Back in 2014 we celebrated the fact that the very first Judas Priest album had been released forty years ago with “Rocka Rolla” but as many fans of the band knew full well – their debut was NOT a Metal album by any real qualification and instead had more of a Heavy Blues and Hard Rock vibe to it along with some light Psychedelic elements. I toasted the release HERE for those interested in checking it out. “Sad Wings Of Destiny” would come out almost two years later and find a couple of notable changes taking place. The first would be the most important and come by the way of the band’s sound which had gotten a lot edgier and showed that The Priest was indeed a Heavy Metal band from bottom to top from this moment on. Songs like “Victim Of Changes” showed us just what kind of a vocal powerhouse Rob Halford was and the guitar work of Tipton and Downing just cut through your speakers when played at significant volume. The second change would come over on the drum throne as John Hinch who recorded the first album was replaced by Alan Moore (no, not the comic book writer). The band felt that Moore had better skills on the kit and served the bands future needs in terms of what he could do on drums.
Now before I get any further I need to say that I would not hear this album when it came out either even though it was 1976. I wasn’t buying my own music yet and was stuck in the Rock radio of the day to get my music fix. I had heard KISS around this time but Priest was not something that radio stations were playing at all. You would get your Rock staples like Purple, Sabbath and Mountain which did help me build a heavy music base but I would not indulge in any Judas Priest until at least 1980 or a tad later. As with other milestones of this kind, these are personal reflections with some finer details as opposed to a litany of them. Those needing deep research can open up the Albums Wiki entry below. Now let’s take a glance at the full album tracks and discuss what the favorites are for me.
1. Victims Of Changes
2. The Ripper
3. Dreamer Deceiver
9. Island Of Domination
Four of these tunes would eventually make their way to the incredible “Unleashed In The East” live album of 1979 and this strikes me as very interesting when you consider how three albums followed this one before that live effort would come out. Those tracks were “Victim Of Changes”, “The Ripper”, “Genocide” and “Tyrant” and since that live album was something that I listened to again and again on an almost daily basis back in the day, I can safely inform that those four tunes have remained my own favorites to this day. For many years the band would maintain that if you wanted to enjoy the most important tracks from “Sad Wings Of Destiny” that you were best served by simply purchasing “Unleashed In The East”. They didn’t want a penny going over to the people at Gull Records since they had been unsuccessful at obtaining the rights to the master tapes around this time. I hadn’t listened to this album in quite some time but did so for the purpose of this milestone toast and had to say that most of its classic numbers are still pretty strong today. When Legacy Recordings released that comprehensive boxed set of Priests albums, this was included along with “Rocka Rolla” but they were little sleeves instead of any kind of packaging. Perhaps it’s time for the folks at Legacy to do some kind of double CD package with these two long ago classics. Judas Priest was getting some firm footing on the Metal path that they would begin walking with this album and the best was yet to come. So what did you think about this sophomore release by Judas Priest? Did you own a copy when it came out or where you one of those latecomers like I was who discovered their past after getting into them later on in their career? Make sure you let me know in the comments so we can get some good insight.
Congratulations Judas Priest to your true Metal beginnings with “Sad Wings Of Destiny”, It’s a great point in your storied career and for those fans who might not have heard it in full, look up on one of the links below or in Spotify.
Official Website: http://www.judaspriest.com
Official Album Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sad_Wings_of_Destiny
As mentioned in my Milestone about “Rocka Rolla”, a remastered copy of this album on its own is not currently available but can be found on a comprehensive “Collected Albums” release that came out a couple of years ago on Sony’s Legacy Recordings label. I’ve linked that for you below along with “Hero, Hero” which is also a little tough to locate these days. Like I said just above, I think it would be great if Legacy Recordings would issue a double CD with both of them on it in full. I am guessing that since it was a part of the expansive box set that the band now has the rights back at long last. Maybe we should start a petition