John Hinch, the drummer who played on Judas Priest's debut album, Rocka Rolla, has died at the age of 73.

The news was confirmed by Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, who shared a photo of Hinch, along with the caption RIP and a series of emojis, on his Instagram Story. In a statement provided to Loudwire, the singer remembered the musician, offering, "His style was strong, direct and unique. I'll be blasting Rocka Rolla today!"

Instagram: robhalfordlegacy

"I am extremely saddened to hear that John has passed away as he played his part so well in the creation and the history of Judas Priest," adds former Priest guitarist K.K. Downing. "There are so many memories of crazy and fun times we all shared together. John was always so dependable and did everything to the best of his ability, including his drumming which looking back can only be described as faultless. The fact that he continued to play to his very last day is testimony to his ability and dedication to his love of the drums. I wish to give my sincere condolences to John's family and loved ones from myself and all of you forever. Rest in peace, John."

Hinch, who was born in Staffordshire, England on June 19, 1947, played in numerous rock groups, including The Pinch, The Generation, Bakerloo Blues Line. He and Halford also played together in Hiroshima before they both joined Judas Priest in 1973.

One year after the two made their onstage debut with the band, Judas Priest began recording what would be their first record, 1974's Rocka Rolla. The album, released on Gull Records, is also notable for being the only Priest recording with producer Rodger Bain, who had also produced Budgie and Black Sabbath's first three albums.

Hinch then exited Priest the following year, before the late 1975 recording sessions for Sad Wings of Destiny (released in '76) were underway. He then pursued a career in management and worked with several musicians, including Uli Jon Roth of Scorpions fame.

Loudwire extends our condolences to the Hinch family and all who know him.

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