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Factory music: how the industrial geography and working-class environment of post-war Birmingham fostered the birth of heavy metal.

Today, the popularity of heavy metal music is both mainstream and global; however the origins of heavy metal can be traced directly to the industrial, working-class neighbourhoods of Birmingham, England in the late 1960's. (1) Birmingham bands Black Sabbath and Judas Priest created and defined the genre, drawing upon the industrial geography of the city and their working-class backgrounds for inspiration, both of which are reflected in their music -both lyrically and instrument tally. (2) Almost two hundred years of continued industrial expansion meant that residential areas and schools were surrounded by factories, continually subjecting the city's children to the sounds of heavy industry. The difficult, sometimes impoverished working-class existence meant working-class children developed aggressive demeanours as a means of surviving the tough physical and social environment of everyday life. (3) As Birmingham's post-war youth culture moved away from its traditional ties to the Protestant Church and towards secular dance halls and clubs, these children drew upon their working-class experience and the industrial sounds of the city when creating their music. When studying the lyrics, sound and style of Black Sabbath and Judas Priests' music, coupled with interviews conducted with the band members, recurring themes and patterns emerge. Feelings of anger regarding their poor, working-class experience is a sentiment that is continually expressed in band interviews and is reflected in the lyrics of both groups. The grey, congested industrial landscape and the noise of Birmingham's heavy industry is cited by the band members as having a direct impact on the sound and development of their music. Maps and surveys of post-war Birmingham show a city shaped and dominated by heavy industry, a dominance that reached its zenith following the end of the Second World War. The industrial geography and working-class environment of post-war Birmingham directly influenced the lyrics and sound of Black Sabbath's and Judas Priest's music, which in turn became a new form of music later known as heavy metal. (4)

This study fills a gap as the first probe into the relationship between industrial geography and musical development. Geomusicology, the study of geography and music, is a still a relatively new subfield of cultural geography, the methodologies and theoretical approaches of which have yet to be firmly established. Sporadic research concerning the relationship between music and environment first appeared in the late 1960s and the 1970s, but it wasn't until the early 1980s that geomusicology began to emerge as a viable subfield of cultural geography. Research conducted since has focused primarily on American country music, with increased attention being given to the significance of geography and social conditions in the formation of various African-American music genres such as jazz, blues and hip-hop. (5) The influence of regional and urban settings in the development rap and hip hop music as given rise to the term "ghettocentricity" to characterize the impact urban geography and social conditions of the African-American community have had upon the musical development of the genre. (6) Adam Krim's book Music and Urban Geography (2007) is the first wide ranging study into the relationship between music and urban geography. Kirms examines how the geography of urban spaces influences the way music is experienced, performed and sold while also examining how "the city" is depicted in popular music. Absent from Krim's research is the relationship between industrial geography and music, which is reflective of geomusicology as a whole. The absence of heavy metal from current place-specific research can be attributed to the pioneering nature of this sub-field, but also to the rapid spread of heavy metal outside industrial Birmingham where the genre originated. The spread of heavy metal to other countries a decade after its conception has meant Birmingham is not immediately recognized as a localized center of heavy metal music. By quickly spreading to other countries, adoptive cultures have splintered heavy metal into an array of subgenres, further blurring the genre's origins. In recent years, heavy metal culture has been the subject of increased study by both, sociologists and anthropologists, but a study into the relationship between the industrial geography of Birmingham and the birth of heavy metal has yet to be undertaken. By using post-war Birmingham as a case study, the birth of heavy metal provides a better understanding into how environmental factors shape music by influencing the people who create it.

