Judas Priest remained popular into the '90s pop culture through two cartoons:


You could find MTV's own Beavis And Butt Head
always headbanging to "Breaking The Law"


While Otto the bus driver loved to crank up
"Living After Midnight" on THE SIMPSONS

 

  • United - Lip-synced TOP OF THE POPS performance in honor of the single charting in the UK.

These videos are currently available on the ELECTRIC EYE DVD 2003 Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Music Video (UK Cat. # 2021939, US Cat. # CVD 51411)

JANUARY 1980: Turning silver (ware) into gold

The band members were quite pleased with the results they got mixing Unleashed In The East at Startling Studios, so they returned to Ringo Starr's house and called in Tom Allom to produce again. Tom had just wrapped up recording the Def Leppard debut album ON THROUGH THE NIGHT earlier that month at the same house.

In a mere 28 days, Allom and Priest would pull out all the stops and record the album that would earn Priest several US firsts, including gold certification and a break into the US Top 40. It would also become their highest ever chart position in the UK at #4!

     "To me, heavy metal is about the unreal and the unobtainable. It became an aspiration to live up to the world of heavy metal, which nobody can do. It's always bigger-than-life; by definition, it's bigger than big. That's why you have to strive to make it sound impossibly large."
- Tom Allom, BANG YOUR HEAD, 2002

To fully usher in the new decade and establish themselves further as the prime leaders and innovators of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, Priest and Tom Allom wanted to add a visual impact to their sonic pallet, painting pictures through sound effects added to their songs... But as sampled sounds did not yet exist, "Colonel" Allom had to become quite creative and inventive:

     "The role of a producer really is all about the co-ordination between the artist and the technical side. The producer is ultimately responsible for the record: for the material, the sound, the performance, and the quality of the recording. He carries the can. If it’s a success - he’s the hero; and if it’s a failure, the producer is the arsehole. It’s really as simple as that."
-Tom Allom, Music Journal, February, 2002

     "In those days, we used to invent everything we could in weird and wonderful ways. It was a great, fun album to do."
- Glenn Tipton, Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

The sound of a robot's scythe slashing through the air on "Metal Gods" for example, is actually Rob swinging a billiard cue through the air, with very heavy compression added on by Tom. And the thunder sound at the intro of the song was actually a large door in Ringo's house being slammed, with reverb and compression added. Yet another sound effect was made by whipping a guitar cable against a flight case on the kitchen table, though at first, they tried using Rob's famous bullwhip...

     "In fact, Rob was the proud owner of a bullwhip wasn't he? He used it onstage quite often, but I think we tried the whip and just couldn't get the sound, it just didn't do it..."
- K.K. Downing,
Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

And what of the clanking rhythmic sound of an army of marching robots at the end?

     "You know that clanking in the very last section that's supposed to be metallic robot gods marching along? Well, we recorded that at Tittenhurst Park, and the sound is actually someone banging a tray of cutlery on the kitchen table!"
- Glenn Tipton,
Metal Works liner note, 1983

     "I think it was actually knives and forks rather than spoons, because as this session went on, we had to literally eat with our hands..."
- Glenn Tipton, Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

Then there's the shattering glass sound heard in "Breaking The Law". That was the band and producer Tom Allom breaking Ringo Starr's milk and beer bottles on his porch! And the police siren in the song was actually K.K. using his Strat guitar and the whammy bar, along with some of Tom Allom's reverb and compression magic.

The hard work would pay off and Priest would soon be basking in American fame (ironic for a decidedly "British" album title!) and their first gold record.


Priest capture the "gold"!

FEBRUARY 1980: Stolen tapes hoax

Unbeknownst to the members and management of Judas Priest, London PR agent Tony McBrain fabricated a story about the upcoming Judas Priest album's master tapes having been stolen and held for ransom (such pranks led to McBrain earning the nickname "No Brain")! Several publications ran the story, such as this reprint by Steve Wall a couple of months before the album's release:

Judas Priest have paid up a £50,000 ($100,000) ransom to get the master tapes of their new album back from thieves who snatched them from a New York mixing studio.

