The song is from Judas Priest classic album “British Steel” (1980), their sixth studio album, and it is also the band’s first album with Dave Holland on drums.
Rob Halford explained to Billboard magazine couple a years ago about the meaning of the song: “Even in my 30s I was a teenager under the skin in terms of rebellion. I’d had enough of being programmed and told what to do. It’s a spinoff from the attitude of Breaking the Law.”
Guitarist K.K. Downing added: “It was basically us sticking it in the eye of everybody that thought, ‘You’re stupid if you’re young and have long hair.’ I think everybody was glad to sing that along with us – everybody that was under the age of 30, at least.”
“You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise” by Judas Priest
British Steel (1980)
British Steel saw the band reprise the commercial sound they had established on Killing Machine. This time, they abandoned some of the dark lyrical themes which had been prominent on their previous releases, but some of it still remains. In a June 2017 appearance on Sirius radio podcast “Rolling Stone Music Now,” Rob Halford said the band may have been inspired by AC/DC on some tracks after supporting them on a European tour in 1979.
British Steel was recorded at Tittenhurst Park, home of former Beatle Ringo Starr, a recording studio located on Tittenhurst’s grounds, after a false start at Startling Studios in December 1979. Digital sampling was not yet widely available at the time of recording, so the band used analog recording of smashing milk bottles to be included in “Breaking the Law”, as well as various sounds in “Metal Gods” produced by billiard cues and trays of cutlery.
It is the first Judas Priest album to feature drummer Dave Holland, and it was released in the UK at a discount price of £3.99, with the advertisements in the music press bearing the legend “British Steal”. The songs “Breaking the Law”, “United”, and “Living After Midnight” were released as singles.
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