Kenneth "K.K." Downing, a founding member of heavy metal legends Judas Priest, celebrates his 61st birthday on Oct. 27.

Starting up the band in the early '70s, Downing became beloved by fans everywhere for his aggressive style of guitar playing, which for decades proved to be a unique match with the other Priest guitarist, Glenn Tipton.

The England-born Grammy winner retired from the group in 2011. While his former bandmates crossed the world on their 'Epitaph' tour, he focused instead on his new passion, running a golf course.