The History of Heavy Metal Music According to Rolling Stones

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Rolling Stones has been the go-to magazine for all things music since 1967. In this blog post, we take a look at the history of heavy metal music according to Rolling Stones.

Origins of Heavy Metal

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of heavy metal music. However, many people argue that the first heavy metal song was “Blue Cheer’s” cover of “The Misfits.” This song was released in 1968 and it featured a distorted guitar sound which was created by using a feedback technique.

late 1960s-early 1970s

The first heavy metal bands arose in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin becoming hugely popular. These bands took rock music to a new level, with their heavier sound and more aggressive approach. Heavy metal quickly gained a large following, with many more bands springing up in the early 1970s.

Heavy metal became increasingly popular in the 1980s, with bands such as Metallica and Iron Maiden becoming some of the biggest names in music. This popularity continued into the 1990s and 2000s, with heavy metal remaining one of the most popular genres of music.

Today, there are thousands of heavy metal bands around the world, playing a wide variety of subgenres. Heavy metal shows no signs of slowing down, and is sure to continue entertaining audiences for many years to come.

British bands

Heavy metal took root in the late 1960s and early 1970s, scalping the folky, psychedelic and bluesy pre-metal and proto-metal of the late 1960s. The first heavy metal bands – including Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden – were all British. But America was not far behind with pioneering outfits such as Blue Öyster Cult, Kiss, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Metallica all hailing from the USA.

American bands

Heavy metal began in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s with bands such as Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly and Grand Funk Railroad. These bands were influenced by earlier American rockers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan, as well as British Invasion bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Black Sabbath is often cited as the first heavy metal band. They formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 and released their self-titled debut album in 1970. The album featured the now-classic tracks “Black Sabbath” and “Iron Man”. Sabbath’s dark and foreboding sound, along with singer Ozzy Osbourne’s demonic vocals, set them apart from other bands of the time and laid the foundation for what would become heavy metal.

Development of Heavy Metal

Rolling Stones is one of the most famous and well-respected music magazines in the world. They have been writing about music for over 50 years. In that time, they have seen a lot of different genres and subgenres of music come and go. One genre that has always been popular with their readers is heavy metal. In this article, we are going to take a look at the history of heavy metal music according to Rolling Stones.


The 1970s was the decade that saw the birth of heavy metal music. Hard rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple became increasingly popular, with their heavier sound and more aggressive style. This new genre of music was characterized by its loud, distorted guitars and its catchy, often hard-driving riffs.

The biggest band of the 1970s was undoubtedly Led Zeppelin, who released a string of hugely successful albums such as “Led Zeppelin IV” and “Houses of the Holy.” Other important bands included Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Kiss and Aerosmith. These bands would lay the foundations for the further development of heavy metal in the following decades.


During the 1980s, metal music became increasingly popular, with a number of highly successful bands gaining mainstream success. Among these were Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and Exodus. These bands were characterized by their fast tempos, aggressive guitar work, and heavy use of distortion. They also often used unconventional song structures and extended instrumental passages.

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was a movement that began in the late 1970s and reached its peak in the early 1980s. This was a reaction to the decline of hard rock music in the 1970s. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Diamond Head, and Saxon were at the forefront of this movement. These bands combined influences from punk rock and classic metal to create a sound that was both aggressive and melodic.

The 1980s also saw the rise of glam metal, which was characterized by its flashy visual style and its focus on partying and good times. Bands such as Mötley Crüe, Poison, Cinderella, and Warrant were leaders in this subgenre. Glam metal would later decline in popularity in the early 1990s due to the increasing popularity of grunge and alternative rock.

1990s and beyond

The 1990s saw the rise of a new generation of metal bands, as well as the continued success of older bands. In 1991, Metallica released their self-titled album, which featured the popular singles “Enter Sandman” and “Sad but True.” The album was a huge success, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over 16 million copies in the United States. Other popular metal bands of the 1990s included Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth, and Alice in Chains.

grunge music began to achieve mainstream success in the early 1990s. Grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the Seattle music scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam achieved massive commercial success, with Nirvana’s album Nevermind becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. While grunge music was often critical of society and focused on dark and depressing themes, it nonetheless enjoyed widespread popularity in the early 1990s.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new wave of metal bands began to emerge. These “nu-metal” bands combined elements of heavy metal with other genres such as hip-hop, funk, and electronic music. Popular nu-metal bands included Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and Korn.

Today, heavy metal music is as popular as ever before. Many older metal bands are still touring and releasing new albums, while new metal bands are continuing to emerge. Heavy metal music has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1960s, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Influences on Heavy Metal

While the history of heavy metal can be traced back to the 1950s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the genre began to take shape. In the early days, heavy metal was heavily influenced by blues music. This is evident in the work of bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. As the genre developed, other influences began to play a role.

other genres of music

Other genres of music had a big influence on the development of heavy metal. Funk and disco were both popular in the 1970s, and many metal bands incorporated elements of these genres into their music. Punk rock also emerged in the 1970s and had a major impact on heavy metal. Punk was a DIY movement that rejected the mainstream music industry, and many metal bands followed suit. NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard were also influenced by punk, as they DIY approach to making music.

pop culture

Popular culture has played a significant role in the development of heavy metal music. Starting in the 1950s with the birth of rock and roll, pop culture began to influence the sound and style of heavy metal. This continued into the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of British rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. These bands helped to shape heavy metal into its own distinct genre with elements of blues, classical, and even jazz.

In the 1980s, heavy metal experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to a new wave of British bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica. This was also the decade when American bands like Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax began to make their mark on the genre. The 1990s saw further experimentation with alternative metal and nu metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit bringing heavy metal to a new generation of fans.

Today, heavy metal is as popular as ever with iconic bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Iron Maiden still touring and releasing new music. There is also a new wave of younger bands carrying on the tradition of heavier styles like death metal and black metal. Heavy metal has truly become a global phenomenon with fans all over the world.

socio-political factors

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the rise of heavy metal music, with bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Kiss becoming some of the most popular and influential groups of the era. This rise was in part due to the socio-political factors of the time, including the Vietnam War and the Nixon impeachment. Heavy metal music offered a way for young people to express their frustration with these events, and the genre quickly gained a devoted following.

Over the next few decades, heavy metal would evolve and change, incorporating elements of other genres such as punk and grunge. Today, heavy metal is one of the most popular forms of music in the world, with fans all over the globe.

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