Last night (November 5), British heavy metal innovators Judas Priest were finally acknowledged by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame after years of calls from angry fans to see them get inducted into the prestigious institution. While Priest weren't inducted directly into the Hall Of Fame via the traditional method, they were recognised with a Musical Excellence award, performing a historic three song set with three guitarists and two drummers courtesy of a reunion with K.K. Downing and Les Binks.
Their performance was followed by a speech from various members of the band, including frontman Rob Halford, who used his time on the podium to underline his belief in the metal community's inclusivity.
"I'm the gay guy in the band," he stated. "You see, that is what heavy metal is all about. We call ourselves the heavy metal community which is all-inclusive, no matter what your sexual identity is, what you look like, the colour of your skin, the faith that you believe or don't believe in. Everybody's welcome."
"People on the outside looking in to heavy metal kinda look at us, you know, a little bit scared," he added. "Please. You've seen it here tonight. We're all about the power, the emotion and the dedication, and the love of heavy metal that we've been carrying for 50 heavy metal years."
Halford also highlighted Judas Priest's amazing longevity in the metal scene, noting that they have now been working for over 50 years.
"We should get out another 50 years, but the joy about music is that it lives forever," he said. "And that's the reason why we're here. We live for heavy metal. We live for music. And we're living for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."
Rob Halford returned to the stage at the end of the evening as part of an incredible all-star version of Dolly Parton's Jolene, which also featured Parton herself alongside Pink, Simon Lebon, Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar and many more. Inductees into the Hall Of Fame on the night were
Watch part of Halford's rousing Hall Of Fame speech below.
Judas Priest Is In The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame!! “I’m The Gay One In The Band” - Rob HalfordEveryone Is Welcome!! #HeavyMetalCommunity pic.twitter.com/Bpk7VcPptaNovember 6, 2022
A new Judas Priest album is expected next year, with Rob Halford recently confirming that "in essence, it's done."
"It is close, yeah," he told US radio station Q104.3 New York’s ‘Out of the Box With Jonathan Clarke'. "All the writing’s done; the bulk of the recording is done. I’ve still gotta put my vocal tracks down. So, in essence, it’s done, which is a great feeling, because that really points us to the metal future. Everything that we’ve done in Priest over the last 50-odd years has been driven by the latest music that we’re making. So this is no exception."