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Heavy Metal Timeline


Heavy metal is one of the newer genres of music. Most experts put its beginnings in the late '60s and early '70s. Since that beginning, metal has grown and evolved, spawning a multitude of genres and subgenres. In the '80s some heavy metal became mainstream, but throughout the years it been mainly an underground phenomenon. Even though most people have heard of Def Leppard or Judas Priest, the huge majority of metal bands are unknown to the mainstream. Here's a heavy metal timeline:

Late 1960's - Early 1970's

The birth of heavy metal. Groups like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple were the first heavy metal bands.

Late 1970's

The rise of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NHOBHM). Bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest become very popular.


Van Halen released their debut album. This began the Los Angeles/Sunset Strip scene, and many bands would come out of this era, including Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. The so called "hair bands" like Poison, Warrant and Ratt came from that scene as well.

The Who's Keith Moon died.

Bands formed this year: Dokken, Ratt, Whitesnake

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1978:
Black Sabbath - Never Say Die
Judas Priest - Stained Class
UFO - Obsession


The German band Accept releases their self-titled debut album. They are considered to be the first European power metal band.

Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced by Ronnie James Dio.

Bands formed this year: Europe, Hanoi Rocks, Trouble, Venom

A sample of heavy metal albums released in 1979:
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather
Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door
Kiss - Dynasty
Saxon - Saxon
Scorpions - Lovedrive

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