Hell Bent For Leather from Killing Machine, the fifth studio album by Judas Priest, released on 9 October 1978.
The track pushed the band towards a more commercial style while still featuring the dark lyrical themes of their previous albums. At about the same time, the band members adopted their now-famous “leather-and-studs” fashion image, inspired by Rob Halford’s interest in gay leather culture. It is the band’s last studio album to feature drummer Les Binks. In the United States, it was released with a different track listing as Hell Bent for Leather due to controversy over the Cleveland Elementary School shooting.
This is the first Judas Priest album where Glenn Tipton incorporated the guitar technique of tapping into his soloing style, which had been popularized by Eddie Van Halen earlier that year with the release of Van Halen’s popular debut album. This can be heard in the solos of “Hell Bent for Leather” and “Killing Machine”.
This is also the final studio album for drummer Les Binks who had joined the band in early 1977 in time for the Sin After Sin tour; he is credited with helping develop the traditional Priest percussive sound. Binks was dropped and replaced by drummer Dave Holland after the 1979 tour because of a financial disagreement where the band’s manager Mike Dolan wanted Binks to “waive his fees” for performing on the platinum selling 1979 Unleashed in the East live album.
In 2005, Killing Machine was ranked number 321 in Rock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. This album, as well as subsequent albums by the band, have somewhat divided fans, with some preferring the complexity and darkness of the early albums, while others prefer the more mainstream and polished later albums.