Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, aka The Metal God, lists his Top Ten favorite albums of all time for Rolling Stone. Here is his list:

Black Sabbath-Black Sabbath (1970):

“They were local guys from the same neighborhood, the same neck of the woods as Priest. We literally grew up together, inventing this great music that we love and cherish so much called heavy-metal music. I chose the Black Sabbath album just because, like so many bands, your first one or two records really establish who you are as a band. It’s a bit like Priest with Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of DestinySad Wings of Destiny becomes the one we love so much because it becomes defining. With Black Sabbath, here was the first example of what heavy-metal music should sound like, just the texture, the tone, the structure of all of the material, Ozzy’s very unique voice. It’s just become a very important record in the discography of Black Sabbath.”

Led Zeppelin-Led Zeppelin (1969):

“The thing about this particular album is it’s got a lot of the transitional experience in heavy, hard rock that includes a lot of blues vibes. And they’ve freely admitted that the blues is where the basic journey for this band started out.”

Queen-Queen II (1974):

“I have always been a massive Queen fan. Every single album that I listen to by Queen has its own character and identity, much like Priest in that respect. I’ve kind of suggested that in some elements, Priest is like Queen because no two Priest albums are the same. It’s very much the case with Queen. The second album, Queen II, defines that. By the time they did Queen II, they’d become very adventurous. They were just going panoramic. The landscape of their music was just ginormous, particularly in the voice sense, all of those incredible harmonies that they did together. And that’s the other thing I love about Queen, that everybody used to sing on the records, primarily Roger [Taylor] and Brian [May] and sometimes John Deacon. But the vocal impact for me as a singer was immense. It really taught me a lot.”

The Beatles-A Hard Day’s Night (1964):

“This was difficult, because I was gonna go for Sgt. Pepper, because everybody does that, but there’s just something about the tone. They went from She Loves You, just barely a few years earlier, to what was becoming quite serious in the way they were structuring songs and thinking more about developing that side of a musician, which grows as you move on. So the songs on Hard Day’s Night are very expressive of a band that’s really shifting and coming to grips, probably with maturity like a lot of musicians do.”

The Rolling Stones-Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (1970):

“I’ve chosen a live album by the Stones because if you’ve ever seen the Stones live, there’s nobody like ’em. The way they transition their studio work into a live performance is electrifying. Whenever a band gets out onstage, a new dimension is experienced. And with the Stones, words just don’t work for them. You’ve got to see them live. And I think this is a great example of capturing all the charisma and characteristics of a great rock & roll band, probably the greatest rock & roll band of all time in one record.”

Deep Purple-Machine Head (1971):

“I chose Machine Head, just because it’s fierce and it’s intense. There’s always been a debate over whether Purple are a hard-rock or heavy-metal band. Priest did a tour with them, and I watched them many, many times from the side of the stage. They sound heavy to me — really heavy. … But of all of the Deep Purple albums that they made, that one really, really works for me.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience-Axis: Bold as Love (1967):

“I’ve always been this frustrated guitar player in that I try to pick up the guitar and learn to play it, but it just baffles me. I just can’t understand how guitarists do what they do. It’s just unbelievable. And Jimi Hendrix is the maestro of that. What he was doing in the late Sixties and onwards was just a game changer for guitar players especially. And the way he put together the music for Axis: Bold as Love was very, very special. All of the records he made are great, but that one to me just connects.”

David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972):

“Here’s a guy that really took his fans on a journey. Was he Ziggy Stardust? Was he the Thin White Duke? Hunky DoryHeroes? The side project Tin Machine? His last glorious piece of music [Blackstar]? But the imagery that Bowie created with every record, nobody else can touch that. He was the master of disguise. We were all so excited when we knew that a new Bowie album was about to drop, and out of all of them, the Ziggy Stardust album really rates with me because I actually saw the Ziggy Stardust tour in the Wolverhampton Civic Hall back home in the U.K. I think they pretty much played the entire record from start to finish, and it was just unbelievable to see him there doing what he did so magnificently with such conviction. He was Ziggy Stardust, and he mesmerized the world with that character.”

