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HERO, HERO

 

BAND MEMBERS:


Judas Priest L-R:
Glenn Tipton: Guitars, Piano
Ian Hill: Bass Guitar
Rob Halford: Vocals
K.K. Downing: Guitars
Not shown:
John Hinch: Drums
Alan Moore: Drums

ALBUM:

Prelude Tyrant Rocka Rolla One for the Road
Victim of Changes
Dying to Meet You Never Satisfied
Dreamer Deceiver
Deceiver
 

Winter Deep Freeze Winter Retreat  
Cheater
Diamonds and Rust
Run of the Mill
Genocide Caviar and Meths

  • Released 1981 by Gull Records (UK Cat. # GULP 2005/6) 2LP set

Remixed and Remastered by Rodger Bain at Morgan Studios, London 1981
Produced by Rodger Bain, Jeffery Calvert, Max West, and Judas Priest
Engineered by Vic Smith, Jeffery Calvert, Dave Charles, and Chris Tsangarides
Recorded at Olympic, Trident, and Island Studios, London June/July, 1974; Rockfield Studios, Whales, November/December, 1975
Mixed at Morgan Studios, London, December, 1975

"Diamonds And Rust" bonus produced by Jeffery Calvert, Geraint Hughes (aka: Max West), and Judas Priest
Engineered by Jeffery Calvert
Recorded at Morgan Studio, London, December, 1975
Drums: Alan Moore

With Judas Priest gaining worldwide recognition for their live 1979 tour-de-force Unleashed In The East and their 1980 breakthrough British Steel, David Howells felt he should unite producer Rodger Bain with new advancements in technology to re-mix Rocka Rolla and give it the production it should have had in the first place, hopefully tasting a slice of the Priest popularity pie along the way. Rodger made vast improvements to the audio, producing a stronger, cleaner album with greater stereo separation, and he made changes that gave it more of a rock attitude, such as removing Rob's harmonica from "Rocka Rolla" and changing the effects on K.K.'s "Deep Freeze" to make it sound more like the chilling blizzard it portrays. Other changes included adding the "missing" first verse (the band would often perform the song live with the last verse at both the beginning and the end of the song)  onto "Rocka Rolla", adding slapback echo to the guitars and doubling the vocals on "Winter Retreat", and giving a polished touch by adding stereo spread and reverb to the Gull Records version of "Diamonds And Rust". To complete the album's metal makeover, several Sad Wings Of Destiny tracks were added on, making this a much longer release than the previous Best Of Judas Priest compilation.

But not everything turned out so well: Though the EQ was improved, the guitars still retain a thin sound that does not reflect the direction of Glenn and K.K., and while "Rocka Rolla" came closer to the band's vision, it also fades out early, cutting short Glenn's outro solo. The new effects added to "Winter Retreat" do little to help the song. In fact, Rob's hum-along at the intro is practically faded to non-existence, while rather than enhancing it, the slapback echoes and doubled voice distract from the song with their strange effects. And instead of simply polishing up "Diamonds And Rust", Rodger buried Rob's harmonies during the choruses and eliminated Glenn's hot guitar licks from the verses in favor of an over-used phase-shifter on the rhythm. He does boost Glenn's solo during the bridge, which was hard to hear on the original version. Also the Priest classic "The Ripper" is strangely omitted, which did not sit well with the fans, who felt it was a stronger track than perhaps "Genocide" and "Prelude". Once again, it seemed the producer behind the early Black Sabbath masterpieces did not share the vision of Judas Priest, even after a second attempt to re-mix the material. Roger never did gain any respect from the fans or the band members, and was beginning to grow disillusioned with the whole recording industry. Rodger Bain disappeared from the scene by the mid '80s, though his contribution to the genre with those first three Black Sabbath albums remains a cornerstone of heavy metal...

Subsequintly, most current reissues of HERO, HERO don't even bother to use Rodgers remixed tracks. BUYER BEWARE!!!
In fact, Germany's Line-By-Line, Australia's Possum Records and Japan's Victor Entertainments CDs seem to be the only reissues to have used the remixed tracks!

SINGLES:

  • Tyrant/Rocka Rolla/Genocide released in 1983 by Gull Records (UK Cat. # GULS 7612)

ARTWORK:

Logo Design: John Pasche
Sleeve Design: David Howells
Cover Illustration: Mel Grant, aka Melvyn
Liner Illustrations: Alan Morrison

 

Artist Mel Grant, "Melvyn", paints a variety of subject matters, among them being a fantasy piece that caught the attention of Gull Records' President David Howells. Howells then asked for second rights to publish the painting as an album sleeve. The 1976 painting SWORD OF THE GAEL originally appeared on the Andrew J. Offutt fantasy-fiction novel of the same title before Howells commissioned the work for this Priest compilation. An interesting observation is that the book has a copyright date of 1975, yet Grant says the painting is from 1976 and the book was never published before the painting was used as the cover...

