The righteous birth of Metal took place on this day in 1968
Revisiting Blue Cheer “Vincebus Eruptum”
It’s a common a place for music fans to consider 1970 “Black Sabbath” the first Metal album (and indeed in all justice one of the first metal references in music history), but you need to go a bit back to give proper credit to the birth of Metal. In 1965 The Kinks heavy distorted opening riff of “You Really Got Me” paved the way to the guitar and music experiments that would shape the second half of the 60’s and the next decade, and though we had “Are You Experienced?” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967 pioneering the metal years ahead, it wasn’t really until San Francisco band Blue Cheer released their debut “Vincebus Eruptum” that the world got a sample taste of Metal. Jim Morrison of The Doors referred to them as “the loudest band I ever have seen” after attending one of their shows, and to this day the sonic loudness of Blue Cheer’s debut album still echoes. This album it’s a cross between Acid Rock and what would later be called Heavy Metal, the opening track, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”, already a Rock N’ Roll classic by then gives you no doubt about what this band was about and what was about to follow through the rest of the album. Fearlessly loud and noisy, using the power trio shape, bass, guitar and drums, Blue Cheer’s sonic adventures takes off discretely during the Psychedelic years but their music goes beyond it. Dickie Peterson on vocals and bass, Leigh Stephens on guitar and Paul Whaley on drums delivers an innovation to this classic formula that produces songs such as their original “Doctor Please”, Mose Allison’s “Parchment Farm”, B.B King’s “Rock Me Baby” almost unrecognizable in the form in which it’s presented, the two band originals “Second Time Around” and “Out of Focus”. It is a short album that leaves you wanting for more. In 1969 Led Zeppelin would release their debut and in 1970 Black Sabbath too, but by then, Blue Cheer had moved on from their heavy rock to standard blues rock. Their first two albums remain their signature and essential to understanding the history of Rock music. In sum, this is one of the best rock albums of all time, as relevant and important to Metal as “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” is to Pop.
Blue Cheer in images
An influential album not just to Metal but also to Grunge, it’s no surprise that Blue Cheer was one of the favorite and most influential bands among Grunge rockers while the Seattle sound was being shaped, Mudhoney covered one of their songs on their debut album.
The original album, released on Philips label was packaged in a beautiful silver tin foil cover embossed with classic psychedelic artwork, a beautiful piece of Rock art.
“Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
“Rock Me Baby” (B.B. King, Joe Josea)
“Doctor Please” (Dickie Peterson)
“Out of Focus” (Peterson)
“Parchment Farm” (Mose Allison)
“Second Time Around” (Peterson)
Dickie Peterson: vocals, bass
Leigh Stephens: guitar
Paul Whaley: drums
Recorded during: 1967, Amigo Studios, Hollywood, California
Produced by: Abe “Voco” Kesh
Release Date: January 16, 1968
“Summertime Blues” b/w “Out Of Focus” 1968
Blue Cheer playing “Summertime Blues” in German TV show Beat Club
Blue Cheer do American Bandstand with Dick Clark, 1968 (with interview)
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