Cream, Disraeli Gears (1967):

“It’s just a great example of incredible musicianship from three people. It’s very difficult to connect as a trio, and just the way the interaction, particularly from the percussive side with Ginger [Baker] and Jack [Bruce], was very, very special. It was full of a real pure self-identity. And then you wrap that up with what Eric Clapton was doing, and his special voice makes Cream in the big picture of rock & roll a very, very unique band.”

Pantera, Cowboys From Hell (1990):

“Pantera came about around the early Nineties. They were together before then, but they suddenly started to crush with the impact of Cowboys From Hell. If you know your music and your rock n’ roll, great things happen at the start of every decade. So when I got an earful of Cowboys From Hell, I knew that this was going to be a shifter. This actual display of the style of music that these guys were playing was literally going to shake up the world, which it did. We all know so many beautiful things about the band, especially Dimebag [Darrell, guitar], who I think was the driving force behind that band. What everybody was doing was just a full-on assault and attack, which got even stronger and more potent as they moved on to Far Beyond Driven, Great Southern Trendkill, and all of those other great records later on. But this one, this first one, really does the business for me.”

In related news, Rob Halford recently released his memoir Confess on September 29th of which he recorded an audio version of the tome.

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  • Dana on

    My two favorite Beatles albums are A Hard’s Day Night and Help. Most people always cite Revolver or Sgt. Pepper’s as the most influential records, but I always felt that A Hard’s Day Night, and Help, had some of the Beatles’ best material.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      I go with Abbey Road…it’s a record that will always be a part of me.

    • Dana on

      No arguments, Abbey Road is a great album, but I could do without the goofy Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      It kind of grew on me; it’s so dark..and it fits with the rest of the record…

    • Dana on

      Not me, although, indeed a dark subject set to upbeat music, I still find it silly.

  • Tyger of Pan Tang on

    Really interesting that Rob chose Pantera as the one “new” band, by that I mean, the only band that came after him and the musicians he grew up listening to. No one from the Big 4 of Thrash. I guess for some Pantera was the shot in the arm that metal needed at the time.

    • Dana on

      I don’t know..

      God bless Dime, what happened to him was an undisputed tragedy, and I am sure I will get bashed for this comment, but I never got the fuss over Pantera. To me they always sounded like a Metallica wanna be.

      I remember going to see Sabbath on their first reunion tour (in ’99?), and Pantera was the opening band. I wanted to skip them, but one of the people whom I was attending with, was very anxious to see them, so I acquiesced. All I remember was his saying was to me, “You were right, they were awful.”

      Again, music, like art, architecture, fashion, food, etc. it is all subjective, but I was never cared for the band.

    • Rattlehead on

      I really enjoyed learning Rob’s favorite albums. He was well rooted in the period I would have expected, other than Pantera, and they’re probably albums that influenced him as a musician.

      Tyger, I also found it interesting Rob chose Pantera considering they are indeed a “newer” band. And I agree with Dana about not understanding the fuss over Pantera….I absolutely love thrash music, but I never liked Pantera’s music. Maybe it was the sound of Phil’s voice or the tone of Dime’s guitar, but I never got into their music despite giving it a fair chance. My favorite 90s, and all time favorite, thrash album is “Rust In Peace”.

    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Dana and Rattlehead,

      I actually agree with both of you about not “getting” Pantera myself, but, like The Beatles, another band I don’t really “get”, I acknowledge that they had a tremendous influence on people I do respect.

      Not being a musician myself, I’ve concluded that musical influence works in strange ways, and give people like Rob the benefit of the doubt when they praise another musician.

      It is odd that Rob would hold Pantera in such high regard. I also thought that Phil’s vocals signaled a movement away from the operatic vocal style that Halford introduced.

      As for personal preferences for metal in the 90s, I’d go for the reunion albums of Sabbath with Dio, “Dehumanizer” and of Accept with Udo: “Objection Overruled”, “Death Row” and “Predator”.

