Top 10 Founders of Metal Music

The Top Ten
1 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward... read more

The most important metal band
1. Black Sabbath - initial inventor dark sound
2. Deep Purple - gave the shredding guitar, add classical influence and speed for metal
2. Judas Priest - savior of metal from punk attack in mid 70's, first from the twin guitar leads (there are others but this is talking metal), making a standard arrangement style for metal, removing the hippy style and giving a leather style culture to metal
3. Big 4 Thrash - raise the level to be heavier
4. Pantera - savior of metal from grunge attacks in early 90's to exist and the gate for subgenre development

2 Deep Purple Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple,... read more

Metal is currently defined as an extreme non-bluesy subgenre of rock music, mostly based on classical music. Deep Purple was the first band with such songs - so they solely invented the pattern of metal music as we know it now (credits to Ritchie Blackmore for mingling rock and classical music). For the record, Black Sabbath's early albums (70s with Ozzy) were heavy blues rock and not metal. Even Tony Iommi admitted that.

Deep Purple also had hard rock songs, which made their metal legacy more obscure but besides the general pattern of metal music (1), they defined some other metal elements: (2) They first used double bass drumming - Fireball, 1971; (3) They were "the globe's loudest band" of the 1970s, officially listed in the 1975 Guinness Book; (4) R. Blackmore first expressed that appetite for speed, complex songwriting and fast technical solos & riffs (ex. Highway Star - you can also hear the galloping style, made popular later by Iron Maiden and currently found everywhere); (5) R. Blackmore, aka The Man in Black, gave metal its signature color (black)... and so on."

3 Judas Priest Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”... read more

In the early 70s, most metal riffs were slow. But Judas Priest played their riffs little bit fast. Some people claimed them as one of the founders of speed metal.

They revolutionized metal more than everyone else. Black Sabbath may have been the heaviest band of the early 70s, but Priest defined the real metal sound.

Judas Priest should be at #3 because they were the 3rd band after Deep Purple and Rainbow that came up with pure metal sound, I.e. non-bluesy sound.

4 Rainbow Rainbow are a British rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore from 1975 to 1984 and 1993 to 1997. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer and lyricist. Rainbow were ranked No. 90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band has sold over 28 million albums... read more

Ritchie Blackmore started it all in Deep Purple (1968-1974) by mixing rock and classical music (now known as heavy metal) and perfected it in Rainbow with Dio (1975-76).
Dio confirmed the top notch metal singing and also introduced the famous horns (one of the metal symbols).
Credits for inventing subgenres like power metal and neo-classical metal go exclusively to Rainbow. They also perfected the traditional metal and speed metal, added certain epic feel and some proggy nuances.
Check out their genre defining songs:
From the 1976 album: Stargazer, A Light in the Black, Tarot Woman
From the 1978 album: Gates Of Babylon, Kill The King, LA Connection
Metal instrumentals (neo-classical): Still I'm Sad 1975; Difficult To Cure 1981

5 Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English Heavy Metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian... read more

While they didn't originally found metal, they heavily (pardon the pun) shaped metal after it was created by the hard rocking' of Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Judas Priest.

Maiden wins this list by far... Sure Sabbath founded it but maiden took it to the next level... Also the reason why metal still lives is 'because of maiden...

The greatest and still going strong! Just saw 'em yesterday in Helsinki (too bad the sound quality at the stadium was bad). Up the Irons!

6 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin was an English hard rock band formed in London in 1968 as the New Yardbirds. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums) and was very much the child of Jimmy Page who even financed their first tour. He had tasted... read more

Led Zep definitely did NOT start anything related to metal because metal is based on classical music while Led Zep are based on blues. They know that, too - they don't want to be labelled as metal and distance themselves from anything related to metal. They even refuse to speak in metal documentaries about how their music has influenced the metal genre. And they are right - they've never been metal.
Bottom line:
Stop chanting wrong mantras about metal founders by listing bands not related to metal while forgetting and underrating the true metal pioneers like Deep Purple, Rainbow and Judas Priest.

