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Customer Discussions > Music forum

What was the first Heavy Metal song?

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Showing 1-25 of 105 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2011 10:09:39 AM PST
I say Rumble, by Link Wray, from 1958.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 10:49:03 AM PST
markdlark says:
May not be the first, but Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" is the first song to mention it. The lyric "I like smoke and lighting. Heavy metal thunder. Racing with the wind, and the feeling that I'm under." was actually referring to motorcycles, but the term was applied to the music genre.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 10:54:59 AM PST
mac says:
I think its "Babylon" by Blue Cheer

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 11:01:44 AM PST
7 & 7 IS says:
Rumble it is.Though William Burroughs may be the first to come up with the term, in his 1962 book The Soft Machine he had a charachter named Uranium Willy, The Heavy Metal Kid.However Steppenwolf may have come up with it all by themselves without ever reading or hearing anything about The Soft Machine.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 11:02:33 AM PST
Laust Cawz says:
some speculation about the term's origin:

I don't think "Rumble" really qualifies as "heavy metal",
just rock 'n' roll.

It doesn't seem very definite what the first song was
or the first usage of the term applied to music,
but, whatever/whenever it was,
the year, more or less, seems to be narrowed down to 1968.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2011 11:19:05 AM PST

This is the first time I ever heard it. Sounds like slowed down surf music to me.
I don't know if that really qualifies as hevay metal, though it must have seemd heavy back then.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2011 11:21:04 AM PST
Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was also a hit in 1968 - so yes, that might be the year to look for.

Here is the wiki with etymology:

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2011 11:24:00 AM PST
If they read Steppenwolf they may have read The Soft Machine. Though John Kay may have never read Steppenwolf, maybe he had only been told the name of the book.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 4:33:07 PM PST
Bob Bykowski says:
I'll go with either "Purple Haze" or "Foxy Lady" by Hendrix.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 4:50:47 PM PST
Eddie H. says:
C'mon people....who created the Hard Rock sound Dave Davies,hands down...You really Got Me......

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 5:41:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2011 5:42:07 PM PST
I prefer to think of Heavy Metal starting up at the point where heavy rock distanced itself from the blues and psychedelia, becoming its own thing. Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" is the tune I usually think of that most clearly took that stand first.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 5:45:57 PM PST
Zaplightning says:
I agree with Rare Goat, Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath started it.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 5:50:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2011 5:51:29 PM PST
Porcupine D says:
I've always thought that Blue Cheer's cover of "Summertime Blues" was the first heavy metal tune.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 5:55:53 PM PST
J. Beaver says:
"Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath from the album 'Black Sabbath'. Black Sabbath. Just had to say it one more time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2011 6:08:41 PM PST
MIkey the C says:
Helter Skelter of course

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 6:10:12 PM PST
I gotta go with Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin, Voodoo Childe (Slight Return)-Jimi Hnedrix or Purple Haze-Jimi Hendrix Experience only because they came out before Black Sabbath-Black Sabbath. I do agree that Black Sabbath is the first pure metal album/band and is the starting point for the genre known as heavy metal. All the Kinks, Blue Cheer, Cream etc credit is bogus nonsense.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 6:37:25 PM PST
Galley says:
Another vote for Blue Cheer's cover of "Summertime Blues".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2011 6:42:21 PM PST
I was going to say the same thing, but I thought it would be too obvious! Sabbath set the standard, no question about that.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 7:02:01 PM PST
Black Sabbath...NIB...
Sabbath Rules!!!

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 7:35:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2011 7:37:00 PM PST
Working Man says:
Heavy Metal as we know it today? I would vote for Black Sabbath. Blue Cheer (maybe), most of the others listed are hard rock but not Heavy Metal in my mind. When we bring up the Kinks and the Beatles we cannot forget the Yardbirds who in my opinion in addition to providing hard rock with three of it's guitar legends was a very heavy band for it's time and more consistently heavy than the Kinks or the Beatles.

While there were lots of heavy music back in the early days, Black Sabbath was the heaviest. Another band not mentioned was Deep Purple and their album "In Rock" which is a very heavy album too. Don't forget bands like MC5, Iron Butterfly and even Cream.

I have always felt Sabbath laid the foundation and Judas Priest were the first true heavy metal band. Much of the rest of the bands at the time were hard rock and not heavy metal (at least heavy metal as we come to know it now).

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 7:39:38 PM PST
Working Man says:
By the way, VH1 and VH1 Classic will be airing a new series beginning tomorrow 11/11/11 called "Metal Evolution" and we will get to hear what VH1 things was the first metal song. I am going to check it out, if I can.

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 10:13:17 PM PST
I LOVE the question. It's always cool to think about where the heavy stuff came from. I like the Link Wry "Rumble" pick. Rumble was just a simple distorted riff repeated over and over. He gave it a cool sinister name and it was banned so it wouldn't insite riots. An instrumental banned just on it's feel and title. Very metal. And if you go to Wolfgangs Vault they have a cool 1974 Link Wry concert at Winterland. His style is all riff, just riff, it's total metal, even when he tries a standard or country song it's just all riff, real cool. Whether it's exactly the beginning is fun to speculate but in '58 that feeling or a distorted great simple riff, very cool.

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 5:40:01 AM PST
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Posted on Nov 11, 2011 9:34:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 11, 2011 9:59:36 AM PST
I know that Sabbath gets credit for starting heavy metal, but there was a music scene that they tapped into to create the sound they did. They, I feel, were just the first big sellers.

Judge for yourself:

Iron Maiden (69)

Black Widow (69)

Coven (69)-Look at the name of the song. Ozzy even stole the dude's name from this band.

Jacula (69)

Head Machine (69)

All arguably metal before Sabbath. All part of a scene Sabbath seemed to capitalize on.

Check this out, the beginning of the last song on Coven's album sounds like the beginning of Sabbath's first song on their first album; oddly named after a Coven song.

Recognize that bell?

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 10:49:10 AM PST
rokroller says:
MIkey the C says:
Helter Skelter of course

I second that
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  76
Total posts:  105
Initial post:  Nov 10, 2011
Latest post:  May 26, 2012

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