Alan John "Al" Atkins (born 11 October 1947 in West Bromwich, Birmingham, England) is a hard rock vocalist, perhaps best known for his association with Judas Priest. He began his musical career in 1964, singing in a succession of blues-rock outfits before forming a band in September 1969, named Judas Priest (named after the Bob Dylan song The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest). Featuring a musical direction unrelated to the future metal band, this band lasted until October 1970, developing a small following in Birmingham before splitting up over creative differences.
By this time, bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were emerging, and Atkins was interested in pursuing a similar direction. Fellow Birmingham musicians K.K. Downing and Ian Hill had similar musical interests, so they teamed with Atkins to form a new band called Freight. Atkins did not like the name, so he suggested they be called Judas Priest, as he had rights to the name. After gaining a following in Birmingham, the Atkins-led Priest recorded a demo in 1971, which attracted the attention of Tony Iommi's management but failed to endear them with any of London's major record labels. Though the gigs began to improve, the band also had to contend with higher overhead, and no record deal was in sight.
As Atkins had a young daughter to support, he was forced to leave Priest in 1973 in favor of a day job. He was replaced by Rob Halford, who found himself singing many songs that were originally written by Atkins. Consequently, the album Rocka Rolla gives a portrait of Atkins' original vision for the band. Atkins eventually formed another band, Lion and went solo after it dissolved. Atkins has retained close ties to his former Priest bandmates, who assisted him on Victim of Changes, which featured rerecorded versions of songs he had written in the early 1970s.
Judgement Day (1990)
Dreams Of Avalon (1992)
Heavy Thoughts (1994)
Victim of Changes (1998)
Demon Deceiver (2007)