top of page

Under The Radar: Judas Priest - Turbo (1986)


Rob Halford – vocals K. K. Downing – guitar Glenn Tipton – guitar Ian Hill – bass guitar Dave Holland – drums


1. Turbo Lover 2. Locked In 3. Private Property 4. Parental Guidance 5. Rock You All Around The World 6. Out In The Cold 7. Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days 8. Hot For Love 9. Reckless

Turbo is the 10th studio album by Judas Priest. The album was released on April 14th 1986, and was produced by Tom Allom (Pat Travers, Def Leppard, Krokus, Loverboy).

For those not in the know Turbo was initially planned as a double album – tentatively named Twin Turbos after guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing both purchased Porsche 911 Turbos. But for whatever reason the two-record concept was eventually scrapped, and the material was split with the more commercial sounding songs ending up on Turbo.

After thirty years, Turbo still has a love/hate relationship with its audience. Depending on who you ask Turbo is either an enjoyable arena rock album or a complete sell out. Even though Judas Priest did sell out to a certain extent with Turbo , I hardly consider this album as a disappointment.

By the time Judas Priest released their tenth studio album the rock scene had changed. Rock had finally been accepted by into the mainstream by radio and MTV. Rock had become more poppy with less bass more keyboards and the songs became much more palatable to the masses. By the mid-eighties most of the veteran bands like Aerosmith, Scorpions, Iron maiden & Van Halen, “experimented” or “diversified” their sound to adapt to the changes and remain relevant. Judas Priest had to either get on board or get out of the way. Needless to say, they got on board, I just think that the mainstream hard rock consumers weren’t ready for priest’s commitment in embracing the new technological advances that were at their disposal.

In my opinion, Turbo is in no way a masterpiece, but it is a solid melodic arena rock record. If you strip away the synthesized guitars and the programmed percussion songs like Turbo Lover, Locked In, Parental Guidance , Reckless and Private Property are, at their core, still recognizably Priest material, just more accessible.

There are two major factors that hurt Turbo’s ability to resonate with the band's fan base. First, hard rock fans back in the day were experiencing something out of the norm in the genre, their favourite artists or bands were beginning to change or lighten their sound and have massive commercial success. Fans saw this change as a sellout and were either slow to embrace it or took it as a betrayal of sorts. However, in the case of Turbo, most long-term fans were unprepared as to how how fearless they were about embracing change, when they adopted then cutting-edge technology, and madeTurbo one of history’s earliest fully digital recordings, and arguably the first by a heavy metal band. Second, the lyrical content on Turbo was distinctly different from previous Judas Priest albums, with more emphasis on grounded subjects such as love and romance rather than the band's usual sci-fi and fantasy themes.

In my opinion Turbo deserves a second chance to be heard. It may not be the hardest rocking record in their catalogue, but it is still a solid record. So do yourself a favor and go give Turbo another chance

11 views0 comments
bottom of page