JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford has revealed that he wrote the band's song "Before The Dawn" about his very first heartbreak nearly forty years ago.
Halford, who came out as gay in 1998 and became the first high-profile metal musician to do so, spoke to the "Metal Hammer Magazine Show" about some heavy metal bands' reluctance to be "a bit sensitive" in their music. He said: "Well, I think some bands are doing that. I mean, look, when PRIEST started… The roots of metal go back to the Midlands [region of the U.K.] with PRIEST and SABBATH, and now, it's just sensational, the variety that's out there today for you to pick and choose. I guess, again, depending on what kind of metal you're playing, it may be kind of an alien area to go into that kind of sensitivity. Sometime that's just out of your league; you may not even be wanting to portray that type of performance. But I think if you're able to, it just shows another dimension, 'cause, obviously, metal music in general is all about emotion, conveying emotion, and I don't care how fierce your band is, everybody's had a broken hear, everybody's had a mishap, and sometimes you talk about that with a feeling of rage, or you can do it in a strong and sensitive manner. You know, I think if you're in a band and you wanna completely explore all of the virtues of the musicians, you should try absolutely everything. Don't push it away from you just because the words don't sound right, or it makes you feel a particular way. Take those feelings and convey them into some kind of musical performance."
Asked if he remembers his first heartbreak, Halford responded: "Yeah, I do, actually. And it was probably later on in my life. It wasn't in my teen years; I think it was in my 20s. And even talking as a gay guy. We get broken hearts too, folks. So that's what happened to me. And it's a hellish thing to go through, but it's part of life."
He continued: "Life is about loving and living and experiencing every kind of thing that can be thrown at you. There's music for that. I think we all listen to music, to metal, depending on the mood that we're in. If I'm in the mood for some classic metal, I'll listen to that kind of band. If I wanna rage, I might listen to some SLAYER or CANNIBAL CORPSE or EMPEROR or BEHEMOTH, you know?! It depends on where I'm at [at that particular] time of day. The emotional connection through the music has always been very strong to me."
Pressed about whether he ever wrote a song about the experience of getting his heart broken for the first time, Halford said: "I did, actually. And I'm just trying to think what it was called. I think it was called 'Before The Dawn'. There you go. I'm pretty sure that was. And now the hardcore fans out there are gonna be listening to this — as you do, as I would — and are gonna be getting on their laptops and are gonna be doing all that and checking out the lyrics and this and that and the other. Yeah, I think that was… It may not be in true essence, but there's definitely some truth to the fact that that was relative to that incident."
"Before The Dawn" was featured on JUDAS PRIEST's fifth studio album, "Killing Machine" (known as "Hell Bent For Leather" in the U.S.), which came out in 1978.