Judas Priest co-founder and former guitarist KK Downing has reflected on why the band weren’t as big as Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden. 

During an appearance on BBC Radio (via Ultimate Guitar), Downing was asked: “British Steel seems to be the album that really kicked you into the big time. When you look back around that time – do you look back with musical satisfaction, or are you looking back almost a bit greedy thinking, ‘Well, Sabbath got really big, Iron Maiden got really big, why didn’t we have similar success because the material was as strong as powerful?'”

“I just think it was probably the connections and the machinery. We signed for a small company called Gold Records for the first two albums,” Downing replied.

He continued: “But really, the albums didn’t sound exactly, didn’t really capture the band how we sounded live. And then Sony came along and said, ‘We’d like to sign the bands.’

“And then that was very, very good because they were very supportive, and had some big machinery, they hooked us up with Roger Glover, obviously, which was wonderful.”

“A Deep Purple member producing the band, thinking, ‘Wow, this is great.’ But we still had to come up with the goods because it was very in the experimental stage I suppose, and still getting to where it needed to get to.”

“I had the Flying V which is now synonymous with heavy metal bands very early on, and, obviously, with Rob leading the way. It was bound to happen at some point but so it was a long journey,” he concluded.

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Check out KK Downing discussing Judas Priest on BBC Radio: