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No. 46: Judas Priest, ‘Livin’ After Midnight’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

Columbia Records

By 1980, more than a decade into their career, Judas Priest were ready to take on the world. With the release of their sixth album, the classic ‘British Steel,’ and the single ‘Livin After Midnight’ they were really delivering the goods.

The song packed a real one-two punch that woke up U.S. fans to the power of the Priest. ‘Livin After Midnight,’ with its simple, almost Kinks-like riff, was a perfect melding of metal and pop, in the best sense of both worlds.

In just over three minutes, Priest packed all the power of their metallic sound into a simple, direct pop track. Leaving behind earlier, more complicated songwriting, the band turned in a riff, melody and driving beat that was irresistible to rock radio. Record buyers also got hooked, giving Judas Priest their first major hit. The album cracked the Top 40 in America and the Top Five in their native England.

Priest could be a lot heavier, no doubt, and at times even poppier (remember ‘Turbo Lover?’), but ‘Livin’ was that perfect union of the two sides of the coin, giving us, perhaps, the definitive Judas Priest record and an obvious choice for inclusion on our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.

Next Song: No More Pencils, No More Books!

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Watch Judas Priest Perform ‘Livin’ After Midnight’

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