Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

Heavy metal was also first used to describe ugly guitars. The phrase, of course, originated with William S Burroughs in his 1962 novel The Soft Machine, featuring Uranian Willy, the Heavy Metal Kid. Then John Kay of Steppenwolf sang the phrase “heavy metal thunder” in 1968’s Born to Be Wild. But it first reached print as a synonym for hard rock via Mike Saunders (later Metal Mike Saunders, singer for early-80s punks the Angry Samoans), in a review of Humble Pie’s As Safe As Yesterday in Rolling Stone from 1970, describing the album as “more of the same 27th-rate heavy metal crap”.



The same year, punk rock was coined by Stone’s Detroit rival, Creem, via Dave Marsh, who used it in a ? & the Mysterians live review (“Needless to say, it was impossible to pass up such a landmark explosion of punk rock, even after two nights running of Tina Turner”). Punk magazine came along a few years later.

Genre busting: the origin of music categories

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