Music Blogs

Gold, Silver & Bronze, but no Metal...

  • By AndyVale
  • 26 June 2012

Imagine having a child. Now imagine that that child did well in school despite getting poor predictions from their teachers.  Imagine that child later went on to get a great job through graft and hard work, despite stiff competition from a lot of flashier candidates. Imagine that your child is now comfortably housed, financially secure and has made a positive difference to many people’s lives.

  You’d be proud of that child, wouldn’t you? You’d have pictures on your wall, you’d tell stories at dinner parties and you’d invite the neighbours over to meet your outstanding offspring. Of course you would, what type of dreadful parent doesn’t take pride in the achievements of their young?

  Great Britain, that’s who!  Back in the late 1960s Britain started producing some of the early great metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple. These were bands that would play stadiums the world over, bands whose music was instantly recognisable and has greatly influenced the lives of millions. Without giving you a full history, Metal has remained strong in some form ever since. It’s never been totally in fashion, but it’s never died. It's always been around and it's always been pretty massive.

Only a cave-dweller doesn't recognise this riff.

(I love the fact that the above video has the "actual" lyrics...)

Led Zeppelin aside, Metal is often only included in the mainstream conscience begrudgingly. Either because of awkward occasions when it rudely gate-crashes the charts or as some sort of novelty. Go onto Youtube and it isn’t hard to find some vapid TV presenter throwing a cringe worthy devil horns as they introduce an unlikely metal band that has been shoehorned into their usually tame schedule. However, Metal has never really needed the establishment; it has its own society and industry with plenty of bands who get by just fine without it.

  But in 2012 that doesn’t make its cultural expulsion any less depressing. As part of the Olympics we are presented with the London 2012 Festival, a wide selection of artistic events taking place in the capital in the build up to the Olympics. Musically, there is Opera, Jazz, World, Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock and more covered somewhere in all of this. Some of it looks naff and forced, some of it looks like good fun. But after searching through the events listing I can’t find any Metal. It may be hidden away in some dark corner, but it would take a better Sherlock than I to find it. In the recently announced opening ceremony they’ve even managed to squeeze Punk in (albeit older numbers that are now quite acceptable), but apart from a smidge of Zeppelin there is also no Metal there either.

  I was never expecting them to do a full Metalympics, pumping heavy chords and rumbling basslines from speakers across the capital. But an optimistic part of me was hoping that if we’re trumpeting our cultural heritage then they would do something to celebrate this global phenomenon that Britain and London helped to create. I dreamed that perhaps they would do something to show a bit of pride in the leading role that we have played in Metal’s formation, growth and history.

  Let’s take Iron Maiden as an example, a band that had a number 1 hit in 1991 despite (or perhaps because of) it being banned by the BBC. A band that has had 15 top-10 albums, yet each release barely makes a ripple in mainstream media. Not only that, they are a band from East London that can still pack arenas in parts of the world where Leona Lewis is unheard of. Yet they are completely forgotten about when East London needs to put on an event to captivate a global audience.  Imagine you actually did have the child mentioned above; at best this is the equivalent of forgetting to invite them to a family wedding. At worst, it’s deliberately barring them from coming within 500 metres of any social event.

  I could go on listing this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s not everyone’s thing. But neither is Ballet, Classical, Hip-Hop or a number of other things that they’ll probably blind us with at some point. I just think it’s a shame that for one reason or another we have missed out on an excellent opportunity to champion one of our greatest musical successes.

Do you know who else thinks that Maiden should be included in the Olympics events? 250,000 Brazillians, that's who!

There are probably other things that have been missed out on, what/who else do you think has been overlooked in the Olympics festivities?

Andy is a Supajam writer who has been a small-fry at numerous Commerical, BBC and Student radio stations over the last 6 years. He is also a music promoter in the South-East of the UK. He has a website where he interviews musicians with only one question, and he is currently typing in third-person. You can tweet abuse at him if you fancy letting off some steam.