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10 Years Ago: Rob Halford Returns to Judas Priest

Rob Halford
Dave Etheridge-Barnes, Getty Images

After more than a decade apart, on July 11, 2003, Judas Priest announced that they had reunited with the “Metal God” himself — lead singer Rob Halford.

Halford joined Judas Priest in 1973 and helped them become one of the most important names in heavy-metal history over the next two decades with his writing and singing on classic albums such as ‘British Steel’ and ‘Screaming for Vengeance.’

He left in 1992 amid rumors of internal tensions within the group, launching a new career by forming the thrash band Fight and then the more experimental 2wo. The ’00s found Halford returning to his roots with two more traditionally Priest-sounding albums (including 2000’s incredible ‘Resurrection’) that he released under the Halford moniker.

At about that same time, Halford and his former bandmates in Judas Priest started repairing their personal relationships and eventually decided to reunite in time for a 30th-anniversary tour. It was such a logical and welcome move that even Halford’s replacement, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, had little objection. As guitarist Glenn Tipton told CNN at the time, “He sent us an e-mail yesterday, saying he agrees with the decision, you know, because he is a big Priest fan as well.”

The reunited Priest’s first order of business was a 2004 European tour, followed by a co-headlining spot on the Ozzfest tour. In 2005 they released the well-regarded ‘Angel of Retribution’ album, follwed by the double-disc concept album ‘Nostradamus’ in 2008.

Founding guitarist K.K. Downing retired from the group in 2011. The band then embarked on the Epitaph world tour with new guitarist Richie Faulkner and are currently at work on their 17th studio album, which does not have a release date as of this writing.

Next: Top 10 Judas Priest Songs

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