HIstory of Heavy Metal Music

Good Essays
Heavy metal is a genre of music that emerged during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a darker and aggressive mutation of rock music. Heavy metal music’s emergence coincided with the decline of the youth culture and anti-war movement that drove the imagination of the young generation during the early 1960s (Weinstein). Heavy metal musicians positioned themselves as opposing both the dominant culture in America and the rock counterculture (Kontinual). Musically, the genre saw an appropriation from closely related rock and blues. Many practitioners of metal music identify classical musicians as a source of inspiration as well. Heavy metal music also borrows imagery and fashion from the psychedelic and anti-war movement that predated the genre.
Musically, heavy metal appropriates elements of blues music. American blues music was a source of inspiration for British rock musicians in the early 1960s. Heavy metal musicians amalgamated aspects of blues music with psychedelic rock to produce the signature sound of the genre. The influential British band Cream combined unison riffing popularized by blues musician Eric Clapton and his bass guitarist Jack Bruce, and the double bass drumming of blues rock drummer Ginger Baker to create a unique heavy sound that would later be emulated by various metal musicians (Charlton). Black Sabbath, widely regarded as the first heavy metal band, started out as a blues-jazz band and have said to be heavily influenced by blues music (Dunn). Black Sabbath popularized the use of the “blues scale”- the pentatonic scale - using it exclusively in their title song “Black Sabbath” (Huey). In addition, the guitar is the primary instrument in heavy metal music, an instrument that has its roots in African and Americ...

... middle of paper ...

...extreme themes such as Satanism, heavy metal music has managed to produce a product that is quite unique in the history of music. This uniqueness ensures that, despite the era or cultural norm, heavy metal music will always have its core of dedicated fans.

Works Cited

Charlton, Katherin. Rock Music Styles: A History. McGraw Hill, 2003.
Huey, Steve. "Black Sabbath review." n.d. All Music. .
Kontinual. "" n.d. The history of heavy metal music. Web Site. 21 1 2014.
Metal: A headbanger's journey. Dir. Sam Dunn. 2005.
Walser, Robert. Heavy Metal. Grove Music Online, n.d.
—. Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1993.
Weinstein, Deena. Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture. De Capo Press, n.d.
Get Access