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KK Downing says Judas Priest was “Ahead” Iron Maiden

KK Downing Steve Harris

Classic Rock

KK Downing says Judas Priest was “Ahead” Iron Maiden

KK Downing gave an interview to Metal Wani and said that Judas Priest was “ahead” Iron Maiden on the early days of the New Wave of the British Heavy Metal and talked about the rivalry between the two bands.


KK Downing said:

“No, I think we were quite a way ahead of those guys. You know, we released our first album [1974’s ‘Rocka Rolla’] in the early ’70s, so we were already a headlining act alright, we’d already done TV shows and stuff like that.

“And then they were a new band, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, together with Def Leppard, I guess; Saxon, maybe, and Diamond Head and some other bands. There weren’t that many, really, when you think about it.

“But no, we were just finishing up the [1980] ‘British Steel’ album and Iron Maiden were to support us on British tour and I’ve never heard of them, but there was rivalry because they’ve made announcements to the press that they were going to blow the bollocks off Judas Priest, you know?”

About the rivalry, he said:

“They kind of looked like us, but it was that rivalry to start with. Obviously, the guys were young, they were obviously full of energy and enthusiasm. The guys went on, obviously, became a great band.

“I’m really glad that Iron Maiden have been successful and did what they did because when people think of heavy metal at the top: Sabbath, Priest, they’ll say Maiden and not too many other bands.

“So if you take Maiden out of there, you got Priest and Sabbath, who else are you going to put in the top three?”

When you were looking back and revisiting some of those memories, you’ve got this incredible catalog of music that you’ve created, was there any particular song or album that jumped out that you’re most proud of?

“Well, no. Yngwie Malmsteen, he was asked a similar question, and he says, ‘All of my albums, they’re my children, they’re my babies.’ It’s a very good answer, really, because we do feel like that, you know?

“Obviously, some of the fans have their favorites, but to us, they’re kind big parts of our lives because we did the writing, the recording, the touring, you know, making videos with those, even the less successful ones.

“I think if I were to pick one out, I would probably pick [1976’s] ‘Sad Wings [of Destiny].’ ‘British Steel,’ [1982’s] ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ was our biggest-selling album. I would probably include [1984’s] ‘Defenders of the Faith.’

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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