7 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/Thrash Metal band formed in 1981. The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman"... read more

If metallica sounds like taylor swift in your opinion then justin bieber must be a brutal death metal singer
Seriously, they are a great band, whether if you like them or not they are still amazing. They've invent some memorable riffs, and they've had a successful carreer, something that you'll probably never achieve.

Metallica just sell the metal they cloned and packed with Barbie and the rockers... Metallica should be in a separate list with babymetal or blutengel, maybe there are so good as Taylor swift

8 Blue Cheer Blue Cheer was an American rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was sporadically active until 2009. Based in San Francisco, Blue Cheer played in a psychedelic blues rock style, and are also credited as being some of the earliest pioneers of heavy metal,... read more

They were heavy but not heavy metal - unfortunately their heavy sound was based on blues and did not influence heavy metal very much (if any). It's because the canvas of metal is classical music and metal musicians distance themselves from blues. It took Judas Priest and Black Sabbath almost 10 years to get rid of blues and psychedelic elements in order to become metal bands, I.e. to achieve the pure metal sound, developed by Deep Purple and Rainbow.

I'd say Blue Cheer were heavy blues rock and hard rock, which is cool but different from heavy metal.

9 Uriah Heep Uriah Heep are an English rock band formed in London in 1969 that was one of the top rock bands in the early 1970s. Twelve of the band's albums have made it to the UK Albums Chart (Return to Fantasy reached No. 7 in 1975). Uriah Heep's distinctive features include a massive keyboard sound, strong vocal... read more

Their sound was a fusion of progressive/art rock/heavy metal. David Byron's quasi-operatic vocals contributed to their metal sound, too. The song Bird of Prey (1971) is a metal song, with metal vocals and screams: awesome vox even from today's metal viewpoint.

Their debut album 'Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble' (1970) was one of the first albums with the word (H)eavy in the title. It contained progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, blues rock.

Their epic piece Salisbury (1971) is 16:20 min long and sounds to me like early symphonic metal with prog elements. It's length can compete with the lengthy stuff of current metal bands. Give it a chance and be convinced. And surprised.

Their metal songs were influenced by Deep Purple but they were cool in their own right. Some other metal songs: Look At Yourself, 1971; Easy Livin', 1972.

10 Motörhead Motörhead were an English heavy metal band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band's harsh vocals and fast paced tempos helped inspire speed metal and... read more

Although Mötorhead is often considered as a heavy metal band, Lemmy has always described Mötorhead's music as simply rock and roll. In 2011 he said: "We were not heavy metal. We were a rock'n'roll band. Still are. Everyone always describes us as heavy metal even when I tell them otherwise. Why won't people listen? "

Lemmy has stated that he generally feels more kinship with punk rockers than with metal bands. Motörhead, Lemmy states, have more in common aesthetically with The Damned than Black Sabbath, and nothing whatsoever in common with Judas Priest. Lemmy says he feels little kinship with the speed metal bands".

I think Lemmy is right - I don't hear much metal (if any) in their stuff.

The Contenders
11 UFO UFO are an English rock band that was formed in 1969. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal.

Formed in 1969, they became a transitional group between early hard rock / heavy metal, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).
Their song Doctor Doctor (1974) was covered by Iron Maiden.

Great to see UFO in the top 10. They seem to be the forgotten one's on all other lists

12 Iron Butterfly Iron Butterfly is an American rock band best known for the 1968 hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", providing a dramatic sound that led the way towards the development of hard rock and heavy metal music.

No, they were heavy but not exactly heavy metal - they were mostly heavy blues rock and psychedelic rock. Metal is FAR from that - it took Judas Priest and Black Sabbath almost 10 years to get rid of blues and psychedelic elements in order to become metal bands, I.e. to achieve the pure metal sound, developed by Deep Purple and Rainbow.

Not every heavy sound is heavy metal sound. In the 60s and 70s many music movements produced more or less heavy sound. These movements had different origins but co-existed in a syncretic form, in that the differences were not clear and there were some overlaps - especially early metal, early punk and early hard rock. But in 2015 differences are known - many non-metal subgenres may sound heavy but stylistically they are completely different.

