Pete Waterman says Judas Priest were scared to release poppy Stock Aitken Waterman collaboration because "16-year-old girls would start turning up to their stadium gigs"

Pete Waterman and Judas Priest
(Image credit: Pete Waterman - John Stoddart/Popperfoto via Getty Images / Judas Priest - Ebet Roberts/Redferns )

Pop producer Pete Waterman, one third of the hugely successful Stock Aitken Waterman songwriting/production team, says that Judas Priest were afraid to release their collaborative cover of The Stylistics You Are Everything because "their manager was frightened that it was going to end up as the biggest song of their career."

The Metal Gods and the English super-producers, who racked up more than 100 Top 40 hit singles in the UK, worked on a handful of tracks together in Paris in 1988, but Priest made the decision not to release the fruits of their labours, with frontman Rob Halford stating in a 1988 interview, "We would never jeopardise our career." 

Halford later told the New York Post that he personally would "love to release [the songs], but there's a different consensus within the band."

"Our rendition of You Are Everything is just beautiful," the singer added. "It's an '80s megarock ballad, with big drums, big vocals, sweeping strings. People are a lot more open-minded now, whereas in those days it could have created a bit of push-back, maybe even some damage to our reputation."

"It would have been our biggest-ever record," Pete Waterman claims in a new interview with NME. "

"We had great respect for each other," Waterman continues. "Matt [Aitken] ended up playing more rock guitar than they did! We went for it. We were more rock ‘n’ roll than Judas Priest! They kept saying: ‘No, we want more SAW’, while we’re going, ‘Fuck SAW, we want to do more rock ‘n’ roll!

"It was my birthday [January 15] and we went out to this huge place in Paris and Cristal champagne was flowing. Mike Stock got off the plane the next day, with no memory of coming home.”

Waterman adds, "When we played the song, they said: ‘It’s a Number One record – which is the last thing we want!’. They missed a trick because now you have the Foo Fighters covering Rick Astley and anything goes, but their manager was frightened that it was going to end up as the biggest song of their career and 16-year-old girls would start turning up to their stadium gigs."

"We signed a piece of paper that says when we’re all dead, they can release them,” Halford joked to The Aquarian in 2014. "I personally love those songs. They’re fucking great. We’ve never been afraid to try everything. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. And the exercise of those songs totally worked, but they were completely wrong for us, if that makes sense."

A snippet of the Priest/SAW cover of You Are Everything leaked in 2015, and you can hear it below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.