Judas Priest Sells First Two Albums to Music Publisher

Reach Music Publishing has acquired the master and publishing rights of Judas Priest‘s first two albums, Rocka Rolla, released in 1974, and Sad Wings Of Destiny in 1976.

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The band will be working with Reach Music on a variety of special projects around these two albums, which will be announced later in 2023, including a 50th anniversary release of Rocka Rolla in 2024.

Originally released by Gull Records, the ownership rights of the masters and publishing for the two albums have remained under the label for nearly 50 years, even after Judas Priest later signed to CBS (now Sony) for their third album, Sin After Sin, in 1977.

Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny are referred to as two albums that helped shape the sound of heavy metal music with songs like “Rocka Rolla,” ‘The Ripper,” and “Victim Of Changes.”

“The acquisition of the masters and publishing for the albums ‘Rocka Rolla’ and ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’ was a monumental opportunity for Reach Music, coming not long after Judas Priest’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Michael Closter, president and owner of Reach Music, in a statement. “I want to thank David Howells, owner of Gull, who signed Judas Priest in 1974 and released their first two albums. He has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career spanning 65 years in the music industry. Thank you for your trust in doing this sale for these essential and historically important Judas Priest albums.”

Howells added, “I’m very happy to have met Michael Closter and to pass the mantle on to Reach Music after Gull Records first released these Judas Priest albums almost 50 years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing what projects Reach and Judas Priest do together in the future with these iconic recordings.”

Prior to their deal with Judas Priest, Reach had an existing partnership with the band’s guitarist Glenn Tipton. In 2021, Reach acquired 50 percent of the copyright interest and worldwide administration rights to Tipton’s catalog, including some of the iconic Judas Priest songs that he co-wrote, including “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” “Breaking The Law,” and “Living After Midnight.” 

Originally formed in 1970 in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest released their 18th album, Firepower, in 2018 and released a commemorative box set Reflections: 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music in 2021. 

Celebrating their 50th anniversary—and nearly five decades since singer Rob Halford joined the band, replacing original singer Al Atkins in 1973—the band also embarked on their 50 Heavy Metal Years tour in 2022.

In 2022, Judas Priest was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Photo by Medios y Media/Getty Images

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