Was Heavy Metal Music On the Radio in 1970?

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


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Heavy metal music wasn’t really “on the radio” in the sense that it was played on mainstream, top 40 stations in 1970. There were a few places where you might have been able to hear it if you were looking for it, but for the most part, metal was relegated to underground channels like FM hard rock radio and college radio. You also might have been able to find it on late-night TV shows like Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” or “The Midnight Special.” But overall, metal was still pretty far off the radar in 1970.

What is heavy metal music?

Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre’s lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

In 1970, several of these bands released their debut albums. These albums are often cited as the beginnings of heavy metal music.

The birth of heavy metal

Most people associate the birth of heavy metal with bands like Black Sabbath,Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple who released their debut albums in 1970. Although these bands are considered to be the pioneers of heavy metal, the genre actually originated in the late 1960s with a band called Blue Cheer.

Blue Cheer was an American rock band that formed in 1967. The band’s sound was characterized by heavy use of distortion and feedback with a loud, thundering bass guitar. This sound would later be emulated by bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

Despite its origins in the late 1960s, heavy metal did not gain mainstream popularity until the 1970s. This is due in part to the fact that there were no radio stations dedicated to playing this type of music. Instead, fans had to seek out imports or live concerts to hear their favorite bands.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that heavy metal began to appear on radio stations across the United States. This exposure led to a surge in popularity for the genre and spawned a new wave of bands such as Van Halen, Kiss, and AC/DC.

The first heavy metal songs on the radio

The first heavy metal songs on the radio were Blind Faith’s “Crossroads” and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” in 1968. Deep Purple’s “Hush” was also released in 1968, but did not gain much traction on the radio until 1969. Led Zeppelin’s debut album was released in early 1969, but it was not until the release of their second album, Led Zeppelin II, later that year that their songs began receiving airplay on the radio.

The golden age of heavy metal

In the early 1970s, a new form of rock music began to emerge: heavy metal. With its distorted guitars and thundering drums, heavy metal was designed to be loud and aggressive. The music quickly gained a following among young people, who were attracted to its dark, rebellious image.

Heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin became hugely popular in the 1970s, selling millions of records and packing arenas around the world. However, despite their popularity, heavy metal bands were largely ignored by radio programmers, who saw them as too paramours for mainstream audiences. As a result, most heavy metal fans had to rely on live concerts or word-of-mouth to discover new music.

In the 1980s, however, things began to change. With the advent of MTV and specialist radio stations like KNAC in Los Angeles, heavy metal finally began to get the exposure it deserved. From then on, it was only a matter of time before heavy metal became one of the most successful genres in rock music.

The decline of heavy metal

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the decline of heavy metal’s commercial viability. By 1972, most commercially successful metal bands, including Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, had grown tired of touring constantly and wanted to record more. This led to a decline in album sales and subsequent decline in popularity for the genre. At the same time, there was a growing interest in punk rock and other forms of alternative music. This environment made it difficult for heavy metal bands to find record deals and gain radio airplay.

The resurgence of heavy metal

In the 1970s, there was a resurgence of heavy metal music. Bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden became popular. This was due to the fact that hard rock andheavy metal were being played on the radio more often. Also, new bands were forming and playing heavier music. This made it easier for people to find and listen to heavy metal music.


From what we can gather, it seems that heavy metal music was not played on the radio very often in 1970. There were a few songs that received airplay, but they were mostly by hard rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were starting to gain popularity in the early 1970s, but it seems that their music was not commonly heard on the radio.

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