Blue Cheer - The Origins of "Heavy Metal"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Gramps, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Gramps

    Gramps Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Toronto, Ontario
    OK, I know everyone has their own opinion about this topic. Most people would say Black Sabbath. But, Blue Cheer's first lp came out in 1968, and Black Sabbath in 1970. Of course, Hendrix came first...but I don't consider any of his tunes heavy metal. For the origins of Heavy Metal....It's got to be "Parchment Farm", by Blue Cheer. I'm ready!
  2. ArpMoog

    ArpMoog Forum Resident

    Black Sabbath is the first band to bring all elements together under one umbrella.
    They are the origin end of story. The perfect storm.
    Purple, Timmy84, eric777 and 4 others like this.
  3. el supernautico

    el supernautico formerly known as "supernautic"

    What IS heavy metal? I for oneself make a differentiation between heavy metal and hard rock regarding the existence of bluesy sounds/influences. That way, bands like Led Zeppelin, Motörhead, UFO, AC/DC and even Black Sabbath would fall into the hard rock category.
    Bands with a sound stripped off most or all obvious blues sounds like Judas Priest, Kiss or Scorpions and even much of The Who I'd then clarify as heavy metal.
    If you like to declare everything that's loud and aggressive as heavy metal, then it all becomes highly subjective...
    What about The Kinks' "You Really Got Me"?
    Worker and sathvyre like this.
  4. el supernautico

    el supernautico formerly known as "supernautic"

    Black Sabbath... yes, most definitely. Apart from being named heavy metal already in their early years, I'd say they did NOT make heavy metal back then.
    But by the time of "Master Of Reality", they were surely evolving into something I'd describe as heavy metal.
  5. el supernautico

    el supernautico formerly known as "supernautic"

    I want to add that I never considered bands like Cream or Mountain as originators of heavy metal just because of that reason. To me, these bands played very hard blues rock - and Blue Cheer falls into that category, albeit being heavy as hell!:D
    Timmy84, steviebee and Hey Vinyl Man like this.
  6. Andrew J

    Andrew J Forum Resident

    South East England
  7. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    Judas Priest gets my vote. There was music that was called heavy metal before them, but it doesn't sound like metal as we think of it today.
    eric777, squittolo, Mt.Elga and 2 others like this.
  8. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Blue Cheer are metal. Their odd rhythm. And power chording just are metal. I hear 'em and hear metal. But, metal lately has really become more defined over time. Blue Cheer were heavy.
    izgoblin and sathvyre like this.
  9. thepluralofvinyl

    thepluralofvinyl Forum Resident

    Music City, USA
  10. Black Magic Woman

    Black Magic Woman I wish I was as cool as Kim Deal

    Janis Joplin influenced the heavy metal vocals - and that’s part of her great unacknowledged legacy.
  11. Black Magic Woman

    Black Magic Woman I wish I was as cool as Kim Deal

    But Judas Priest gets my vote. Blue Cheer wasn’t heavy enough IMO.
    el supernautico likes this.
  12. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    A precursor maybe, but no, they’re not the first heavy metal band. Sabbath created it, Priest perfected it.
    Purple likes this.
  13. docwebb

    docwebb Forum Resident

    Perhaps they were the first to take a rock song and convert it to heavy metal.
    I remember seeing them play Summertime Blues on the Steve Allen show in 1968, twelve years after Elvis appeared on the show. It seems only the audio has survived.
    blue cheer steve allen - Bing video
    sacsongs likes this.
  14. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Forum Resident

    This is kind of a difficult question. Sabbath was among the first bands that brought together drop tuning, Satanic themes, riffs, and solos—and Ozzy does have what could be described as a "metal" voice, I suppose—but they were hardly alone. There were a ton of heavy bands in the era playing what's now describe as stoner metal. In the U.S., Sir Lord Baltimore, Dust, and Pentagram were playing music similar to Sabbath's by 1970. The first UFO album came out in 1970, and that has some pretty metal moments as well.
    squittolo likes this.
  15. andy749

    andy749 Forum Resident

    The grey area in-between hard-rock & metal where a band could be classified as both, could go either way, contains some great stuff. It's all up to the ear of the beholder I guess.

    Could a band like X that is usually considered punk be metal?
    Can a non-metal band make a metal song? "Helter Skelter"?

    Makes me think of Chuck Eddy's book Stairway To Hell.
  16. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Boston MA
    I still vote for "Born to Be Wild". Interestingly, Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer's debuts came out the same month, January 68.
    bluemooze likes this.
  17. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    The term "Heavy Metal" within the context of Born To Be Wild is referring to motorcycles. Admittedly, it's a heavy song but there were a lot of heavy songs coming out at that time as psychedelia morphed into acid rock.

    In contrast, Black Sabbath's self titled title track is just frigging evil sounding. The dirge tempo, the tritones, Ozzy's delivery. Sure, there were some "not metal" songs on that first album, but they were mostly left over from their Earth days. Other bands that actually were dabbling in Satanism at the time never actually managed to create evil sounding music. I mean if you didn't understand English, you'd think Black Widow was a fusion band and Coven is best known for their cover of One Tin Soldier!
  18. Gramps

    Gramps Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Toronto, Ontario
    It sure does fact, I think it confirms Blue Cheer as the originators.
    geo50000, izgoblin and showtaper like this.
  19. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Forum Resident

    Blue Cheer were proto-metal, just like the Stooges were proto-punk. We could talk circles about where the exact origins of metal are, but everybody knows Sabbath were the alpha-metal band.
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  20. sons of nothing

    sons of nothing Forum Resident

    Blue Cheer are one of the ingredients in the metal stew. I have to say Purple is, and so are Zeppelin. Black Sabbath would be the main ingredient, and make up most of the dish. One has to add a dash of the Ramones, and UFO, with a pinch of Pink Floyd for some added flavor. If you want some added spice, then add some Misfits.

    The first true metal band would probably be Judas Priest, but the first PURE metal. band would be Metallica. Metallica took all those influences, and even some more like Skynerd and Johnny Cash and amped it up several notches. The fact that Mustaine was with them, and formed Megadeth, adds to my theory. Megadave and Iommi are the two most important guitarists in metal. As for rhythm,nobody has/had a better downstroke than Hetfield.

    Pentagram are an unsung hero of Metal, and it's sad that so few know their music.
    To me, they have always been more stoner meets doom. They should have been bigger, but they are a cult favorite.
  21. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Mountain came out in '69, but they were heavier than Blue Cheer. Had to be the heaviest band in America at that time.
  22. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer

    I'm not one of these 'The Beatles were first at everything' people, nor do I think this just because they're my favourite band, but I honestly believe Helter Skelter is the first metal song. Not proto-metal or heavy rock or anything else, but metal. To me it has everything I hear in metal music. Of course this is the only thing they did that ever even came close to metal, though.
    NYSPORTSFAN likes this.
  23. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    It's All Too Much has some pretty good distortion going on.

  24. Wayne Hubbard

    Wayne Hubbard Forum Resident

    Great documentary. Saw it for the first time a few nights ago. They discuss a lot of the points that have been made in this thread. Sabbath is the consensus winner for 1st Heavy Metal band. But, all the contenders (Hendrix, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, etc.) are discussed at length with well thought arguments about why they are not the first.
    Black Magic Woman likes this.
  25. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018

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