Heavy metal music was an enormously popular genre during the ’80s, featuring a powerful musical style from an array of artists.
Heavy Metal, produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel in 1981, features an exceptional soundtrack of heavy metal and hard rock tunes from artists like Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo and more. This feature film showcases 16 tracks by these artists among others: Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick and Devo.
Heavy metal music in 1981 saw Black Sabbath make significant transitions, breaking free of their early sound to experiment with bass playing while enjoying success both domestically and abroad.
Black Sabbath became immensely popular during the 1970s due to their own distinct sound that set them apart from Motorhead and Judas Priest, both of whom introduced new sounds into metal music. Their first two albums proved influential as they introduced an entirely new level of heavyness into metal music genre.
Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album in 1972 and made heavy metal history by inspiring many bands of this period to create similar works.
Black Sabbath went on to release numerous albums following their debut. These included 1970’s highly successful “Paranoid”, while 1971 saw their best selling LP yet: ‘Master of Reality”.
Paranoid was an outstanding album, yet it also presented significant difficulties for its makers. They became chemically dependent during its recording sessions – evidenced by renting out a house in Bel Air for cocaine-filled sessions! This proved disastrous as this record held tremendous potential.
Black Sabbath launched into an exciting new phase with Ronnie James Dio’s addition, creating a heavier sound that was widely beloved at this time. They released two albums featuring Ronnie James Dio that are staples to heavy metal fans today.
Heaven and Hell was Black Sabbath’s breakthrough album under Ronnie James Dio, becoming one of its best-selling works and one of the most successful metal albums ever released.
It is widely renowned, making it an essential piece of any metal fan’s collection. This album boasts an incredible track list.
Mob Rules was Ronnie James Dio’s follow up album and became highly successful within the metal world. Not only was this an outstanding record but Mob Rules also proved itself as a formidable band.
Venom were one of the first English bands to release a true black metal album and helped pioneer heavy metal in England during the 1980s. Their unapologetic aggression and anti-establishment lyrics played an essential part in pushing heavy metal music further than previously imagined.
Venom’s landmark debut, Welcome to Hell, was released in 1981 and became one of the most important heavy metal albums ever created. It helped establish black metal as an artistic movement while inspiring many American bands which would go on to achieve prominence themselves.
Venom’s early music was widely considered harsh and violent, drawing criticism for their Satanism and other controversial themes. Yet these issues did not prevent Venom from releasing numerous albums throughout the 80s.
Like other pioneering bands, Venom experienced difficulty maintaining their popularity; by the early 1990s they had fallen on hard times. A succession of lineup changes resulted in guitarists Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan and Mike Hickey departing, as well as bassist Conrad Lant leaving; eventually this resulted in Lant, Dunn, and Bray reuniting briefly for Resurrection album released in 2000.
Music from this band featured high-volume, aggressive playing accompanied by extreme metal lyrics that explored occult themes and Satanic imagery. Their songs often came with graphic covers depicting disturbing imagery such as goat heads affixed to spikes or nuns being whipped.
Venom’s music and image was heavily influenced by these themes, creating an aura of danger and rebellion that helped attract fans and increase its popularity. Their members would wear black leather jackets with spiked wristbands to heighten this sense of menace – further drawing in fans.
Venom’s music drew from various heavy metal influences, such as Motorhead and Sabbath. This gave Venom their unique sound: traditional heavy metal with elements of punk, speed metal and black metal all combined into one.
Venom’s music has had an enormous impact on many musicians and bands over time, such as Slayer, Metallica and Exodus. Venom are widely considered pioneers of thrash metal and their legacy can still be heard today – their 1981 debut Welcome to Hell is considered essential listening for fans of heavy metal music.
Oakland-based hard rock band Y&T initially formed as Yesterday & Today in the early 70s before signing with London Records and shortening their name to simply Y&T in 1981. Their self-titled debut was released in 1976 while Struck Down two years later failed to produce any hits; consequently they were dropped by London.
They continued performing around the Bay Area, opening for such heavyweight acts as Journey and Doobie Brothers while building up an avid local following. Queen invited them to play as part of their “A Night at the Opera” tour – it was there where they met London Records president Herbie Herbert for the first time.
Y&T signed with A&M Records in 1981 and released several albums under their contract. Their third record, Earthshaker, became widely considered as one of the finest metal albums of the 1980s.
Earthshaker marked Y&T’s breakthrough album as they shed any American balladry or Sabbathian pseudo-prog to create a more traditional heavy metal album that was equally strong on melodies as its riffs. Rather than being an obscure experimentation project, Earthshaker offered something truly revolutionary: pure, melodic heavy metal!
“Lonely Side of Town,” their first single, featured twin guitar solos by lead guitarist Dave Meniketti and rhythm guitarist Joey Alves – an epic combination that could’ve become another heavy metal crossover hit like Scorpions “No One Like You” or Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”. It cemented their place on the scene.
After touring and releasing albums for several years, Y&T finally disbanded in 1991; however, in 2001 they reunited under new leadership led by Dave Meniketti, Phil Kennemore and Stef Burns on drums.
Y&T’s music remains timeless and influential; many modern bands take inspiration from them. Y&T are considered among the most significant bands in American hard rock and heavy metal history; their pioneering efforts helped open up heavy metal to an entirely new generation of hard rockers.
Ozzy Osbourne made a profound mark on heavy metal music during his 30-year career with Black Sabbath and subsequent solo releases that inspired many other bands in its wake.
His first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, proved immensely popular within the metal community. Featuring songs that blended classic rock with metal influences as well as guest vocalist Randy Rhoads making an appearance, “Crazy Train” would become an anthem of Osbourne’s career.
After his debut solo album was released, Ozzy began struggling with chemical dependency and suffered from frequent tremors which were believed to be associated with his drug abuse. Later it was determined that Parkin Syndrome caused them, an affectation which causes involuntary shudders of his nervous system that led to involuntary shudders in Ozzy.
Ozzy continued touring and recording new albums despite these setbacks, as well as reuniting with members of Black Sabbath. In addition, Ozzfest became an immensely successful event that exposed and helped launch many up-and-coming metal bands to commercial success.
Ozzy Osbourne became a household name through his reality television appearances with Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osbourne as members of The Osbournes on The WB show The Osbournes in the early 2000s and MTV in subsequent years – adding further celebrity status and making him even more of an influence in music industry.
Ozzy was an esteemed animal rights activist and advocate, championing his numerous pets’ wellbeing. President Bush even invited Ozzy to meet at his White House residence and recognize his efforts on animal protection.
Osbourne may be best-known for his heavy metal music, yet he has made numerous other genres a part of his sound–such as blues and country. His songwriting skills and singing talents have cemented his place as a legend in metal circles–even now, at age seventy!
Osbourne released his debut solo album Blizzard of Oz shortly after Black Sabbath disbanded in 1978, becoming an instant success and selling over 7 million copies worldwide. It featured “Crazy Train,” now considered an essential classic that has been covered by many artists since.