Judas Priest

Breaking the Law

Composed by Glenn Tipton / K.K. Downing / Rob Halford

Song Review by

"Breaking the Law," like all of Judas Priest's better-known songs -- like "You've Got Another Thing Coming," "Living After Midnight," and "Heading Out to the Highway" -- had strong pop elements. The simple arrangement and lyrics made it more palatable for a mainstream audience, but the band's trademark heavy sound still weighed it down from pop radio play. Its dramatically dark explanation of one person's decision to commit crime ("For every promise broken there's anger in my heart") and Rob Halford's deep, passionate growl made "Breaking the Law" a favorite in the early Priest catalog. It also made this song ripe for parody in the early '90s on MTV's Beavis and Butthead, giving it a little notoriety long after the band had split.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
British Steel 1980 Columbia
Screaming for Vengeance 1982 Sony Music
Priest...Live! 1987 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1991 CBS Records
No Image 1991 20th Century Fox
Metal Works '73-'93 1993 Sony Music Distribution
Impossible Concert 1994
Various Artists
Alex 2:11
Rock, Vol. 3 [Sounds Direct] 1994
Various Artists
Sounds Direct
The Best of Rock on Stage, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Alex
Prisoners of Pain 1996 Sony Music Distribution 2:35
Wreaking Havoc 1997
Various Artists
Essex 2:20
The Best of Judas Priest: Living After Midnight 1998 Sony BMG 2:35
British Steel/Point of Entry/Screaming for Vengeance 1998 Sony Music Distribution 2:33
'98 Live Meltdown 1998 SPV
Hard Rock [Delta] 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:36
Simply the Best 1999 Sony Music Distribution 2:35
80's Rock, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc Corp. / Platinum Disc 2:39
Priest Live & Rare 1999 Epic 2:44
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:34
Eighties Rock 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc Corp. / Platinum Disc 2:39
Hard Rock to Metal 2000
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:36
Live Concert Rock Classics 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:21
Judas Priest Collectors' Box 2002 Sony Music Distribution 2:42
Rock Classics: The Heavyweights 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment 2:35
Live in London 2003 Steamhammer 2:47
Live and Loud 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:23
Electric Eye 2003 Sony Music
Metalogy 2004 Sony Music
Angel of Retribution 2005 Epic
The Collection: British Steel/Point of Entry/Screaming for Vengence 2005 Sony Music Distribution 2:35
Classic Rock, Vol. 1 2005
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:35
Headbanger's Bible: 45 of the Biggest Headbangers 2005
Various Artists
WEA International 2:33
Rising in the East 2005 Rhino/Warner Bros.
The Essential Judas Priest 2006 Sony Music 2:33
Ram It Down/British Steel/Screaming for Vengeance 2006 Sony Music Distribution 2:35
Absolute Driving Rock 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:37
Platinum 2007 Madacy 2:35
Super Hits 2007 BMG Special Products / Sbme Special Mkts. / Sony CMG 2:35
Hit Collection 2007 Sony BMG 2:35
Collections 2008 Commercial Canada / Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:33
Just for Dad 2008
Various Artists
Apace / Platinum Collection 2:35
Original Album Classics 2008 Legacy
Playlist: The Very Best of Judas Priest 2008 Sony BMG
Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Rock 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:34
British Steel/Screaming for Vengeance 2008 Legacy 2:35
The Pop Years: 1980-1981 2009
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:35
Essential: The Power of Rock 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
Haynes Ultimate Guide to Rock: Dad 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 2:35
Setlist: The Very Best of Judas Priest Live 2010 Columbia Records / Legacy 2:48
101 Running Songs, Lap 2 2010
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:34
Pure... Guitar Heroes 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
The  Music of Judas Priest 2010 Columbia / Columbia Records / Legacy 2:36
No Image 2011 Columbia
Pure... Drive 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
The Chosen Few 2011 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:35
Greatest Ever!: Heavy Metal 2012
Various Artists
Union Square 2:35
Great British Albums 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
The Complete Albums Collection 2012 Sony Legacy 2:35
Haynes Ultimate Guide to Classic Anthems: Rock 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
Epitaph [Video] 2013 Sony Music Video
Eddie Stobart Trucking Songs 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:35
The Box Set Series 2014 Legacy / RCA 2:35
30 Stars: Classic Rock 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:33
The Box Set Series: Classic Rock 2014
Various Artists
Legacy 2:34
Pure... Metal 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:34
100 Hits: Total Rock 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:35
Battle Cry 2016 Columbia / Epic / Sony Music 3:03
Absolute Rock Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Eva 2:33
Latest & Greatest Rock
Various Artists
USM Media 2:33
No Image Phantom Import Distribution
No Image
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 2:33
Rock!: The Album
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:40
blue highlight denotes editor's pick