In the twenty-five year period between the end of Second World War in 1945 and the release of the first two Black Sabbath albums in 1970, Birmingham and the surrounding area saw dramatic changes in the landscape, both from the effects of war and modernization. The history of the city is tied to the rise of industrialization and the demands of war. Birmingham is situated in an industrial area of Great Britain known as the West Midlands conurbation, which concludes 'Black Country' towns Smethwick, West Bromwich, Walsall, Dudley and the city of Wolverhampton. (7) Metal industries were introduced to the area in the seventeenth century, and over the next three hundred years Birmingham grew as the regional center for manufacturing and industrial innovations. (8) During the Second World War, between 1939 and 1945, Birmingham assumed a leading role in the production of armaments (9) and became the target of heavy Luftwaffe bombing raids. (10) The post-war clean-up allowed Birmingham to begin urban modernization plans that had been drafted in the late 1930's but that been delayed following the outbreak of WWII. (11) Studies, surveys and zoning maps of Birmingham's landscape created after the war in order to implement these improvements illustrate the post-war geography of the city, as well as the conditions in which Birmingham's citizens lived.

Birmingham began the post-war period by declaring 51,000 houses unfit; by the end of the 1960's 38,000 had been demolished. (12) A 1948 planning survey by the West Midland Group, a gathering of Birmingham academics and planners, estimated that about one-third of the housing stock in Birmingham and Smethwick were unsuitable for unsuitable for habitation. (13) Birmingham's Public Health Department's Housing Survey of 1946 revealed 81,000 houses without baths, 35,000 without inside toilets and 29,000 homes built back-to-back. (14) The Housing Survey also documented that the problem of excessive overcrowding and housing density was compounded by the presence of factories, workshops and warehouses mixed in with residential areas. The survey found the close proximity of industry to housing meant noise and smoke from the factories hindered light and air from reaching the houses they surrounded, (15) illustrating the extent to which Birmingham's factories dominated the lives of the city's inhabitants.

A zoning map from the city of Birmingham's Development Plan illustrates in detail the geography of the city in 1960. The survey identifies areas containing industry, government, housing, schools and areas for public open spaces (POS). What is immediately striking is the expanse of factories that consume vast amounts of territory. Industry surrounds and completely engulfs residential areas. Primary and secondary schools are placed right next to factories. Railway lines criss-cross the entire city. The electrical and gas plants that fuel the factories dot the landscape. Even the Birmingham City Cemetery is adjacent to an industrial zone. (16) With the exception of Aston Park, the entire city is a solid mass of tightly-packed homes, factories, power plants and rail lines. Areas reserved as playing fields in the north of the city are completely surrounded by industrial zones. The roads are narrow and complex, similar to the congestion of a medieval city. (17) These studies and surveys illustrate how Birmingham's heavy industry had come to dominate both the landscape and the lives of the city residents by 1960. The Development Plan also outlines the city's modernization initiatives; whole sections of the city were to be levelled and reorganized, roads widened and POS expanded. (18) After 1960 the city's landscape began modernizing and expanding outward, as Birmingham city planners sought to decentralize both population and industry. (19) As the city changed, the post-war period also saw a transformation of Birmingham's youth culture. As older residents moved away from the city core for newly built suburbs, Birmingham's youth began gravitating towards the city center seeking more secular forms of entertainment, such as music.

In the years following the end of the war, young people's traditional ties to community institutions began to fade. After 1945, involvement of Birmingham's youth in the Protestant Church sharply declined, and by 1950 it was estimated that churches were in regular contact with only one-quarter of Birmingham's young people. By the late 1960s that percentage had sunk even lower, despite church efforts to strengthen their youth organizations, (20) In the post-war period all youth organizations were struggling to maintain membership as Birmingham's young people sought secular leisure activities. (21) This shift in youth behaviour can be attributed to higher wages, greater mobility and widening choices of commercial leisure activities that became available to young people after World War II. A study into the activities of Birmingham's youth by the Westhill Training College found that very few young people frequented public houses in the late 1940s, (22) but by the late 1950s many pubs and bars in the city center and in the suburbs were catering almost exclusively to young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. (23) The higher wages earned by young people in the post-war period afforded them the freedom to seek alternative entertainment not available before the war. By the late 1950s and into the 1960s Birmingham's young people spent an increasing amount of time pursuing popular music. (24) The consumption of music was aided by increased youth mobility as young people acquired scooters, motorcycles and cars which allowed them to frequent dance halls and clubs in the city center. This shift in youth culture created a growing market for new music. (25) It was during this time that the future members of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest began playing instruments and starting bands. (26) By the late 1960's the band members drifted away from the popular counterculture music coming out of America and began creating music that reflected their own post-war existence. (27) The autobiographical music they created became heavy metal, and the band Black Sabbath from Aston, Birmingham was the first to pioneer this new sound.

