Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler spoke to Eddie Trunk about the origins of heavy metal music and the genre’s name. He also told the story of how the band accidentally helped find the term.
Heavy metal music was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and its pioneers can be considered Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. Especially Black Sabbath’s extremely heavy sounds and lyrics contributed a lot while defining the genre’s typical characteristics.
However, it wasn’t the only contribution that the iconic band from Birmingham made to the genre, and Butler revealed that the term ‘heavy metal’ was first used for them. During their second tour in the USA, one of the critics shared their ideas about the band, saying it’s not music.
The critic regarded Black Sabbath’s style as a bunch of heavy metals smashed together, and this definition became widespread in England after the USA. In time, ‘heavy metal,’ which was initially a criticism against the band, became the name of their music, and they embraced it.
When asked about the first time he heard the term, Butler said:
“When we were on tour in America. I think it was the second tour in the States, and I read this review. The guy said, ‘This isn’t music; it sounds more like a bunch of heavy metal smashed together.’
Somehow that got over to England, and from then on, it was the sarcastic thing that used to apply to us. ‘This isn’t music; it’s a load of heavy metal smashed together.’ For some reason, we got stuck with it.“
You can check out the interview below.