6(66) Reasons To Love 80’s Heavy Metal

March 3, 2012


In honor of my 666th subscriber (welcome, Stacie Chadwick!  Thanks for coming by!), I – naturally – immediately began humming Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” to myself.  This, of course, made want to do two things: One, rock.  Two, take a moment and explore 6(66) reasons to love 80’s Heavy Metal!

1. For satanic, violence-inducing music that was bringing about the downfall of society, it’s surprisingly fun and upbeat.  In the 1980’s, in the US, Satanic cults and Satanists were EVERYWHERE.  It was an epidemic just waiting to drag the nation to hell in a black cloak and eyeliner.  I mean, no one had ever actually seen a Satanist, but everyone had a friend who knew a guy who had these friends who were, like, hiking in the woods? And the came to a clearing?  And there were these, like, rocks forming a pentagram and a bunch of black candles that were still smoking?  So they ran back to the car and when they got there someone had hung a dead rabbit over their car.  I’m totally serious, dude.

What?! This man is GAY?? But... but, the leather, the riding crop, the gloves... it's all so, so masculine!

Anyway, the actual music, with some distance, is mostly pretty upbeat and rockin’.  The satanic stuff is so obviously rock ‘n roll posturing and just kind of, well, silly.

2. You can look at photos of Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford and contemplate that people were shocked when he revealed that he was gay.

At worst it makes me want to start counting off, "Gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen..."

3. There’s this great moment when Tipper Gore was testifying about the dangers of heavy metal to Congress, and she holds up Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and says, in this scrunchy, squirrelly voice, that looking at it tells young people, “Burn the building!  Burn the building!”  And that‘s just fun to say.  Try it!  See?

4. Seriously, have you heard the pipes on the singer from Iron Maiden?  Wow.  You could give yourself a hernia trying to sing along.

They, as a band, have also started recently putting together theme concerts based on their early albums.  A kind of thematic Cirque Du Maiden with less gymnasts and more zombies.

5. Listening to the first two minutes to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” feels what I imagine it would feel like to emerge from the smoke and haze of a battlefield to see that you’d, personally, conquered the invading hordes and saved your people.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the song, it’s particularly the point after about 1:20, so hang in there)

6. There are a lot of really cool things out there about heavy metal (even for someone who wouldn’t otherwise care) that aren’t woefully incomplete and haphazardly thought-out like certain blog entries I could mention, and which are quite interesting; Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo, Rock City (originally, and far more rockin’ly, titled Appetite For Deconstruction) for example; Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization part II; or Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  There’s also supposed to be this really interesting historical survey, but I forget the name of it and I’m too busy a-rockin’ to do any a-researchin’.

So, in conclusion, to my subscribers both recent and long-standing: you rock.  But Stacie Chadwick, subscriber 666, you rock just a little harder.  You’re rockin’ like Dokken.

Unless you hate rock music and think metal is exclusively the legerdemain of smelly morons, and are appalled to be mentioned in the same blog and think I should be flogged until purified.  Then… sorry.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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59 Comments on “6(66) Reasons To Love 80’s Heavy Metal”

  1. Stacie Chadwick Says:

    Hmmmm. I’m not sure how I feel about this post. In one sense, I’m flattered. I’ve never had such a unique blog shout out. Well, except from the uber-talented and insanely hilarious Cristy Carrington/Paltry Meanderings of a Taller Than Average Woman. But she’s my blogging bestie and we’ve got each other’s backs in a shiv-like way until we hate each other and are no longer BFFs which I hope never happens because she’s, like, super-awesome and stuff.

    On the other hand, are you freaking kidding me? 666? The number that sends schizoids spiraling to their death and right-wing bible bangers into apoplectic (I don’t think that’s a real word, btw) hysteria? That’s just disturbing, no way around it.

    AND YET….80s Heavy Metal. You have no idea what surface you just scratched (OK, that phrase is even creepier than 666). I could go on and on and on to such a degree that…OMG I could write a blog! In fact, you just gave me Monday’s topic (I only post twice a week because, let’s face it, we all have better things to do), if you’re willing to let me reblog this, link back to your site and respond in a much deeper and more thought-provoking way than I’m allowed in a comment box.

    LMK what you think, and due to my devil-moniker link to your site, it might be appropriate to be a little afraid.

    P.S. your post came in at 4:10 a.m. Are you in some kind of vampire/parallel universe time zone?

    P.S.S. I totally see through the half-face gravatar. More on that later.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yes, I definitely went back and forth on ascribing something like heavy metal and “the number of the beast” to someone I didn’t know, but then I thought “It’s a blog idea. Who knows when the next one will come?” and figured I could always apologize later if need be. I promise I don’t really think you’re demonic because you’re my 666th subscriber. And I’d be happy to be reblogged! Though hopefully you’re not going to tell the world I’m insane.