Black Sabbath was formed in the late 1960's, performing under the name Black Sabbath for the first time in August of 1969. (28) At the time, popular music was dominated by the music of America's counterculture, which was comprised largely of disaffected youth from the middle-classes. (29) This music centered on Utopian themes of peace, free love and harmony with your surroundings, which were a reflection of the ideals and philosophy of the hippie counterculture. (30) The socio-economic disconnect between life in Birmingham and the flowery music of the middle-class counterculture drove the members of Black Sabbath to create music that reflected their tough, working-class struggle in post-war Birmingham. Two weeks after the Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York (31) Black Sabbath began playing under their new moniker. (32) At a time when millions of hippie youth were embracing music filed with utopian themes of peace and love, Black Sabbath began playing music filled with loud guitar, heavy drumming and angry, dystopian lyrics. Their working-class anger and frustration were communicated through the vocal delivery and lyrics of Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne.

Ozzy Osbourne, the singer and lyricist for Black Sabbath grew up on Lodge Road in Aston, Birmingham. (33) Born in 1948, Osbourne experienced a tough, impoverished working-class upbringing. Both his parents were factory workers, but because of their large family money was scarce. As a child, Osbourne lived in a home with no inside toilet and shared a bed with five other siblings. The Osbourne children only possessed one pair of shoes, one pair of trousers, one shirt and jacket and no underclothing. (34) Osbourne's earliest exposures to music were the singsongs his family would have when his father came home from the pub drunk. (35) In various interviews, Osbourne explains how the flowery ideals of the hippie counterculture did not reflect life in working-class Birmingham. Osbourne states: "If you look back at the times, it was all love and peace, bells, free love. That just wasn't the case in a stenchy, industrial town like Birmingham," (36) Osbourne recalled how the contrast between popular music and life in Birmingham fostered anger amongst members of the band, stating, "You gotta remember the time, 1968 was still that flower power. To us that was bullshit, living in the dreary, dismal, polluted town of Birmingham. We were very angry about it. We thought, let's scare people." (37) In another interview, Osbourne stated that Black Sabbath's music "brought things down to reality." (38) Music was seen not only as an outlet for expression but as a means of escaping a life destined for factory work. When reflecting on the early days of the band Osbourne recalls "we had nothing to gain, nothing to lose ... it was better than working in a factory." (39) As the band's singer, Osbourne's angst-ridden voice communicated this frustration to a mass audience. The lyrics Osbourne sang were largely written by bassist Terrance "Geezer" Butler, whose lyrics also reflected his experience of growing up in postwar Birmingham.

Terrance Butler grew up in the same Aston neighbourhood as Osbourne and the other Black Sabbath members. Butler recalls the city landscape of his childhood still bearing the effects of war: "In the Second World War, in Birmingham, that was where all the ammunition was made. That's why it got so heavily bombed. So there were a lot of bricks all over the place, bombed out buildings, all that kind of stuff." (40) Surrounded by bombed out buildings and poverty, Butler's lyrics center on the themes of war, death, alienation and hopelessness. This bleak outlook is a common theme throughout Black Sabbath's work. The following is an excerpt from War Pigs from their second LP Paranoid:
  In the fields the bodies burning/as the war machine keeps turning
  Death and hatred to mankind/poisoning their brain-washed minds
  Politicians hide themselves away/they only starred the war
  Why should they go out to fight/they leave that role to the poor (41)

War Pigs starts out as song decrying the horrors of war and ends with apocalyptic imagery. War Pigs also rails against the divide between the classes, in which the poor working-class hear the brunt of war. In another song, titled Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener Butler speaks of working-class frustration and disillusionment with modernity:
  Lost in the wheels of confusion/running through valleys of tears
  Eyes full of angered illusion/hiding in everyday fears
  So I found that life is just a game/but you know there's never
  been a winner
  Try your hardest just to be a loser/The world will still be turning
  when you're gone Yeah when you're gone. (42)