      And 1990 may have been the year of “Rust in Peace”, but I’d give the edge to “Painkiller”!

    • Dana on

      Hi Tyger,

      For the 90’s I would go with Lynch Mob’s Wicked Sensation, which would definitely make my top ten list Also of note, Blue Murder’s Nothing But Trouble and Tora Tora’s Wild America. Rattle will back me up on that one. 😉

      Also released in the 90s: Skid Row Slave To The Grind and Slaughter’s Stick It To Ya.

    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Good stuff … I have to check out Tora Tora … they went under my radar.

      Since Lynch Mob is one of your favourites, I’d like to know if you saw any shows with John West as their vocalist. I love some of his other work, and I understand he was with George for a hot minute.

    • Dana on

      No, I only saw the original line up with Oni and once with Mason. All shows were amazing.

      Tyger, please let me know what you think of Tora Tora, I LOVE them. They are straight out of Memphis, TN, so they have a blues edge, but Van Halen influenced.

      Here are a few links to songs you can listen to from Wild America:

      Amnesia-great guitar hook.
      Dirty Secrets
      Cold Fever

      Also a few from their first album Surprise Attack (which I also love):

      Walkin’ Shoes
      28 Days

    • Doug R. on

      The 90’s, for me (maybe I should get Shannon’s permission first?) it would be Alice In Chains – “Dirt” and “Facelift,” Stone Temple Pilots – “Core” and “Purple” would be my faves from the 90’s. And of course, Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.”

    • Dana on

      Dirt is a great record, and while I love STP, and have most of their albums I hardly listen to any of my “Grunge” era CD’s. Although, I never considered STP “Grunge.”

    • Doug R. on

      I agree, D, I don’t consider STP “Grunge” either, never have. They just got caught up in that era of labels. Alice In Chains, IMO, is more Rock than anything, kinda like a 90’s version of 70’s Sabbath. I’ll never forget when I seen AIC open for Ozzy in ’92, right after “Dirt” was released, they were just absolutely f–king amazing! And still are, even without Staley.

    • Dana on


      I totally hear the “Grunge/Sludge” sound with AIC, and yes, they are heavily influenced by Sabbath, as is Zakk with BLS.

      Outside of a few songs on Core, I don’t really hear it with STP, especially on their glammier stuff, like Big Bang Baby.

    • Doug R. on

      Oh absolutely, AIC is definitely more “Sludge Factory” (great song, btw, slow and heavy) than STP, STP is much more good Old-Fashioned rock & roll! 😉

    • Rattlehead on

      You’re right, Dana. Tora Tora’s “Wild America” is an awesome album. They’re a great band i never would have discovered without your recommendation.

    • Dana on

      I love that I turned you on to them and we can converse about them.

  • Doug R. on

    10: Boston – Boston
    9: Pat Benatar – Crimes Of Passion
    8: The Police – Synchronicity
    7: Led Zeppelin – lV
    6: Aerosmith – Rocks
    5: KISS – Destroyer
    4: Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever
    3: Deep Purple – Made In Japan
    2: Van Halen – Van Halen
    1: AC⚡DC – Back In Black

    Absolutely have to mention ~ Bad Company – Bad Company / Alice In Chains – Dirt / Rush – Moving Pictures / Def Leppard – High ‘N’ Dry / Triumph – Just A Game / The Cars – The Cars / Ratt – Out Of The Cellar / Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance / Sammy Hagar – Standing Hampton / Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman

    This is an impossible list! So many great albums, easily could think of over a hundred more, if I didn’t already have a headache! Who comes up with these lists? 😉 Don’t wanna take up too much space, besides, I have to run up to Walmart before they run out of terlet paper again! (Eye roll)

    • Doug R. on

      Styx – The Grand Illusion / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Damn The Torpedoes / Journey – Escape / Fleetwood Mac – Rumours / Heart – Dreamboat Annie / Heart – Little Queen / Huey Lewis & The News – Sports / Genesis – Abacab / Queen – every album from the 70’s! And The Game from 1980! 😉 ~ Just to name a few more…

      I agree with Dana, Pantera? I’ll pass.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Lol…Doug…excuse me, but did anybody ask you for your top ten?