      And no, I was fast asleep when it posted. I’m on the west coast and sometimes I set it to post so that it’s there for east coast wake ‘n’ bloggers. Sometimes I wake up and see that it’s posted and mutter, “Bulldog’s gone to press.” “Well, hurray for the Bulldog” which an incredibly obscure Citizen Kane reference, so it’s good no one’s awake to hear me.


  2. cristycarringtonlewis Says:

    So funny because the moment I saw Stacie’s name, I went all uber protective. Like, I don’t want the number of the devil in any way related to her pristine name. But, she does have a lot of kids, so she’s strong. She can take it. But she is my blogging bestie, so watch out. I may have super powers of which you are yet aware. It is extremely possible. My husband’s farts smell like Jolly Ranchers. I bet you and all your 666 voodoo can’t make that happen, can it? No, some things are beyond the realm of Satan. Laughed my ass off at Pyromania. Still laughing at Tipper Gore. How was that woman married to one of the grooviest liberals of our time? I hated Al for a long time for choosing that bitch as his mate. What was he thinking? Do you think, at some point, he just said, “Tipper, you bitch. You’re named after what drunk frat boys do to a cow and you need to get a hobby. Try global warming. Metallica is JUST A FUCKING BAND!” Any thoughts?


  3. She's a Maineiac Says:

    “I’ve got something to say…it’s better to burn out…than fade awaaaay!” Ah, those were some good head-banging times back then. I really enjoyed the earlier Def Leppard, not so much the ‘Pour some sugar on me’ era.

    Judas Priest–my brothers would blast them so loud your ears would bleed. My own mother actually started to like them–they were one of her favorite bands. (I suppose she didn’t have a choice but to listen to them) When Rob came out, my mom was matter-of-fact about it “Well, of COURSE he is!”


  4. Brown Road Chronicles Says:

    Wait… Rob Halford was gay?!?! Does that mean that Freddy Mercury, another leather wearer, was gay too?!!? Just kidding… anyway great post, I was not a huge metal fan but always liked listening to KISS, Motley Crew, Poison and of course the totally wild and crazy and dysfunctional Guns and Roses – the glam bands I guess. I still think G&R was one of the more talented bands of that era, they just couldn’t hold their lives together. I had forgotten about the whole Tipper Gore episode… thanks for bringing back that BAD memory!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Appetite For Destruction is just a staggeringly good album – and one of those albums that sounds like pure rebellion and off-the-rails rock music. There was no way that could sustain.


  5. RFL Says:

    My Dad made me watch a documentary once called Hell’s Bells (AC/DC was featured, if memory serves). It made me like metal. I never had the time to play all the songs backwards to test the backmasking theory. Cool post!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh, I’d forgotten about the masking! Those satanists – they worked so hard to convert the listeners, didn’t they? No one ever seemed to ask “Why would bands who are overtly acting all demonic also hide satanic messages?” Wouldn’t that be like coming out of the closet by throwing a huge “I’m gay” party, but then hiding secret messages in the desserts telling people that you’re attracted to people of the same gender?


  6. susielindau Says:

    Dang! I should have waited a week… I must be subscriber 661. Congrats Stacie!

    I really loved the ultimate pimping of heavy metal bands, This is Spinal Tap. The lyrics of those songs were hysterical…

    I am more of an alternative girl myself, but rock on my new friend!


  7. sj Says:

    Heh, my dad and my brothers all have the Screaming for Vengeance eagle on their arms. I was super pissed that they went to get tattooed without me, because now I DON’T GET TO HAVE A JUDAS PRIEST TATTOO! If I did it after the fact, I’d just be copying them. Super bummer. 😦


  8. The Blissful Adventurer Says:

    My first boss in the wine biz in 1996 collected Rocker Guitars and his idol was George Lynch. Eventually George came in the shop and they jammed for a few hours upstairs on the classic Lynch guitars that my boss had collected (there were at least 4).
    This is a great post and the reason why I enjoy your blog. I look forward to my 666th subscriber 🙂


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s so weird that you mention that, because I actually dreamed last night that Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic happened by where I was and asked if I wanted to play a couple Nirvana songs. I couldn’t do it, because I didn’t want to disgrace the music – which I’d hope wouldn’t be my real reaction… but probably would. Grohl also gave me a fishing lure in the dream, and I don’t fish, so God knows what that means.


  9. madtante Says:

    I liked 70s metal (Judas Priest, ACDC, early VH) but none of that…what I’d call 80s metal appealed. I think they’re called hairspray bands NOW but back then, they were called metal. I clearly remember “word fighting” with douchebags in school, telling them they were POP BANDS…”Look at the makeup!”

