Factory Music: How the Industrial Geography and Working-Class Environment of Post-war Birmingham Fostered the Birth of Heavy Metal (Section III REGIONAL Themes) (Report) Factory Music: How the Industrial Geography and Working-Class Environment of Post-war Birmingham Fostered the Birth of Heavy Metal (Section III REGIONAL Themes) (Report)

Factory Music: How the Industrial Geography and Working-Class Environment of Post-war Birmingham Fostered the Birth of Heavy Metal (Section III REGIONAL Themes) (Report‪)‬

Journal of Social History 2010, Fall, 44, 1

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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 Birmingh

GENRE
History
RELEASED
2010
22 September
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
25
Pages
PUBLISHER
Journal of Social History
SIZE
242.1
KB

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