When Was Heavy Metal Music Invented?

Heavy metal began as a hard rock subgenre in England during the late 1960s. Legendary artists like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath created its iconic sound: massive guitar riffs supported by powerful drums and bass.

At its beginnings, bands from other parts of Europe and South America also contributed to metal music; however, England emerged as the dominant force.


Heavy metal began in the British Midlands, home to an expansive steel and iron industry. Legendary pioneers of this genre included Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – two bands known for their bluesy sound with rock elements mixed in.

American bands such as Alice Cooper, Kiss and Aerosmith were able to transform their sound into something more accessible for wider audiences in the 1970s. Judas Priest helped shape this evolution by discarding much of its blues influence while Motorhead introduced punk rock sensibility.

Heavy metal has evolved from its origins as a gritty and distorted form of rock to become increasingly mainstream. It has become a worldwide phenomenon with an avid following of fans referred to simply as “metalheads” or “heavy metal heads.”

Heavy metal’s early pioneers often hail from industrial areas and were drawn to its hard-edged rock music. Ozzy Osbourne, for instance, began as a steel worker before becoming the frontman for Black Sabbath.

Heavy metal’s early pioneers captured the spirit of young people living in an industrial city who had few options for entertainment and were often unemployed. Their lyrics addressed topics such as war and nuclear annihilation, often drawing inspiration from fantasy and mythology.

By the late 1970s, a second wave of British heavy metal bands had emerged, including Iron Maiden, Saxon and Diamond Head. Collectively known as NWOBHM or New Wave of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM), these acts brought punk rock influences with an increasing focus on speed.

In the 1980s, heavy metal came under heavy criticism from political and academic circles who blamed it for everything from crime and violence to suicide and despondency. Some even suggested that heavy metal was responsible for these social problems due to its references to social chaos, Satanism, and death in its lyrics.

Though its exact origins remain elusive, heavy metal was born in the United Kingdom during the 1960s. Over time, it has evolved and spawned numerous sub-genres; however, its influences can still be heard today among metalheads around the world.


Heavy metal music is a genre of rock music that emerged during the 1960s and ’70s. While it had its roots primarily in England and America, bands from other parts of Europe and South America also contributed to its early development.

Heavy metal bands often feature distorted guitars and extended solos, along with fast drum beats and loudness. Some bands in this genre may even draw inspiration from psychedelic or acid rock influences.

Heavy metal music traces its roots back to American psychedelic rock bands such as Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix, who revolutionized traditional blues rock with electric guitars. These pioneers helped usher in a new age of electronic music through their pioneering efforts.

These bands often borrowed elements of classical music into their compositions, including the technique and rhetoric employed in art music. However, they were not attempting to “be” classical musicians.

Therefore, their musical styles were more varied than other forms of rock and roll at the time. Furthermore, they featured a range of vocalists from Rob Halford (Judas Priest) to Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead).

Metal bands boast a diverse musical style, yet they share one characteristic: escapism and fantasy. Unlike punk rock, heavy metal draws inspiration from antiquity through books, movies, video games and other forms of media as an escape from mundane life.

Some of the earliest bands to adopt this style included Cream, Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath. These acts were heavily influenced by blues, funk and progressive rock but took on a heavy metal aesthetic that is still prevalent today.

Other early bands to adopt this style include Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and Judas Priest. They too adopted many techniques from American psychedelic rock music.

Though its roots can be traced back to the 1960s, British Heavy Metal has evolved through different stages over time. In the late 1970s, Iron Maiden (Hallowed Be Thy Name), Motorhead (Iron Fist), and Saxon (Machine Gun) led a group of British bands known as The New Wave of British Heavy Metal that took inspiration from their predecessors while creating their own distinctive brand of music.


Heavy metal music is a genre that encompasses various styles with common elements. These include an intense focus on guitar playing; use of both acoustic and electric instruments to produce distortion-ridden riffs; driving drumbeats; and dramatic stage performances.

Heavy metal not only relies heavily on the guitar, but also relies heavily on bass and drums. The bassist plays alongside the guitarist to provide a heavy, thumping rhythmic accompaniment that helps maintain the song’s energy level.

Heavy metal music stands out from traditional rock bands due to its amplified instruments. Cymbal-driven drums add an intense element, ensuring they hit hard at precisely the right moment.

Some of the most renowned heavy metal bands include Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Metallica. These legendary artists continue to perform live and record, remaining an essential part of classic rock’s legacy today.

With time, many subgenres of metal music have emerged and developed. Thrash metal, for instance, has become a worldwide sensation due to its fast tempo drum beat and shredding guitar riffs. Notable pioneers in this genre include Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer.

Glam rock is a subgenre of metal that emerged in the 1970s. This style featured sultry images and catchy songs with influences from punk rock but that weren’t as extreme or physically appealing as their more extreme counterparts.

In the 1980s, metal music evolved into several subgenres and gained mainstream appeal. While some styles, like thrash metal, became immensely popular, others – particularly more commercially successful ones – lost their appeal. The 1990s witnessed a revival of these subgenres as well as new ones like industrial metal or symphonic metal; some have faded away while others such as Marilyn Manson or Slipknot have remained relevant into this millennium.


Heavy metal music has been shaped by many musicians. From early bands in England to contemporary groups, there has been a diverse range of influences that have shaped its sound. Guitarists in particular have had an influential role in shaping the genre’s signature sound.

Guitarists utilize sweep-picking and tapping techniques to generate rapid patterns on the instrument, which is characteristic of many subgenres. These skills enable musicians to perform complex solos within short bursts of time.

Acoustic guitars have long been an integral element of blues music. Bands often repurpose these instruments from their blues roots in order to create a more intricate soundscape.

In addition to acoustic instruments, guitarists often employ loud amplifiers. This technology enables them to produce louder sounds that would not be possible without it.

Heavy metal music often features Classical themes as part of its quest for escapism and obsession with power and darkness.

Many musicians have borrowed the technique of classical music, particularly neoclassical guitar playing. Bands such as Deep Purple and Rainbow have employed classical elements to great effect in their songs.

Power metal and symphonic metal have emerged as subgenres within this genre, though some bands have borrowed techniques from neoclassical music as well.

One of the earliest heavy metal bands was Steppenwolf, whose song “Born to Be Wild” (released in January 1968) inspired Bangs’ Creem article. These groups fused blues, rock and roll, as well as heavy rock music into one sound.

In 1972, Lester Bangs coined the term “heavy metal” in an article for Creem magazine. He was inspired by Steppenwolf’s song “Born to Be Wild,” where he attributed its metal thunder sound.