The cash was handed over at a secret rendezvous between representatives of the band and the gang, although New York police policy is to advise victims not to pay ransom demands. But a spokesman for the band said loss of the tapes would have been a serious blow - complete re-recording would have meant cancellation of some part of their extensive world touring schedule.

As it stands, the raid, identified by New York's battle-hardened police force as a new type of crime, has affected Priest's plans - their British tour goes on as scheduled but much of it will be unsupported by an album.

And they will have to find some time to squeeze in a recording session for two tracks because one of the six canisters of tape was damaged.

Judas Priest spent two months and £35,000 ($60,000) recording the album in France on 24-track before having it flown to Coronet Studio for mixing. The tapes were missing during a break-in at the studio, though as little else was taken, it was obvious the thieves knew what they were looking for. The ransom demand came soon after the theft.

The band spent a week negotiating through agents while considering whether it was worthwhile refusing to pay. However, with a touring schedule that will see them out of the country until next year after the British dates, and only a quarter-inch copy of the new materials in their hands, Priest felt they had little option.

The album, as yet untitled, should be released by the end of March, just catching the tail end of the British gigs.
- Steve Wall, February 1980

LYRICS AND LEAD BREAKS:

Rapid Fire Metal Gods Breaking The Law Grinder United You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise
Living After Midnight The Rage Steeler Red, White & Blue

     "I was never a tits-and-ass lyricist. I could never write 'The Thong Song', but I could write 'Breaking The Law'. At the end of the day, music is about having a fuckin' good time, but if you can put in something a bit more than that, it's just more satisfying. I'm not a guy with a message by any standards, but I'd like to feel that the things that I write about are important issues that not only affect me, but affect everybody else."
- Rob Halford, SOUND OF THE BEAST, 2003

1. Rapid Fire
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing
Lead: K.K./Glenn/K.K./Glenn
Performed live in: 1998
Available live versions: '98 Live Meltdown (1998)

Pounding the world
Like a battering ram
Forging the furnace
For the final grand slam

Chopping away at the source
Soon the course will be done

Leaving a trail of destruction
That's second to none

Hammering anvils
Screaming muscle and might
Shattering blows
Crashing row beating fright

Fast devastating and
Desolisating the curse
Blasting the cannons of
Truth through each man
Of this earth

Wielding the axe
Comes the one culmination
That's always seemed
Certain to bring down the curtain on greed

Sifting the good from the bad
It's the age for the rage of the
Dogs which must fall to the just
And be free

Now grate for the vandals
Who trampled and sampled
Till this place conditioned
Brought forth demolition to war

The slipping and sliding
Corrosive subsiding
That withered and waned
Till the world seemed all drained
Fills the bay

2. Metal Gods
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: Glenn
Performed live in:1981-2002, 2004-2005
Available live versions: Judas Priest Live
(Video 1983, DVD 2004), Priest...Live! (Audio 1987, Re-Master 2001), '98 Live Meltdown (1998), Live In London (Video 2002, audio 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (broadcast bootleg, 1988), Halford Live Insurrection (2001)

     "I suppose we became metal gods to some people..."
- Glenn Tipton, Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

We've taken too much for granted
And all the time it had grown
From the techno seeds we first planted
Evolved a mind of its' own

Marching in the streets
Dragging iron feet
Laser beaming hearts
Ripping men apart

From off I've seen my perfection
Where we could do as we please
In secrecy this infection
Was spreading like a disease

Hiding underground
Knowing we'd be found
Caring for our lives
Reaped by robots scythes

Metal Gods, Metal Gods
Metal Gods, metal Gods

Machines are taking all over
With mankind in their command
In time they'd like to discover
How they can make their demand

Better be the slaves
To their wicked ways
But meeting with our death
Engulfed in molten breath

3. Breaking The Law
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: No specific lead break
Performed live in:1981-2002, 2004-2005
Available live versions: Judas Priest Live
(Video 1983, DVD 2004), Priest...Live! (Audio and video 1987, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), '98 Live Meltdown (1998), Live In London (Video 2002, audio 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (broadcast bootleg, 1988), Halford Live Insurrection (2001). US Festival (1983)
 

