Stained Class, 1978

Released February 10, 1978 by CBS Inc. (UK), Columbia Records (US) and Epic/Sony Music (JPN)


  • “Exciter” Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford (5:30)
  • “White Heat, Red Hot” Glenn Tipton (4:30)
  • “Better By You Better Than Me” Gary Wright (3:22)
  • “Stained Class” Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford (5:20)
  • “Invader” Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford, Ian Hill (4:00)
  • “Saints In Hell” Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford, K.K. Downing (5:30)
  • “Savage” K.K. Downing, Rob Halford (3:26)
  • “Beyond The Realms Of Death” Les Binks, Rob Halford (6:55)
  • “Heroes End” Glenn Tipton (5:05)


Robert Halford, vocals
K.K. Downing, guitar
Glenn Tipton, guitar, vocals
Ian Hill, bass
Les Binks, drums
-Produced by Dennis MacKay and Judas Priest

– Recorded October/November 1977 at Chipping Norton Studios, Cotswold, London

– Mixed and engineered by Neil Ross at Trident Studios, London

– ”Better By You Better Than Me” produced by James Guthrie and Judas Priest

– Recorded December 1977/January 1978 at Utopia Studios, London

– Mixed and engineered by Ken Thomas and Paul Northfield at Advision Studios, London

– Design Roslav Szaybo, photography Ronald Kass

Stained Class in Wikipedia

Lead Break Credits:

Exciter, 1st lead Glenn, 2nd lead Glenn & K.K.
White Heat, Red Hot, Glenn
Better By You, Better Than Me, licks Glenn
Stained Class, Glenn
Invader, Glenn
Saints In Hell, no lead break
Savage, K.K.
Beyond The Realms Of Death, 1st lead Glenn, 2nd lead K.K.
Heroes End, Glenn

Album and single covers (click for more information):

K.K. Downing personal comments 2017:

It is strange that the two albums that are the haziest in my ever failing memory banks are Stained Class and Killing Machine, I can remember the studio in Chipping Norton but only just about.

For example, I can remember the control room, but not the live room at all, although I do remember Dennis MacKay (producer). He was a good guy to work with and I think he did a great job for us on this album.

I think at this point we were becoming a machine in terms of writing and recording, and I must say that we were never short of something to say musically. When I look back now, it is somewhat with amazement how we kept so prolific with song writing.

Les Binks was also by then on board, as we know Les is one of the finest drummers in the world, and it was a privilege to have him on the skins. Les also was responsible for bringing the idea to us for Beyond the Realms. I remember him picking up one of our guitars and turning it upside down and playing it left handed, out came the rhythm part, truly amazing, Thanks to Les a classic Priest track was born.

Les Binks personal comments 2017:

Stained Class was my first studio venture with Judas Priest. Most of the songs were routined arranged and recorded in a small demo studio in Birmingham first. The band discussed who they would like to produce the record and many names were put forward. My personal favourite was Dennis MacKay as he was the legendary Ken Scott’s understudy at Trident Studios, London, recording my big influence Billy Cobham with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. I loved the drum sound he got on those records.

Most of that album was recorded at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire. It was a live in studio with accommodation. I was first to arrive and spent the first day working with Dennis to get the drum sound the way we wanted it. Dennis was keen on getting good separation between the two bass drums and the rest of the kit, and at one point the bass drums were recorded front head off and a blanket placed over them so they didn’t spill onto the other drum mikes. That’s not how I like to record today as I like to have the drums set up in a live sounding room with very little damping to achieve a live more open sound. Chipping Norton was a fairly acoustically dead sounding room. However, Dennis waved his magic and I liked the sounds he came up with. “Better by You Better Than Me” was recorded later at Utopia Studios, London with James Guthrie producing. The drum sound is noticeably different on that track.

This album has my composition co-written with Rob Halford, “Beyond The Realms Of Death”. I wrote the music, Rob wrote the lyrics. It’s now become a Judas Priest classic and still performed to this day.

“Exciter” the opening track came about from a double bass drum pattern I played at a sound check. Glenn liked what he heard me play and asked me to play that again. He then joined in with a guitar riff and that became the intro to “Exciter”. That’s how some songs are born.

I really enjoyed making Stained Class and performing the songs live. When the adrenalin starts flowing on stage the songs get played slightly faster than the studio version and “Exciter” was one of those.

Stained Class set the format and direction that Priest was moving towards. A Heavy Metal classic album. Highly recommended by yours truly!!!

From K.K.’s personal scrapbook:

Stained Class Tourbook:

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