Remembering Heavy Metal Pioneer Dickie Peterson

The Blue Cheer bassist and lead singer was born on this day in 1946

Remembering Heavy Metal Pioneer Dickie Peterson

Dickie Peterson was born Richard Allan Peterson in Grand Forks, North Dakota on September 12th, 1946, he came to prominence as the bassist and lead singer of 60’s seminal Rock band Blue Cheer. Despite forming several other bands throughout his life, it was with Blue Cheer that Peterson achieved the most success, specially during the late 60’s. Peterson formed the band in San Francisco, 1967 under the power trio format. The band became known for their loud and edgy music, different from what San Francisco bands were doing at the time, attracting fans such as Jim Morrison of The Doors who after attending one of their shows stated “the single most powerful and loudest band I’ve ever seen”. Blue Cheer are the righteous predecessors of Heavy Metal, their album “Vincebus Eruptum” from 1968 features a music aesthetic empowered by electricity and loud drums, bass and guitar. The album features several Blues covers shaped into Heavy Rock as well as some band originals, it was with their Eddie Cochran cover of “Summertime Blues” that the Blue Cheer scored their biggest chart hit, it reached #14 on Hot 100. While Metal historians and fans often cites “Black Sabbath” 1970 debut as the first Heavy Metal album this can be disputed with Blue Cheer “Vincebus Eruptum”, one the reason for Black Sabbath’s usually being considered the first Metal album might hide in the fact that they released their first album through a major label along with worldwide marketing in several different countries, while Blue Cheer’s 1968 debut had little marketing behind it and was released mainly in the U.S and Canada, becoming somehow more of a local West Coast sensation. Eric Clapton defined them as “probably the originators of heavy metal” but it took Blue Cheer some years till they reached the Cult band status and for their albums to be discovered by Rock fans worldwide, becoming highly influential in Metal, Punk and Grunge. Dickie Peterson played extensively in Germany during his life, he also lived there during some years. Peterson found later in his life that Blue Cheer had developed a big cult following in Europe and the band was reformed in 1999 touring often in Europe and the U.S. Peterson passed away in Germany on October 1st 2009 due to prostate cancer. The music he made remains among some of Rock’s finest.



Watch Blue Cheer performing “Summertime Blues” in 1968





Listen to some of Blue Cheer’s greatest songs compiled by Pop Expresso on Spotify

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