There I was completely wasting
Out of work and down
All inside it's so frustrating
As I drift from town to town
Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die
So I might as well begin
To put some action in my life

Breaking the law
Breaking the law
Breaking the law
Breaking the law

So much for the golden future
I can't even start
I've had every promise broken
There's anger in my heart
You don't know what it's like
You don't have a clue
If you did you'd find yourselves
Doing the same thing too

You don't know what it's like

4. Grinder
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: Glenn
Performed live in: 1980-1981, 1984, 1990-1991, 1998
Available live versions: '98 Live Meltdown
(1998), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), British Steel Re-Master (2001), Palladium, New York (broadcast bootleg 1981)
 
     " 'Grinder' recapitulated a lyrical theme that would recur in future albums - that of the individual going against the flow of society...the man declaring, 'I need room to breathe' from his stifling environment..."
- Bryan Reesman, METALOGY liner note, 204D, 2001

Never straight and narrow
I won't keep in time
Tend to bend the arrow out of line
Been inclined to wander
Off the beaten track
That's where there's thunder and the wind shouts back

Grinder - looking for the meat
Grinder - wants you to eat

Got no use for routine
I shiver at the thought
Open skies on my scene this boy won't get caught
Refuse to bait the man trap
Be left to set the snare
I love to have my sight capped everywhere

I have my license
It came with birth
For self reliance of this earth
You take the bullet
On which my name
Was etched to file me in your game

Day of independence
Stamped us like a brand
On the necks of millions to the land
As the mighty eagle
I need room to breath
Witness from the treadmill
I take my leave

5. United
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: No specific lead break
Performed live in: 1980-1981, 2001-2002, 2004
Available live versions: Live In London
(Video 2002, audio 2003), Various bootlegs from 1980 and 1981

Look around
They're movin' in
Hold the ground
When they begin

We can do it
We can do it
And if they wanna they can try
But they'll never get near
And they can keep out of here
Gonna keep on drivin' never stop

United, united
United we stand
United we stand one and all

So give me hope
Don't give in
Make a stand
We're gonna win

So give me love

6. You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: Glenn/K.K.
Performed live in: 1980-1981
Available live versions: Various bootlegs from 1980 and 1981

I've had enough of being programmed
And told what I oughta do
Let's get one thing straight
I'll choose my fate
It's got nothing to do with you

The years are flying by
And it's time I got high
Took a sample of the good things in life
This is the chance I'm gonna take
Gonna kick out trouble and strife

I've grown sick and tired of the same old lies
Might look a little young
So what's wrong
You don't have to be old to be wise

Now I don't care if the people stare
And accuse me of going mad
Just get a long hard look into the mirror
Then tell me who's been had

The way things are going
I won't get a show in
Don't seem a lot of time
Not to me

So it's off with the ties
No compromise
What it takes
What it's like to be free

All right I'm down on the reins
Holding the rope
Live and let live from now on
And as the free hand
Alone a free man
I got a world of my own

I go as I please
Fend for myself
Bull out all the stops
Throw the dice
Out on my own
Gonna go it alone
When I need it I'll ask for advice

7. Living After Midnight
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: Glenn
Performed live in:1980-2002, 2004-2005
Available live versions:
Judas Priest Live (Video 1983, DVD 2004), Priest...Live! (Audio and video 1987, Re-Master 2001, DVD 2003), '98 Live Meltdown (1998), Live In London (Video 2002, audio 2003), Long Beach Sports Arena, California (broadcast bootleg, 1984), Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (broadcast bootleg, 1988), US Festival (1983), Live Aid (1985)

     "I remember messing about with this chord sequence in the small hours through two or three Marshall stacks underneath the sleeping accommodation in the studio. Rob, who was trying to sleep above, came down bleary-eyed the next morning and said, 'I've got just the title for that: 'Living After Midnight' '..."
- Glenn Tipton, Metal Works liner note, 1983

