Judas Priest are nothing less than legendary gods of metal.
They are currently readying their 17th album, Redeemer of Souls which marks the 40th year since their formation, during which time they've sold over 50 million records, entertained countless millions of fans and influenced a host of other great acts.
We caught up with lead singer Rob Halford to discover his Ultimate Playlist: his favourite tracks and the stories behind them.
Redeemer of Souls is released July 14th
Favourite Movie Soundtrack
"I've gone for John Williams, with the Star Wars movie soundtrack, just because it's a brilliant franchise and everyone's excited about the new Star Wars that are being developed right now with JJ Abrams. I think a movie soundtrack should try and capture the essence of the film and, to me, John Williams is an extraordinary composer - everything that he's done really does that job, so when you hear that opening refrain, it's electric - it just prepares you for something extraordinary. Now, of course, it's become such a beloved bunch of movies, when you hear those first few notes, it's just electric so, for me, it just does the absolute spot-on job of what a great composition for a movie should be."
Favourite Sad Song
"Well here's one from the past - I've chosen Love Hurts by Nazareth. I love Dan McCafferty - he's got a brilliant voice and of course sadly he's had to retire recently - but for me, y'know, being a metal head, when I first heard that song way back in the 70s, I thought how great it was because it showed that even this kind of music can touch you emotionally. Especially with Dan's voice, extraordinary voice - one of the great rock singers of all time - he really does the business for me. Even now when I hear that song, it just carries all the emotion and passion necessary in that kind of ballad."
Favourite Club Anthem
"In my world - I mean, I don't do the clubs now [laughs] - but, being a gay guy, those types of clubs and those types of experiences are still fun for me, but I haven't been to a bar or a club in absolutely ages! But I just want to reference some of the rock clubs that I used to go to here in the Midlands, particularly in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm going to choose a song by a band that always sets the room on fire and everybody just does that kind of metal dance - there used to be this really kind of cool, primitive, caveman-type metal dance where you'd put your thumbs in your jean pockets and you would just stand with your legs spread apart and you'd move your shoulders back and forwards. And the song that used to get everybody going was Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. It's got that famous phrase "heavy metal thunder" so that's a pretty good choice. I daresay if you found rock clubs today - I know there are some - and they put that on, everyone gets up and starts bopping to it."
Favourite Song That No One Else Knows
"I don't know if you've ever heard of this band from America called Pelican...they're a cult, instrumental band and they play this extraordinary type of metal music. It's difficult to define it really; some people say it's stoner metal, some people call it psychedelic metal...in the band is a mate of mine, Andy Hurley from Fall Out Boy, he plays some drums for them. I saw them last year, I went to see them at the Casbah club in San Diego and they were just incredible. They were a very interesting band to listen to, because it's all instrumentation - they don't have a singer. But the power that they make is unlike anything else you'll probably ever hear. Bliss in Concrete is the song - it's a strange title, but they're an unusual band."
Favourite Wedding Song
"You're gonna laugh at this one - I know this has happened, 'cause it was a mate of mine - they actually played Highway to Hell. There's probably a list of 50,60,100 wedding songs that are always played and there's always some rockers like, y'know, songs by Queen for example, or The Stones, or whomever and I know there are other AC/DC songs that get played, cos - y'know, what a brilliant band - but I just thought it was typical British humour - we just got married, we're on the highway to hell!"
Favourite Current Song
"I'm gonna go with our mates from Birmingham Black Sabbath with God is Dead? I love that song for many, many reasons. The main reason for me is that, much like Priest, the lads have been playing for ever and they've an extraordinary album. All the songs on 13 are just top notch and for them to release a single that was nearly 9 minutes long just shows you that they still value everything that Black Sabbath represents. They were always against the grain, always against the system of the music world, so God is Dead? is just a fantastic acclamation of how brilliant Black Sabbath still are."
Favourite Song From Your Childhood
"When I was a kid, my aunt brought round an old record player she didn't want and there were some '45 singles in there and they were by Bill Haley & The Comets, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. And the first song that really hit me was the Little Richard one - it was Good Golly, Miss Molly. As a kid, I didn't know what it was - I'd never heard that kind of music before, it was just electric, it was instant, just his voice. Little Richard, I think he's still performing - again, being a singer I can really relate to what the voice should do and his is unique, and it's powerful and it's emotional - much like Dan McCafferty - and it's a great song, it's the roots of rock 'n' roll, it's where everything comes from."
Favourite Lyric From a Song
"It is difficult because I'm a lover of thousands and thousands of songs, but I've chosen one that will always resonate with me and that's Imagine by John Lennon. Just because I'm still a massive Beatles fan and I think that all songs have messages, all songs convey some kind of an idea or make you think, and I think when Imagine came out, it really made the world think. Some songs come and go, lyrically, but this one, with John basically making a plea for world peace, is just a beautiful thing to do. The lyrics are outstanding, and the song is as well, it just shows you what a genius Lennon was."
Favourite Novelty Song
"You'll probably know of this amazing thing that happened in the 80s with Adrian [Edmondson] and Rik [Mayall] from The Young Ones. Well, a spin-off of The Young Ones was this band that they put together called Bad News. It was a very culty, short-lived thing and the belief is that Bad News was the touchstone for Spinal Tap. As my memory serves me, Rick and Adrian had the idea of just a young metal band trying to make it and get onto the Monsters of Rock stage in the Midlands, in Donington. It was a one-hour special and it's fucking hilarious. It's just pure comedy and satire and parody and their performances are just...I can't describe it. Even now when I think about it, it's one of those things you can watch over and over again - it's always funny - but it totally captures some of the characters that go into metal bands. You've got Spider Webb on drums, Adrian's name was Vim Fuego and Rik was the bass player, but he actually works at a bank, so he's playing this completely odd character. It's only Adrian's performance that is pure, he's genuine, wants to be a huge metal star, but for Rik, he doesn't really commit to it as much as the rest. Watch it, it'll blow your mind!"
Favourite Song From Your Own Music
"I'm gonna go with Breaking the Law. You know, 17 albums, hundreds and hundreds of songs but I'm gonna pick one I think was just a great moment for us. It came from British steel and it was like a bit of a watershed for metal to some extent. We made a very concise, short - it's barely 40 minutes long - we were just banging out song after song. So I think that's a pretty good choice, it was difficult but I think most people know that song - there's a great video that goes to it too, so I'm gonna go with Breaking The Law."