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Rob Halford recalls meeting Joan Baez and talking of Diamonds and Rust

Classic Rock

Rob Halford recalls meeting Joan Baez and talking of Diamonds and Rust

Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford recalled in an interview with Dr. Dot the first time he met Joan Baez, the original singer of “Diamonds and Rust”, song covered by Priest on the album Sin After Sin (1977).


Rob Halford recalls meeting Joan Baez and talking of Diamonds and Rust:

“[1985’s] Live Aid in Philadelphia was the day that Joan Baez was walking to the trailer that I’m doing interviews, finishing interviews with, and Joan Baez is walking towards me, waving, and I’m going, ‘Oh my god, she’s going to come and kick my ass about the way we treated ‘Diamonds and Rust!'”

“And she gives me a hug, we’re hooking each other, I say, ‘I’m so so excited and thrilled! God, you’re a legend, Joan. And the things that you’ve done…’ She goes, ‘Thank you so much, I just wanted to let you know that when my son knew that I was going to be playing on Live Aid and you were going to be performing as well, he said, ‘Please tell Rob and the guys from Priest that I loved their version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’ better than my mum’s version.”

“How sweet is that? How cool is that? This legend, this iconic figure that makes such beautiful things! It was a thrill to meet Joan Baez, firstly. But the quick story on that was the band was slowly making marks in the United States, and our label has said, ‘Guys, if we can get a song that we can send to rock ‘n’ roll radio, that’ll really give you a boost.'”

Rob continued:

“We didn’t really have anything so that’s when somebody at the label suggested this song. And the first time we heard the track, we were in a very famous studio called Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire back in the UK, and we knew this song was coming.”

“So we all sit around a record player and put it on, and then Joan starts singing, and then we go, ‘Are they having a laugh? What is this?’ And then we listened again and then we got it, ‘Oh yeah, now we got it. This is an incredible song, this song will take the Priest’s interpretation.'”

“So that’s what we did and we also did that with done wit ‘The Green Manalishi,’ the Fleetwood Mac song, we also did that with ‘Better By You, Better Than Me.’ So you look for opportunities like that and still do it now.”

He continued:

“Some bands that are doing well will suddenly decide to do a cover, whether it’s David [Draiman] from Disturbed with ‘The Sound of Silence,’ or Ivan [Moody] and the guys from Death Punch will do a Bad Company song…”

“Elton John did ‘It’s a Sin’ by The Pet Shop Boys… There are millions of songs out there just screaming for a new interpretation. So yeah, that’s the story of ‘Diamonds and Rust.’ There are all these great opportunities to help you just open the door a little bit wider, just to bring people in. And that’s the exercise, it’s an homage to the original song but it’s also what else have you got, and then people will go to you, to the music that you were making.”

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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