     "I met David Howells through my dealings with Roger Dean and Paper Tiger. David liked the artwork of Sword of the Gael and asked if he could have second rights to use it on the Priest HERO, HERO cover (the publisher, as the original commissioner, has the first right to use it as a cover on the titled book; the copyright of the artwork is my property so I am free to give second rights for any other products other than book covers). If I remember correctly, a modified version of Sword of the Gael was also used on a Judas Priest album cover in Germany. I think it was silver with a black image.
     "Why there is a discrepancy with the dates on Sword of the Gael I have no idea. I have checked the painting and it defiantly is '76. I do not have a copy of the book to possibly find a clue. Maybe it was something to do with the author's/publisher's copyright, or perhaps they put the type together before they finalised the cover. But one thing is for certain, if it has my cover on it, it wasn't on the market before I did the painting."
- Mel Grant, 2003

The title HERO, HERO is taken from the lyrics in the ROCKA ROLLA released song "Dying To Meet You".

CD REISSUES:

One good thing about these Hero, Hero CD reissues is that each one finally has the "Winter Suite" tracks separated at the proper break points, which has not been the case with the Rocka Rolla CD reissues so far...

Below is a chart of the most noted of the reissue CDs (Thanks to Chris of the Judas Priest Collector's Page for CD listings and pictures). All except for the Victor/JVC 20-Bit K2 remaster have background hiss and feature very similar audio (as they all appear to use the RCA digital remaster), with variations only in volume and EQ. A Listening Guide is provided in the chart along with personal recommendations as an aid in finding a match to your personal preference. After finding the version you want, try searching for this rare title at the Global Electronic Music Marketplace:
 
HERO, HERO AT

Label Year Catalog No. Audio Notes Packaging Notes Listening Guide/Recommendations

Line By Line Records

Germany

1985

LICD 9.004140

Original Rodger Bain remix

Original front cover; generic back cover

 

Very clean noise-free reissue.

Only this, the Possum Records and Victor Entertainments reissues are known to use the actual Rodger Bain remixed Rocka Rolla and "Diamonds And Rust" tracks, making this a highly recommended collectible

 

RCA Corporation

USA

1988

5399-2-R

The copyright shows 1985, Gull Records. This is when RCA licensed the release, but the CD was produced by RCA in 1988

 

Digital remaster from Executive Producer: Don Wardell
Producers: John Snyder;
Susan Ruskin
Engineered by: Joe Lopez; Rick Rowe

Other information not known at this time

 

Image pending

Review pending

I believe this version may use the original Rodger Bain remixed tracks. If so, then I will highly recommend it if you can locate a copy

Possum Records

Australia

1989

CDGULL 2275

Original Rodger Bain remix Only this, the Line By Line Records and Victor Entertainment reissues are known to use the actual Rodger Bain remixed Rocka Rolla and "Diamonds And Rust" tracks, making this a highly recommended collectible

Teichiku Records

Japan

1992

TECX-20608

Other information not known at this time OBI packaging

More info and CD image pending

Review pending

 

Connoisseur Collection

UK

1995

CSAP CD 119

 

Other information not known at this time Original front cover; generic back cover

Picture disc

Review pending

Transluxe Records

USA

1997

57805-2

 

Digitally mastered by Bob Fisher at Digital Domain
 

Reissue packaging: Alan Messer

Original front cover graphic with different front layout and title style; alternate back cover

Bonus track Gull recording of "Diamonds And Rust"

Picture disc

 

Compression and scooped mids smoothes out the highs and adds better consistency, but creates a lack of volume and energy

Has a solid low end without getting boomy and no hiss

I do not recommend any version of Hero, Hero that does not use the original Rodger Bain remixed Rocka Rolla audio as these do not keep to the original intent of the release

Koch Reissues

USA

2000

KOC-CD-8069

 

 

Dave Nives produced this reissue

Another popular version due to its relative availability on store shelves and perceived "fuller" sound

 

Reissue package by Koch's Brad Wrolstad

Original front cover graphic with different front layout and title style; generic back cover

Picture disc

 

Boosted high and low end gives lots of volume and energy, but tends to sound a bit boomy and raspy as well, plus the usual hiss still remains

I do not recommend any version of Hero, Hero that does not use the original Rodger Bain remixed Rocka Rolla audio as these do not keep to the original intent of the release

Victor Entertainment

Japan

2002

VICP-61652

 

 

Digitally remastered using the JVC 20-Bit K2 Super Coding System with 128 times over-sampling, high resolution analog to digital converter, and down-sampling to CD without loss of low-level information

 

Original front cover graphics and detailed liner notes; back cover unknown

 

Only this, the Line By Line Records and Possum Records reissues are known to use the actual Rodger Bain remixed Rocka Rolla and "Diamonds And Rust" tracks, making this a highly recommended collectible if you have the funds and can locate a copy

20-Bit K2 provides hiss-free and clearer audio without sampling distortion - allows the listener to hear ever subtle sonic nuance in the music

 


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