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The names speak for themselves – Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Samson, Venom, Diamond Head, Girlschool and Praying Mantis. Just a handful of the bands who made it during the period 1979 to 1981. The phrase was first coined by Geoff Barton at Sounds, but much credit is also due to DJ Neal Kay, whose help in giving bands like Iron Maiden and Praying Mantis (as well as many others) their first break was crucial. EMI Records were quick off the mark and with Kay’s help they produced the compilation album, Metal For Muthas, which put many bands on the road to fame and others, like Tbad The Wet Sprockett, on the road to obscurity.

Well over 200 bands emerged during this period and many released records on their own labels – even more never got past the rehearsal stage, while others remained strictly bedroom’ bands. This enthusiasm also helped to revitalize older bands and some, like Gillan and Motorhead, became spearheads for the movement Yet by 1981 the corporate machine began to eat up the talent and American influences crept in to destroy the movement’s identity.If, as has often been stated, the movement started with Iron Maiden’s Soundhouse Illipes EP in 1979, then it would be equally true to say that the final nail in its coffin came in September 1981 when Paul Di’Anno left them. Just like punk in 1977, the ideas and attitude fell victim to clean living and corn­merciality.

A list of Metal albums can be found HERE

Text taken from The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music.


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