Al Atkins is best known for originating Birmingham, England’s heavy metal band Judas Priest in 1969. Atkins was lead singer of Priest until 1973. It was Atkins who named the band after the Bob Dylan tune, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.”
Black Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi managed the early Judas Priest, landing the band higher profile gigs, even playing with Black Sabbath. But the group struggled financially and still hadn’t landed a record deal. Al Atkins had a young daughter to support, so in 1973 he relinquished his duties as Priest’s frontman and landed a regular 9 to 5 job. Rob Halford replaced Atkins.
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