     "Americans definitely got off on 'Living After Midnight', especially from a lyrical point of view. They could totally relate to the number, because it sort of summed up their lifestyle. In the States, people do stay up and go out, whereas in Britain everyone seems to be in bed by midnight because of the drinking laws."
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "What you think is catchy, other people will just shrug off and say, 'That's nice'. It's the songs you don't think much of that make people fall on the floor..."
- K.K. Downing, Guitar World, September 2004

     "But 'Living After Midnight' - yeah, we thought we had something there. The hooks, the title, the excitement - sure, we knew it was good."
- Glenn Tipton, Guitar World, September 2004

Living after midnight
Rockin' to the dawn
Lovin' till the morning
Then I'm gone, I'm gone

I took the city 'bout 1am
Loaded, loaded
I'm all geared up to score again
Loaded, loaded
I come alive in a neon light
That's when I make my moves right

I'm aiming for you
I'm gonna floor you
My body's coming all night long!

Got gleaming chrome reflectin' steel
Loaded, loaded
Ready to take on every deal
Loaded, loaded
My pulse is racin', I'm hot to take
This motor's revved up fit to break

The air's electric, sparking power
Loaded, loaded
I'm getting harder by the hour
Loaded, loaded
I set my sights and then home in
The joint starts flyin' when I begin

8. The Rage
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: K.K.

     " 'The Rage' in particular was one of the last things. We thought, 'We need another track and let's go knock one out'."
- Glenn Tipton,
Classic Albums British Steel DVD, 2001

     "Reggae meets metal - it sounds absurd but it works great. Out of all the songs on British Steel, this makes the most twists and turns - it's the most adventurous...and suddenly it slams in. You don't expect that riff to come in and when it does, it knocks you back,"
- Rob Halford,
Classic Albums
British Steel DVD, 2001

     "The lyrics are dramatic, the lyrics are big."
- Glenn Tipton,
Classic Albums
British Steel DVD, 2001

     "Unto this day, I haven't got a clue what I was singing about! I mean, I don't know where this idea came from - it kinda says, 'Be free to be what you want to be'."
- Rob Halford,
Classic Albums
British Steel DVD, 2001

From a fire ball we came
Cross sea and mountain
We were drinking beauty with our eyes
We were given all
To make our own
Let us be left alone

Lay the tasks and pay the price
Everything suffice
Crashed and bolted all we craved
After every whim
What a state we're in
Is pain better than the grave?

Well we talk with other men
We see red and then
Deep inside our blood begins to boil
Like a tiger in the cage
We begin to shake with rage

9. Steeler
G.Tipton/R.Halford/K.K. Downing

Lead: Middle lead: Glenn; end licks: K.K./Glenn/K.K./Glenn
Performed live in: 1980
Available live versions: Various bootlegs from 1980

Catch the flame now
Eye to eye
Don't let chances pass you by
Always someone at your back
Biding their time for attack

Check for decoys
Stay sharp edged
Double crosser's get your head
Carpet baggers bluff and strike
Kiss of judas spider like

Waiting like jackels
To sneak up and trick you
Wolves in sheeps clothing
So deft in consoling

Lurking in shadows
They pounce least expected
When they come to
They'll have gone right through you

Tricksters guilters
Play their game
Slight of handers
All the same

Masquerader in his lair
Wants to tangle in your hair

10. Red, White & Blue
RE-MASTERS Bonus Track
K.K. Downing/R. Halford/G. Tipton
Lead: Intro: K.K. then Glenn harmony; leads throughout song: Glenn

When I'm far away
And I can't get through
Wherever I roam
Keeps bringing me back to you

Holding on to hope
There's no need to fear
Wherever I roam
This piece of home
Keeps telling you that I'm near

So lift up your heart
Cause the brave will always come through
While we're apart
We will raise the red, white and blue

When I stand alone
Without you by my side
I think of all
That you stand for
It fills me up with pride

Reaching out to you
Across mountains, sea and sky
I think of all
That you stand for
And hope will never die

Now I'm coming home again
I'm coming home to you
And as I roam
This piece of home
Has brought me back to you

All songs published by EMI Songs Ltd.
Lead breaks are taken from the 1982 World Vengeance tour program

