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We are not worthy

Posted by Lewis (banging head at desk) on August 18, 2003

In Reply to: 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

If you did coin the name, then it is a privilege to be a co-poster - my schoolbooks were adorned with the names of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, AC/DC (and by the time of leaving) Rainbow and Saxon.

"Demin and leather, brought us all together..."

Looking back, it's funny how some bands were labelled HM and others not - the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Who and Cream being amongst them - the beaus of the Portabello road had the same riff-rich mountain of sound, but the image didn't fit. Ironic that the thunderous bass-playing on 5:15 was "mod" and despised by rockers, yet in retrospect Entwistle is playing some of the best rock bass of that period - and Jack Bruce on "Sunshine of your love" - a riff to rival (or dare I say eclipse?) that of "Smoke on the water"
- I suppose with Hendrix it was a case of "Talk about me like a doll, talk about the clothes I wear and they don't realise that they're the one's who're square" - even at the time, he didn't want labels, but tracks like "Purple Haze" and "All along the watchtower" are candidates for my HM Hall of Fame.

Any objections to an (unsorted) vaguely top 10 of (1 entry per artist)
1.Stairway to Heaven/Whole Lotta Love (Led Zep)
2.Bohemian Rhapsody/Another one bites the dust (Queen)
3.Highway to Hell/Back in black (AC/DC)
4.Eruption/Jump (Van Halen)
5.Smoke on the Water/Black Night (Deep Purple)
6.Innagaddaveda (Iron Butterfly)/Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
7.Purple haze/All along the watchtower (Hendrix)
8.Ace of Spades/Please don't touch (Motorhead)
9.Sunshine of your love/Crossroads (Cream)
and that difficult final spot :
10.House of the rising sun (Frigid Pink)? Fool for your loving (Whitesnake)? Since you've been gone (Rainbow)? 747(strangers in the night) (Saxon) Free Bird (Lynerd Skynerd)? School's out (Alice Cooper)? Silver Machine (Hawkwind)?

I got all confused trying to decide where the boundaries of HM lay, but it was more fun than working for a few minutes...

Other people drop a list and we can all go tripping down memory lane.

See Heavy Metal - meaning and origin.