The last lines speak of the constant, progressive nature of modernity which disregards those who cannot contribute. Butler employs Faustian themes to illustrate how the relentless drive of modernization is indifferent to the individual. (43) Having been surrounded by the effects of war and the destruction caused by Birmingham's drive to modernize these concepts were embedded into the mindset of Black Sabbath's members. (44)

Fantasy is another lyrical theme found within the heavy metal genre, a concept borne out of Butler's escapism from the dreary life of industrial Birmingham. As a child, Butler immersed himself in science fiction, particularly the writings of FIG Wells, as a means of escaping his dismal surroundings. Butler recalls: "I still love all that stuff -The Time Machine, The Invisible Man -because it's so out there. I was living in Aston, the shittiest place on earth. I needed escapism." (45) The influence of Butler's science fiction escapism can be heard in the Black Sabbath tracks The Wizard, Planet Caravan and Iron Man. (46) When Osbourne and Butler began crafting Black Sabbath's lyrics and philosophy, both drew inspiration from their working-class experience and war-torn environment. The drums and the guitar -the anchor of the band's sound -were directly influenced by the physicality of the factories in the daily lives of drummer Bill Ward and guitarist Tony Iommi. Iommi pioneered the heavy metal guitar sound, his playing style the result of an injury he received while working in one of Birmingham's factories.

The distorted guitar riff is central to the heavy metal sound. The heavy metal riff represents aggression and energy, and serves as the engine that drives a heavy metal song. (47) Tony Iommi is credited with creating the heavy metal guitar sound and style of playing, both of which were the result of an industrial accident while working at one of the local car factories. Car manufacture and the satellite businesses operated extensively within Birmingham, with most suppliers located within ten miles of the factory. (48) Like the many of his peers, (49) Iommi worked in the manufacturing sector as a welder at the Lucas car plant. (50) An accident at the factory when Iommi was eighteen years old (51) forced him to alter his style of playing:
  I worked in a factory, doing welding and stuff ... the person who
  cut the sheet metal wasn't in that day, so they put me on this sheet
  metal machine that chops and bends metal. I had never worked on it
  before. It came down ... and cut the ends of my fingers off. Because
  it took the ends of my finders off, it made me create a different
  style or playing. Which was great really, because it eventually
  became heavy metal (52)

In order to ease tension on his fingers, Iommi detuned his guitar from E to C#, resulting in a sound that was thicker and heavier. (53) This in turn became the core of Black Sabbath's sound, setting the template for the entire heavy metal genre. Like Osbourne and Butler, Iommi believes the dreary environment of Aston also played a direct role in how their music developed, Iommi stated "[Aston] was very rough, not a good area ... it had just got run down. I hated living there. I hated it. I think that influenced our music, the area where we came from. It made it sort of mean." (54) Reflecting upon Black Sabbath's dark sound Iommi stated "if we come across doomy and evil, it's just the way we feel." (55) That sense of anger and frustration can be heard in the aggressive sound of Iommi's guitar playing, which can also be heard in the heavy drumming style of Bill Ward.

While Ward learnt drumming by listening to jazz records, (56) his style of playing percussion was also influenced by the sound of Birmingham's factories that surrounded his home. As a child, Ward remembers how the sound of stamp-forges from nearby factories influenced his style of playing: "You could hear the drop of the stamp-frges, and I'd be laying in bed at night, just kinda tapping on the headboard, putting the extra rhythm into the stamp." (57) Like Osbourne, Ward emphasised how his impoverished upbringing influenced his attitude towards music. When the first Black Sabbath album came out in 1970 Ward characterised his life as being "on the poverty line" (58) and described the band's outsider perspective as "healthy anger." (59) No song better encapsulates the anger and the influences of Black Sabbath's members than the song Iron Man from their second album Paranoid.

The song begins with a lone, solidarity bass drum sounding very much like a factory stamp-press. Iommi's distorted guitar begins sauntering in and out, sounding like sheet metal being pushed through a table saw. After about thirty seconds Iommi's heavy guitar riff kicks in, doubling with Ward's bass drum to create a heavy aural assault. Osbourne sings Butler's fantastical lyrics about a villain who time travels into the future and sees the apocalypse, only to return and unleash the destruction in his vision upon the mocking people around him.