TOUR DATES 1980: British Steel Tour


1980 Tour Program

Rob Halford - v, Glenn Tipton - g, K.K. Downing - g, Ian Hill - b, Dave Holland - d

SETLIST (Orange titles are from the current album)

From the July 7 Calderone Hall, Long Island, New York show:
Hell Bent For Leather
The Ripper
Running Wild
Living After Midnight
Sinner
Beyond The Realms Of Death
You Don't Have To Be Old, To Be Wise
Grinder
Victim Of Changes
Steeler
Genocide
Tyrant
The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)

From the August 16 Monsters Of Rock show at Castle Donington:
The Ripper
Running Wild
Living After Midnight
Sinner
Beyond The Realms Of Death
You Don't Have To Be Old To Be Wise
Grinder
Victim Of Changes
The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)
Tyrant

Curiously, "Metal Gods" and "Breaking The Law" did not appear in the setlist until the following year!

 
Photos by Ross Halfin


Photos by Chris Walter

Pre-British Steel UK tour with support from Iron Maiden
DATE VENUE CITY, STATE COUNTRY NOTES
March 7Cardiff University Wales England  
March 8Leeds University Leeds England  
March 9 Colston Hall Bristol England Bootleg audio exists

     "Unlike the Marquee or even Bristols Bierkeller, this was not a place to stand up and boogie. You were expected to sit down, stay still and clap politely, a policy that the Nazi bouncers would try to enforce - sometimes successfully."
- Eyewitness

March 10 Apollo Theatre Manchester England Bootleg audio exists
March 11 City Hall Sheffield England Bootleg audio exists
March 12

 
    "We were playing in Sheffield Town Hall one night and I kept getting an electric shock out of my microphone all the time. Finally I got so pissed off that I just threw the guitar into the crowd, pushed all my amps down so that all my guitars broke in the middle, and walked of stage. The worst thing was that the band kept on playing and, I'll be damned, it sounded good! Even without me. I got even more pissed...!"
- Glenn Tipton
March 13 De Montford Hall Leicester England  
March 14 Hammersmith Odeon Theatre London England Bootleg audio exists from the March 15 show
March 15
March 16 Gaumont Theatre Southampton England  
March 18 Capitol Theatre Aberdeen Scotland  
March 19 Odeon Theatre Edinburgh Scotland  
March 20 Mayfair Theatre Newcastle England  
March 21
March 22 Apollo Theatre Glasgow Scotland  
March 23 Deeside Leisure Centre Queensferry England  

 

One time main circuit venue during late '70s - early '80s. Rubber mats were shipped in to cover the ice rink to allow 14,000 people to watch bands, usually getting water logged by the end of the show, and punters with very cold feet. Used to be the 6th largest capacity venue in the UK and hosted the likes of The Clash, The Jam, Adam & The Ants, Judas Priest, Bob Marley and Blondie.
- Link2Whales

March 23 Empire Theatre Liverpool England  
March 25 Trenthams Garden Grand Hall Theatre Stoke-on-Trent England  
March 26 Odeon Theatre Birmingham England Bootleg audio exists
March 27
March 27 BBC Studios London England "Living After Midnight" lip-sync performance for Top Of The Pops

     "It was a real drag that our appearance on Top Of The Pops clashed with the March 27 Birmingham show because we ended up being late again. We were promised faithfully that we'd have a helicopter laid on and no matter how late the TV show ran, we'd still get to Birmingham in more than enough time. But by the time we'd finished filming, fog stopped the helicopter from taking off. So we drove flat out across London to get a private plane, but again we were grounded because of the weather. All in all though, there are no excuses and we shouldn't have allowed the weather to stop us from getting there on time. We've got to own up and admit that was a black mark for us, but at the same time we were pushed into the situation by management. That's still no excuse for what happened and we were genuinely upset."
- Glenn Tipton, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "You're never going to believe what happened: The next year, exactly a year after our appearance for 'Evening Star', we did TOP OF THE POPS again with another song; we had a small airplane out at Luton airport waiting for us - same thing happened. Somebody was trying to tell us something there, I think. Either you cut your TOP OF THE POPS shit out or you're going to lose your fans!"
- K.K. Downing, Raw Power, 1991

