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"Victim of Changes"
Song by Judas Priest
from the album Sad Wings of Destiny
Released23 March 1976 (1976-03-23)
RecordedNovember–December 1975
StudioRockfield, Wales
Genre Heavy metal [1]
  • Jeffery Calvert
  • Max West
  • Judas Priest

"Victim of Changes" is a song by English heavy metal band Judas Priest, featured on their 1976 studio album Sad Wings of Destiny. Adrien Begrand, writing for PopMatters, claimed the song changed the course of metal history. [2] Vocalist Rob Halford's performance is considered one of his finest ever. The guitar work is noted as well; [3] Bob Gendron praised the song's "landslide riffs" in the Chicago Tribune. [4] The song has come to be regarded as one of the band's classics, [5] and Martin Popoff listed it at No. 17 in his "Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time". [1]

The song is a combination of two songs by two Judas Priest singers: "Whiskey Woman", [2] by Priest founder Al Atkins and guitarist K. K. Downing, and "Red Light Lady" by later singer Rob Halford. [6] Live versions of the song appear on several of the band's live albums, such as Unleashed in the East, '98 Live Meltdown and Live in London.


Judas Priest formed in 1969 in Birmingham. Vocalist co-founder Al Atkins chose the band's name [7] and contributed to much of the band's early material. [8] One of these songs was "Whiskey Woman", co-written with guitarist K. K. Downing, [9] which later became part of "Victim of Changes" along with "Red Light Lady" by Atkins' replacement Rob Halford, [8] which he brought from his previous band, Hiroshima. [10] Judas Priest often opened with "Red Light Lady" after Halford joined. The band recorded demos of "Victim of Changes", as well as "The Ripper", "Genocide", and "Tyrant" while making their first album, Rocka Rolla (1974), but did not release these songs until their second album, Sad Wings of Destiny (1976). [8]


The song opens with a fade-in dual guitar passage that flows into the song's main riffs. A linear pattern is followed until the staccato section in the bridge. The song's first main guitar solo follows afterward, played by K. K. Downing. The bridge section finishes and goes into a lighter, more mellow section that soon intensifies. The second solo, played by Glenn Tipton, comes during the heavy section. The song returns to the main riff and finishes with Rob Halford's banshee-like screams. The lyrics are about a failing relationship due to a woman's alcoholism. The song is written in the key of E minor.

Reception and legacy

"Victim of Changes" became a frequently-performed favorite amongst Judas Priest fans. [11] When Halford left the group in the 1990s, his replacement Tim "Ripper" Owens auditioned with "Victim of Changes" and " The Ripper". [12] Other artists have recorded the song. Van Halen played the song in the group's early club days. [9] Al Atkins, former singer for Judas Priest and co-writer of the song, recorded the song for his 1998 album of the same name. [8] [13]


  1. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (2003). Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time. ECW Press. ISBN  978-1-55022-530-3. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (9 August 2004). "Born to Lead, At Breakneck Speed". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  3. ^ Prown, Pete; HP Newquist; Jon F. Eiche (1997). Legends of rock guitar: the essential reference of rock's greatest guitarists. Hal Leonard. p. 186. ISBN  9780793540426.
  4. ^ Gendron, Bob (25 April 2004). "New boxed sets link Black Sabbath, Judas Priest once again". Chicago Tribune. p. 12.
  5. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Chris Woodstra; Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002). All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul. Hal Leonard. pp. 606, 605. ISBN  978-0-87930-653-3.
  6. ^ "Rev. of Dawn of the Metal Gods". AltSounds. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  7. ^ Popoff 2007, p. 16.
  8. ^ a b c d Daniels 2007.
  9. ^ a b Popoff 2007, p. 30.
  10. ^ Popoff 2007, p. 31.
  11. ^ Popoff 2007, pp. 129, 218.
  12. ^ Popoff 2007, p. 243.
  13. ^ Popoff 2007, p. 4.

Works cited