Black Sabbath's unique brand of music found instant fans amongst England's working-class. Their self-titled 1970 debut album entered the British music charts at no. 28 and climbed to no.8, bolstered by large sales in England's industrial north (60) and stayed in the charts for six months. (61) Black Sabbath's angst-ridden, heavy music was not the feelings of four isolated individuals but rather the sentiments of an entire segment of Britain's working-class. Upon its release the following September, Paranoid was even more successful, with higher sales and stronger chart success. (62) The music Black Sabbath released in 1970 created the template for heavy metal (63) and, in turn, laid the groundwork for a new genre of music. Black Sabbath's early albums provided an anchor to fellow Birmingham band Judas Priest, (64) whose members were also creating music that reflected their tough working-class upbringing and industrial surroundings.

Judas Priest was formed in Birmingham in 1969, (65) though their first album did not come out until 1974. (66) In the years that followed, Judas Priest would perfect the heavy metal look and sound, turning heavy metal into a distinct music genre (67) Most of Judas Priest members grew up in the boroughs around Birmingham in the Black Country. The landscape of their youth matched the industrial surroundings of Aston. Houses were mixed in amongst the factories and foundries, and like Birmingham, a relationship that grew more intertwined as industrialization increased. More than any time previous, heavy industry had come to dominate Black Country landscape by the end of the Second World War. A historical map from 1950 illustrates the gradual industrialization of Deepfields, a neighbourhood in the Black Country town of Coseley, Dudley from 1804 to 1949. The map is divided into four sections, providing a snapshot of Deepfields' geography in the years 1804, 1882, 1921 and 1949. In 1804 the land is largely undeveloped, the only economic activity being coal mining and a small ironworks. Less than eighty years later in 1882 the ironworks had been expanded, along with establishment of metal foundries and a cement works. In 1921 Deepfields had witnessed further industrial expansion. By 1949, residential areas were surrounded by foundries, factories and chemical works, with little or no open green space to be seen. (68) This grey, industrialized environment left an indelible mark on the postwar children who grew up there, leaving a lasting impression that was later reflected in their music. "That's why it's called the Black Country" states Judas Priest guitarist and lyricist KK Downing "all the coalmines and smoke. For us kids growing up, that was embedded in our mentality." (69) When reflecting upon his childhood environment, bassist and lyricist Ian Hill took care to emphasise the "heavy industry of all descriptions, in and around Birmingham." (70) Judas Priest singer and lyricist Rob Halford - who was instrumental in crafting Judas Priest's look and sound (71)--has spoken extensively about his childhood and how the industrialized landscape directly influenced his creative development.

The son of a steelworker, Rob Halford was born 1951 and raised in the borough of Walsall, but considers himself a Birmingham native. (72) In a 2007 interview, Halford described his upbringing as "tough" and "very working-class." (73) He grew up in a council estate, where money was scarce and there was no central heating. The city was rebuilding from the affects of war and rationing was still in force. (74) Like the members of Black Sabbath, the city's heavy industry was a constant part of Halford's daily life. Halford recalls walking to school:
  When I was in my early teenage years, I used to walk about five miles
  to school each day and walk back, through the school season. And I
  would have to walk past these metal foundries to walk to my school. I
  would see the molten metal pouring out of casts to be made into
  ingots. And you could smell it. Bits of metal grit would gel into
  your eyes as you were walking to and from school. (75)

Once inside the classroom, the reminder of Birmingham's heavy industry remained constant. Halford relates:
  I remember as a kid, being in class and next door to the school
  was one of those big, metal foundries. You'd be in class trying to
  study and you could actually hear the metal hammers and the
  compressors banging and spitting forth metal, and all this smoke was
  drifting into the classroom. Your books on your desk would be
  bouncing. You could actually physically feel it. I sometimes think
  that's the culprit, y'know? I actually breathed that metal, into my
  lungs -it got into my blood. (76)

