The Look: Classic Headbangers were denim and more denim – preferable covered in badges or leather; leather jackets with custom painting on back featuring fav band or naked women. Long hair essential. Glam Metal tends towards skin-tight androgyny while Death Metal recasts Goth black/bleak in rough tough metal context.
The Time: Technically, starts in late ‘60s but great flowering is in the ‘70s.
The Place: England (especially ex-industrial Midlands) and USA – then complete conquest of Planet Earth.
Influenced: Today and tomorrow’s Heavy Metal – a never ending evolution of the same back to basics looks and music.
If he ever saw or heard Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest or Iron Maiden it must have greatly bemused Beat poet and novelist William Burroughs to think that he gave this long lived and apparently indestructible musical genre and subculture its name. In his 1962 novel The Soft Machine there is a character named Uranian Willy who is also known as ‘The Heavy Metal Kid’. In his 1964 novel Nova Express we meet the ‘Heavy Metal People of Uranus’. More famously, Burroughs used the phrase ‘heavy metal thunder’ in his 1959 novel Naked Lunch. The psychedelic Rock band Steppenwolf recycled this phrase ‘heavy metal thunder’ in their 1968 hit ‘Born To Be Wild’ which was featured in the 1969 cult film Easy Rider.