Some musicians are known for rock music, and some for metal. How about rockers that once released heavy metal records? Though some might not sound particularly like heavy metal to you, it’s important to remember that most of these songs were not intentionally written as ‘heavy metal’ tracks. In this list, we named five rock bands that influenced the heavy metal community.
Goo Goo Dolls
Known for hits like ‘Iris’ and ‘Name,’ Goo Goo Dolls actually released a song that we can call heavy metal. Goo Goo Dolls were a thrash trio in their early days, combining the elements of hardcore music. In fact, the band’s first five albums came out on Metal Blade Records, the record company known to work with Cannibal Corpse, Manowar, Sacred Reich, and more. ‘Torn Apart,’ taking place in their debut self titled album, is a great example of their heavier sound.
Formed in 1978, Toto gained recognition with progressive rock hits such as ‘Hold the Line’ and ‘I’ll Supply the Love.’ They even scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. But ‘I’ll Supply the Love’ is considered to be a heavy metal track by many fans. Although the band is now remembered for their pop-rock songs such as ‘Rosanna’ and ‘Africa,’ apparently, Jeff Porcaro thinks that being a heavy metal guitarist would be the coolest thing to do in the world.
From 1975 to 1977, Journey’s initial phase, released three albums with prog-fueled jazz fusion, later changing with the addition of Steve Perry. They embraced arena-rock sounds akin to their peers like Boston, Jefferson Starship, and Heart. The band adorned their album covers with metal-inspired imagery.
During the transitional period between disco and MTV, Journey’s rock sound was mistaken for heavy metal, and the band eventually faced competition from new wave. Songs like ‘Stone in Love’ and ‘Separate Ways’ still carry a metallic punch. The band’s association with metal even led them to be ranked in Kerrang!’s Top 100 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time.
Despite being considered the saviors of rock, the release of their self-titled 1982 album was only regarded as heavy metal for years. Their breakthrough hit, ‘Runaway,’ and the follow-up album, ‘7800° Fahrenheit,’ leaned toward the hard side. Following the success of their 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet,’ Bon Jovi was somehow hailed as a potential savior of metal in a feature by the L.A. Times.
However, Bon Jovi’s evolution away from metal occurred during a hiatus. Their return in 1992 with ‘Keep the Faith’ marked a deliberate shift towards pop-rock. Despite not adopting the grunge look like other glam acts, the band aged with their loyal fan base.
Hear us out. Billy Joel’s journey from the Piano Man had some twists, including a particularly metal detour. Joel and fellow Hassle guitarist Jon Small formed the unique psych-prog-acid-metal duo, Attila, not to be confused with the U.S. metalcore band.
Their singular self-titled album features a cover with Joel and Small clad in barbarian warrior attire, surrounded by hanging meat in a forest. Small delivers powerful chords and lightning-speed solos, while Joel assaults the keyboards and explores heavy metal themes.