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Getting its start in the late 1960s, metal music has always been a bit on the edge of the standard. And when the rockumentary (or mockumentary), This Is Spinal Tap, about a fictitious heavy metal band came out in 1984, it brought a whole new perspective to the idea of metal.

It’s time for National Metal Day!

History of National Metal Day

Founded by the 24 hour music network, VH1 Classic, National Metal Day originated on November 11, 2011. Inspired by the mockumentary film, This is Spinal Tap, National Metal Day is celebrated on November 11 because it is the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year (11/11/11).

Eleven is certainly a significant number when it comes to This is Spinal Tap. In the film, the phrase “these go to eleven” is used when the heavy metal guitarist Nigel Tufnel wants something to be as loud as possible, and he assumes that the amps will be louder because instead of being the standard scale to ten, this particular brand of amps goes “to eleven”. So it must be louder. 

As with most heavy metal musicians, Nigel Tufnel subscribes to the idea that louder will always be better. If ten is good, eleven must be incredible and amazing! 

This is Spinal Tap, the film that was the inspiration behind National Metal Day, is considered to be the funniest rock band movie that has ever been made. The story follows Marty de Bergi who is a diehard fan of the English metal band Spinal Tap. Marty de Bergi’s character is played by Rob Reiner, who is also the director of the film. He eventually went on to make famous films such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Stand by Me and A Few Good Men.

Complete with super teased and extra-permed hair, as well as all of the tight pants and mesh shirts anyone could ever want, This is Spinal Tap offers ridiculous hilarity at every turn.

And whether people are actual lovers of metal music or they simply appreciate a bit of silly satire from the 1980s, National Metal Day offers a ton of reasons to celebrate!

National Metal Day Timeline

1969

Led Zeppelin releases first album

Considered to be one of the originators of heavy metal, Led Zeppelin is a British band whose lead singer is Robert Plant. [1]

1984

This is Spinal Tap is released

The beginning of what will eventually become National Metal Day, this Rob Reiner directed film mocks metal bands and the fans who love them.[2]

1992

Spinal Tap makes a followup album

As a complete joke, Break Like the Wind is released by the fictitious British Band, Spinal Tap.[3]

2011

Inaugural National Metal Day is celebrated

If 11/11/11 isn’t a reason to celebrate metal, then what is? National Metal Day is founded by VH1 on this day.

2008

That Metal Show is first aired on VH1

A talk show dedicated entirely to heavy metal music, this show interviews musicians from metal and hard rock genres.[4]

How to Celebrate National Metal Day 

Surely people who are celebrating National Metal Day should take it up to 11! Consider some of these ideas for celebrating the day in a style that is filled with long hair and is super loud:

Watch This is Spinal Tap

If you’ve never seen it before, or if you have seen it dozens of times and are nostalgic for it, National Metal Day is the best day to watch This is Spinal Tap. This tongue-in-cheek film was made in 1984 and stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer.

Listen to Some Metal Music

Of course, one of the more obvious ways to celebrate and observe National Metal Day is to listen to some metal music. Perhaps go with some classic metal bands that have been around for quite some time, with songs such as these:

  • Iron Man by Black Sabbath (1970). Though some people think this song was inspired by the Marvel comic book character, that’s not actually true. The band’s bassist, Geezer Butler, who wrote the song, had never heard of the character when he wrote the song in 1970.
  • Going to California by Led Zeppelin (1971). One of the band’s most famous songs, this rock ballad has more folk style than many of their others, with Robert Plant as the lead singer.
  • You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ by Judas Priest (1982). Started in 1969, it took about a decade for this English band to come into the limelight and become a household name.
  • Master of Puppets by Metallica (1986). A song having to do with the impact of drugs on a person’s life, this one is the title track from the album of the same name.

Host a National Metal Day Party

For those who are serious metalheads, this is a great time to have a party where metal music is played and heads are banged! And for people who look at the day in a more ironic manner, National Metal Day can be enjoyed in a witty and satirical manner.

Invite guests to dress up in their best 80s band outfits, including teased hair and tight pants. Of course, be sure that a playlist of metal music is being played during the party. And perhaps arrange for a showing of This Is Spinal Tap for entertainment. For snacks, try out some fun themed items, like rock candy, cookies made in the shape of skulls and crossbones, and Rolling Rock beer.

Go to a Metal Concert

People who are dedicated metalheads might want to take National Metal Day as the opportunity to go to a concert of one of your favorite metal bands. For instance, one of the most classic bands, Judas Priest, continues to tour. Other bands that might be worth checking out include:

  • Korn. This American band hails from Bakersfield, California was formed in 1993 but didn’t find mainstream success until around 1998. They are known as innovators in the nu metal genre. 
  • Alice in Chains. Perhaps this band is not strictly part of the metal genre, but they are still widely appreciated by the metal community and are worth trying to catch in concert. 
  • Iron Maiden. An English heavy metal band that have been around since 1975 and have more than 40 albums to their name. 
  • Mötley Crüe. Founded by Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil, this heavy metal rock band has sold more than 100 million albums throughout the world and continues to have a huge following of metalheads.

National Metal Day FAQs

When did heavy metal start?

Metal music got its start in the late 1960s and early 1970s with musicians like Jimi Hendrix paving the way for bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.[1]

Does heavy metal music affect the brain?

Though its aggressive lyrics might be controversial, studies have shown that all music, even metal, can actually increase positive emotions.[2]

How did heavy metal music get its name?

Dating back to the 19th century to mean ‘power’ (specifically that of a cannon), the term ‘heavy metal’ showed up in the lyrics of Steppenwolf’s 1968 Born to Be Wild. [3]

Do plants like heavy metal music?

Yes! Gardener Chris Beardshaw recommends blasting heavy metal music to make plants bloom more heartily. [4]

Does heavy metal music increase testosterone?

No, the music does not increase testosterone, however some studies suggest that men with more testosterone do prefer “unsophisticated” music, like metal music over more sophisticated music. [5]

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