Brown, A.R (2016) 'The ballad of heavy metal: re-thinking artistic and commercial strategies in the mainstreaming of metal and hard rock.' In: Walter, B.G, Riches, G, Snell, D and Bardine, B, eds. Heavy metal studies and popular culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 61-81. ISBN 9781137456670

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The aim of this chapter is to put the ballad back into the history of heavy metal. This is a controversial issue for a number of reasons, not least because to all intents and purposes the ballad, understood as a slow or mid-tempo song with strong melody, chorus and harmony, has been removed from contemporary accounts of metal’s history or that history has been redefined to exclude bands and songs that fit this description. As for example, Gary Sharpe-Young’s Metal: The Definitive Guide (2007), which states, ‘this book is about Metal with a capital M. Ask AC/DC, Aerosmith, KISS, Bon Jovi, or Def Leppard if they are metal – you’ll get a resounding “No”!’ (p. 9). Rejecting the period of metal’s history identified with the power ballad, specifically its association with outrageously androgynous glam metal bands and melodic hard rock, as some sort of musical and commer- cial aberration, actually closes off a number of areas of inquiry that are important in understanding that wider history. One of these is the question of what role the ballad played in hard rock and heavy metal repertoires prior to the 1984–1991 period and why this changed? This in turn raises the issue of artistic and commercial strategies and how these shift and change depending on the stability of relations between bands, industry and audiences.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

Part of the 'Leisure Studies in a Global Era' series.

Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2016 08:45
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