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Judas Priest founder & Robert Plant


Al Atkins has a lot of tales to tell – from his humble beginnings in Stone 
Cross through his early friendship with the legendary Robert Plant to the 
setting up of Judas Priest.

And next month his colourful life will be opened up for all to see when he 
spills the beans in his long-awaited book Dawn of the Rock Gods.

It talks about the heyday of rock music in the Black Country and Birmingham and 
the scores of music venues in West Bromwich, which attracted world-class 

Al grew up in Stone Cross and attended Charlemont School, before getting a job 
in a motorbike garage at 15.

It was while working at Prestige Motorbikes, near the Birmingham Road, that he 
got friendly with Robert Plant, who has contributed a photograph to the book 
and wished his old pal all the best with its success.

“That was in around 1968 I was in band called The Bitta Sweet and Robert was in 
The Band of Joy, before his Led Zeppelin days.”

It was while in The Bitta Sweet that Al rubbed shoulders with the stars, at The 
Old Hill Plaza, a venue which attracted all the top names including The Beatles 
in the 60s and 70s.

He said: “The Bitta Sweet was a pop band and played alongside David Bowie, 
Elton John, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart at the Old Hill Plaza. Back in those 
days Rod Stewart was a backing singer with a blues singer called Long John 
Baldry. And Elton John was still Reginald Dwight and was playing keyboards. Rod 
Stewart was really friendly, I had a drink with him after the gig.