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 Highway Star - Deep Purple Cover Art

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.

2 Helter Skelter - The Beatles Helter Skelter - The Beatles Cover Art

This song is amazing, it was probably the heaviest sound heard in music up until that time, and it's amazing, I would have voted for I Want You (She's So Heavy), but it was too low to win

3 You Really Got Me - The Kinks You Really Got Me - The Kinks Cover Art

"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.

The riff of this song invented metal

Well I said this song invented metal.that's mean it showed a new way to metal.

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.

4 Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf Cover Art

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 metal.it's one of the hardest songs of 60s.

5 Sunshine of Your Love - Cream Sunshine of Your Love - Cream Cover Art

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 Killing Floor - Jimi Hendrix Cover Art

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.

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 Fireball - Deep Purple Cover Art
8 Barracuda - Heart Barracuda - Heart Cover Art

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).

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 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones Cover Art
10 The Nile Song - Pink Floyd The Nile Song - Pink Floyd Cover Art

The Contenders

11 I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Beatles I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Beatles Cover Art

This song is in a tier of its own

12 Stone Cold Crazy - Queen Stone Cold Crazy - Queen Cover Art

Yes, this is proto-thrash metal.

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

13 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson Cover Art
14 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix Cover Art
15 Silence of the Morning - The Glass Sun Silence of the Morning - The Glass Sun Cover Art

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

16 Revolution - The Beatles Revolution - The Beatles Cover Art

Not the White Album version, the single version with the screaming vocals and heavy, distorted guitars

17 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly Product Image
18 Rydeen - Yellow Magic Orchestra Rydeen - Yellow Magic Orchestra Cover Art

HEAVY

19 I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges Cover Art
20 Easy Livin' - Uriah Heep Easy Livin' - Uriah Heep Cover Art
21 Speed King - Deep Purple Speed King - Deep Purple Cover Art
22 Death Walks Behind You - Atomic Rooster Death Walks Behind You - Atomic Rooster Cover Art

possibly the first progressive metal song

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