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The Rights To First Two Judas Priest Albums Acquired By Reach Music Publishing
The master and publishing rights of Judas Priest's 'Rocka Rolla' and 'Sad Wings of Destiny' records have been acquired by Reach Music Publishing from Gull Entertainments.
They will be working with the band on these records and various projects are to be announced in the near future including special releases for the 50th Anniversary of 'Rocka Rolla' coming next year.
Both records are landmark albums and were released in 1974 and 1976 respectively thus beginning the band's 50 year legacy in shaping Heavy Metal.
Following the release of these two albums, Judas Priest signed to Sony (CBS Records at the time) to release their third album 'Sin After Sin' in 1977 however the ownership rights of both masters and punblishing to the first two albums remained with Gull for almost 50 years.
Reach Music already had an existing relationship with the band as the co-publisher of band member and lead guitarist Glenn Tipton. In 2021, Reach Music announced the acquisition of a 50% copyright interest and worldwide administration rights to the Glenn Tipton song catalog which began with songs released in 1977. This included the likes of 'You've Got Another Thing Coming,' 'Breaking the Law' and 'Living After Midnight.' The recent acquistion of both 'Rocka Rolla' and 'Sad Wings of Destiny' reunites the entire catalog.
The acquisition also sees Reach Music enter into deals with the other members of Judas Priest as Reach Music will be representing the compositions co-written by the members from the first two records. This comes not even a year after Judas Priest were finally inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
During an interview on 'That Jamieson Show' in November 2020, Rob Halford spoke about the rights of the first two albums:
"We've gone back and forth with the owners of those records," he said. "And it's a shame. I hope one day we can bring them back into the Priest fold, because they're valuable — they're like treasures, really. And I think that's probably why the people that still own them understand that, because they're keeping [the albums] rehashed and so forth.
Like any band that's been privileged enough to have a long life like Priest — 50 years now — some extraordinary things happen in your first one, two, three albums. Especially the difference between 'Rocka Rolla' and 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' — it's just like this Grand Canyon effect in the way that the band really grew exponentially in such a short space of time.
And yeah, we would love to get them back. We never say never. We keep going back to 'em every so often and say, 'Look, what's it gonna take?' Because they're important to us. And I'd like to feel that one day we'll own those masters again."
Michael Closter of Reach Music has stated:
“The acquisition of the masters and publishing for the albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny was a monumental opportunity for Reach Music, coming not long after Judas Priest’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“This deal happened with the approval of Judas Priest and their manager Jayne Andrews, and I’m so excited to begin working closely with them on a variety of special projects, including releasing high-quality reissues.”
“I want to thank David Howells, owner of Gull, who signed Judas Priest in 1974 and released their first two albums. He has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career spanning 65 years in the music industry. Thank you for your trust in doing this sale for these essential and historically important Judas Priest albums.”
The owner of Gull Records, David Howells has stated:
"I'm very happy to have met Michael Closter and to pass the mantle on to Reach Music after Gull Records first released these Judas Priest albums almost 50 years ago. I'm looking forward to seeing what projects Reach and Judas Priest do together in the future with these iconic recordings."