    That reminds me of the time I met Winger (had no clue who they/ he was and insulted him to his face; ah, my days as a Punk Goddess). Great story unless you’re Kip Winger or a fan.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      You know, I know the glam/hair/butt bands of the 80’s are called heavy metal but I never thought of them that way. They were all just pop bands to me, too. I have this weird, stubborn refusal to accept that other people them all in the same category, so I’m even less effective, because I can’t even argue with people – I just can’t even accept that concept as a reality.


  10. susielindau Says:

    Do you have a Twitter handle? Off to tweet this…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’ve been resisting Twitter, but I know it’s time to give in; I feel like I barely have time for the blog! So, no, not yet… soon… soon. Thanks, though!


      • susielindau Says:

        It doesn’t take that much time but it is a great way to promote your own blog through hashtags and promote others. You can see who is promoting you which is nice. I also have made connections with other writers, skiers, adventurers..Tweet me when you get your account going..@susielindau Just do it! Hahaha!


  11. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    This leaves me waxing nostalgic for my can of Aqua Spray !


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I had the best idea for a commercial for Aqua Spray. You show a bunch of footage of huge storms: trees whipping, boats being tossed about in their mooring, etc… then this figure comes walking out of the haze and debris – and his hair looks perfect. Then he holds a can of Aqua Spray up to the camera.

      Huh? Huh? Right?


  12. BrainRants Says:

    I’m admittedly a rocker but don’t see a lot of good stuff lately except for Disturbed.


  13. tomwisk Says:

    Reason number 7: How else are you gonna get a bunch of drunk twenty-year-old males to slam their heads against an oak bar in unison.


  14. Lenore Diane Says:

    You mention Iron Maiden and Dokken … yet you left out Dio. Dude, Dio started the satanic rock n’ roll craze with the finger gesture! Come on. Give credit where credit is due. And to you – for collecting so many subscribers .. I salute you! You do – rock!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh, I fully acknowledge that I left out a LOT of people. Just the omission of Lemmy should get me kicked out of the headbang. I pretty quickly realized I could either do “quick little metal post” or “thorough dissection of the genre.” I had time for the former…


  15. atothewr Says:

    I think I have giving myself a hernia trying to sing like Bruce, the lead singer of Iron Maiden.

    Yes, you would feel that way after the first two minutes of Metallica’s song.

    Metal Forever!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      The crazy thing is his (Bruce’s) voice still sounds great. I know he’s trained and all, but that’s still pretty impressive.


      • atothewr Says:

        Yeah, I saw them a couple of years ago. The man can also work the stage like an 18 year old. Their drummer is at least 60. I don’t know how he does it either.


  16. joehoover Says:

    I was a metalhead before I moved onto grunge/alternative. I still love Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden purely for the fact he is also an airline pilot and comes to the rescue when airlines go bust leaving holiday makers stranded abroad, flying people out of war torn countries, or flying footballers to their matches abroad, he’s pretty cool


  17. Bluejellybeans Says:

    Very nice post!
    Congrats on your 666 followers 🙂
    When I was growing up all those songs were “satanic”. Yet, two of my all time favorite songs are stairway to heaven (if you play it backwards it said some “devilish” things) and hotel California…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      My favorite was always the assertion that AC/DC stood for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Children.” Really? Not “Alternate Current/Direct Current”? You sure about that?


  18. ghfool Says:

    I experienced Metallica in concert in support of Ozzie in the mid 80’s. I’ve never been the same.


  19. gojulesgo Says:

    I can’t play the clips right now so this is suuuuuch a tease. I guess I’m more of an alternative rock than heavy metal gal, but there’s a time and place for it all!

    And congrats on your BOATLOAD of subscribers!!! You deserve at least 666,666,666 more.


  20. cassiebehle Says:

    I loved Metallica’s Black album in high school. I thought I was such a badass listening to it. Turns out I was just a girl in her room with the door locked listening to it so her mom wouldn’t take it away from her. Eh.


  21. Blogdramedy Says:

    I’m way out of my depth here.

    I’m more Earth, Wind & Fire, Rick James, Nina Simone and Perry Como.

    Perry is so underrated.



  22. every record tells a story Says:

    Love the post – I grew up on heavy rock / metal and remember the shock of Halford coming out, and Tipper being this awful woman who wanted to make everyone listen to church music or something. My blog is almost entirely devoted to this sort of thing: topics such as “The Worst Dressed Men in Rock” (warning – may contain Rush wearing kimonos), theories on why Deep Purple are so maligned and other serious issues…


  23. that metal man Says:

    As an 80s heavy metal fan (and now an ageing heavy metal die-hard in his mid 40s), I have to say that this article is spot on. As soon as I got home with my spanking brand new copy of Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’, I grabbed Dad’s old watering can, ran to the nearest gas station, filled ‘er up, and set forth burning down all the local churches. I was non-practicing so I couldn’t see the problem.



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