Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the late 1970s, the band struggled with indifferently-produced records, repeated changes at the drummer position, and a lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980 when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status. In 1989, they were named as defendants in an unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that subliminal messages on their albums had caused the suicide attempts of two young men.
The band's membership has seen much turnover, including a revolving cast of drummers in the 1970s, and the temporary departure of singer Rob Halford in the early 1990s. The current line-up consists of lead vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. The band's best-selling album is 1982's Screaming for Vengeance featuring their most commercially successful line-up, Rob Halford, K. K. Downing, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, and Dave Holland. The band has finished work on a new album, which is expected to be released sometime in 2014.
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