An early shot of Judas Priest before all the leather and studs.
The answer to that question is quite possibly, yes. The vintage footage posted below features Judas Priest in action at the Reading Festival in 1975 and was shot with a Super 8 camera.
In 1975 Priest joined the surreal lineup of Hawkwind; UFO; Lou Reed; Thin Lizzy; Soft Machine, and Yes among others at the three-day festival. The band was still sort of under the radar after the release of their 1974 debut Rocka Rolla produced by Rodger Bain, who’d also produced the first three albums by Black Sabbath. Despite Bain’s groundbreaking success with Sabbath, his heavy metal magic didn’t necessarily cast the same spell for Priest on Rocka Rolla which the band recorded live at Olympic Studios in London. During this time the group was still playing small rock clubs and were struggling quite literally just to find money for food.
According to Rob Halford, things were so bad that Gull Records (their label at the time) handed out food tickets to the formative Birmingham band to use at a local cafeteria which truly gives perspective to the hard-luck notion that rock ‘n’ roll don’t pay. Here’s a little more from Mr. Halford on those early days and his thoughts on their first album which ended up being a flop, from author Steve Gett’s 1984 biography of the band HEAVY DUTY:
It simply wasn’t Priest. We allowed ourselves to be influenced and maneuvered by people who suggested that it would probably open up more of a market for the band because we wouldn’t immediately be stigmatized as a heavy metal group. In actual fact, it probably did us more harm than good.
More after the jump…