MC5, Kick Out the Jams (February 1969) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 8

Meanwhile, just a month after Led Zeppelin’s first album, over in Chicago, the MC5 were giving us this. [Warning: NSFW language at the start]

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Led Zeppelin, Dazed and Confused (January 1969) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 7

And so, in part 7 of this series, we finally come to a group that are — at least sometimes — thought of as a heavy metal band. One of the Big Three, in fact, along with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath (and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler if I say that both of those will appear in this series). Here’s the stand-out track from the self-titled debut album: Dazed and Confused.

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The Beatles, Helter Skelter (November 1968) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 6

By the time the Beatles came to record their sprawling, incoherent but brilliant double album The Beatles (better known informally as The White Album), hard rock was starting to be a recognised genre, or at least tendency. While several of their own earlier songs (e.g. Drive My Car, Taxman, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) had displayed some hard-rock elements, their heaviest song was the White Album’s Helter Skelter.

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Steppenwolf, Born to be Wild (June 1968) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 5

Born to be Wild is the unofficial anthem of all bikers everywhere — partly due to its use in the film Easy Rider (see the video below), but also partly because, hey, it’s Born to be Wild. It’s an infectious song that just cries out for you to sing along with the chorus.

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Cream, Sunshine of your Love (November 1967) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 4

Cream were one of the first supergroups: a combination of blues guitarist Eric Clapton, fresh from the Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers, and a jazz rhythm section of Ginger Baker (drums) and Jack Bruce (bass), both previously with the Graham Bond Organisation. Their debut, 1966’s Fresh Cream, was essentially a blues album, but 1967’s Disraeli Gears emphasised the heavier and more psychedelic side of their playing.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Purple Haze (March 1967) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 3

I mentioned last time that heavy metal was slow to get going: after the Kinks’ You Really Got Me, fifteen months elapsed before the Who’s My Generation provided a real advance in the state of the art. Astonishingly, another year and four months would pass before the next step forward. But, oh, what a step.

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The Who, My Generation (November 1965) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 2

One of the surprising things about The Kinks’ proto-metal song You Really Got Me (see part 1 of this series) is how little followed immediately from it. Aside from the Kinks’ own follow-up All Day and All of the Night, nothing else recognisable as tending towards metal hit the charts until a full year and three months had passed. Then this happened:

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