“Rocka Rolla” is the debut single by Judas Priest, first released in August 1974, and later released as the title track of their first album the following month.
Rocka Rolla is written by Rob Halford, KK Downing, & Glen Tipton.
This song was played live on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
The song has several short guitar solos played by guitarist Glenn Tipton, an outro solo by K. K. Downing, as well as a harmonica solo played by vocalist Rob Halford.
During live performances, Tipton’s backing vocals were sung significantly higher than Halford’s. The song often closed the shows on their early tours, and was extended into a lengthy jam.
According to the band, the album was entirely played live, in studio (i.e. all musicians playing simultaneously as in a concert, vs. the more popular method of each musician’s parts being recorded separately and then mixing them).
According to the band there were technical problems in the studio, resulting in poor sound quality and a hiss through the album. Guitarist Glenn Tipton had just joined when recording of Rocka Rolla began and did not contribute any songwriting except on the title track and “Run of the Mill”. He did come up with the songs “Tyrant“, “Epitaph”, and “Ripper“, but Bain considered them not commercial enough and rejected them. Bain also rejected the concert staple “Whiskey Woman” which later, with contributions from Tipton, morphed into “Victim of Changes”. These songs were eventually all included on their next album, Sad Wings of Destiny. In addition, “Winter”, “Deep Freeze” and “Winter Retreat” form a suite, but are listed as separate tracks and divided as such on some versions of the CD release.
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