April 1 Finsbury Park
Rainbow Theatre
London England Levis Jeans' 50th Anniversary Celebration
During the April Fool's Day encore, Rob kicked up a minor scandal by dropping his trousers and underwear in front of a capacity crowd:

     "I don't really know what possessed him to do it. I guess everyone was in good spirits because I seem to recall that we'd played a pretty outstanding set. I must confess I was a bit proud of him because he was hanging big that night!"
- K. K. Downing, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "Like many venues in the U.K., the Rainbow Theatre was an old cinema and I was standing about halfway back on the floor in the second bank of seats. During a long guitar solo (can't remember which song) Rob left the stage. A minute or so later a door to my left flew open and Rob came running full speed across in front of me. Unfortunately someone was standing nearby, minding his own business, watching the show, when Rob ran straight into him - sending the poor bloke flying! Rob then ran through the back of the mosh pit and eventually got back onto the stage. He was wearing black spandex/lycra pants which had big rips in them. At the end of the song he pulled them down and treated us to a sight of his 'meat and two veggies'..."
- Eyewitness

     "All my wristbands and belts were just torn to pieces! I was like a rag doll, so what could I do? I made a full statement of undress to the audience."
- Rob Halford, Circus, September 30, 1984

     "Never was such a thing so big displayed to a crowd so small!"
- Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

     "I was actually at that show at the Rainbow Theatre in London! It certainly was a brilliant show and I distinctly remember Rob jumping into the audience and exposing his bits back up on stage! What was strange was the fact that British Steel was just about to be released and 'Living After Midnight' was already in the UK singles chart (Rob actually thanked the audience for making it a hit), but they didn't play it or any other songs off British Steel at all!
- Eyewitness

April 3   London England  
April 5 Kotrijk Festival   Belgium  
April 6       
April 7   Plymouth England  
April 8   London England  
April 10   Grimsby England  
April 12Markthalle Hamburg West Germany Bootleg audio exists