Although Halford plays with the metal metaphor, Judas Priest's music demonstrates a direct link between the sights and sounds of Birmingham's industry and the influence it had on the creative development of its members. In the Judas Priest song Metal Meltdown, backed by heavy distorted guitar and heavy bass drumming Halford sings:
Hear is rising blazing last/Hot and evil feel the blast
Out of control about to explode/it's coming at ya
Here comes the metal meltdown/run lot your lives
Can't stop the metal meltdown/no-one survives
Temperature is boiling/magnifying might
Feeding like a virus/flashing a light
Imminent collision/shock waves all around
Generating energy/screams so loud (77)

Metal Meltdown displays the influence the metal foundries had on Halford as he passed on his way to school. The imagery of molten metal, violent sparks and heat are the central theme in the song's lyrics. Like Black Sabbath, as a pioneer of heavy metal Judas Priest's lyrics and imagery set the standard for heavy metal music as the genre grew and expanded. Drawing on their grey, war-torn childhood environment and shared working-class experience Judas Priest tackled the same dark themes as Black Sabbath, ranging from hopelessness, desperation, apocalyptic imagery, fantasy and the suffering of war. (78) This working-class anxiety can be heard in the popular Judas Priest's song Breaking the Law from their album British Steel:
So much for a golden future/I can't even start
I've had every promise broken/there's anger in my heart
You don't know what it's like/you don't have a clue
If you did you'd find yourselves doing the same thing to
Breaking the law/breaking the law (79)

Breaking the Law is written from an outsider perspective, desperate and angry from the lack of future prospects. The word "anger" is term that surfaces frequently in the lyrics and interviews of both bands. This bleak outlook and desire for escapism found traction with other working-class kids. Like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest drew support from a working-class fan base. As heavy metal expanded into a new music genre the bulk of heavy metal fans continued to be comprised of white, working class males. (80) This demographic remained largely unchanged in the following decades as heavy metal music spread around the world. (81) In North America it wasn't until the late 1980's when some bands adopted a 'softer' heavy metal sound that heavy metal music found acceptance from the middle-classes. (82) Since then heavy metal has spread around the world, splintering into an array of subgenres and subcultures comprising of various interpretations of the heavy metal sound. (83)

Heavy metal music could only have been born out of the industrial neighbourhoods of Birmingham. The intersection of a changing youth culture in a city dominated by the sounds of heavy industry was a potent mix unique to post-war Birmingham. While other industrial centers such as Manchester would later create their own music scenes with the spread of post-punk rock in the late 1970s, (84) the geographical and social conditions of post-war Birmingham allowed for the birth of an entirely new form of music. Physical and social surroundings are what give birth to new place-specific form of music, whether it is Californian surfer rock or the rap music of America's inner-city ghettos, and thus the subfield of geomusicology warrants further study by social historians. The autobiographical nature of music provides valuable insights into the communities from where it originates, just as the autobiographical nature of early heavy metal provides insight into the post-war experience of Birmingham's working-class youth.


(1.) Robert Walser, Running with the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Hanover, 1993) 3; Global Metal, DVD, directed by Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden (Seville Pictures, 2008); Andy Bennett, Cultures of Popular Music (Philadelphia, 2001) 43.

(2.) Bennett 44.

(3.) Charles Mercer, Living in Cities: Psychology and the Urban Environment (Middlesex, 1975) 107.

(4.) There is some debate concerning the origins of the term heavy metal as a musical classification. However, by the early 1970's the term heavy metal was already being used by the music press to describe the music Black Sabbath was pioneering (see Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture (Cambridge, 2000) 18-20.

(5.) George O. Carney, ed. The Sounds of People and Places: A Geography of American Music from Country to Classical and Blues to Bop (Lanham, 2003) 3. As of 2003, more than one-half of all geomusicology output has concentrated on American country music and its various subgenres, lyrics and instrumentation. Rock music and its various genres account for roughly twenty percent, with the remainder of scholarly researched being divided between various music genres such as classical, jazz, folk, blues, ethnic, pop and gospel.

(6.) Adam Krims, Music and Urban Geography (New York, 2007) 3-4; Adam Krims, Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity (New York, 2000) 123-151.

