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Rock ‘n’ Rolls Roots in Metal Evolution

Photo From BS Facebook Page. ‘Never Say Die!’ tour at Lewisham Odeon in London, England, UK 1978

Written By Tristan Cardinelli

The roots of heavy metal run deep. From the rock ‘n’ roll of the 1950’s to 1960s owing a significant debt to the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and notably, Black Sabbath who emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They laid the groundwork for what would become metal. While dubbed the unholy trinity and credited as the first wave of true heavy metal, the common narrative oversimplifies their role, glossing over pre-1969 influences.

Metal’s origins defy a singular moment of creation; it’s not a linear progression from Jimi Hendrix to Black Sabbath. Rather, it’s a complex amalgamation of influences that gradually coalesced, with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal marking a significant milestone. Pinpointing the birth of metal is elusive, as defining what qualifies as such remains subjective. However, by the late ’60s, the groundwork for metal and its myriad subgenres was laid, with bands experimenting with heavy rock, inching closer to its infernal essence. Yet, amidst this evolution, many pioneering bands have faded into obscurity, prompting us to delve into forgotten realms of rock history to unearth metal’s unsung heroes.

In contrast to the dominant reign of rock and roll in the 1950s, the 1960s saw a diverse musical landscape emerge, where jazz, blues, pop, and folk music gained significant followings alongside the continuing growth of rock and roll. This era witnessed a distinction between “hard” rebellious rock and “soft” rock, which often bore resemblance to pop music.

Both genres of rock and metal feature heavy instrumentation, often characterized by distorted guitars, powerful drumming, and prominent basslines.

Both rock from the 60s and metal today place a significant emphasis on memorable guitar riffs, which often serve as the highlight of a song.

Both genres explore a wide range of themes, including but not limited to, rebellion, angst, societal issues, personal struggles, and fantasy.

Just as rock music diversified into various subgenres over the decades (acid rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, punk rock, etc.), metal has also branched out into numerous subgenres, including heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, power metal, black metal, and many more.

Many metal bands today, like their rock predecessors from the 60s and 70’s incorporate theatrical elements into their performances, including elaborate stage setups, costumes, and dramatic lighting effects.

Both rock from the 60s and metal today have had a significant cultural impact, influencing fashion, lifestyle, and even politics.

While there are certainly differences between the two genres, such as intensity, lyrical content, and production techniques, the parallels between rock from the 60s and metal music today are evident, highlighting the enduring influence of rock music on contemporary metal.

By Metal Lair

Propter Music Connoisseur, music for refined taste.

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