Rob Halford

Rob Halford
Rob Halford

Rob Halford
Background information
Birth name Robert John Arthur Halford
Also known as Metal God
Born 25 August 1951 (1951-08-25) (age 60)
Walsall, England
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, speed metal, thrash metal, power metal
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, harmonica
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts Judas Priest, Fight, 2wo, Halford, Bullring Brummies, Black Sabbath, Hear 'n Aid
Website Official website

Robert John Arthur "Rob" Halford (born 25 August 1951) is an English singer-songwriter, who is best known as the lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest. He is nicknamed the "Metal God"[1][2] as a tribute to his influence on metal, and after the Judas Priest song of the same name from 1980's British Steel.[3] He is considered one of the most consistently powerful singers in rock,[4] possessing a wide vocal range, and is particularly known for his high-pitched, operatic, soaring screams. In addition to his work with Judas Priest, he has been involved with several side projects, including Fight, 2wo and Halford. He is credited as the first openly gay heavy metal star, having come out in 1998.



Early years

Halford was born in Sutton Coldfield, but raised in Walsall, which was then a part of Staffordshire [See Metal Hammer Issue 191, P. 55] [5] a town to the northwest of Birmingham, 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 co-founding Judas Priest member Ian Hill by his sister who was dating Hill at the time.[6] 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 was released in 1984. Turbo was released in April 1986, during the glam metal era. In May 1988, Ram It Down was released, showcasing re-recorded material that was scrapped from the Turbo years.

In September 1990, the Painkiller album dropped the 1980s-style synthesizers for almost all of the songs. Along with a change in musical style, the band's look changed as well. 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 in August 1991 at a show in Toronto, Halford rode onstage on a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle, dressed in motorcycle leathers, as part of the show. He collided with a half-raised drum riser and fell off the motorcycle, breaking his nose.[7] 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 4 July 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.

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 executively 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 often rides a motorcycle onstage

Halford's reunion with Judas Priest had been speculated about when he was no longer in the line-up, at least since the release of the Resurrection album, which some critics[who?] 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".[8]

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.

In 2011, Judas Priest embarked upon what was billed as their final tour as a group, titled the "Epitaph" tour.[9] Subsequent to the tour's announcement, Halford stated that he will continue to move forward with his solo band.[10]

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. Halford also replaced Osbourne in Black Sabbath on 25 August 2004 (Halford's 53rd birthday) at an Ozzfest show in Camden, New Jersey, 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.[11] 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.[12]

In 2002, Halford had a small role in the film Spun in which he played a sex store clerk.

Halford developed the clothing line Metal God Apparel with plans to develop retail sales through 2010.[13]

Halford had a brief cameo in a recent commercial for Virgin Mobile, appearing as a priest.[14][15]

Personal life

In 1998, Halford came out as gay publicly on an interview with MTV News.

"I think that most people know that I've been a gay man all of my life, and it's only been in recent times it's an issue that I feel comfortable to address (...) something that I feel has a moment, and this is the moment to discuss it."
—Rob Halford[16]

It is revealed in Behind the Music that hiding his sexuality during Priest's career caused him a lot of depression and isolation which led to his alcohol and drug abuse.

This event was the subject of the song "Hats Off to Halford" by Atom and His Package (released on Making Love, No Idea Records, 1999).

He currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, US,[17] though he also maintains residences in San Diego, California, US and Amsterdam, Netherlands, as well as a home in his native Walsall, United Kingdom. Although he is able to play several instruments (including guitar, bass, harmonica and drums), he does not consider himself enough of an accomplished instrumentalist to play while performing on stage. In an interview with Motor Trend, he revealed that he has owned a variety of classic cars, including a 1970's Aston Martin DBS, a Chevrolet Corvette and a Mercury Cougar, although he didn't pass his driving test until he was 38 years old;[18] his current daily driver is a 2006 Cadillac DTS.[19]

He has been clean and sober since going to rehab in 1986, stating that, before that point, he heavily abused drugs and alcohol.[20] He was born and raised in a Christian home, and states the following about his upbringing: "On a religious, more spiritual foundation, that really, for me, has become more important since I became clean and sober on Jan. 6, 1986. That was 25 years ago and I think that’s probably more important to me now, on a daily basis."[20]