(7.) R.H Kinvig, J. G Smith, and M. J Wise, Birmingham and its Regional Setting: A Scientific Survey. British Association for the Advancement of Science (Birmingham, 1950) 250-251.

(8.) Brian Goodey, Alan Duffett, John Gold, David Spencer, City Scene: An Exploration into the Image of Central Birmingham as Seen by Area Residents. Research Memorandum No. 10 (Birmingham: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, 1971) 9-13.

(9.) Cherry 135. Birmingham excelled in the production of Spitfire fighter planes with a total output of almost 13 000 by the war's end, three quarters of the national output. Three hundred Lancaster bombers were produced there, as were about 300 Hurricane tighter planes.

(10.) Ibid 139. Only London and Liverpool sustained more damage from air raids then Birmingham. In total, about 5,000 homes were totally destroyed from German bombing (also see Sutcliffe, Smith 224).

(11.) Goodey, Duffett, Gold, Spencer 14.

(12.) Sutcliffe, Smith 168.

(13.) Ibid 222.

(14.) Ibid 220.

(15.) Ibid 220.

(16.) Sir Herbert J. Manzoni, C.B.E. City of Birmingham Development Plan [map]. 1:4,000. Birmingham UK. Cook, Hammond & Kell, Ltd, 1960. Sheets 9-10, 15-16.

(17.) Ibid.

(18.) Ibid.

(19.) Cherry 184.

(20.) Sutcliffe, Smith 266.

(21.) Ibid 266. As early as 1949, it was estimated that nearly half the city's young people were unattached to either a youth organization or an evening institute. Not surprisingly, the Youth Service Corps saw the sharpest decline in membership after the war. For comparison, the Youth Service Corps had sixty-one units in 1945. This number had dropped to two units by 1950.

(22.) Bryan Holwell Reed, Eighty Thousand Adolescents: A Study of Young People in the City of Birmingham by the Staff and Students of Westhill Training College for the Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust (London, 1950) 47. The study was conducted over three years, focusing on youth between the ages of fourteen and twenty. The survey, which studied a wide range of youth services, found that youth organizations in Birmingham suffered a chronic inability in maintaining consistent membership levels even by the late 1940s.

(23.) Sutcliffe, Smith 267.

(24.) Ibid 267-268.

(25.) Ibid 268.

(26.) David Konow, Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal (New York, 2002) 5.

(27.) Ibid 3-4.

(28.) Geoff Barton, "If the Damned were Screaming it was Impossible to Hear," Classic Rock, June 2007. 42.

(29.) Carol Singleton, ed. The Sixties in America: Volume II (Pasadena, 1999) 351.

(30.) Ibid 351-352.

(31.) Edward J. Rielly, The 1960's (Westport, 2003) 171. The Woodstock Music Festival took place between August 15th and 17th, 1969 in a farmer's field in Bethel, New York with nearly half a million people attending. The festival became one of the defining moments of the 1960's and earned a permanent place in American culture.

(32.) Barton 42.

(33.) Behind the Music: Ozzy Osbourne, DVD, directed by Andrew Scheer (Vh1 Productions, 1998).

(34.) Ibid.

(35.) Mick Wall, "Ozzy Osbourne," Classic Rock, June 2007. 36.

(36.) Heavy: The Story of Metal, DVD, directed by Mike Warren (Vh1 Productions, 2006).

(37.) Vh1 1998.

(38.) Konow 4.

(39.) Seven Ages of Rock: Heavy Metal 1970-1991, DVD, directed by Anna Gravelle (BBC 2/Vh1 Classic co-production, 2007).

(40.) Vh1 2006.

(41.) Black Sabbath, "War Pigs." Paranoid. Warner Bros B00022TPSY-CD.

(42.) Black Sabbath, "Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener." Vol. 4. Warner Bros B00022TPT1-CD.

(43.) Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York, 1988) 51-61. Berman references Goethe's story of Faust heavily in explaining the characteristics of modernity and how it affects the individual. In Goethe's story, the main character Faust takes on the lover Gretchen who inevitably fails to keep pace with Faust, who embodies the economic, political and social forces that drive the modern world. Gretchen is abandoned by Faust, who continues to progress without her. Gretchen is disadvantaged by her gender but also her class, something that the members of Black Sabbath felt as part of Britain's lower working-class and is a sentiment that is reflected in their music.

