1985: The Backlash Begins

Ever since the days of Elvis, there has always been a backlash against rock music and the backlash against heavy metal in particular has always been many folds greater. Whether it be religious fanatics, parents or just trendy top forty followers who just didn’t like the genre, there have been people dead set against heavy metal music. This backlash had been slowly building up throughout the early 1980s but the fact that heavy metal had gotten mainstream attention in 1984 was enough to blow the powder keg in 1985.

The first instance that turned my attention to this backlash was reading letters to MTV citing that they were either playing too much heavy metal or not enough. It would appear that in or around March of 1985, the anti heavy metal brigade won out as MTV made a statement that it would be playing less metal on the air. Now, it’s easy to think that there were that many more anti than pro metal people writing to MTV and if anyone says that it was because metalheads are too stupid to write, me and many of my followers here will be over to your house to kick the crap out of you! Once again I digress but my theory was that by the end of the previous year, MTV was already becoming nothing more than a glorified commercial radio station. Some Dead Kennedys lyrics come to mind here and I’ll reveal those when I visit their “Frankenchrist” album which came out in said year. Oops, digressing again but less and less metal was being played on MTV or the radio.

Dead Kennedys

As 1985 progressed, I began to notice it in more ways. There wasn’t just a backlash against heavy metal but persecution of metalheads as well. One thing I was criticized for in “Rock And Roll Children,” though I don’t regret it one bit, was over pounding the point of how metalheads were discriminated against back then. Truth was they were! I simply pointed this out. Example, based on my own experiences: in 1984, I went to a McDonald’s after the Dio/Twisted Sister concert and had no problems, nor did the many other metalheads who hit up the place after the show. One year later, my friends and I hit the same McDonald’s after the Motley Crue/Loudness concert and upon entry, were greeted by all sorts of negative comments. Also, like in the story, there was an off duty cop in the store pontificating how no one did anything like that in his day and how he busts punks like us for drugs all the time. While, there were no arrests that night, one month later, after seeing Dio, we hit the same McDonald’s and this time, it was like a policeman’s convention. This brings me to another point, while I never saw it happen, there were tales in 1985 of police getting warrants and going into pre-concert parties and busting metalheads. However, they didn’t do that at the Wham concert where I heard eyewitness accounts of 12 year old kids getting falling down, sickly drunk. It was definitely war on metalheads in 1985.

Of course, the more astute of you will recall that in the closing months of the year, the backlash against rock music and especially heavy metal became the subject of a congressional hearing and lead to the formation of the Parents Music Resource Center, (PMRC). Even after more than thirty years, I tend to laugh at this if it wasn’t so pathetic and there will be a post dedicated to that.

In spite of all the doom and gloom, the backlash achieved very little. Great albums were still being made and you’ll get to read about a lot of them. There were other great events and concerts including the most famous one, Live Aid. So, sit back and get ready for another roller coaster year in the golden decade of metal.

Next post: Glenn Frey- The Allnighter

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html











14 Responses to “1985: The Backlash Begins”

  1. It didn’t just happen in 1985.
    I witnessed what I felt was anti-metal behaviour this week. The Go Train in Toronto was delayed for about 20 minutes after the Slayer concert while security thugs roamed endlessly up and down the aisles eyeing up the metalheads.
    I go to a ton of concerts and often ride the subway or trains to avoid traffic.
    This would never have happened at any show other than a metal fest.
    It was totally un called for. I find metalheads to be the nicest people around.
    20,000 people or more at the show. I saw not one argument, fight or any stupid behaviour.
    This is 2018 and it has to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It began in earnest in 1985 and unfortunately, it still goes on today as your experience proves. I agree it has to stop and stop now, everywhere! There’s more likely to be trouble at pop concerts than metal ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been to a few country fests since I grew up in a small rural town.
        Fights. Loud ass drunks and genuine stupidity. Plus crap music.

        EDM music fests are filled with pill popping and the EMT’s constantly taking kids to the ER. Plus crap music.

        Pop music ususally full of teen girls and their moms. Annoying squealing young girls. Plus crap music.

        Rock and metal fests are of course my favourite. I may be biased but at least the music is not crap.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not surprised at any of this. You’re not biased, metal music isn’t crap, it’s fantastic. The papers were reporting about two young people dying at a UK pop festival from taking pills. I never saw any of that at Bloodstock or Download.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heavy bias going on there, aye… no crap metal music?

        Liked by 2 people

      • ^
        ..but at least most of the metal music is not crap*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. At least MTV still played music back then – even if it was mostly pop!

    That said, there’d be a healthy dose of ZZ Top!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Source: 1985: The Backlash Begins | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

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