The 10 most shocking/tragic events in Heavy Metal history

The 10 most shocking/tragic events in Heavy Metal history

10. Alice Cooper riot in Toronto (August 19th, 1980)

Apparently not showing up wasn’t good news the night when Alice Cooper failed to appear causing the 14,000 fans in attendance to start throwing chairs and bottles at the stage and police. They trashed concession stands, folding chairs and the grandstand benches.

While only about 15 cops there, they quickly brought in over 200 cops to quell the riot.

In the end 18 people where sent to hospital, including 5 police officers.

Estimated damage exceeded $20,000

9. Rob Halford comes out gay (February 5, 1998)

We all thought or assumed he was gay but we didn’t care he was our idol the lead singer of Judas Priest. “Metalhead Marv”

Back in 1998 Halford told MTV…

“I think that most people know that I’ve been a gay man all of my life, and that it’s only been in recent times that it’s an issue that I feel comfortable to address, and an issue that has been with me ever since recognizing my own sexuality”

“It’s something that I’ve been comfortable with forever, something that I feel has a moment, and this is the moment to discuss it and to go into the reasons, and the whys and the wherefores as to the statement, the so-called coming out phase.”

8. Guns n’ Roses Riverport Riot (July 2, 1991)

During the band’s performance of “Rocket Queen“, the fifteenth song in the set (counting drum and guitar solos), singer Axl Rose, in the middle of the chorus, pointed out a fan who was taking still pictures of the show, saying, “Hey, take that! Take that! Now, get that guy and take that!” With security unable to confront the person, Rose decided to confiscate the camera himself, saying “I’ll take it, goddamn it!” and then jumped into the audience and tackled the person. After taking the camera, striking members of the audience and the security team, and being pulled out of the audience by crew members, Rose grabbed his microphone and said “Well, thanks to the lame-ass security, I’m going home!”, slammed his microphone on the stage and left.

After Rose left, guitarist Slash quickly told the audience, “He just smashed the microphone. We’re out of here.”

The place erupted into a violent and bloody riot, injuring 65 people — including 25 police officers — and resulting in dozens of arrests and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.

Rose was charged with having incited the riot, but police were unable to arrest him until almost a year later, as the band had gone overseas to continue the tour. Charges were filed against Rose but a judge ruled that he did not directly incite the riot.

7. The Judas Priest trial (August 24th, 1990)

The night was December 23rd, 1985 and Metal music was very popular and band’s like Judas Priest and Mötley Crüe were all over the radio and album sales were going through the roof.

A pair of Nevada men ended a night of drinking, drugs and listening to music by heading to a local playground and shooting themselves.

The boys, 18-year-old Raymond Belknap and 20-year-old James Vance had been listening to the Judas Priest album “Stained Class”

Raymond died instantly and Vance survived but had serious injuries that left him disfigured.

Five years later, Vance and his parents sued the band and their label, CBS Records, for 6.2 million in damages.

The trial put the national spotlight on Heavy Metal music and was broadcast live. This was one of the first trials to be national televised.

When speaking to Rolling Stone about the case, Judas Priest’s frontman, Rob Halford, said they were “baffled by some of the things that were coming out in the courtroom.”

The band was acquitted and finally put the end to this sad and tragic story.

6. Metallica robbed of a Grammy (February 22nd 1989)

So this has to go down as one of the most shocking stories in Metal history.

Yes that’s right… On this day in 1989 at the Grammy awards in Los Angeles everyone expected (Probably including Metallica) for them to win their first Grammy. 

But as history goes everyone in attendance and watching was shocked as the award went to Jethro Tull.

The award was in the hard rock/metal Recording category and these artists were up for the award.

Metallica (One) was up against AC/DC (Blow Up Your Video), Iggy Pop (“Cold Metal”), Jane’s Addiction (Nothing’s Shocking) and, oddly enough, ‘70s progressive rock icons Jethro Tull, for their album Crest of a Knave.

5. Ozzy bites head off bat (January 20th, 1982)

Here’s the story…

Local metalhead’s converged to the auditorium that night to see their favourite metal musician Ozzy Osbourne performed on his Diary of a Madman Tour.

The tour was in support of Ozzy’s second solo album “Diary of a Madman”.

The band at the time featured Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, Randy Rhoads on guitar, Rudy Sarzo on bass, and Tommy Aldridge on drums.

What started out as a normal Heavy Metal concert turned into something totally different when one audience member threw a live bat onstage and crazy Ozzy grab the and took a nice bite and bit the head off.

“Immediately, though, something felt wrong. Very wrong. For a start, my mouth was instantly full of this warm, gloopy liquid, with the worst aftertaste you could ever imagine,” the rock legend recalled in his memoir, I Am Ozzy. “I could feel it staining my teeth and running down my chin. Then the head in my mouth twitched … I didn’t just go and eat a … bat, did I?”

