ROB HALFORD: Why JUDAS PRIEST were the "first ever" metal band | Revolver

ROB HALFORD: Why JUDAS PRIEST were the "first ever" metal band

"I stand by that statement for a lot of reasons"
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Rob Halford is proud to accept that Judas Priest were the "first ever" metal band. 

The Metal God made this knowingly controversial claim during a recent episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast, in which the host grilled the Priest frontman on heavy-metal's origins. 

Like so many metal scholars, Halford actually seems to agree with the popular notion that Black Sabbath were the true pioneers of the heavy-metal sound. However, he also noted that there were several bands who released similarly heavy rock music in the years prior to Sabbath's 1970 debut. 

"Some say there was the great band called Blue Cheer," Halford told Maron, as transcribed by Classic Rock. "'Summertime Blues' was a really heavy song," he continued, referring to the 1968 Eddie Cochran cover that reveled in foreboding psychedelia. 

Halford also noted that Steppenwolf's 1968 hit, "Born to Be Wild," was one of the first songs to mention the phrase "heavy metal." However, he still points to Sabbath as one of the genre's first, true originators — even though Sabbath axman Tony Iommi denies that they were ever a metal band. 

"Using Sabbath as a primary example…I've always pushed that Sabbath were a heavy metal band, but my friend Tony Iommi will always go, 'No, we're like a rock band, a hard rock band. I said, 'No, you're heavy metal.' 'No, no…'"

Even so, Halford has come to accept that if Iommi won't take the mantle of being metal's first-ever band, then he might as well claim the title for Judas Priest — whose first album, Rocka Rolla, arrived in 1974, four years after Sabbath's debut. 

"So, I will take that trophy that Judas Priest were the first ever, definitive heavy metal band," Halford said. "I stand by the statement for a lot of reasons.

"It's a definitive sound, it's a well-honed craft that came from these guys in the band that all had their own definition of what this heavy sound, this heavy experience should be."

Listen to Halford's podcast appearance below.