While on tour in support of their album ‘Killing Machine’/’Hell Bent For Leather’, Judas Priest decided to record a couple shows for use on a live album. The shows that were recorded were the February 10 & 15, 1979 shows at Kosei Nenkin Hall and Nakono Sun Plaza in Tokyo, Japan. After 5 studio albums, it was time for the world to see what Priest was like live for those that had not seen them in concert. The 70’s were big for Live albums, as seen by UFO, Peter Frampton and Kiss, so why not Judas Priest.
There is a lot of debate on whether the album is actually live. The short answer is yes, it is….sort of. The long answer is much more complicated. The music is definitely live with maybe a few touch-ups in the studio. The vocals, however, are not truly live. Yes, a live person sang them live in to a studio microphone, but these are not the vocals from that show because according to Rob Halford, his vocals on the tape get messed up and they had to be redone. They did record him singing as he would in a live concert setting except he was in a studio. Which explains probably how some of those notes were hit so perfectly. There is a common name people call this album and it is usually, Unleashed in the Studio. Regardless of any of the above, it doesn’t seem to have bothered the buying public because the album quickly went Platinum and is one of the best live albums of all time thanks to the work of producer Tom Allom. You know Tom, he was a recording engineer and producer of the likes of Black Sabbath and he produced Def Leppard’s debut album ‘On Through the Night’.
After finishing up the tour for ‘Sin After Sin’, the band didn’t rest for too long before they jumped right back in the studio. They were on a brutal schedule of album, tour, album, tour, etc… It can be exhausting. The band’s fourth album and second with Columbia records was recorded between October and November 1977. The album, ‘Stained Class’, was released on February 10, 1978 and would barely break the Billboard 200 Albums chart going to #173. But the album did go Gold selling over 500,000 copies, but reality is that album only went Gold after the success of the band in the early 80’s. Still Gold nonetheless.
The band saw something strange happen with this album. They got a new drummer which would now be the fourth drummer in four albums. That isn’t the strange part as their drummer turnover has been legendary. The strange part is new drummer, Les Binks, actually stayed on after the album was done and would go on to record two more albums with the band. That is a huge record for them and they should be so proud of themselves for not letting another drum go. And that wasn’t all. This is the ver first album that all 5 band members got writing credits on an album. Yes, Les got one credit and so did long time bassist, Ian Hill.
Right after the Creatures of the Night Tour, the band went back in to the studio to complete the follow-up album. Michael James Jackson would stay on board as the producer as the sound he got on “Creatures” was amazing and the band wanted to continue that harder sound. Vinnie Vincent was now an official member of the band as he was on the cover. However, he actually wasn’t an “official member of the band” as he never signed his contract which became an extreme soar spot with Vinnie and the band which we will discuss a little later on in our story.
The ‘Lick it Up’ album, which came out on September 23, 1983, garnered way more attention than ‘Creatures’ for one main reason. The band finally took off the make-up which is something they had been talking about doing since at least the ‘Music from the Elder’ era. They finally did it and the big reveal was on MTV during primetime. I remember this vividly as this was event TV for me as I was a lifelong Kiss fan at the time (and still am today). I remember seeing each member in make-up and then without and I remember thinking, “PUT IT BACK ON!!! OOOOH THE HORROR!!!” No, it really wasn’t that bad. It was actually pretty cool. And just like that Kiss was back in the public eye and they had some songs that could back it up.
We are now to the end of the “My First Time” series. I ended up skipping it in November as their were too many new albums to review, plus I just wasn’t in the mood, That got me thinking. I don’t like being tied down to a specific album or theme. I want to review albums whenever I am in the mood to do it. Doing this series, limited me a little so I figured I would do one more and then just start reviewing any album, any time…no theme.
I figured if it was going to be my last, it needed to be something special. For me, that means Kiss!! The “My First Time” series is about the FIRST album I bought from a band. Believe it or not, that album is ‘Lick It Up’ by Kiss. A couple of my brothers were huge fans and had all their albums, but I had never bought one. That changed with the excitement of this release.
What was all the excitement about this album? Well, I am glad you asked. Kiss sales had been in the decline. Even with the stellar album ‘Creatures of the Night’ (one of their best), Kiss needed to do something to shake things up. So they did just that. They removed the make-up. It was such a big deal, MTV held a special for the band to reveal themselves without make-up. They also introduced the video for their first single, “Lick It Up”. Here is the MTV special reveal…