The band name is often attributed to the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest," but they actually took it from another English band that had broken up. The phrase "Judas Priest" is also a bit of early movie and TV slang, uttered by actors onscreen as an alternative to saying "Jesus Christ" because the studios did not want to risk offending audience members.
Lead singer Rob Halford is openly gay. He came out in 1998 at a time when many entertainers were reluctant to do so. Fans of the hard-rocking singer were shocked, but there was no backlash and the admission had little effect on his career.
Early on, their manager assigned them nicknames in an effort to garner more publicity. Halford was "The Queen" and Ian Hill was "The Skull." The only one that stuck was "KK" for Ken Downing.
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