Great Soundtracks of 1981: Heavy Metal

hevmetmov

If I have to think back in time and pick out one major turning point in what made me the metalhead I am today, it would have to be this film and its superb soundtrack. Back then, I only thought of heavy metal music as a concept and it wouldn’t be until I left the marines two years later that I would actually call myself a metalhead but after seeing the film and listening to all the great music on the soundtrack, it was safe to say that I was well on the road to becoming one.

Even though as a film, “Heavy Metal” was dismissed by some critics, even science fiction ones, I thoroughly enjoyed it. When you’re twenty years old and your mind is under the influence of certain substances, seeing a space ship open its cargo door and then an astronaut comes out of it in a 1953 chevy corvette parachuting to Earth is mind blowing. For those who haven’t seen the film, the mentioned scene happens to be at the beginning. The astronaut drives home and is met by his daughter. He then gives her this gift which is a large green globe. The globe melts the father and then tells the daughter its going to kill her after it shows her six stories about how it is the sum of all evil. It is these individual stories that make the film. My personal favourite is story two, “Den” about a nerdy teen who gets transported to a fantasy world where is is this muscular hero who gets all the girls. For months, I went around repeating Den’s  lines from where he first discovers he’s in a new body. “No hair, mmm big.” Then the nerdy voice (done by the late John Candy) says, “There is no way I’m walking around this place with my dork hanging out.” And then later in that story, after he sleeps with the evil queen, “Eighteen years of nothing and then twice in one day.” Sorry, small things amuse small minds. While those lines amused me, the one that became the standard for me and my buddies was from story five when the two stoned aliens badly dock their space ship. Voiced by the late Harold Ramis: “One thing I know how to do man is drive when I’m stoned.”

Chevy Corvette parachutes to Earth

Chevy Corvette parachutes to Earth

You find out at the end that the entire film is tied to the very last story, “Taarna.” Taarna is the last descendant of a warrior race known as the Taarakians, who after extracting vengeance on the barbarians who destroyed a peaceful city, sacrifices herself so the green globe can’t take over the world. Her blood is in the young girl who becomes the new Taarakian defender. Yes, I thought the ending was a little naff but after watching the other six stories, I didn’t really care. Besides, it was this last story that has instilled my fondness for ladies wielding swords. That might be too much information.

Taarna with her sword

Taarna with her sword

Enough about the film, lets move to this fantastic soundtrack. I don’t use the term “fantastic” loosely here because I really believe it about this soundtrack. It’s a who’s who of great rock and metal artists from the period. Two bands, Grand Funk Railroad and Blue Oyster Cult were listed in my honourable mentions category in great heavy metal influences. Then there’s a song by Nazereth, whose album “Hair of the Dog” could have been used as a blue print for the creation of metal. Note: the Nazereth song on this soundtrack wasn’t from that album but it’s a good one nonetheless. Up an coming Sammy Hagar demonstrates why he would rise to glory in his own right with the song he plays here. There are also two great songs from Cheap Trick and my favourite Devo song and the soundtrack’s more tender moments give us “Open Arms” by Journey and ones from Stevie Nicks and Donald Fagen. And of course we can’t forget the contribution from one of the metal’s founding fathers, Black Sabbath. What better song for this soundtrack than “The Mob Rules.” However, the one song that gained the most notoriety was the second title track, (there are two on this one) by former Eagles guitarist Don Felder. If the soundtrack and film set me on the road to being a metalhead, it was this particular song that was the engine driving it.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

Track Listing:

1. Sammy Hagar- Heavy Metal

2. Riggs- Heartbeat

3. Devo- Working in a Coal Mine

4. Blue Oyster Cult- Veteran of 1000 Psychic Wars

5. Cheap Trick- Reach Out

6. Don Felder- Heavy Metal

7. Donald Fagan- True Companion

8. Nazereth- Crazy (A Suitable Case for Treatment)

9. Riggs- Radar Rider

10 Journey- Open Arms

11. Grand Funk Railroad- Queen Bee

12. Cheap Trick- I Must Be Dreamin’

13. Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

14. Don Felder- All of You

15. Trust- Prefabricated

16. Stevie Nicks- Blue Lamp

Journey

Journey

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

One useless piece of information: When I visited Journey’ “Escape” album, I mentioned that “Open Arms” was Mrs 80sMetalman’s and mine first dance song at our wedding. Actually it was the CD from this very soundtrack that was used for it. See, that’s how good this soundtrack was. Not much more I can say about it as the songs speak for themselves.

Next post: Thin Lizzy- Renegade

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

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12 Responses to “Great Soundtracks of 1981: Heavy Metal”

  1. Good soundtrack – I wouldn’t mind a copy, think I’ll give the film a miss though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harold Ramis: “One thing I know how to do man is drive when I’m stoned.”

    That, and the line by John Candy about his dong hanging out, I have always remembered!

    I didn’t get this soundtrack until the 90’s, but the presence of Cheap Trick made it a favourite.

    Like

  3. The line about the dork hanging out gave me a good laugh. Might have to buy the movie just for that! I want the soundtrack for those Cheap Trick songs too.

    Like

  4. Sabbaths song Mob Rules sealed the deal for me and I bought Mob Rules the day Sabbath put it out!
    And actually I think this was the first ever soundtrack I bought.
    I mean 14 yrs old(at the time) and listening to hard rock and a soundtrack appears titled Heavy Metal…the end result = Sold!
    Great read Mr Metalman

    Like

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