Everybody realizes that real hard rock has always been a real hard sell for the Hall of Fame. Ever since the first rivets of Heavy Metal were forged by The Kinks, Jimmy Page‘s sizzling electric solo on Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man“, Steppenwolf introducing the phrase on “Born to Be Wild“, Black Sabbath‘s debut, and Deep Purple proto speed metal In Rock,  the music business has alternately tried to stop it, then ignore it, and finally laugh at it ( Wayne’s World  , Beavis and Butthead )…while always cashing the checks for five decades. Over that same period, no heavy metal band released more original albums, played to more people,  and consistently sounded better  doing it than Judas Priest. Years eligible for the Rock Hall of Fame: 21. Nominated: 2.

All of the members of Judas Priest grew up in or around the northern industrial English city of Birmingham amidst coal  mines, steel factories, iron ore smelters, and the  mountainous piles of waste, or”slag”, an inevitable by-product from such heavy industry (the most notorious “slag heap” in rock is the album cover photo on The Who’s Who’s Next ). In English slang, to” slag off” somebody or something meant to reduce its value to nothing.

While still trying to get a band together, Judas Priest lead guitarist Glenn Tipton actually worked at British Steel for his day job. It took a full five albums and the entire 1970s decade for Judas Priest to break out, but few of the music critics who slagged them initially were around to write about the band’s multi-million selling successes in the Eighties, starting with the live Unleashed in the East   in late 1979 followed by the definitive metal statements British Steel   in 1980, Point of Entry  in 1981, and Screaming for Vengeance  mid-1982.

Recently it appeared that some 21st century Madison Avenue “Mad Men” advertising exec was a closeted heavy metal fan, slipping Judas Priest into the soundtrack of last year’s Honda Accord car tv commercial. Point of Entry  includes “Hot Rockin’  and “Heading Out to the Highway” will be marking a significant anniversary in a few weeks, so be sure to listen to Rob Halford’s interview. But first vote today   NOW here  final day for the Hall Fame Fan Vote, then listen to In the Studio‘s  20 Rock Hall Snubs pt 1</strong> . –Redbeard