By Harry Glaspell, Host of Harry’s Heavy Metal Haven
Led Zeppelin – IV
In my humble opinion Led Zeppelin is the greatest band in the history of music. This is one those albums that shaped my musical tastes. My parents listened to wide range of music so I was never pigeon holed into one genre of music. I listened to FM 105 (now ROCK 105) a lot as a kid and of course they played Led Zeppelin. I bought this tape with a gift certificate from Camelot music my aunt gave me for my birthday. I was just completely enamored with this album. It is infamous because of Stairway to Heaven. Although played to the brink of extinction, it still remains one of the greatest rock songs today. But Misty Mountain Top and Black Dog are the songs that really got my juices going and made me want to rock out! This album is essential to any rock and metal fan. If you have young ones and want to raise them right, keep this album on heavy rotation in your household.
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
The creme dela crème of all metal albums. 99.9% of the metal heads out there will tell you this album was essential in their headbanging upbringing. I was the age of 12 listening to Ozzy and my sister’s boyfriend gave me a copy of this album and it changed my life forever. For over a year I listened to that album day and night. I had finally found my music. When this album was released in 1970 no other band sounded like Black Sabbath at that time. A new genre had been born. The guitar tone on this album is so deep and dark. In part due to Tony Iommi losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers in a factory accident when he was a teenager. Black Sabbath’s music was a reflection of their lives in Birmingham, England. As a kid listening to this album I could almost see and feel the degradation and depression that surrounded Birmingham at that time. Tony Iommi may not play like Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhodes, Dimebag Darrell, or Zakk Wylde, but he is a guitar God and the originator of heavy metal. The rhythm section consisted of my all-time favorite bass player Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward which rounded out the unique Black Sabbath sound. Ozzy’s vocals were perfect for that music and it all blended well. I just love the rawness of the record. Hearing the fingers squeak as they moved up and down the strings and the thundering of the bass guitar still make my metal juices flow today!
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
When my sister’s boyfriend gave me Black Sabbath Paranoid it was on a 90 minute cassette. Side 2 of said cassette was AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. You could say that this album (along with Paranoid) was my gateway drug into heavy metal music. I would listen to all of Paranoid, flip it over, listen to Highway to Hell, rinse, repeat. Highway to Hell is a great rock album and to this day I will argue with anyone that Bon Scott AC/DC is better than Brian Johnson AC/DC. Highway to Hell would make me grab my baseball bat, jump up and down on my bed, and rock out! So raw, so powerful! The only band that could play the same three chords on every song and still make them kick ass.
Metallica – Kill ‘Em All
Now we get into the nitty gritty. After immersing myself into Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin, a friend of mine came to my house one day frantic saying, “You’ve got to listen to this!” It was a blank tape that had Kill ‘Em All hand written on the label. My first thought was, “What is this garbage?”, but after putting the tape in my radio and pressing play I was immediately blown away and hooked! That album is so raw and full of heavy metal attitude! It is that attitude that made me want to eat, breath, and sleep metal. This is the album that started the Thrash movement in the 80’s and unleashed a fury of great metal music. Kill ‘Em All is what a metal album is supposed to be and remains my all-time favorite metal album to this day. If someone were to come to me and say, “I want to listen to heavy metal, where should I start?” I would place them album in their hands and send them on their journey.
Slayer – Live Undead
After I heard Metallica I went on a search for more metal music. This was waaayyyy before the internet so I had to search out music the old-fashioned way: music magazines and trading tapes (it’s what we did before Napster, kids). I quickly discovered Slayer and ran to the nearest record store. The only Slayer tape they had available at the time was Live Undead. It was not necessarily a live album per say. It was recorded in a room full of people and some have speculated that crowd noise was added. It contains songs from their first two albums Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits. The album opens with Black Magic which remains my favorite Slayer songs today. Mainly for nostalgic purposes as it was the first Slayer song I ever heard, but a great song none the less. Even though I had been listening to Metallica; Slayer was definitely a different type of metal. Satanic imagery mixed with fast angry songs. Think Circle Jerks meets Judas Priest meets Venom. Wow, was I blown away by Slayer. Plus, my mom hated them so that was an added bonus! This album, along with Kill ‘Em All, was on heavy rotation in room and started me down a path to which I would never return.
Harry’s Heavy Metal Haven airs on WTSQ 88.1 FM, The Status Quo, every Saturday night from 10 p.m. to midnight.