13 The Kinks The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 1960s.

More punk and hard rock than metal - they have often been labelled as "the original punks".
The riff of "You Really Got Me" is really cool though.

14 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in London in 1970. The original lineup was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals), and John Deacon (bass guitar, vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band... read more

Surprise Surprise - Queen were not considered as metal or metal influence back then but things changed over time.
They actually wrote and performed the first thrash metal song - Stone Cold Crazy. It was written by Freddie in 1968 and recorded a bit later when he joined Queen. Metallica did a cover.
Another pretty aggressive and dark song is Dead On Time.

In contemporary metal music you can hear more Queen than Led Zep, for example. The famous multi-layered /canon vocals from Bohemian Rhapsody became a feature of Blind Guardian, late Savatage and many other metal bands.

15 Megadeth Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Megadeth was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, shortly after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. They have released 15 studio albums to date, and have gone through many lineup changes, with Dave... read more

Technically they didn't start heavy metal but it wouldn't be awesome without them.

Why are they on this list? Megadeth didn't start anything.

16 Slayer Slayer was an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax... read more
17 Thin Lizzy Thin Lizzy are an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1969. Their leader Phil Lynott was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band's songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of rock music. Thin Lizzy's most successful songs, "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak"... read more

Early metal songs are Massacre, Emerald, released in 1976.
Their song Thunder And Lightning came out before Kill 'Em All but it was a thrash song.
Massacre was covered by Iron Maiden, Emerald - by Mastodon (there's a very cool and extended instrumental section in Emerald).
My fave metal songs: Angel of Death, Thunder And Lightning, Killer On the Loose, Cold Sweat, Massacre.
Their most popular songs/hits were not metal, which is normal - in the 70s and early 80s metal was far from the mass tastes.

Many metal bands did awesome cover versions, which revealed the metal potential of Thin Lizzy songs and Phil Lynott's great songwriting abilities. Most of the covers are thrash and death metal style - the originals had this potential.
I just started a new list on the Top Tens:
Top Ten Best Cover Versions of Thin Lizzy Songs

18 The Jimi Hendrix Experience The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an English-American rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969. During this time... read more

Metal is with NO Blues, Psychedelic and Rock and Roll elements? Listen to " Black Sabbath " first album and you will find exactely all those elements. You don't know what you're talking' about and if you still ignore that fact then you're probally not a real rocker / metalhead and just an ignorant metalhead.

Where do you hear metal in his stuff? There's no metal.
Jimi's range of genres includes Psychedelic rock, hard rock, blues, rhythm and blues.
But metal is with NO Blues, Psychedelic and 'Roll' elements.

19 Scorpions Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal.

Their style in the 70s was completely different from their 80s mainstream ballad style. Check out at least the song 'Sails of Charon' (1977). There are also cool cover versions by Yngwie and Testament.

20 Mountain

Obviously should be higher, Mississippi Queen is such a heavy song you'd think it came out in the late 70's but it was actually 1970! Way ahead of its time

21 Aerosmith Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band".

Not metal. It's rock n' roll and hard rock. They also made rock ballads. Still a great band though.

22 Alice Cooper Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, musician and occasional actor whose career spans over five decades.
23 Accept Accept is a German heavy metal band from the town of Solingen, originally assembled by former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes.

Their success came in the early 80s but they were close to metal in the 70s, too.
Debut album - Jan 1979, metal

Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Scorpions and Accept were closer to metal than Led Zep, Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly. So the first group of bands should be in the top 10 instead of the second.

Really? Accept is one on the first pioneers of speed metal and they are listed at 22! Ahh this list is beyond bogus

24 Diamond Head Diamond Head are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the new wave of British heavy metal and is acknowledged by thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence.
25 The Stooges The Stooges, also known as Iggy and the Stooges, are an American proto-punk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, first active from 1967 to 1974, and later reformed in 2003. Although they sold few records in their original incarnation, and often performed for indifferent or hostile audiences, the Stooges are... read more
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