    • shannon mehaffey on

      I’m sorry, but Crimes of Passion? seriously? oh man…

    • Doug on

      To support my brother “Doug R.” from the other Doug, my favorites (and heck yeah, I agree Doug R. those are YOUR faves, so go with it, I say!) Impossible to list by rank, but mine. Naysayers, you may kindly ignore. 🙂

      Montrose – Montrose
      Aerosmith – Rocks
      AC/DC- Powerage
      Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
      Boston – Boston
      KISS – Alive
      Judas Priest – Stained Class (but must admit, Firepower is right up there)
      Def Leppard – High ‘n Dry
      Ozzy – Diary of a Madman
      And I know, on no ones favorite list, but I love it and play it a lot – Stone Temple Pilots – S/T (with Jeff Gutt on vocals)

    • Doug R. on

      Thank you, Doug! Great picks! Love Montrose, Elton John, AND STP as well! Weiland is irreplaceable, but Gutt comes close! Same with AIC, there’s only 1 Layne Staley, but DuVall does a great job and fits right in.

    • genesraccoonwig on

      In no particular order, my Top 10….enjoy

      Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
      nSync – Bye Bye Bye
      Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
      Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night
      Donny Osmond – Go Away Little Girl
      David Cassidy – I Think I Love You
      Barney – I Love You, You Love Me
      Ernie – Rubber Ducky
      Brittney Spears – Hit Me Baby One More Time
      David Hasselhoff – Don’t Hassle the Hoff

    • Dana on

      Again, TOO FUNNY.

    • Charles Clinchot on

      I agree Doug R,

      Many of the albums on your list are great

      If you include Pat Benatar, I prefer her live “From Earth” album. There are some songs that I think are better than the studio recordings and I would replace “Synchronicity” with “Ghost in the Machine.” I’m not attempting to make a list because it take me days and a lot antacid.

    • Doug R. on

      Charles, don’t feel bad, I usually need a Tylenol or 2 after I make a list, especially this one! 😉 I love “Live From Earth,” (including the 2 studio tracks – “Love Is A Battlefield,” and “Lipstick Lies”) I love all of Benatar’s albums! But in my book, her first 3 are her best, “Crimes Of Passion” as I said is my fave, followed by “Precious Time.” Could also be a NY thing why I’ve always been a big fan of Pat, she was born in my hometown of Greenpoint, Brooklyn!

    • genesraccoonwig on

      Charles – good point on Benetar live (saw her in Central Park in the early 80s when WPLJ hosted the concert series) and her voice is better live than on most of her recordings. She sure can belt them out.

      While my favorite Police release is Regatta DeBlanc, Ghost in the Machine has grown on me… cannot go wrong with “Demolition Man” – that song smokes.

    • Doug R. on

      My fave from Ghost In The Machine is “Omegaman,” LOVE that song! All 5 Police albums are great, but IMO, Synchronicity is #1.

  • shannon mehaffey on

    Rob knows music and rock and roll that’s for sure. I think Rob went with Pantera because they didn’t copy Priest as much as the thrash bands did with their two guitar attack..Priest probably heard a lot of the thrash and heard stuff they did on their earlier records…sped up. Pantera had a dfferent sound..notice that Rob seems to like trios as the backing band or band.

    • Dana on

      I respectfully disagree,

      To my ear, Pantera always sounded like an uninspiring, Metallica wanna be.

