Hard History

Part I Page 2

Several new bands, including the bluesy Savoy Brown, Foghat, and Bad Company, the ferocious Budgie, and the legendary UFO, were spawned by the growing heavy metal explosion, while others like Status Quo hardened their sound; but until 1973 the kings of heavy metal were undoubtedly Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. The three were bands with a technical prowess and a compositional inventiveness and passion unseen before, which coalesced into the hardest music existing during those times. Moreover, the era also marked the beginning of Satanic imagery and of spectacular, energetic live shows in heavy metal.

The Satanic imagery came courtesy of two English bands: Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page (formerly of The Yardbirds, a band that was critical in influencing heavy metal with its psychedelic distortion and in spawning legendary guitar players Page, Clapton, and Jeff Beck) had a strong personal fascination with the occult, while many of Sabbath's lyrics within their ample range of themes dealt with it as well. The Sabs, however, did not claim to be Satanic, unlike many future metal bands; in fact, Ozzy Osbourne, vocalist of the band during those times, claims to have been scared off by fans wearing black robes and carrying candles with themselves.

As for the live shows, they were carried out by every band, most notably by Led Zeppelin's "rock till you drop" concerts that lasted about two hours and by Alice Cooper's colossal shows, known to feature boa constrictors, mutilated female mannequins, and Alice Cooper himself in a beheading spectacle. Bands moved onstage, introduced bigger-than-life special effects into their shows and recreated their music in front of fiery crowds of fans.

Hard History Part I Page 3