How To Play The Ripper By Judas Priest

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The Ripper Guitar Lesson

The Ripper Is a Song From The Sad Wings Of Destiny Album released in April 1976.

The Ripper was written by Glen Tipton.

An early Judas Priest track from their second album, “The Ripper” is a brief recounting of the crimes of Jack the Ripper, from the perspective of the killer. Jack the Ripper, who did his dirty work in the 1800s, was never caught and built a legend that made him an archetype of sorts, which is why he shows up in songs like this one.

Judas Priest left their label, Gull Records, after the Sad Wings Of Destiny album was released. Their new label, Columbia, was never able to buy the first two Judas Priest albums from Gull, so original versions of “The Ripper” and other songs on those albums won’t show up on greatest hits compilations.

The band recorded Sad Wings of Destiny over two weeks in November and December 1975 at Rockfield Studios in Wales. The band stayed sober during the 12-hour recording sessions. The cover depicts a struggling, grounded angel surrounded by flames and wearing a devil’s three-pronged cross, which became the band’s symbol. The album was released in March 1976, with “The Ripper” as lead single. The band supported the album with a headlining tour of the UK from April to June 1976. By this time Halford joked that fans should burn their copies of Rocka Rolla.

The album had little commercial success at first and had difficulty getting noticed due to critical competition from the rise of punk rock, though it peaked at No. 48 in the UK and had a positive review in Rolling Stone. Fans, critics, and the band have since come to see Sad Wings of Destiny as the album on which Judas Priest consolidated their sound and image. It features heavy riffing and complex song arrangements that Tipton and Downing have said were inspired by the factories of The Black Country. The album’s centrepiece “Victim of Changes” evolved from a combination of Atkins’ “Whiskey Woman” and Halford’s “Red Light Woman”, and went on to become a fan favourite.

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