The history of heavy metal music began around 1964-1970 with bands like the Kinks, the Who, Alice Cooper’s The Spiders, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Steppenwolf’s song Born to Be Wild which contained the phrase “heavy metal thunder” share credit for the name heavy metal. The genre borrowed heavily from rock and the blues but moved towards a more aggressive direction than other bands from the 60′s incorporating energetic live shows and darker melodies and themes.
In 1970 Black Sabbath made what many consider to be the first true heavy metal album self titled Black Sabbath followed in the next few years by Paranoid and Master of Reality. Guitarist Tony Iommi, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, drummer Bill Ward, and bassist Geezer Butler churned out gloomy heavy churning riffs and rhythms accompanied nicely by Ozzy’s eerie vocal style. This Birmingham act nearly single handedly defined the essence of the heavy metal genre combining a fascination with dark mythological and religious subject matter juxtaposed against the reality of a working class life in poverty ridden industrial Birmingham during the early 70′s.
Newer bands like Judas Priest, Queen and Blue Oyster Cult took up the mantle of these older bands and added their voice to an ever growing revolution in rock music. Kiss took the genre to a next level using classic elements of theatre such as fire and fake blood to keep audiences interested. In the late 70′s heavy metal went through a decline and the giants of the early 70′s started to loose influence due to deaths and personnel changes. AC/DC, Judas Priest, Queen, and Rush kept the genre alive but only just.
The early 1980s saw a revival of metal of a sort with bands like Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue among others. By around 1990 most heavy metal had evolved into other rock genres like hard rock, gothic rock, gothic metal, death metal, power metal, doom metal and nu metal.