Folks, this was a monster undertaking, comprising quotes from 126 different
speakers (mostly the metal-makers themselves), many of them interviewed
multiple times, blasted at you with much of my own contextualizing over
120,000 words of oral history, strict and detailed timeline, obsessive
philosophizing, punctuated by more than 250 graphics. This book arose from
years of debating this question with people, as well as talks I’ve given on
the topic at university conferences (the below text is derived from the
Finland program). I’ve endeavored to include everything related to the
story, the result being a massive arrangement of all the salient arguments,
in a weighty tome that ends in 1971!
It’s one of the great debates in headbanged musicology and the answer is as
complicated as it is hotly contested. Martin Popoff’s Who Invented Heavy
Metal? provides the most detailed, well argued, reasonable, ridiculously
complete, and most lively and readable telling of the early history of heavy
metal yet, arming the argumentative headbanger with all the facts and figures
one needs on hand to win those bar room bets around this provocative question.
Ultimately, Who Invented Heavy Metal? aims to be a book that doesn’t limit
itself to fans of heavy metal, given the genre’s unarguable cultural value and
pervasiveness, as well as the wide umbrella of topics discussed within the
volume. Put another way, it is the author’s wish that the book provides wide
instructional scope of teachable moments through unfolding, subconscious,
telling by osmosis of the very history of heavy metal’s origins through events
inside the genre but, surprisingly, many events outside of its own kerranging
Martin’s presentation is compartmentalized into four parts:
Trace Elements: 1250 BC - 1966
Our story begins with the Battle Of Jericho and quickly moves through shocking
concerts in ancient Greece, Vikings, Paganini, Robert Johnson and the blues,
the invention of the electric guitar and the why Little Richard, Elvis, Eddie
Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis—but most notably, Johnny Burnette—might be called the
Lead: 1967 - 1969
Most of our time here will be spent discussing extreme vocals, distortion,
feedback, guitar heroes, psychedelics, amplification, the first riffs, the
first power chords and the first heavy metal songs.
Essentially, this is where Martin argues for the “real” or “correct” answer to
the titular question being Black Sabbath given their groundbreaking Black
Sabbath album, issued February 13, 1970, but also that band’s Paranoid, Uriah
Heep’s debut, and most important of this set of three, Deep Purple’s In Rock.
And of course, by this point, dozens of other bands are discussed as well. In
fact, we will see that the events of 1970 cause a fuzziness to the accepted
answer, resulting in the need for an examination of the events of one more
year, namely 1971.
In the final stretch of the lecture, Martin will argue the necessity of a
fresh—or at least “refreshed”—answer to the question, which requires us to
talk about the wildest, heaviest full albums of 1971. Not to give too much
away, but readers should come away with a new way to look at this question,
whether they become convinced of Martin’s arguments completely or not!
Also available as an eBook for $9.99 at https://zunior.com/products/martin-popoff-ebook-who-invented-heavy-metal
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