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Robert John Arthur Halford (born 25 August 1951) is an Englishmarker singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist for the heavy metal band Judas Priest. Halford has a nearly four octave vocal range, having recorded notes from D2 to C♯6. He is one of the most respected singers of heavy metal and rock music with a quasi-operatic vocal style and high-pitched screams. He has been nicknamed "Metal God" as a tribute to his influence on metal, after the Judas Priest song of the same name from 1980's British Steel . He currently lives in Phoenixmarker, Arizonamarker, USmarker, though he also maintains residences in San Diegomarker, Californiamarker, US and Amsterdammarker, Netherlandsmarker, as well as a home in his native Walsallmarker, United Kingdommarker. Rob claims, "as a singer I just go out and you know sing as best as I can per night," and that "I love to put that drama and that performance and that energy" into his live shows.


Early years

Halford was born in Sutton Coldfield, but raised in Walsallmarker, which was then a part of Staffordshire[See Metal Hammer Issue 191, P. 55] a town to the northwest of Birminghammarker, in England's modern day West Midlands. He sang for numerous bands including Athens Wood, Lord Lucifer, Abraxas, Thark and Hiroshima.

Judas Priest

Halford was introduced to founding Judas Priest member Ian Hill by his sister who was dating Hill at the time.. Halford, a former cinema manager, joined the band as singer, bringing with him drummer John Hinch from his previous band, Hiroshima. In August 1974, the band debuted with the single "Rocka Rolla", before releasing an album of the same name a month later. The next albums were Sad Wings of Destiny (1976), which included a variety of old material; 1977's Sin After Sin; and 1978's Stained Class and Killing Machine (released in America as Hell Bent for Leather), and 1979's live Unleashed in the East.

In 1980, the band released British Steel. The songs were shorter and more concisely structured, but retained the heavy metal feel. They released Point of Entry in 1981, featuring the song "Heading Out to the Highway". The 1982 album Screaming for Vengeance had a song, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," which garnered strong US radio airplay, and the popular follow-up Defenders of the Faith. Turbo was released in 1986, during the glam metal era. In 1988, Ram It Down was released, showcasing re-recorded material that was scrapped from the Turbo years.

In August 1990, the Painkiller album dropped the 1980s-style synthesisers for almost all of the songs. Along with a change in musical style, the band's look changed as well. Rob Halford emerged with all-new tattoos, including a bent Judas Priest cross on his right arm and ring around his other, as well as a few on his shoulders. He also began shaving his head for the first time, claiming that his receding hairline was getting annoying to keep up with.

During the tour for Painkiller, Halford rode onstage on a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle, dressed in motorcycle leathers, as part of the show. He collided with a drum riser and fell off the motorcycle, breaking his nose. After regaining consciousness, Halford returned and performed the whole concert. In the band's Behind the Music episode, Halford named the accident as one of the events that caused the rift between him and the rest of the band that would eventually force them apart. However, during an interview with Bernard Perusse of Montreal's The Gazette (1 August 2007), he is quoted as saying "And it absolutely did not [lead me to leaving the band]. It was just an accident."

After spending nearly 20 years with Judas Priest, Halford announced to the band on July 4 1991 that he was leaving, and he also sued their label, Sony, for restrictive practices. Halford would leave the band in May 1992. During this period, Halford had recorded twelve studio and two concert albums with Judas Priest. Halford also announced he was gay.

Fight, 2wo and Halford

He first formed the band Fight with Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis, bassist Jack "Jay Jay" Brown and guitarists Brian Tilse and Russ Parrish, recording two albums between 1993 and 1995: War of Words (1993) and, after Parish's departure and his replacement by Mark Chausee, A Small Deadly Space (1995). While the first one was a straightforward tough and solid metal record, the second record had a grungier sound, making it less appealing to fans who had developed a taste for his debut album.

In between both albums, Fight released an EP, Mutations, featuring War of Words studio versions, live cuts and alternate mixes. Immediately before this, Halford had recorded a track called "Light Comes Out of Black" for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The song featured music provided by Pantera, although their contribution is uncredited.

After Fight, he collaborated with guitarist John Lowery in an industrial-influenced project called 2wo which was produced by Trent Reznor and released on his Nothing Records label.

Halford returned to his metal roots in 2000 with his band Halford and the widely acclaimed album Resurrection (2000), produced by Roy Z. A live album in 2001 was followed up by 2002's Crucible.