Hamburg, West Germany
April 13Neue Welt Berlin West Germany  
April 14Niedersachsenhalle Hannover West Germany  
April 15Satory Saal Köln West Germany  
April 16Hugenottenhalle Neu Isenburg West Germany  
April 18Stadthalle Erlangen West Germany Bootleg audio exists
April 20 Schwabinger Bräu Munich West Germany  
April 21Rosengarten Mannheim West Germany  
April 22Stadthalle Karlsruhe West Germany  
April 25Bataclan Paris France Bootleg audio exists
April 26 Forest National Brussels Belgium  
US tour, with support from Def Leppard and Scorpions
May 9International Amphitheatre Chicago, IL USA  
May 25Will Rogers Auditorium Fort Worth, TX USA  
May 31 The Summit Houston, TX USA  
June 1 Civic Center San Antonio, TX USA  
June 2Corpus Christi Coliseum Corpus Christi, TX USA  
June 6Chaparral Center Arena Midland, TX USA  
June 7County Coliseum El Paso, TX USA  
June 12Veterans Memorial Coliseum Phoenix, AZ USA  
     "Memories of that concert are of Halford firing off a machine gun during 'Genocide', his facial contortions looking at K.K. during the whammy bar solo in 'Sinner', and the meet and greet at the local record store hours before the concert. After the concert, we were invited by the band to join them at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and bar for some good times."
- Eyewitness
June 13 Long Beach Arena Los Angeles, CA USA  
June 15 SDSU Amphitheater San Diego, CA USA Bootleg audio exists
June 17 Coliseum Arena Seattle, WA USA Bootleg audio exists
June 19 Fox Warfield Theater San Francisco, CA USA Bootleg audio exists
June 21 Coliseum Complex Portland, OR USA  
June 25 The Rainbow Music Hall Denver, CO USA Bootleg audio exists
June 29 Busch Stadium St. Louis, MO USA The Grand Slam Super Jam with Sammy Hagar, April Wine and Shooting Star
July 2 Rochester Auditorium New York, NY USA Bootleg audio exists
July 3 Convention Center Ashbury Park, NJ USA  
July 4 Stage West Hartford, CT USA Opening band Cryar
     "This venue held several thousand people but unfortunately there were only about 200 people there to see the band. This was probably due to the fact the the show was booked only a week or two in advance and there was not enough time to properly promote the show. The band kicked ass this night and I had the pleasure of meeting K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and Rob Halford who took the time out to chat with the handful of people in the parking lot that day. I got a BRITISH STEEL album autographed by all three, got to hear them do sound check and had front row between center and K.K.'s side of the stage."
- Eyewitness
July 5 Nassau Coliseum Hampstead, NY USA Bootleg audio exists
July 7 Calderone Hall Long Island, NY USA Bootleg audio exists
July 8 Towson Center Towson, MD USA  
July 12Palladium New York, NY USA  
July 22Busch Stadium St. Louis, MO USA  
July 23Wings Stadium Kalamazoo, MI USA  
July 25Pekin Memorial Arena Pekin, IL USA With Scorpions, Joe Perry Project and Heart
July 27Rockford Motor Speedway Rockford, IL USA With Scorpions, Joe Perry Project and Heart
July 28 Five Flags Center Dubuque, IA USA With Scorpions and Def Leppard
July 29 Wings Stadium Kalamazoo, MI USA With Scorpions and Def Leppard
July 30 Hara Arena Dayton, OH USA With Scorpions and Def Leppard
Interestingly enough, it seems Glenn and K.K. inadvertently set the Scorpions' Rudolf Schenker on the path to writing the band's early '80s smash "Blackout"...
     "I remember we had a party with K.K. and Glenn from Judas Priest and for a while, there were also the guys there, from Def Leppard. And we were having a party with K.K. and Glenn and they gave me a drink, and it was beer, and I was, 'No, no, you have to have the right mix: whiskey, beer and wine on top of it.' And they are like, 'What!?' And I was, 'Yes, come on.' And we were getting heavily drunk and we had a good time.
     "And I think K.K. had the idea, 'Hey, let's go to the Def Leppard guys.' Because we were in Cleveland - the Cleveland Hall, next door was the hotel. So we went to the Def Leppard guys and then somehow, they were watching television. They were very young in these days. This was 1980 I think, because we were playing together, Def Leppard, Judas Priest and Scorpions in Cleveland. So I saw them watching TV and I poured my drink into the television. And the whole television went 'poof!' And this was the situation and I said, 'OK, we have to leave, we have to go now.' But anyway, it became so crazy, and the next morning I wake up in my hotel room and I said, 'What's happening?' I went to Herman and he wasn't there, he wasn't at the party, and I said to Herman, 'Hey, I'll tell you what, it was crazy last night. I remember to this point and this point' and he said, 'You know what you had? You had a blackout.' And I said, 'Blackout?' And then he said, 'Hey, you know, that's a great title for an album. And because of this kind of special party, I went back home and said I think I have to write a song, the music, because Klaus was writing most of the lyrics. So I sat at home and made the song and then went to Klaus and he came up with the lyrics and then we had it."
- Rudolf Schenker
July 31 Civic Arena Pittsburgh, PA USA Bootleg audio exists
August 2 The Garden Boston, MA USA  
August 3 Onondaga War Memorial Syracuse, NY USA Bootleg audio exists
August 5 Hara Arena Dayton, OH USA  
August 16 Castle Donnington, Donnington Park Derby England Monsters Of Rock Festival
Bootleg audio exists

    "Rob bit me once; it was the first Donington Monsters Of Rock Festival and it was a mud bath. I'd been shooting in the mud all day and ran into a very drunk Glenn and Rob at the backstage area which were some stables or a garage. All I remember is it was damp and cold and miserable. I said, 'I haven't eaten all day, I'm starving.' I felt these two teeth sink into my shoulder and a drunk Rob said, 'You can eat me anytime mate'."
- Ross Halfin, rock photographer
 

August 23 Neunkirchen Festival Nuremberg Germany  
August 28 BBC Studios London England "United" lip-sync performance for Top Of The Pops


US tour dates are taken from the BRITISH STEEL T-shirt


© 2002-2003
Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.