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Tonight we’ve got a couple of important birthdays to celebrate!

First up, Robert John Arthur Halford (born 25 August 1951), best known as the ‘Metal God’, famed for his powerful wide-ranging voice as the lead vocalist for Judas Priest! Halford was born in Sutton Coldfield, but raised in Walsall, a town to the northwest of Birmingham (where the four original members of Sabbath hail from) in England’s West Midlands.

The band Bullring Brummies is made up of Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, vocalist Rob Halford (not long out of Judas Priest), Obsessed/Vitus guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Fight guitarist Brian Tilse and Jimmy Wood on harmonica. Their cover of “The Wizard” on the first volume of the Nativity in Black, Black Sabbath tribute album that came out in the 19994 is their only recording, the musicians coming together specifically for this recording. According to Tony Iommi at the time, it was intended to be him / Butler / Ward on the track with Halford, as they had laid down tracks for the song. However I.R.S., Tony’s label at the time would not permit him to be included so he thought the project was dead. Gloria Butler, however, proceeded with Weinrich and Tilse being brought in to replace Iommi on the track. Upon discovering this, Iommi fired Gloria Butler, prompting Geezer Butler to quit Black Sabbath yet again.

Exactly two years after Staley’s body was found (April 20, 2004), Zakk Wylde‘s Black Label Society released ‘Hangover Music Vol. VI’ — a much more mellow affair than BLS usually produces. One of the songs contained within was titled ‘Layne,’ in honor of the AIC vocalist. Perhaps the eeriest part of this track is the sound of door-knocking at the end — which has been speculated as a symbolic representation of both the police knocking on Layne’s door prior to discovering his body and possibly himself knocking on heaven’s door. Also you hear a cat at the end of the song or what sounds like guitars mimicking a cats meowing, which supposedly represents Sadie, Layne’s cat, who was found in the apartment alive and well despite not eating for approximately two weeks and is now owned by Jerry. he knocking is when they come to check on Layne and ultimately find him.

Layne Thomas Staley (born 22 August 1967) was the lead vocalist and occasional rhythm guitarist and co-songwriter of Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. The band became known for Layne’s distinct vocal style, as well as the harmonized vocals between him and Cantrell. Staley was also a member of the supergroups Mad Season and Class of ’99.

By mid-1996, he was out of the public spotlight, never to perform live again. Layne struggled for much of his adult life with depression and a drug addiction, culminating with his death on April 5, 2002. And the rock world has never quite been the same, he is greatly missed. Another great taken too soon.

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