Heavy Metal Music History: A Timeline

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A look at the history of heavy metal music, from its early beginnings to the present day.

Early beginnings (pre-1960)

The first recorded instance of metal music can be traced back to the year 1962, with the release of the song “I’m Eighteen” by Alice Cooper. The song’s heavy distortion and power chords drew influence from the earlier work of The Kinks and The Who. However, it wasn’t until the release of the album Black Sabbath in 1970 that metal music truly began to take shape.

Blues and jazz influence

The earliest heavy metal bands were influenced by the sounds of the Blues and jazz. The first heavy metal band is considered to be Led Zeppelin, who formed in 1968. They were followed by Black Sabbath, who formed in 1969. Sabbath’s sound was much heavier than Led Zeppelin’s, and they are often credited with creating the genre of heavy metal. Other important early heavy metal bands include Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Rainbow.

Rock and roll emerges

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a handful of artists created the building blocks for what would become rock and roll. A style of popular music that emerged in the United States in the mid-1950s, rock and roll combined elements of rhythm and blues, country, and gospel music. Its immediate origins lay in a melding of various black musical genres of the time, including jump blues and boogie woogie.

One of the key figures in the early development of rock and roll was DJ Alan Freed. Freed was playing rhythm and blues records on the radio in Cleveland, Ohio, when he started using the term “rock and roll” to describe them. He promoted shows featuring black artists such as Chuck Berry, Ike Turner, and Little Richard, who became some of rock’s greatest stars. Freed is also credited with helping to breaking down racial barriers in rock music by popularizing it for a white audience.

The birth of heavy metal (1960-1970)

It is widely accepted that the origins of heavy metal can be traced back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is when a number of bands started to experiment with distorted guitars, feedback, and other sonic elements that would become synonymous with the genre. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple are often cited as the pioneers of heavy metal.

Early metal bands and songs

In the early days of metal, a number of bands and songs emerged that would lay the foundation for the genre. These include:

-Black Sabbath: ” Paranoid,” ” Iron Man,” ” War Pigs”
-Deep Purple: ” Smoke on the Water,” ” Highway Star”
-Led Zeppelin: ” Whole Lotta Love,” ” Rock and Roll,” ” Stairway to Heaven”
– Jimi Hendrix: ” Purple Haze,” ” All Along the Watchtower”

These bands and songs would go on to influence future metal bands and help shape the sound of heavy metal as we know it today.

The influence of the British Invasion

The British Invasion of the 1960s had a profound effect on the development of heavy metal music. Bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin introduced a new style of blues-influenced rock that was heavier and louder than anything that had come before. This new sound would lay the foundation for heavy metal.

The rise of hard rock

In the late 1960s, a new breed of hard rock bands began to emerge that would soon come to be known as heavy metal. These bands were influenced by the heavier, more distorted sound of British blues-rock bands like Cream, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, as well as by the psychedelic rock of Jimi Hendrix and early Sabbath.

One of the earliest and most influential heavy metal bands was Led Zeppelin, who formed in 1968. Their debut album, led by the classic anthem “Stairway to Heaven,” is widely regarded as a masterpiece and laid the foundation for much of what would come in the genre. Other early metal bands includes Black Sabbath (1970), Deep Purple (1969) and Blue Cheer (1968).

In the early 1970s, hard rock gave birth to two subgenres that would have a profound impact on heavy metal: glam rock and proto-metal. Glam rock was typified by flamboyant fashion and make-up, as well as a preoccupation with sexual themes; it was pioneered by groups like T. Rex (1971), David Bowie (1972) and Alice Cooper (1973). Proto-metal took hard rock in a heavier direction, exemplified by early Sabbath albums like Paranoid (1970) and Master of Reality (1971), which laid the groundwork for futuremetal styles.

The golden age of heavy metal (1970s-1980s)

The golden age of heavy metal is a term used to describe the period between the 1970s and 1980s when the genre was at its peak of popularity. This was a time when bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden were dominating the charts and headlining arenas and stadiums around the world. It was also a time when the classic heavy metal sound was being perfected.

Heavy metal becomes mainstream

In the early 1970s, a new breed of British rock bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple were turning heads and selling records with their heavy, guitar-driven sound. These bands would come to be known as “heavy metal,” a term coined by journalist Geoff Barton in a May 1968 issue of the British music paper Sounds.

In the United States, meanwhile, a similar movement was underway. Bands like Blue Öyster Cult and Kiss were making waves with their own brand of hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll, and by the middle of the decade, heavy metal had become one of the most popular genres in America.

The 1980s was the golden age of heavy metal, with some of the genre’s biggest and most influential bands releasing some of their best work. Metallica’s 1984 album Master of Puppets is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made, while bands like Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses were redefining what it meant to be a rock star.

With its mix of powerful riffs, shredding solos, and thunderous drums, heavy metal was the perfect soundtrack for an era defined by excess. And while the genre has since gone through something of a decline, there’s no denying that those ’80s bands left an indelible mark on music history.

