Reach Music Publishing acquires rights to early Judas Priest albums

Reach Music Publishing acquires rights to early Judas Priest albums

Reach Music Publishing has acquired both the master and publishing rights of Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings Of Destiny albums from Gull Entertainments. 

Reach will be working in partnership with Judas Priest on the two albums and is planning a variety of projects to be announced later this year, including special releases for the 50th anniversary of Rocka Rolla in 2024.  

Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny are Judas Priest’s first two albums, released by Gull Records in 1974 and 1976 respectively.  Featuring classic songs such as Victim Of Changes, The Ripper and Rocka Rolla, they are seen as important albums in the development of heavy metal.

Judas Priest subsequently signed to CBS Records (now Sony) to release their third album in 1977, but the ownership rights of both masters and publishing to the first two Judas Priest albums remained with Gull for almost 50 years.

Last year, Judas Priest were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Prior to this deal with Gull, Reach already had an existing relationship with Judas Priest as the co-publisher of band member Glenn Tipton.

In 2021, Reach Music announced the acquisition of a 50% copyright interest in, as well as worldwide administration rights to, the Glenn Tipton song catalogue. 

The current acquisition from Gull reunites the full catalogue with Tipton and Reach, to include compositions from the 1974 and 1976 Judas Priest album releases.

In addition to Glenn Tipton, the acquisition of the first two Judas Priest albums sees Reach enter into deals with the other members of Judas Priest from that time period - Rob Halford, Ian Hill and KK Downing - as Reach will be representing the compositions co-written by them from those two albums.

Michael Closter, president and owner of Reach Music, said: “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.”

David Howells said: “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.”

PHOTO: (L-R): Scott Rubin (Reach), Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford, Scott Travis, Richie Faulkner, Ian Hill, Michael Closter (Reach) 

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