History of Heavy Metal Essay

History of Heavy Metal Essay

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What band or musician fathered modern day heavy metal? There are two schools of thought on this subject. Jimi Hendrix deserves consideration; however, while he may be influential, he was a blues man backed by blues men. Cream also deserves to be considered; the first power trio, heavy jazz and blues influences moved them into the realm of progressive rock. Known for ear shattering live performances, The Who, were a bit too pop oriented to be considered heavy. So what makes a band heavy, and who were those that brought heavy metal to the public's awareness? In my opinion the answers can only be found by looking into the work and careers of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
Birmingham, England, an industrial city in Midlands County, is the home of Black Sabbath. The founding members of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, guitar, John “Ozzy” Osbourne, vocals, Bill Ward, drums, and Terrance “Geezer” Butler, Bass, came together in 1968 in the economically depressed area of Aston. This may have led to the dark and desperate undertones of their music; consequently, the darkest music ever heard. Whether it was Iommi’s innovative use of the tri-tone, also known as “The Devil’s Interval”, or that he plugged into the bass input on his amplifier, he created, arguably, the heaviest riffs of the time.
Led Zeppelin came into existence when guitarist Jimmy Page drove north, from London, to see a singer perform in Birmingham. Upon hearing Robert Plant’s powerful, soaring voice, he immediately offered him the job. Page was already a seasoned studio musician that had also spent time in the well-known band The Yardbirds. Plant had been singing in various bands around Birmingham; as a result, was also an experienced performer. Along with Plant came John Bon...


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... the home of Jimmy Page, Bonham died from asphyxiation due to vomiting in his sleep. He was estimated to have consumed 40 shots of vodka and an unknown quantity of cocaine before dying. Bonham’s death was the end of Led Zeppelin.
There are many things involved in raising a band to the status of legends. Based on record sales, concert attendance, and Billboard Chart success Zeppelin and Sabbath’s legendary status would be assured. But in the world of Heavy Metal it takes more than that. Darkness, aggression, and an excessive lifestyle are things most prized by metal-heads around the world. Both bands displayed these qualities in the extreme. Taking different paths to stardom, they reached the pinnacle of the industry during the 1970’s. One ended in tragedy, and the other continues on to this day. Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are the Godfathers of Heavy Metal.

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