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Heavy metal is one of the most misunderstood genres of music in our day. Rather unfortunately, this is often a result of brazen ignorance about the subject, brought about by certain sectors of the media, society, and listeners themselves. Instead of blindly back lashing against those responsible for the defamation of heavy metal, I decided to write a history of the aforementioned music, in hopes of providing yet another source of information for those who wish to learn about its development. In no way is this a heavy metal band list or an attempt to include every detail, important or not, within the genre s history, but I believe it is a fairly comprehensive guide. I have included bands that have been influential, prominent, representative, or successful throughout their careers, and in the process omitted several others that would prevent any conciseness. I have also made the attempt of remaining as objective as possible (although words like well-deserved will appear throughout the text), and therefore have also included bands that I do not enjoy listening to or whose general visual image I do not respect.
After all, heavy metal is something of an acquired taste. With no further comments, I leave you to read my take on the history of heavy metal. I hope you will enjoy it and maybe learn a little from it (and with any luck, you won t find it boring at all). When did heavy metal begin? It s hard to say.
According to most metal annals, the first outbursts came from the Kinks with You Really Got Me and the Who with My Generation around 1964. As for the first heavy metal artist, that position arguably belongs to Alice Cooper, whose band was founded in 1965 under the name The Spiders (that means the Coop has been at it for 33 years! ). However, heavy metal was not to truly flourish until the year of 1967 and Alice Cooper was to become embedded in the collective mind of the world until 1971 with the classic Love It To Death. During 1967, the rock world was still absorbed by the Summer of Love, but it was about to witness one of its most important revolutions; bands like Golden Earring (formed in 1965), Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Free, Uriah Heep, Mountain, Humble Pie, Blood rock, the MC 5, Black Widow, Atomic Rooster, Cactus, and Black Sabbath came to being between 1966 and 1970, and struck the world with what Steppenwolf would call in one of its songs heavy metal thunder (the first time the term was ever used; originally used to describe the sound of a motorcycle). A new type of music, which borrowed heavily from rock and roll and the blues, was gaining influence on the youth of those times, which was already getting tired of the stagnant Summer of Love scene. Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were the first bands to give heavy metal a high commercial profile.
The legendary guitarist Eric Clapton was part of the first; a band that remains a seminal power trio and heavy metal band that released such memorable songs as Sunshine Of Your Love and White Room. During the course of four albums and two years, Cream became a prominently successful band that influenced the likes of Rush and Van Halen and would later spawn the also legendary Blind Faith. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was another musical trio, based around the guitar histrionics of the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Albums such as Are You Experienced? and Electric Ladyland drew thousands of ravenous fans that feasted on the music provided by the band that is often mentioned along with Janis Joplin and the Doors as a premiere rock unit. Several new bands, such as the bluesy Format and Bad Company, the ferocious Budgie, and the legendary UFO were spawned by the growing heavy metal explosion, while others like Status Quo hardened their sound; but until 1973 the kings of heavy metal were undoubtedly Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath.
They were bands with technical prowess and a compositional inventiveness and passion unseen before, which coalesced into the hardest music existing during those times. This era also marked the beginning of Satanic imagery in heavy metal, and of spectacular, energetic live shows.
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