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Music

Watch Judas Priest cover Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Green Manalishi’

Judas Priest are, along with fellow Brummies Black Sabbath, one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. They’ve sold more than a whopping 50 million albums and were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Rob Halford’s opera-like voice and the dual lead guitar lines of Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing separated Priest from their contemporaries and without doubt influenced the future of metal, with bands yet to come in the shape of Van Halen, Def Leppard and Motley Crue.

Priest formed in Birmingham in 1969, and as such, like many of the bands of the late 1960s – regardless of their genre – were influenced by the heavy blues rock bands who had laid down the gauntlet earlier in the decade. These influences included Cream, Deep Purple, The Who and the early incarnation of Fleetwood Mac.

In fact, Priest once covered Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Green Manalishi’ on their 1979 album Hell Bent for Leather (the American version of Killing Machine), and the first worldwide release of their cover came later that year on the live album Unleashed in the East. The band also played the song at Live Aid at the JFK Stadium in Pennsylvania, noted for the dual guitar solo between Tipton and Downing.

The cover, in many ways, pushed the boundaries of the original, elevating the pace to fit the heavier tendencies of Priest and creating a more menacing sound than the blues-rock original. Les Binks lays down a serious groove that allows Tipton and Downing to let rip. A re-recording of the track was issued as a bonus track on the German and Australian versions of the band’s 2001 album Demolition.

Peter Green wrote the original version of the song during a time when he overdone it on LSD and had become withdrawn from the other members of Fleetwood Mac. Green claims that the ‘Green Manilishi’ is representative of money and its evil forces. Allegedly, Green wrote the song following a dream in which he was visited by a green dog who barked at him from beyond the human realm. Green was sure that the dog represented money, and he had, at the time, been distressed by the other members of Fleetwood Mac’s refusal to share their newfound wealth.

Green once said of the dream: “It scared me because I knew the dog had been dead a long time. It was a stray and I was looking after it. But I was dead and had to fight to get back into my body, which I eventually did. When I woke up, the room was really black and I found myself writing the song.”

You can watch a rip-roaring live version of the Judas Priest cover from 1983 below.