Reach Music Publishing has announced it has acquired both the master and publishing rights to the first two Judas Priest albums.
Reach Music acquired these rights to both Rocka Rolla and the Sad Wings of Destiny albums from Gull Entertainments. Reach says it will be working in partnership with Judas Preist on these two albums, planning a variety of projects to be announced later this year. Those projects include special releases for the 50th anniversary of Rocka Rolla in 2024.
Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny were released by Gull Records in 1974 and 1976, respectively. They were seen as formational albums in the developing heavy metal scene at the time, kicking off the band’s 50-year history and containing the classic songs “Victim of Changes,” “The Ripper,” and “Rocka Rolla.” Judas Priest signed to CBS Records (now Sony) to release their third album in 1977.
So the ownership rights of both masters and publishing to the first two Judas Priest albums remained with Gull for almost 50 years. Prior to this deal with Gull, Reach 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 and worldwide administration rights to the Glenn Tipton song catalog, beginning with songs released in 1977, including iconic tracks like “Breaking The Law,” “Living After Midnight,” And “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”
The current acquisition from Gull reunites the full catalog with Tipton and Reach, to include compositions from the 1974 and 1976 Judas Priest album releases. This acquisition also sees Reach enter into deals with other members of the band from the time period, including Rob Halford, Ian Hill, and K.K. Downing. Reach will be representing compositions co-written by them from these two albums.
“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,” adds Michael Closter, President and Owner of Reach Music. “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,” Closter adds.”
“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,” adds David Howells, Owner of Gull. “I’m looking forward to seeing what projects Reach and Judas Priest do together in the future with these iconic recordings.”