How the Term ‘Heavy Metal’ Came to Quite Accurately Describe a Particular Genre of Rock Music

The fast talking doodling music theorist and musician 12tone, along with friend Patrick Foote from Name Explain visually and verbally dug into the etymological roots of the term “Heavy Metal”, specifically how it came to describe a certain genre of rock music. There are various theories that explain ranging from the band Steppenwolf to William S. Burroughs to science class, but it was actually an article by music journalist Lester Bangs that seems to hold the crowning honor.

… comes from a review he wrote in Rolling Stone of the band ‘The Guess Who’, published earlier in 1970 than Saunders’ Humble Pie review, where he described the band as ‘quite refreshing in the wake of all the heavy metal robots of the year past.’ Here, for probably the first time, the term was used to describe not a sound, but a collection of musicians and bands He was describing a genre, even if it was one he didn’t actually like.

Here’s the video from the Name Explain channel, during which 12Tone and Foote discuss the origin of Beethoven’s name.