ARTIST: Judas Priest
TITLE: Stained Class
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #173 US, #27 UK
SINGLES: Better by You, Better Than Me
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Exciter
LINEUP: Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, KK Downing, Ian Hill, Les Binks.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Nine cuts of classic Priest. This is an underrated gem in the Priest canon.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hiring a new drummer in Les Binks, Judas Priest went about to record a nine-song album that set the stage for their commercial breakthroughs soon to follow. It’s a record that really on Priest fanatics know, but more people should.
Everything people love about the band is here. Rob Halford’s voice is in fine form, hitting his patented high notes. KK Downing and Glenn Tipton’s guitar attack is both heavy and melodic. The songs are right in the Priest wheelhouse, and even though they’re longer than the more popular songs, they don’t overstay their welcome.
Only “Exciter” seems to have survived from this set as a go-to Priest set, but more should check this out, for songs like “Saints in Hell”, “Invader” and the title cut. It’s a pleasant surprise.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The one other song people remember is “Better by You, Better Than Me”, which was the song at the center of their famous lawsuit. What was ironic was that it wasn’t a Priest original, but a cover of a Spooky Tooth song.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: An extra song appended, and oddly from an album 10 years after this album. Priest didn’t have a lot of outtakes.
GRADE: A: Underrated, except by Priest fanatics. Well, I didn’t underrate it, did I?