Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh, Those Poor Headbangers

Apparently, "headbanging" is hazardous to your health. This according to recent research (yes, somebody does research these kinds of things!) done by Declan Patton, (research assistant) and Andrew McIntosh; who is the associate professor at the School of Risk and Safety Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Here is some subtext (to read more, and there is a lot more, go to
Your day will never be the same.


To investigate the risks of mild traumatic brain injury and neck injury associated with head banging, a popular dance form accompanying heavy metal music.


Observational studies, focus group, and biomechanical analysis.


Head bangers

Main outcome measures Head Injury Criterion and Neck Injury Criterion were derived for head banging styles and both popular heavy metal songs and easy listening music controls.


An average head banging song has a tempo of about 146 beats per minute, which is predicted to cause mild head injury when the range of motion is greater than 75°. At higher tempos and greater ranges of motion there is a risk of neck injury.


To minimise the risk of head and neck injury, head bangers should decrease their range of head and neck motion, head bang to slower tempo songs by replacing heavy metal with adult oriented rock, only head bang to every second beat, or use personal protective equipment.


Young people at heavy metal concerts often report being dazed and confused, possible symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. Little formal injury research has been conducted on the world wide phenomenon of head banging, even though case reports indicate the inherent risks in this activity, especially in head and neck injury. Head banging is a violent activity associated with hard rock and various subgenres of heavy metal. Over the past five years hard rock and heavy metal have contributed to about 30% of all record sales in the United States and, as of 2002, rock albums have outsold pop albums. The second highest selling album of all time is AC/DC’s Back in Black, which has sold about 42 million copies worldwide. Two slightly more recent albums, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, have each sold about 28 million copies. Though exposure to head banging is enormous, opportunities are present to control this risk—for example, encouraging bands such as AC/DC to play songs like "Moon River" as a substitute for "Highway to Hell"; public awareness campaigns with influential and youth focused musicians, such as Sir Cliff Richard; labelling of music packaging with anti-head banging warnings, like the strategies used with cigarettes; training; and personal protective equipment.

The head banging story begins in 1968 when Led Zeppelin was playing a set at the Boston Tea Party on their first US tour. The front rows of the audience were banging their heads on the stage in time to the music and the term "head banger" was born. It now refers to violent and rhythmic movement of the head synchronous with music, most commonly heavy metal music. It has etched its mark in popular culture with the likes of Beavis and Butt-head banging their heads instead of reviewing video clips for songs, with the first of these being "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones. Head banging was popularised in the movie Wayne’s World when Wayne, Garth, and friends started head banging to Queen’s epic ballad "Bohemian Rhapsody."

There are many different styles of head banging such as the up-down, the circular swing, the full body, or the side-to-side. It is thought that head banging to loud music, while making you more "metal," has associated risks other than acquired hearing loss. Jason Newsted, known for his circular swinging style head banging, gave "physical damage" as one of the reasons for his departure from the band Metallica in 2001. In 2005, doctors believed that Terry Balsamo, the guitarist from the band Evanescence, experienced a stroke from head banging. Head banging caused a traumatic aneurysm of the cervical vertebral artery in a 15 year-old drummer, and one case of subdural haematoma was reported to be caused by the shearing strain induced by the head and neck motion exhibited during head banging. Even though there are only a few unique cases documented, neurosurgical specialists question whether the incidence rate could be much higher because the symptoms are clinically silent or cause only mild headache that resolves spontaneously. We investigated the injury risk arising from head banging using biomechanical methods and the possible methods for controlling those risks.

On a serious note, I do know of a man who has been seriously injured while 'headbanging.' while a member for a 'death and speed metal' band, the constant up and down thrashing and pounding (it was part of their act) took a toll on his neck, so much so that he has had three surgeries and he will never be the same. Me? I am too old to 'headbang', but all you 'youngsters out there- be warned.

Classic Rock Videos

Somebody To Love/White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane

Album Cover Art

Let's look at what made #2 on the list of dirtiest and sexiest album covers (out of 50- Gigwise comments in quotes):

2. Burana in Brass: ‘Carmana Burana & Other Delights’ – "Of the several paradies of Herb Alpert’s original, this is our personal favourite. A simple-looking monk greedily devouring some pastry and a mug of ale, covered in the obligatory whipped cream. Thank God he’s not naked…."

Not sure why this is even on their list, let alone the number two position. I have come to one conclusion- they have some weird folks over at Gigwise :O)

This Date In Music History-December 21


Ray Hildebrand of Paul & Paula ("Hey Paula") is 67.

Birthday wishes to Carla Thomas.

Nick Gilder turns 57.

English blues guitarist Albert Lee (1943)

Barry Gordon ("Nuttin' For Christmas") is 60.

They Are Missed:

Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys was born in 1946.

Frank Zappa was born in 1940.

Vocalist Charlie Fuqua, one of the legendary Ink Spots, died in 1971.

Blues guitarist Albert King died from a heart attack in 1992.


Crosby, Stills & Nash formed in 1968.

In 1967, The Rolling Stones released their psychedelic LP “Their Satanic Majesties Request” in the US. The album reaches #2 in the American album charts, below the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour."

One of Rock and Roll's strangest oddities happened in 1969 when "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye hit #1 on the Cash Box music chart. The same song was also a number one hit for Gladys Knight and The Pips exactly one year earlier. The tune would also turn up on the chart by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1976.

LaVern Baker recorded "Jim Dandy" in 1955.

Not a misprint- In 1993, Shaquille O'Neal's "I Know I Got Skillz" single was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Glen Campbell went to No.1 on the US album chart in 1968 with 'Wichita Lineman'.

The Supremes made their last TV appearance together with Diana Ross on 'The Ed Sullivan show' in 1969, singing their last No.1 'Someday We'll Be Together'.

Heart went to No.1 on the US album chart in 1985 with their self- titled album.

Following Blind Faith, Steve Winwood reformed Traffic as a trio in 1970, with original members Jim Capaldi (drums) and Chris Wood (woodwinds). Their “John Barleycorn Must Die” featuring the rousing instrumental “Glad” goes gold.

Elvis Presley dropped in on President Richard Nixon at the White House in 1970. No invitation, no warning. Elvis was convinced drugs are ruining America’s youth and he offers his to help deal with the problem. The White House staff allows Elvis to see the President. Elvis walked into the Oval Office wearing a flamboyant outfit, oversize sunglasses and two huge medallions. He gave Nixon a chrome-plated Colt .45 and Tricky Dick gave Elvis a Narcotics Bureau badge. All that really comes from the meeting is a picture of a very stoned Elvis shaking hands with a very uncomfortable Nixon.

In 1974, Harry Chapin enjoyed his only number one single with "Cat's In The Cradle". The song's theme about a distant father and son relationship was suggested to Harry by his wife, after he expressed disappointment about being on tour instead of attending his son's birth.

In 1985, Bruce Springsteen's album, "Born in the USA" passed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to become the second longest-lasting LP on the Billboard Top 10. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only "The Sound of Music" with Julie Andrews lasted longer at 109 weeks.

Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, performed on stage in 2006 before a live US audience for the first time in nearly thirty years as he promoted his first Pop album since leaving the music world for life as a devout Muslim. Mixing new songs with such old hits as "Oh Very Young" and "Peace Train", he sang with a gentle voice that had changed little from his heyday in the 1970s.