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Heavy metal

Posted by Michael Jahn on August 15, 2003

This is an FYI based on a handful of queries that have come my way in the course of, but unrelated to, my career as a writer of mystery and suspense novels. In the dim, dark recesses of history and my resume, and using the byline Mike Jahn, I was the first rock critic for the daily New York Times. In that regard I appear to have coined the phrase "heavy metal." At least I have repeatedly been told that I did. Here is the genesis: there were, in the laste 60s and early 70s, several bands that used metallic/heavy equipment imagery in their names: Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, Grand Funk Railroad, and MC5 (Motor City Five). I described them citing the phrase "heavy metal thunder" from the Steppenwolf song "Born to Be Wild." Apparently the category name of "heavy metal" music devolved from that.

If I'm wrong, will someone please correct me? I'm not terribly proprietary about the matter, didn't patent it or anything, though I did rather expect that the achievement would earn me a lifetime supply of hair spray and leather pants.

Michael Jahn

Author of the just-published "Murder on Coney Island" and a bunch of other books

See Heavy Metal - meaning and origin.