Judas Priest: One Shot At Glory... the best running song ever?

So a mate recently talked me into doing a 10km charity run this July. I’m kind of unfit at the moment and I don’t get many opportunities to break a sweat in my sedentary office job. Well, not unless something goes wrong with our websites... The point being, this run will be the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever attempted and so I’ve been training hard. Apparently once you break 5km, getting to 10km isn’t as relatively difficult. Just need to get to 5km first.
Naturally, I play the music I love when I’m jogging and as it turns out, the classic heavy metal album by Judas Priest, Painkiller, was apparently made specifically for jogging — especially its closing track, One Shot At Glory.
I mentioned the other day how I never quite managed to get into Judas Priest, even though I’ve loved metal for 20 years. Not too long ago that all changed, however, when I acquired a copy of the Painkiller album and finally got to understand what it was all about.
It’s not just the aural expression of power — the themes of glory, defiance and adversity-overcoming magnificence; the shredding riffs; and the inhuman ear-piercing vocals — that make this album and specifically its closing track so perfectly fitting for the strength-sapping and willpower-demanding task that is running a quarter of a marathon.
It’s way more than that. While the entire album is essentially the heavy metal equivalent to Vangelis’ Chariots Of Fire theme or Eye Of The Tiger, it’s the very speed and recording tempo of the closing final track, One Shot At Glory, that clearly makes it a running song.
I’ve been told I’m a tragic nerd when it comes to my music collection because I’ve recorded and written down the track BPMs (beats per minute) on many of my industrial music albums. A mate who once tried to play a DJ set with my CDs complained that he couldn't see the cover artwork due to all the bits of paper with hand-written scrawled numbers slipped into the jewel cases (below). So yes, I’ve spent plenty of lot of time listening to song tempos. I even have an iPhone beatcounter on me. Just in case.

There are people who listen to music. And then there are people who listen to music.

As it turns out, Judas Priest's One Shot At Glory is at the precise constant tempo that also happens to be my personal running tempo sweet spot, around 150bpm in my case.
Now keep in mind that it’s even been scientifically proven — and by “scientifically proven” I mean “I read it on a Cracked.com list” — that music can affect the brain and body in all sorts of crazy and awesome ways. From its ability to supposedly help prevent seizures to improved memory, music can do all sorts of wonderful things. And yes, increased endurance has to be right up there (even if, oddly enough, the indisputable evidence that is a Cracked.com article doesn't explicitly mention this fact, I think it's safe to assume that it's fact anyway, simply based on the virtue of its existing awesomeness).

But wait there’s more…
If the tempo and riffing and cheesy but-oh-so-epic vocals aren’t enough to get you racing, those One Shot At Glory lyrics will surely do it. Like this passage…

Fighting on with dignity
In life and death we deal
The power and the majesty
Amidst the blood and steel
I still hear the battle cry
(extra high scream here)
The call goes on and on
I still see the banners fly
The battle's always won

Cheesy beyond belief, yes, but awesomely epic nonetheless. When your body burns energy and your heart rate increases, that energy is diverted to muscles and away from ‘less essential’ jobs like digestion and brain power. That is to say, your mind is less likely to ponder the intellectual merits of corny Judas Priest lyrics.

Moving right along, there’s this increased heart rate -inducing chorus:
One shot at glory
Driving hard and seeing red
Destiny calls me
One night of fire
One shot at glory

I run laps around my local oval and on several occasions I’ve been ready to call it a day, only for this song to come one — where as a direct result I’ve literally managed to push myself further and harder.
Judas Priest: Painkiller is an awesome heavy metal album in its own right. But, rightly or wrongly, there are some out there who don’t quite agree. To that I say: if Painkiller isn’t utterly marvellous because it can literally have a physical effect on one’s body, then what is?

Finally, here’s a dubious ‘fan’ video that steals the music and then lazily
superimposes it over a fight scene from 300. But weirdly enough it works. A bit.

1 comment:

  1. Are you able to set up some subscribe feature similar to my blog where it simply emails people when you make an update? At the moment the only option on yours seems to be "Add to Google Reader" or "Add to RSS Feed"