Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Le ather - Meaning of the song
The phrase "hell bent for leather" became a maxim for Judas Priest, encapsulating their attitude that life should be lived with the throttle open. The song is about a mysterious rider who appears like a flash on his motorbike and is always faster than the rest.
Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton was a riff-making machine when he came up with this one in the studio after laying down what would be another Priest classic, "Take On The World." When lead singer Rob Halford heard it, he hit on the phrase "hell bent for leather," which the band loved. Starting with that title, he fashioned the rest of the lyric.
The leather look is often associated with gay culture, and because Rob Halford is gay, many assume that was the intention, but it was not.
"The biggest myth about this new stage gear is that I had somehow masterminded the image as a cover and a vent for my homosexuality - that I was getting a thrill from dressing onstage as I'd like to dress in the street, or the bedroom. This is utter bollocks." Judas Priest was the first metal band to rock a leather-and-studs look, which came together in 1978 when they were trying to develop their image. The effort was spearheaded by lead singer Rob Halford and guitarist KK Downing, who thought a unified, signature look could help them get to the next level - they were confident their music was where it needed to be. They had leather outfits made in London for each band member, which evolved over time but were ready for prime time when they made the album. The song "Hell Bent For Leather" validated the look, which other hard rockers soon adapted.
Hell Bent for Leather - Lyrics
Seek him here, seek him on the highway Never knowing when he'll appear All await, engine's ticking over Hear the roar as they sense the fear Wheels! A glint of steel and a flash of light! Screams! From a streak of fire as he strikes! Hell bent, hell bent for leather Hell bent, hell bent for leather Black as night, faster than a shadow Crimson flare from a raging sun An exhibition, sheer precision Yet no one knows from where he comes Fools! Self destruct cannot take that crown Dreams! Crash one by one to the ground Hell bent, hell bent for leather Hell bent, hell bent for leather There's many who tried to prove that they're faster But they didn't last and they died as they tried There's many who tried to prove that they're faster But they didn't last and they died as they tried Hell bent, hell bent for leather Hell bent, hell bent for leather Hell bent, hell bent for leather Hell bent, hell bent for leather