    • Doug R. on

      LOL… Shannon, excuse me, LOL… did anybody ask you for YOUR opinion?? LOL… And YES, you bet your ass – Crimes Of Passion!!! Seriously! “Man”

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Doug, I am commenting on the ..yes.
      Doug, your top two I can’t argue with…even Destroyer is a good choice even though I would’ve went with Dynasty. …but you put a live record on there, so that has to go…funny, I put Straight Between the Eyes as my top Blackmore record…your Led Zeppelin is my choice…then it’s to your personal taste…you put Sting on there so I guess we can drink a Martini together when I see you.. But where is Sabbath/Ozzy and where is Ronnie and where is Priest? no…Crimes of Passion! that’s better…ok, you can go back to staring at your Y&T records now.
      Dana, I get your point…Pantera followed in the Bay Area sound’s footsteps..just ask Gary Holt…but Rob…he hears things we don’t ..he has that eye for talent that Simon Cowell does….i.e., he sees the big picture.

    • Doug R. on

      Shannon, where’s your list? On this site, everyone is allowed to post lists, comments, POV’s, whatever. Yes, “Made In Japan” is a live album, so what? It’s only (IMO) the greatest live album of all time, so why wouldn’t it be on my list? “Synchronicity” is a Police album, not a Sting album.
      Ok, you can back to staring at your ICP records now.

    • Rattlehead on

      Doug, great lists of your top albums! Your list is 100% accurate. It’s YOUR list of faves, so regardless of what the naysayers comment, your list is perfect.

      And you’re entitled to keep a live album on your list. After all, it is your list. My favorite all time album is KI$$ Alive!, whether it’s live, or manufactured in the studio, I don’t care….I think its a great album.

    • Doug R. on

      Thanks, Rattle! KISS “Alive!” Is also 1 of my faves, as you said, live, or Memorex, or both, 😉 it’s just a great album!

    • genesraccoonwig on

      Funny when I see Pantera….I think of Pantene…the shampoo…..always thinking about the “hair”

    • Dana on

      LOL!! Too funny.

  • dcinsc7 on

    For once (maybe it’s been twice), I agree with Doug R – “Crimes of Passion” Pat Benatar! Should be a Hall of Famer! I would also add “Wake Up Jeff!” by The Wiggles … I have grandkids.

    • Doug R. on

      I guess there really is a first time for everything. I have been saying for years that Pat Benatar should be in (should’ve been in) the HOF many years ago! No female rocker has influenced more, and done more for women in Rock than Pat Benatar!
      And “Crimes Of Passion” is just a perfect album from beginning to end. Nevermind the 5 big radio hits, they only tell half of the story from that album, it is all 10 songs on that album that make it the masterpiece that it is.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Ok…take the guitar solos off…then what you have got? I bet you couldn’t even get through it.

      I don’t like making is subjective to your tastes, which can change..and your mood. But live albums don’t belong on a top album lists…they are live concerts not new creations.

    • Doug R. on

      Neil Giraldo is an excellent (and underrated) guitarist, but his solos make up only 1 part of each of those songs, it’s the lyrics, and the structure, besides the great guitar work that make those songs rock as great as they do.
      Lists are never set in stone, IMO, they are just a reflection of that time and place, I like to look back at a list from a year or 2 ago just to see how much (if any) my “tastes” have changed. 1 thing that will never change is my love for Deep Purple’s “Made In Japan,” those live versions of those songs were/are new creations, refresh your memory, just listen to that magical exchange between Blackmore and Gillan on “Strange Kind Of Woman.” What they did there was a totally new creation in my opinion, on an already existing great song, and that’s only just 1 example. I could go on and on, but I’m too tired.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Doug…it’s just a snapshot of the concert…lol…that’s not a bona fide album. Deep Purple was great live, I agree.
      Without Neil I couldn’t even listen to her…she got hard rock on the radio when it wasn’t easy to do though.
      Funny enough…I actually think Blackie Lawless owned the ’90s.

    • Rattlehead on

      Shannon, I agree with you, in concept, that live concerts are not new creations. But there are songs on live albums that bands have enhanced, added to, etc….that make them different from their studio recordings. For example, “Rock and Roll All Night” and “Let Me Go Rock n Roll” from KI$$ Alive! are much better versions, IMO, compared to their studio versions. I feel the same way about some of the songs on Nugent’s “Live Gonzo!’ album.

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