Re: Origin of the term "Heavy Metal" music
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 18:34:49 -0400

From: Joe Williams (

The author, Philip Jose Farmer, in an afterword to a short story of his,

"William Burroughs is the author of the wild classic, THE NOVA EXPRESS,
from which the term 'heavy metal' is derived. ..."

(Reference) - Philip Jose Farmer, 'The Jungle Rot Kid On The Nod', from the
SF anthology, 'Alien Sex', edited by Ellen Datlow, 1992 (c1990).

FYI, the story is a parody; Tarzan of the Apes as if written by William
Burroughs (cut-up style), not Edgar Rice. It's well done!


Joe Williams, Bookseller
1242 13th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94606
510-533-8226 (fax)
Specializing in the 1960s

>Author Deena Weinstein, in her novel "Heavy Metal, A Cultural Sociology"
>vaguely references two William S. Burrough's stories, "The Heavy Metal Kid"
>and "Metal Men From Uranus." as the source of the phrase.

From: Mark Bunster <>

At 06:48 AM 8/11/97 PDT, Browne Donald wrote:
>Dear Sixties People,
>I am researching the origin of the phrase "Heavy Metal," which describes
>a musical genre which began in the late sixties.

You might do a search on the band Blue Cheer; they have often been noted to
me as the "first heavy metal band," primarily for their feedback drenched
version of Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues.

Black Sabbath would be another good choice to search on.

These two may not hold the genesis of the term, but I wouldn't be surprised
if it was used to describe them, and you could at least date the term back
to that point...

Good luck,
Mark Bunster *Everywhere * we live in a universe strangely
Survey Research Lab *similar to the original.
VA. Commonwealth U. *
Richmond, VA 23284 * --Baudrillard
or try

From: David Ohle <>

The Burroughs origin is most likely; moreover he probably adopted it
when he was working with "heavy metal" poisons as an exterminator.
--David Ohle

From: M Bibby <>

You might take a look at Robert Walser's excellent cultural study of
metal, _Running with the Devil_ (Wesleyan UP, 1993), which I believe
presents a genealogy of the term.

Michael Bibby
Department of English
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 532-1723