Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford received the “Lemmy” Lifetime Achievement Award at the Loudwire Music Awards tonight. The honor is named for the late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, and is given to artists who embody the “spirit of Lemmy, heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Halford, who opened the show by performing the Billy Idol-sampling “Black Wedding” with In This Moment, accepted the award while wearing a Lemmy T-shirt – and only after shouting “Lemmy, Lemmy, Lemmy!” to the heavens. After declaring this a “great, great honor,” he thanked his fans (“[they] are the lifeblood of what we do. We share so much together”), and then his bandmates: “Thank you to my band Judas Priest for the life you have given me.”
Known as the “Metal God,” Halford joined Judas Priest in 1973, a year before their debut, Rocka Rolla. But it wasn’t until the ’80s that the band hit its stride, with a string of platinum albums including British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith. which showcased his powerful, stratospheric vocals. Onstage, his imposing presence, studs-and-leather outfits and habit of riding motorcycles during shows helped define metal’s image as it reached new levels of popularity.
However, by 1992, he was looking to explore musical avenues outside of metal and left Judas Priest. He spent the next decade in three ventures — Fight, 2wo and his self-named band, Halford — before returning to Priest in 2003, with Angel of Retribution arriving two years later. During his time away from the band, Halford came out as gay, and has been an outspoken advocate on LGBT issues, particularly within the metal community, ever since.
Judas Priest’s most recent album was 2014’s Redeemer of Souls. Earlier this week, they announced that a new record, Firepower, would be released at some point early next year, and that they would embark on a six-week tour of North America beginning in mid-March 2018.
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