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Old 03-26-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

And how is "Heavy Metal" different than "Hard Rock?"

I think we could all agree that Black Sabbath is Heavy Metal while The Who is Hard Rock. But where do you put AC/DC or Led Zeppelin?

My view:

first hardrock song: Communication Breakdown by Led Zep. Although, I would certainly understand if others felt The Kink's You Really Got Me to be first.

first Heavy Metal song: a lot of people feel Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild is the first, but really, it sounds more "hard rock" to me for some reason. What about In-A-Gada-Da-Vida or even The Beatles' Helter Skelter? All of these were released before Sabbath's Paranoid and Iron Man.

So what IS the difference between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, anyway? Is there one, and if so, how do we qualify that difference?

And what do you believe to be the very first Hardrock and/or Heavy Metal song?

Last edited by Dominic; 03-26-2009 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:50 AM   #2
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Well I'm certainly no expert but I would call The Who rock, Sabbath hard rock and Metallica et al heavy metal. For me hard rock was invented in the 70s (maybe late 60s) and heavy metal in the 80s, though I may be thinking of heavy metal more as thrash instead of actual heavy metal. Hard rock being Zeppelin, AC/DC and metal being Metallica, Megadeth etc. But like I say, I'm no expert.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:17 AM   #3
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

for me, anything with a greater emphasis on the percussive elements than the melodic elements is metal, although making that distinction is not an exact science
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:59 AM   #4
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
a lot of people feel Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild
is the first
I might be pointing out the obvious, but this is because of the lyrics "I like smoke and lightning/Heavy metal thunder". They coined the term.

I think that "heavy metal" as a genre consists not just of the sound but of subject matter. Darkness, death, the occult, etc. Which is why Jethro Tull never should've won that Grammy in 1989 - it doesn't matter what their album sounded like.

For these reasons I think that Sabbath is really the first "Heavy Metal" band going by the modern definition.
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Quote:
Darkness, death, the occult, etc.
This is definitely not the definition of metal imo.

The question in this thread title is purely subjective. Not only because people have different views of what the definition of each genre is or should be. But because, when people in the 70s or 80s started labeling songs/bands as hard rock or metal, does that create the definition of those genres forever? Metal today (or at least, good metal imo) sounds totally different than AC/DC or Born To Be Wild (which is a HORRIBLE annoying song btw). So how can you put them in the same category? I guess that's why "metal" has evolved into like 4000 different sub-genres.
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:52 PM   #6
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

i agree with ron, its all subjective...

LFS, the darkness, death stuff doesn't really have to do anything with heavy metal and not all metal is like that at all...there is also songs with all ranges of themes...

Personally, i think the definition changes with time...Sabbath may have been heavy metal in the 70s/80s, but it sounds nothing like modern incarnations of metal...
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:03 PM   #7
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Early Heavy Metal: The Knife by Genesis, recorded in 1970 (possibly written in late 1960's?)

I recommend listening to the whole song, but specifically check out 4:00 - 4:40.
Note Phil Collins on drums and Peter Gabriel on vocals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XhDHJNuyXw

Does it remind you of One by Metallica?
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:34 PM   #8
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Los Feliz Slim View Post
I think that "heavy metal" as a genre consists not just of the sound but of subject matter. Darkness, death, the occult, etc.
That is a remarkably short sighted definition of heavy metal. There's plenty of metal that deals with many different subjects. There's even Christian metal that deals with the opposite of what you write. I'm currently listening to Mastodon's second album, which is a concept album based on . . . Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:47 PM   #9
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

All rock comes from the blues, but do you recognize the separation from the blues as the beginning of hard rock? I don't know where you draw the line, but "Train Kept A-Rollin" by the Yardbirds has to be a contender for first hard rock song, especially if you're going to consider "You Really Got Me." But that's still blues/rock, whereas Zeppelin left the blues in the dust with some of their hard stuff.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

isn't inna gadda da vida considered acid rock?
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:11 AM   #11
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

first Hard Rock I actually LISTENED too probably was Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses :/ probably heard some earlier in movies though but since im born in 82 you only start to remember at a certain age!

first Thrash Metal was without a doubt Metallica, Metallica - Battery to be exact.


and to keep ontopic I always thought of Black Sabbath as the founders of modern day Metal.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:28 AM   #12
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

I realize they are more of a punk influence, but it seems MC5 also was a precursor to metal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MC5

And even though they sound more rock by todays standards, the arrangements of a lot of Thin Lizzy songs are the foundation for much of the 80's glam rock & sort of main stream heavy metal(Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, et al).
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:35 AM   #13
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

I think both terms are generic and pointless there is so much of a broad range of music and sub genres within the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal terms that defining them is ridiculous. Although maybe I am looking at things more from a Euro view as the modern euro metal scene is pretty wide and diversified not really sure whats coming out of the states at the minute.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:15 AM   #14
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

I don't know anybody who would say The Beatles were an influence on hard rock, and I wasn't alive when they were around, but wouldn't "Helter Skelter" have been considered ground-breakingly hard when it came out? I guess at the time plenty of late-'60s bands were doing that, but when you listen to pop music from the period, especially the Beatles, it's a bunch of "Love Me Do" and "Be My Baby" and Bob Dylan, then they put out this screaming electric guitar riff on the White Album. No?
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:04 AM   #15
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Re: what was the first Heavy Metal/Hard Rock song?

Thinking on it more, Hendrix surely needs at least a mention, stuff like Machine Gun is definitely headed in the direction of hard rock/heavy metal. I remember a story of Ozzy going to see Hendrix live and thinking he (Hendrix) was awesome but he (Ozzy) was high at the time and thought that it could've just been the drugs so he went back to see him sober and realised that he (Hendrix) really was just amazing, it wasn't the drugs.

Also I don't know whether it's an urban myth or real but if Lennon really "invented" distortion on Revolution then he deserves a mention as well.
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