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 – backing vocals on "Goddamn Devil" (1992).
  • Skid Row – B-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 former Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio 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 Miami, 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 glam metal. Also voiced the leader of the Fire Barons, who was directly modeled after his younger appearance.
  • Black Sabbath – Halford filled in for an ill Ozzy Osbourne during the Ozzfest stop in Camden, New Jersey, USA on 26 August 2004.[21]


  1. ^ Interview with Metal God Rob Halford,, retrieved 2007-07-18 
  2. ^ Sill, Don (13 May 2002), Molten Metal: An Interview With Metal God Rob Halford,, retrieved 2007-07-18 
  3. ^ Berelian, Essi (2005), The Rough Guide to Heavy Metal 
  4. ^ "Slash: Elements of a Great Rock Riff" | Show Clip | Retrieved on 2011-05-21.
  5. ^ Bernard Perusse. Q&A with Rob Halford. Montreal Gazette. 1 August 2007
  6. ^ Read more about Judas Priest
  7. ^ Ling, Dave (25 December 2003), Judas Priest: The Making of Painkiller,, retrieved 2007-07-20 
  8. ^ Hoaksey, Mark: "Interview with Rob Halford," Power Play Issue 35, July 2002
  9. ^ "Judas Priest announce farewell EPITAPH World Tour!!"
  10. ^ "Rob Halford on Judas Priest's Final Tour". Blabbermouth. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  11. ^ Exclusive: Rob Halford's Black Metal album
  12. ^ Decibel Magazine 2009-04-19
  13. ^ Campagna, Cathy A. (30 November 2009). "Interview with Rob Halford: A Metal God Christmas". The Aquarian Weekly. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Rob Halford Official Web Site – Rob Halford in Virgin Mobile Commercial. (2010-07-20). Retrieved on 2011-05-21.
  15. ^ Rob Halford Launches Own Clothing Line,, retrieved 2010-04-27 
  16. ^ "Rob Halford Discusses Sexuality Publicly For The First Time". MTV News. 5 February 1998. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Halford MySpace website
  18. ^ Rob Halford, Judas Priest Lead Singer First Car. Motor Trend. Retrieved on 2011-05-21.
  19. ^ Rob Halford, Judas Priest Lead Singer Celebrity Drive. Motor Trend. Retrieved on 2011-05-21.
  20. ^ a b Gazette, The. (2007-08-01) Q&A with Rob Halford. Retrieved on 2011-05-21.
  21. ^ Rob Halford Singing With Black Sabbath At Ozzfest: Audio Available

External links

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  • Rob Halford — lors du Retribution Tour en 2005 Nom …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Rob Halford — Robert John Arthir Rob Halford (nacido el 25 de agosto de 1951 en Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, Inglaterra y crecido en Walsall, Inglaterra) es el vocalista principal de la banda británica de heavy metal Judas Priest. Después de pasar 20 años… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Halford — may refer to:In places: *Halford, Shropshire, England *Halford Island, Nunavut, CanadaIn people: *Rob Halford, Judas Priest vocalist **Halford (band), heavy metal band featuring Rob Halford *George Britton Halford (1824 – 1910), founder of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Halford — ist der Künstlername von Rob Halford (* 1951), britischer Sänger der Heavy Metal Band Judas Priest und der Nachname folgender Personen: Bruce Halford (1931–2001), britischer Rennfahrer Greg Halford (* 1984), englischer Fußballspieler …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rob — ist ein männlicher Vorname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Rob ist die Kurzform von Robert und Robin. Bekannte Namensträger Rob Baan (* 1943), niederländischer Fußballtrainer und Sportdirektor Rob Blake (* 1969), kanadischer Eishockeyspieler Rob Bottin… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Halford (band) — Infobox musical artist | Name = Img size = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = Phoenix, Arizona Genre = Heavy metal Years active = 1999 2003 (Though Rob Halford still releases albums while he is in Judas Priest) Label = Metal God… …   Wikipedia