Reunion with Judas Priest

Rob Halford live in concert
Halford's reunion with Judas Priest had been speculated about on for some time, at least since the release of the Resurrection album, which some critics claimed sounded more like Judas Priest than the band's previous album Jugulator (1997). Halford himself had never ruled it out, claiming in 2002 that "Gut instinct tells me that at some point it will happen".

In July 2003, Halford returned to his former band, and they released Angel of Retribution in 2005. The world tour that accompanied the release marked the band's 30th anniversary.

In 2008, Halford recorded Nostradamus with Judas Priest, and appeared with the band on the Metal Masters Tour. Long in the works, Nostradamus fuses heavy metal and operatic elements while relating events in the life of the 16th century French prophet of the same name.

Other activities

Halford has performed as the vocalist for Black Sabbath at three shows. He replaced Ronnie James Dio for two nights in November 1992, when Dio elected not to open a show for Ozzy Osbourne after his contract had expired. Halford also replaced Osbourne in Black Sabbath on 25 August 2004 (his 53rd birthday) at an Ozzfest show in Camden, New Jerseymarker, since Osbourne could not perform due to bronchitis.

In early 2008, Halford expressed a desire in making a black metal album, citing encouragement from former Emperor frontman Ihsahn. He said he'd " to but it's all about finding the time".

He provides his voice to the video game Brütal Legend, released in October 2009, where he voices General Lionwhyte, as well as the leader of the Fire Barons, he also heavily influenced the appearance of the latter.

This event was the subject of the song "Hats Off To Halford" by Atom And His Package. In 2002, Halford had a small role in the film Spun in which he played an irritated sex store clerk.

Personal life

Halford came out as gay publicly (though fans already knew for quite some time) on an interview with MTV in 1998.

On the tenth of November, during a radio interview with the Phoenix station KUPDmarker, Halford described his religious views as "I'm a heavy metal Christian".


Judas Priest




Guest appearances

  • KrokusHeadhunter - vocals on "Ready to Burn" (1983).
  • Surgical Steel - Surgical Steel (demo)- vocals on "Smooth And Fast" (1984).
  • Hear 'n Aid (1986).
  • With Stryper on the Against the Law tour in Toronto, Canada, performing "Breaking The Law" (1990).
  • Ugly Kid JoeAmerica's Least Wanted - vocals on "Goddamn Devil" (1992).
  • Skid RowB-Side Ourselves - vocals on "Delivering the Goods" in a live version (1992).
    • the same outfit also performed for a live-in-studio session on the MTV show Headbanger's Ball (1992).
  • Black Sabbath - on 14 and 15 November 1992 Halford took over vocals for Sabbath, who played a double performance at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, Los Angeles, California, USA (1992). This was part of Ozzy Osbourne's "final" solo tour, prompting current Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whom Osbourne had criticized and insulted on several occasions in the press, to refuse to play and subsequently leave the band for a second time.
  • background vocals on the song "Hex 'n' Sex" for the album with the same title by the German band Brings (1993).
  • Bullring Brummies, a studio session line-up that came together to contribute to the Nativity in Black tribute compilation album of Black Sabbath cover songs (1994).
  • recorded the song "Light comes out of Black" with Pantera for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack (1992).
  • while playing their concert in Miamimarker, FL, Metallica asked Halford on stage to perform a version of "Rapid Fire", originally recorded by Judas Priest. on British Steel in 1980 (1994).
  • Queens of the Stone AgeRated R - vocals on "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" (2000).
  • performing a live medley with Sum 41 and Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, MTV's 20th Anniversary (2001).
  • Furious IV – Is That You? (2002).
  • Spun motion picture (2002) - "Pornclerk" character.
  • Brütal Legend - Voicing the main villain Lord Doviculus' minion General Lionwhyte, who is strongly based on the culture of hair and glam metal. Also voiced the leader of the Fire Barons, who was directly modeled after him.
  • Black Sabbath - Rob fills in for an ill Ozzy Osbourne during the Ozzfest stop in Camden, New Jersey, USA on 26 August 2006.


  1. [1],Press Releases on Nostradamus from
  2. [2],Article about Rob Halford.
  3. Halford MySpace website
  5. Bernard Perusse. Q&A with Rob Halford. Montreal Gazette. 1 August 2007
  6. Read more about Judas Priest
  7. Hoaksey, Mark: "Interview with Rob Halford," Power Play Issue 35, July 2002
  8. Exclusive: Rob Halford's Black Metal album
  9. Decibel Magazine 2009-04-19

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