(44.) Ibid.

(45.) Mick Wall, "Geezer Butler," Classic Rock, June 2007. 41.

(46.) Black Sabbath, Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath Recordings 1970-1978. Rhino/Wea B000118S-CD.

(47.) BBC 2/Vh1 2007.

(48.) Sutcliffe, Smith 158.

(49.) Ibid 156, 215-216. In 1951, 64 percent of jobs in Birmingham were tied to manufacturing. In 1966, a year after Iommi's accident, 32.3 percent of Birmingham's male population worked in semi-skilled/un-skilled occupations, up from 27.3 in 1951.

(50.) Mick Wall, "Tony Iommi," Classic Rock, June 2007. 48.

(51.) Ibid 48.

(52.) Vh1 2006.

(53.) Ibid.

(54.) Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, DVD, directed Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden (Seville Pictures, 2005).

(55.) Robin Sylvan, Traces of Spirit: The Religious Dimensions of Popular Music (New York, 2002) 156.

(56.) Mick Wall, "Bill Ward," Classic Rock, June 2007. 45.

(57.) BBC 2/Vh1 2007.

(58.) Wall 46.

(59.) Ian Christe, Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (New York, 2003) 4.

(60.) Wall 46.

(61.) Vh1 1998.

(62.) Barton 43.

(63.) Chritse 9. Judas Priest singer Rob Halford remarked that Black Sabbath's second album Paranoid "really secures everything about the metal movement in one record. It's all there: the riffs, the vocal performance, the song titles, what the lyrics are about. It's just a classic defining moment."

(64.) Ibid 9.

(65.) Martin Popoff, Judas Priest: Heavy Metal Painkillers (Toronto, 2007) 4.

(66.) Ibid 5.

(67.) Christe 22.

(68.) Deepfields: Coseley 1804-1949 [map]. Scale not given. R.H. Kinvig, J. G Smith, M. J. Wise. Birmingham and its Regional Settings. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Birmingham: Buckley & Webb Ltd, 1950. 245.

(69.) Vh1 2006.

(70.) Ibid.

(71.) Ibid.

(72.) Bernard Perusse, "Q & A with Rob Halford." The Montreal Gazette, August 01, 2007.

(73.) Ibid.

(74.) Ibid.

(75.) Ibid.

(76.) Vh1 2006.

(77.) Judas Priest, "Metal Meltdown." Painkiller. Sony B0000630BT-CD.

(78.) Judas Priest, The Essential Judas Priest. Sony B000EQ47TU-CD.

(79.) Judas Priest, "Breaking the Law." British Steel. Sony B00005K9LN-CD.

(80.) Walser 3.

(81.) Bennett 44.

(82.) Ibid 44-45. 'Soft Metal' bands like Bon Jovi successfully combined the established heavy metal guitar-based sound with the keyboards and strings of mainstream pop, thus widening the appeal of heavy metal to the middle-classes.

(83.) Seville Pictures 2005. The spread of heavy metal around the world has meant that adoptive cultures have infused heavy metal with their own domestic socio-political concerns lyrically, as well as incorporating domestic musical influences into their music. Heavy metal in places like Indonesia and Japan can vary greatly from Western heavy metal in terms of presentation and delivery. Even in the Western world, subgenres of such as Norwegian Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Metal and many others either build upon or alter an aspect of early heavy metal, in turn creating a new subgenre of music.

(84.) Simon Reynolds, Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984 (New York, 2005). By the 1970s, Manchester was entering into the post-industrial era. The grey, depressed city spawned post-punk bands such as Joy Division and The Fall, as well as industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle. The depressing landscape has been cited by members of all three bands as directly contributing to their bleak sound and dark lyrics.

By Leigh Michael Harrison

University of Western Ontario

Department of History

London, Ontario N6A 5C2

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Author:Harrison, Leigh Michael
Publication:Journal of Social History
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Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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