Best Proto Metal Songs

The birthdate of metal is Friday, February 13, 1970. That’s when the band Black Sabbath released its first album, Black Sabbath. But Black Sabbath and metal didn’t just come from nowhere. In this list there are non-metal songs in which are metal elements of Heavy metal, thrash metal etc.

The Top Ten

1 Highway Star - Deep Purple

This IS a metal song and not a non-metal song with metal elements. All elements in this song are metal - riff, solo and operatic vocals with screams. Moreover, this song DEFINED metal more than any other song.
Unlike hard rock, blues rock and heavy blues rock, metal isn’t blues inspired. Metal is classically inspired so no blues and psychedelic influences in metal.
In Highway Star Ritchie Blackmore used Bach scales (J. S. Bach), including the solo with its Bach-like chord progressions, so it was the first true metal solo as we know it now. Guitar solos based on blues idioms are not metal solos. - Metal_Treasure

2 Helter Skelter - The Beatles
3 You Really Got Me - The Kinks

"The riff of this song" is a slight variation on a common and very old blues riff. This song is not "proto metal." It's proto hard rock, and introduced power chords, which, in and of themselves, are not metal, "proto" or otherwise.

@Metal_Treasure Metal is not based on classical music boi, it is based on psychedelic music and also a bit on blues, just not that much - MilkmanBoi

The riff of this song invented metal - zxm

I completely agree with the visitor's comments - most of the songs on this list are blues based meaning they are not related to metal (except Deep Purple songs and the Queen song). You can't invent a classically inspired genre (metal) with blues inspired songs. Can you invent jazz with rap songs?
By the way, the mentioned Black Sabbath album (in the list description) is not a metal album - it’s heavy blues rock with funk, psychedelic and even jazz elements. The biggest misconception in metal is that Black Sabbath invented metal. This is related to another correct observation of the visitor - people think that any heavy sound is heavy metal sound. NO, it's NOT. If a song sounds heavy but is blues based it's not a metal song - metal songs use classical scales. Examples - Guns N Roses are pretty heavy but were labeled hard rock and not metal because they are blues inspired. Same for Led Zepp, ACDC, Whitesnake - not metal. - Metal_Treasure

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4 Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf

Ay-yi-yi! Just because it has power chords, and introduced the phrase "heavy metal" (in reference to MOTORCYCLES) into popular music, does NOT make it "metal"-- of ANY kind. The basic riff is a variation of a John Lee Hooker-style Delta blues riff.

Yeah it's proto's one of the hardest songs of 60s. - zxm

5 Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Good grief, this is tiresome. It's BLUES rock. Clearly, you've not listened very much or closely to the progenitors of American music.

6 Killing Floor - Jimi Hendrix

I agree with the visitor again - I am a die hard metalhead but I have to admit that most of the metal fans think that "anything loud, energetic, with power chords, is metal". This is wrong. Very often metalheads confuse metal with heavy blues rock, hard rock, punk, blues rock, grunge and even glam rock. - Metal_Treasure

Whoops. That would be "knowledge."

This. Is. BLUES. Rock. Why do metal heads think anything loud, energetic, with power chords, is metal? Y'all need some serious courses at the College of Musical Knowledgr.

7 Fireball - Deep Purple
8 Barracuda - Heart

Probably this isn't a metal song but I have to agree that 2 elements in this song can be found in many metal songs: the gallop and the polished operatic vocals. But this song came out in 1977 and gallops were used by Deep Purple before that in several songs (example - Hard Lovin' Man, 1970). - Metal_Treasure

Your FIRST clue should have been the release date in 1977. There WAS no "proto" metal by then. But it really doesn't matter, because BARRACUDA is hard ROCK. Not metal.

9 The Nile Song - Pink Floyd
10 I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Beatles

The Contenders

11 Silence of the Morning - The Glass Sun

A Psychedelic masterpiece, it's a true shame that these guys never made a full album. - RogerWatersfan1999

12 Stone Cold Crazy - Queen

Yes, this is proto-thrash metal. - Metal_Treasure

I agree with Metal_Treasure here,this song is a proto-thrash metal - zxm

13 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson
14 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix
15 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
16 Rydeen - Yellow Magic Orchestra


17 I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges
18 Easy Livin' - Uriah Heep
19 Speed King - Deep Purple
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