Factory Music, based on original interdisciplinary research, is the first study into the relationship between industrial geography and musical development. Today, heavy metal music is both mainstream and global; however the roots of heavy metal can be traced to the industrial, working-class neighbourhoods of post-war Birmingham in the late 1960s. Surveys, maps and statistics detailing Birmingham's physical and demographic landscape from 1945 to 1970 show a heavily industrialized city in the process of implementing sweeping modernization initiatives. Birmingham's youth culture also began to transform after the war; young people drifted away from their traditional ties to the Protestant Church and began seeking secular forms of entertainment –such as music. As these youth began creating music of their own, they incorporated sounds from the industrial factories which dominated their lives and expressed their working-class frustration lyrically –in turn creating a new genre later called heavy metal. Studying the lyrics and instrumentation of early heavy metal, coupled with interviews given by members of pioneering Birmingham heavy metal bands Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, this article draws a direct link between the industrial geography of Birmingham's working-class neighbourhoods and the birth of heavy metal in the late 1960s.


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pp. 145-158
Launched on MUSE
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