As Kerrang got up and running in 1981, it was only a matter of time before metal bands realised that a full colour magazine dedicated entirely to them offered up possibilities that smudgy old black and White Sounds never could. One of the first to exploit this was Judas Priest, who in Kerrang no. 10 in February 1982 appeared in a photo spread with Penthouse Pet Cheryl Rixon. You can see it below (warning: it's maybe NSFW. Unless you work for Silvio Berlusconi).
Looking at it now, it's kind of endearing that Judas Priest - an established band that had toured the world - when given the chance to indulge their sexual fantasies came up with something that could have appeared on The Benny Hill Show. I bet they even had a cup of tea afterwards.
What's interesting about it all it is that it caused a fuss. The letters pages in subsequent issues were notably full of letters complaining about the sexism of the photo spread. One reader complained that:
In one foul swoop Kerrang! has plummeted from being 'The Times' of heavy rock to being the 'Daily Star'. No wonder heavy rock is damned for being sexist if the critics see this sort of trash.Thankfully, the editors never acted on the suggestion below from X, a "Sue Barker lookalike":
Now the way I see it, that was done solely for the pleasure of the male readers. To make it fair and give some pleasure to the female readers, you should've had Priest romping around in their undies in the final picture.You get the feeling that the Kerrang editors, who probably cut their journalistic teeth with the strippers and dwarves at Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin press launches in the 70s, didn't realise that this was now the 80s and things were changing.
At the same time, it was all publicity, and other bands were hardly going to let Priest get all the centre spreads. Certainly not the ambitious and well-managed Iron Maiden, and you can imagine that Rod Smallwood was on the phone to the model agency as soon as he saw the pictures. The result was the centrefold "Maiden's Maiden" that appeared in the very same issue as the letters quoted above.
There's something a bit desperate about this picture. You can imagine the model wondering to herself how it got to this. From almost making it onto the Kenny Everett Video Show to posing in red drawers while being groped by an Iron Maiden roadie wearing a rubber latex mask.
Of course, after all this excitement, Kerrang then realised that attitudes were changing and decided to grow up, stopping this malarkey and focusing on the music. Only joking. Of course they didn't. Future issues gave ample space to great talents such as Lee Aaron, Bitch and Pandora, all testing the tensile strength of elasticated fabrics.