Breaking the Law (2:33)

Cover of British Steel

From British Steel and 180 other releases

This song, with its extremely simple main riff and chorus, was released as a single from the British Steel album, and was one of Judas Priest’s big breakthrough songs. It is now considered one of the most famous Hard Rock/Heavy Metal songs ever.

The lyrics tell of someone who gets tired of everything that comes with an ordinary life - that life has become boring. This leads the person to take a chance and start breaking the law.

The song featured some sound effects, including the sound of breaking glass and a police siren. The band were recording British Steel at Tittenhurst Park, which was the home of the Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr. Sampling did not exist at the time, so for the breaking glass, the band used the milk bottles the milkman brought them in the morning, and the police siren was actually guitarist K.K. Downing using the whammy on his Stratocaster.

The song has been played live almost constantly ever since its release, and has slowly evolved over the years, for example with an added guitar solo by K.K. Downing (the original had no solo). It still gets the crowd going everywhere they go, but Priest have expressed a desire to try touring without some of their obvious classics, including this song.

The video has become a cult classic, starring the band as bank robbers. Singer Rob Halford is riding in a Cadillac towards the bank, singing the first verse. Then he meets up with the rest of the band at the bank, and they break into the bank and use their instruments to bring the people inside down to their knees.


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There I was completely wasting, out of work and down
All inside it's so frustrating as I drift from town to town
Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die
So I might as well begin to put some action in my life

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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