Ageless hit Judas Priest - how "Breaking the Law" was created

“We were thrilled when the song made so much noise! Our music has been taken to a new level…”

The history of creation, and the further fate of the hit "Breaking the Law"

"Breaking the Law" - the hit needs no introduction, but its fascinating story definitely deserves to be publicized. The song for which they broke milk bottles, has become the most recognizable melody not only for Judas Priestbut also for heavy metal in general! Introductory guitar riff although simple, it is impossible to confuse it with another. This is a truly unique composition, which is dearly loved by listeners even today. But it was released back in 1980 ...

Spontaneous idea that became a classic

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

History "Breaking the Law" originates on a farm in Staffordshire. The song was born on one very gray and rainy day, when a spontaneous, but brilliant idea came to the guitarist Glenn Tipton. Lyrics were written by the vocalist Rob Halfordwho later recalled:

“The idea came from Ringo Starr's old house where we recorded the British Steel album. It came out of thin air and ended up becoming a heavy metal classic!” The musician continues: “We all came from the poor working class. In those days, Walsall and West Bromwich were rather dull parts of Birmingham. Of course, there was a burning desire within us to break out of this cycle that leads nowhere, and this desire inspired the lyrics about breaking the law…”

Cry of protest

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

In the end 70s came to the post of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher. Few people liked what she did, including Halford:

“It was a time when there was a lot of strife in the UK - a lot of government scandals, miners were on strike, car unions were on strike, there were street riots ... Unemployment was rising. It was a terrible time. Worst of all, millions of young people had no hope and felt ignored. This prompted me to write lyrics to try and convey the feelings of that time. I tried to imagine myself as an unemployed young guy who lost his mind in all this chaos ... "

guitar player Glenn Tipton recalled:

“I think we wrote this song in about an hour. Rob kept saying, “Breaking the law, breaking the law…” And before we knew it, we already had a classic on our hands!”

Curiously, despite the fact that Priest opposed the trend of punk music in Britain, "Breaking the Law" includes influences from the genre. It has an assertive drive and an anarchist attitude that can only be found in a song. Sex Pistols!

Breaking milk bottles

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

It is worth emphasizing that in some way the album british steel was innovative, because at the time of its recording, the group decided to experiment with sound Priest wanted to make their music simpler and less processed. And they succeeded. What was especially remembered by the listeners was the howl of a siren and the sound of broken glass in "Breaking the Law". In fact, to achieve these sound effects, the musicians did not have to rob a bank and later hide from the police. Everything turned out to be much easier ...

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

The sound of broken glass is more than real. However, if you hear it, you imagine how Halford and his colleagues are throwing bricks at shop windows, you are mistaken. In fact, the group unleashed their crushing energy... on bottles from the milk that the milkman brought them in the morning. As for the police sirens, then she turned out to be Kenneth Downing, or rather it Stratocaster!

“We threw bottles at the wall after we had a few,” Halford later chuckled.

Conquering MTV

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

Julien Temple a chic music video was filmed, which received more than 50 million views on YouTube. The video shows the members of Priest as some kind of robbers, thieves who break into a bank and rob a safe. Their main weapon turned out to be guitars, and the guard in amazement is watching what is happening on the video surveillance camera! Pretty comical in one word...

After years Kenneth Downing said:

“Today it makes me laugh - how we were forced to do all this on camera! But we were young and it was exciting. We probably made the first concept video in the history of heavy metal. It reminds me that no matter how famous and powerful we were, we still did what was required of us ... "

In its turn Halford said:

“MTV was about to become a huge field leading to Olympus, and we understood this. We knew we had to use it to the fullest!”

The label saw prospects

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

Exactly Columbia Records insisted that "Breaking the Law" be the second single from British Steel. The label also agreed finance what turned out to be one of the most comical videos in the history of heavy metal.

“We were thrilled when the song made so much noise! We took our music to the next level,” recalls Halford.

As a result, the single achieved great success in the UK charts, and later the channel VH1 recognized him as one of 40 greatest metal works throughout history. The song has left its mark on many places in popular culture. It has been played on the radio for many years and has also been used on the big screen. "Breaking the Law" graced one of the episodes The Simpsons

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