Classic metal bands and songs

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a number of bands created a new style of music that combined elements of blues and rock with a heavier sound. This new style of music became known as heavy metal. Classic metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple were some of the earliest innovators of this new genre.

During the 1970s and 1980s, heavy metal experienced a golden age, with many new bands emerging and becoming extremely popular with fans all over the world. Some of the most famous classic metal bands include Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. These bands helped to shape the sound of heavy metal and create some of its most iconic songs.

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal

In 1978, a new wave of British heavy metal was created by bands influenced by the earlier wave of bands, as well as bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. This new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) was originally started by two bands: Iron Maiden and Angel Witch. Iron Maiden were formed in London in 1975, and their debut album, Iron Maiden, was released in 1980. Angel Witch were formed in London in 1977, and their debut album, Angel Witch, was released in 1980.

The NWOBHM movement spread throughout the United Kingdom, with other notable bands such as Diamond Head, Def Leppard, andSaxon emerging from different regions of the country. The sound of the NWOBHM was heavier than that of the first wave of British heavy metal bands, with faster tempos and more distorted guitars. However, unlike the American metal scene which was dominated by denim-clad hardcore punk fans, the NWOBHM had a more “metal” image, with long hair and leather jackets becoming the norm.

The success of the NWOBHM led to a major increase in both the domestic and international popularity of heavy metal music in the early 1980s. With bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard achieving mainstream success in both Britain and America, heavy metal became one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

The modern era of heavy metal (1990s-present)

The early 1990s saw the formation and rise of a number of bands who would come to define the sound and style of heavy metal in the years to come. These bands brought heavy metal into the mainstream and helped to pave the way for the continued popularity of the genre. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most important bands and events of this era.

Grunge and alternative metal

Grunge band Nirvana’s 1991 major label debut Nevermind was a commercial and critical success, popularizing “alternative” rock and leading to the widespread use of the term ” grunge ” to describe bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana itself. Grunge fashion became mainstream in late 1991 when celebrities like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Pearl Jam began wearingstop clothing. Clothes typically consisted of thrift store finds including ripped jeans, flannel shirts , and hooded sweatshirts . This aesthetic was popularity among individuals who were disaffected with the flashy wardrobe common among glam metal performers at the time.

The success of Nirvana’s Nevermind helped open doors for other grunge bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. In 1993, pearl jam released their second album Vs . which debuted at No . 1 on the Billboard 200 chart . The album has been certified seven times platinum by the RIAA . That same year , Soundgarden’s third studio album Badmotorfinger was also certified platinum . At the 1994 Grammy Awards , Nirvana won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song for ” Heart Shaped Box .” Although still commercially successful , grunge bands were largely overshadowed by Britpop acts such as Radiohead , Blur , and Oasis in 1994 .

In 1996 , nu metal ( also called nü-metal or aggro-metal ) began to rise in popularity . This genre is a combination of heavy metal with elements of other genres including hip hop , alternative rock , funk , industrial music , and punk rock . Korn ‘s eponymous debut album is often credited with being one of the first nu metal albums . The band’sFollow the Leader (1998) album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to be certified five times platinum by the RIAA. Other successful nu metal bands include Deftones, Papa Roach, Slipknot, Stone Sour, System of a Down, Coal Chamber, Linkin Park, Godsmack, P.O.D., Staind, Disturbed Sevendust , 10 Years And Breaking Benjamin

Nu metal and rap metal

Nu metal and rap metal, two subgenres that emerged in the late 1990s, combined elements of heavy metal with those of other genres, such as hip hop, to create a new sound. Limp Bizkit’s 1997 album Three Dollar Bill, Y’all$ is often credited as being the first nu metal album, although other bands such as Korn and Deftones had been experimenting with similar sounds beforehand. Linkin Park’s 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory is usually seen as the genre’s mainstream breakthrough, and would go on to become the best-selling album of the decade.

In the early 21st century, heavy metal continued to evolve, with bands such as Slipknot and Papa Roach incorporating nu metal elements into their music, while others such as Trivium and mastodon moved towards a more traditional heavy metal sound. In addition, a new subgenre known as melodic death metal began to take shape in the early 2000s; this style – which combines elements of death metal with those of melodic heavy metal – would go on to enjoy considerable popularity in the years that followed.

Metalcore and deathcore

The 1990s saw the rise of a new generation of metal bands who would come to be defined by their aggressive sound and hardcore punk influences. This new wave of metal, known as metalcore, would grow to become one of the most popular subgenres of heavy metal in the 21st century.

metalcore bands such as Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth began experimenting with elements of hardcore punk in their music. This would lay the groundwork for a new generation of metal bands who would take these influences even further.

The first wave of metalcore bands began to emerge in the early 2000s. These bands, such as Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall, mixed the aggression of hardcore punk with the heaviness of metal to create a sound that was both brutal and accessible.

In the mid-2000s, a new subgenre known as deathcore began to gain traction. Deathcore bands, such as Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel, took the heaviness of metalcore to new extremes, blending it with elements of death metal to create a truly brutal sound.

Similar Posts