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Re: Heavy Metal?

Heavy Metal?
February 27, 2006 12:09AM
So I recently picked up this Warner Brothers comp from 1975 called "Heavy Metal - 24 Electrifying Performances" ($4 for double vinyl - couldn't resist). It's funny though because there's hardly a single song on it that I would call heavy metal. "Iron Man" is about as close as it comes, and then it has some not-so-heavy songs by sometimes-heavy bands (e.g., "D'yer Mak'er"). And then there are some truly mind-bogglingly odd inclusions, such as J. Geils' "Give It to Me", Dr. John's "Right Place Wrong Time", Van Morrison's "Domino", and the Grateful Dead doing "Johnny B. Goode."

Which leads me to my question: at what point did the term "heavy metal" come to mean what most of us today would think of? Granted, it's still pretty fluid (i.e., does Poison count? Corrosion of Conformity? Rollins Band?), but still - no one could ever, ever, ever claim Van Morrison was heavy metal.
Re: Heavy Metal?
February 27, 2006 12:22AM
I think it's mostly codified as a term by the mid 70s. The bands playing (British) Heavy Rock in the early 70s that we of think as the start (Sabbath, Priest, Deep Purple, Motorhead), existed long enough that by 79, the press labeled the up and coming bands (Tygers of Pan Tang, Iron Maiden, etc) as "The New Wave of British Heavy Metal". Similarly, you had the emergence of a media culture in the UK (Kerrang!) and US (Hit Parader) that helped "re-define" the term.

Re: Heavy Metal?
February 27, 2006 01:21AM
Steppenwolf sort of introduced the term "heavy metal" into rock in Born To Be Wild (heavy metal thunder) but I think Blue Cheer is widely considered the first "heavy metal" band circa '68 or so.
Re: Heavy Metal?
February 27, 2006 08:59PM
How many licks? The world may never know.
I've always heard the term equally came from the Steppenwolf song, was first applied to a concert in a New York Times article reviewing live Jimi Hendrix, and was first used in criticism by Lester Bangs (ca 1971). It was possibly first applied to Iron Butterfly. Bangs apparently coped it from Burroughs' Soft Machine:

"Heavy Metal People of Uranus wrapped in cool blue mist of vaporized bank notes - And the Insect People of Minraud with metal music"-1962

The WB Heavy Metal 2x was once a sought after collector's piece so $4.99 is a steal. I assume in the ebay generation it still is.

Is that Freedom Rock man? Well turn it up man!

Re: Heavy Metal?
February 27, 2006 10:46PM
I also remember hearing someone at some point posit that the first heavy metal song was the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." Or was it "All Day and All of the Night"?

And you're right, Paganizer - I just looked up this album on Ebay and new, sealed copies are going for $20. Who'd a thunk that something with the Eagles and Uriah Heep on it could sell for 2 figures?
Re: Heavy Metal?
February 28, 2006 08:07PM
I do think the term "heavy metal" was in circulation by the mid-'70s - Robert Christgau's old reviews frequently make mention of the "heavy" music going around at the time.

Probly just clueless label guys slapping any ol' title on a comp without really giving it much thought.

But here's another question: which came first, the music or the comic mag?
Re: Heavy Metal?
February 28, 2006 10:05PM
The comic magazine *Heavy Metal* debuted in the U.S. in 1977 -- quite a few years after Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, or even Steppenwolf or Blue Cheer had made their respective marks.
Re: Heavy Metal?
March 01, 2006 12:11AM
To complete that point, however, you'd have to date the magazine to its launch in France, as Metal Hurlant, though. It was going there for a long time before an effort was made to spin off an English-language edition in the US
Re: Heavy Metal?
March 01, 2006 04:33PM
True. The magazine *Metal Hurlant* was first published in France three years before the American magazine. The French title translates to "screaming metal." Since Fab's question, "Which came first, the music or the comic mag?" referred to "heavy metal," I opted to leave details about the French magazine out of my post.
Re: Heavy Metal?
March 01, 2006 10:31PM
Although both bands were R&B inclined at the time, I think the Kinks beat the Small Faces to it. Close call and dern near a photo finish.
Re: Heavy Metal?
March 02, 2006 04:01AM
i reccommend "bad news tour" (homepages.tesco.net/~acp/badnews/bntscrpt.htm) and the sequel "more bad news" where you get to see 3 out the four "young ones" play the actual monsters of rock.
Re: Heavy Metal?
March 01, 2006 08:57PM
What about Vanilla Fudge?
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