In the beginning, there was the guitar, and then the electric guitar – so the era of rock music could begin. Firstly, it is important to mention that rock and heavy metal genres have the origins in blues music, which was specific for Afro-American people of The United States. Furthermore, as the time of The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix was about to end, new bands started to play in a new way, more aggressive and heavier. Also, the audience needed more hard electric sound and faster songs (as it is today).
Deep Purple, early days
These new bands were formed in the late 1960s and almost every one of them in Britain. In the year of 1968, the Polka Tulk was formed in the city of Birmingham, England. This band soon has changed its name to Black Sabbath and until now it is known as the first real heavy metal band. Company of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward created dark, emotional music with astonishing riffs and intellectual lyrics which were about the problems of the society back then. It gives great pleasure to see nowadays youngsters listening to Black Sabbath classics like Iron Man or Paranoid. In 1970s fans of heavy metal and rock culture listened to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, AC/DC. Concert halls and radio stations were overflowing with new hits like well-known Smoke on the Water by mighty Deep Purple or T.N.T by Australian rockers AC/DC.
Black Sabbath – godfathers of heavy metal
Next phase of heavy metal was developed at the beginning of the 1980s under the term of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead, Van Halen or Def Leppard belong to this new wave of heavy music. They have been playing faster than ever before. Bands used new ideas for writing lyrics such as fantasy, history and mythology. Heavy metal did not become popular only in Britain, but also across Europe and North America. Big promotional tours were often in Europe, visited by masses. Tours were also more theatrical and stages were built up in order to represent the main theme of the performer’s actual album. An interesting fact is that Motorhead had the loudest sound of all the bands in concerts coming from their amplifiers. Not only British bands were popular in the 80s, but also American groups such as glam attraction Motley Crue, Poison, horror master Alice Cooper and legendary Guns’n’Roses. Metallica and Slayer dominated in the thrash metal scene. It seemed like the thrashers wanted to compete with heavy metal who is going to play faster and louder. In the rock world, band Scorpions was Germany’s best artists, popular worldwide; Hungary has the band Omega; Yugoslavia had had Bijelo Dugme which shared the stage with Iron Maiden.
Metallica as young metalheads
The golden age of heavy metal was in the 80s because there were not other genres on the scene. But, in the 90s things changed. All these bands from the 80s were an inspiration for the new genres, such as black, death, power or doom metal. However, bands like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica were breaking the boundaries. They brought heavy metal to new places like Russia, Asia and South America or even Africa. The number of fans was in constant increase this decade. Bands were touring as much as never before. Promoters organized more heavy metal festivals to promote it, which is characteristic for Western Europe. Young bands like Sepultura or Pantera became so popular across the globe.
Masters of heavy metal, Iron Maiden
By the beginning of the new millennia, heavy metal developed immensely, so nowadays we recognize over 20 different subgenres. Earlier heavy metal bands gained ‘cult’ status for nowadays fans. Some of them split up. Some legends passed, some musicians were proclaimed to be gods, like Lemmy Kilmister and Ronnie James Dio. Heavy metal created a unique world of music. Its fans consider themselves as brothers and attending a metal gig is like a pilgrimage.
Lemmy of Motorhead – already proclaimed as the god of heavy metal
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