Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal was, at first, a fringe genre. It was, in some ways, a part of what this curriculum refers to as the 1970s Fragmentation. Fans of Heavy Metal were often wholly dedicated to the genre, identifying themselves as Metal fans and leaving everything else for everyone else. Belonging to the Metal community meant leaving all else behind. The inclusive 1960s, for this crowd, were over.

Few saw what was coming. Together with Hip Hop, Heavy Metal became one of the biggest things to hit popular music in the latter part of the 20th century. By the late 1970s, Metal was not a thing of the fringes. What it carried forward, however, was its sense of community. The audience often lived its commitment to Metal by avoiding other music — and, soon enough, within Metal there were "tribes." If you were into Metallica, chances were pretty good that Van Halen was nothing you wanted to find in your car stereo.

In this chapter, Heavy Metal is explored as a kind of technological inevitability, an example of a genre becoming the basis for a community and a lifestyle, and as a musical territory surprisingly rich in its possibilities. Lessons will explore the roots of Heavy Metal in the Hard Rock of the 1960s, the example of Black Sabbath as a force of change, and more.