I was driving the other day when a song came on the radio that I didn’t remember ever having heard before. My first thoughts were, “Wow, this must be a remake of “Suite Madam Blue” by Styx. I punched the info button and the name Judas Priest came up. The song was titled “Beyond the Realm of Death.” There was absolutely no mention of it being a remake, and I couldn’t imagine the Priest doing a remake of Styx!
I did a little more research, and could find no connection between these two songs at all. Yet, they have almost exactly the same basic riff. “Suite Madam Blue” was on Styx’s 1975 album Equinox, while “Beyond the Realm of Death” was on Stained Class, from Judas Priest in 1978. I also read a hint that Judas Priest may have had a guest guitarist on their song, and, rather strangely, the Styx guitarist named John Curulewski, who played on Equinox, left the band right after that. I began to wonder if Curulewski could have been the guest guitarist on “Beyond the Realm of Death” but could find nothing to indicate that.
The mystery remains. How in the world could a Styx riff end up on a Judas Priest album three years later? And lest you think it’s only a passing resemblance, I’ve linked both songs below. Give them a listen, especially the opening sections.
Styx: “Suite Madam Blue”.
Judas Priest: “Beyond the Realm of Death”.
If anyone has any info on this, I’d love to hear it.