Turn that guitar synthesizer up to “11” my friends because on this very day in music history, the great Judas Priest released their 10th studio album with “Turbo”. Now I know some of you younger fans might be wondering what the “synthesizer” reference is all about and well, the simple answer is when this album was first unveiled to the public many were surprised that there was a sleek synthesizer sound to the guitars. Some loved it and some hated it. Oh who am I kidding, when Priest followed up their monster “Defenders Of The Faith” with this one a lot of people were left scratching their heads. I am included in this number because it just felt so odd for them to have employed this after such a crushing release. When it was first released the fans were under the assumption that this was to be a double album but when the single LP release came out the larger discussion stopped about that. Remember these are the days before the means of Googling everything and unless you knew someone in the inner sanctum of the record industry you were not getting the full scoop about what was coming out or not. By 1986 I was very into The Priest and had been a diehard acolyte to their Metal ways since my full listening of “Unleashed In The East” a few years prior to “Turbo” coming out. Historically speaking I had actually only gotten into the band about seven years before. 1986 was a hot and heavy year for the MTV channel and many bands were focusing on their images and sound in order to better cater it to the network and Judas Priest would not be a band to let the chance to reach many more fans go by them. The black leather and chains had been replaced by more colorful stage garb and there might have been a little more hairspray in the dressing room than there had been in the past.
With “Turbo”, the sleekness also found a bit more of a “commercial accessibility” to the song writing and outside of a few choice tracks there was a lot about the album that made me wonder what kind of future the band was aiming for. Amidst the good or “more promising” tracks there was a whole bunch of “yikes”. Let’s take a look at the tracks on the album and let me add that all of these were penned by Halford, Tipton and Downing. I’ll discuss my preferred tracks afterward and of course expect your views in the comments about this one. Let’s go.
1. Turbo Lover
2. Locked In
3. Private Property
4. Parental Guidance
5. Rock You All Around The World
6. Out In The Cold
7. Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
8. Hot For Love
Looking over the tracks once again, it seems as though the same songs that I enjoyed many years ago are still resonating the strongest for me today on the 30th Anniversary. Starting with the title track “Turbo Lover”, I’ve always felt it was catchy but it was far from a favorite Judas Priest song in my personal list. So many of my Metal friends felt the same way of course and that standpoint made it super amusing during the “Redeemer Of Souls” tour when the band pulled that one out for the set. The entire arena was singing along word for word with the band. So much for the hate on the tune huh. My very favorite tune fell to “Locked In” and this was the first tune I heard from the album. I remember first hearing it on the radio and running to the phone to call a fellow Priest crazed friend who lived out of state so he could listen over the wire. I absolutely hated the lameness of “Parental Guidance” and “Private Property” even though the first one was a statement about the whole PMRC debacle that was still generating a lot of press. I felt that “Rock You All Around The World” was a fun track but not a super favorite and over time the “Out In The Cold” tune won me over. That happened when I witnessed it live in concert as it was their opener and used very dramatically for Halford’s entrance. The band had Dokken opening up for them and my friend and I drove all the way out to Long Island without tickets in the hopes of snagging a pair for a reasonable price. Back then this was very possible and believe it or not the seats were awesome. Once I locate the ticket stub and tour book I will add them to the narrative but right now I have no idea where either item is. The “Turbo” tour was documented on the live DVD and CD “Priest Live” which of course back in the day came to us as LP, cassette and VHS tape. Do you still have your copies of this in any of those formats?
Priest’s slightly “new sound” and direction did get them a lot of rotation on MTV but I don’t think those were the people buying the album because it didn’t really sell all that well and after the live album also failed to drop any serious numbers it was back to the heaviness with “Ram It Down”. This would be followed by “Painkiller” and the course has been steady as she goes ever since which in my opinion is a very good thing. As in the past these Milestones are more of my personal connection to an album and many of the finer production details have been left to your own discovery care of the releases Wikipedia entry. There is no need to repeat what is already documented so check that out below and please consider leaving some thoughts about how this album affected you as a fan of Judas Priest when you first hear or purchased it or saw them do this stuff on the live stage. Congratulations Judas Priest on your “Turbo” album reaching its third decade.
Official Website: http://www.judaspriest.com
Official Album Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo_%28Judas_Priest_album%29
The link below will take you to the original remastered edition from 2002 but there was no special edition release for this anniversary. I guess every album doesn’t get one at the end of the day.
Oh and before I forget. We raised a glass in honor of the 40th Anniversary of “Sad Wings Of Destiny” back in March of this year in a post that you can find on THIS LINK.