“Oh yes, it became part of the Ozzy myth — but it’s not a myth,” bassist Rudy Sarzo, who was onstage that night, clarifies to Yahoo Entertainment. “It actually did happen. It’s not like dragons. Dragons are mythology. This was real.”

After the show Ozzy was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for rabies shots.

4. Randy Rhoads dies in plane crash (March 19, 1982)

What was suppose to be a joyride turned out to be a nightmare as the plane crashed killing Rhoads and Rachel Youngblood, a 58-year-old seamstress and cook for the Osbourne band; and Andrew Aycock, a 36-year-old bus driver with an expired pilot’s license.

Aycock had, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, commandeered the 1955 single-engine aircraft from the nearby Flying Baron Estates after deciding to stay the night at plane owner Jerry Calhoun’s home – a Georgian-style mansion adjacent to the airstrip. Aycock, who lived nearby, was reportedly friends with Calhoun, a country singer. Osbourne, his manager and future wife Sharon, bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboardist Don Airey were asleep in an adjacent tour bus.

The plane made as many as three passes over the home, apparently in a joy-riding attempt to buzz over the other band members. On the final pass, Aycock clipped the tour bus, spun out of control, hit a nearby pine tree and then nose dived into the house.

“I was awoken from my sleep by a loud explosion,” Osbourne later said in a sworn statement. “I immediately thought that we’d hit a vehicle on the road. I got out of bed, screaming to my fiancee Sharon: ‘Get off the bus!’ After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn’t know who was on the plane at the time.”

3. Dimebag Darrell is killed by a crazed gunman (December 8, 2004)

Abbott was shot to death as he took the stage with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio.

Three other people also were fatally shot before a police officer shot the gunman to death.

The victims were 23-year-old fan Nathan Bray, Damageplan crew member Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson, 40, and club employee Erin A. Halk, 29.

2. Cliff Burton dies in tragic bus crash (September 27, 1986)

We had a day off and then we were scheduled to play 27 more shows in Europe with Metallica. The first date was in Lund, Sweden on September 24, and that was a good gig because no one spit at us and everyone loved both bands. The next day we played Lillestrom, Norway for about 4,000 people, which was also great. Then we went back to Sweden to play Solna near Stockholm. That was Cliff’s last show.

It was at a big gymnasium-type place that held thousands of kids. Normally, we’d stick around every night for Metallica’s show and then hang out and goof around when they finished, leave at the same time and head to the next city. We were on a bus now, which made traveling easier, but that night we decided to leave early because the roads were icy. There had been a storm and our driver wanted to head to Copenhagen as soon as possible to avoid the streets possibly freezing up. We figured we had another month on the road to hang out with Metallica, so no big deal. We saw the guys after we finished our set and I said, “We’re going to take off. We’ll see you guys tomorrow in Denmark.”

We got into Copenhagen and stepped off the bus around 9:30 the next morning. We had a hotel that night because we had the next day off. When we went to check into our hotel we were pretty groggy as we walked into the lobby to the front desk. I saw our tour manager talking to some guy, so I waved and said, “Hey Mark, what’s up?” Then I saw a look of total shock on his face. He had no color in his cheeks, he looked scared. Something was not good.

“The promoter for the show tonight says there’s been an accident,” he told me. “Metallica’s bus crashed on the way here.” Then he paused, and when he started to speak again he had to force the words out – almost cough them into existence. “Cliff was killed in the accident. Everybody else is okay. Lars had some minor injuries and was taken to a hospital.”

My brain started spinning like a gyroscope. I replayed the sentence, “Cliff was killed in the accident” over and over. After what seemed like five minutes, but was probably only ten seconds, I shook my head and said, “Really? Really? You believe that?!?” I was in complete denial. “There’s no way. I’m sure they just got too f–ked up to make bus call and they made up this crazy story. We’ll all laugh about it later.”

Anything seemed more plausible than the thought that their bus had crashed and Cliff was actually dead. I had never heard of anything like that before, I’d never ever heard of any band’s bus ever crashing let along killing a member. It seemed completely unreal. When you’re in this tour bubble and things are going great, you feel invincible. Something like this happening was out of the realm of possibility. I asked the promoter, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah I’m sure,” he said.

1. The Station nightclub fire (February 20, 2003)

The fire started shortly after Great White began performing their opening number, “Desert Moon”.

It quickly spread and the flames were visible on the wall above the stage.

The flames were initially thought to be part of the act; only as the fire reached the ceiling and smoke began to bank down did people realize it was uncontrolled. Twenty seconds after the pyrotechnics ended, the band stopped playing and lead singer Jack Russell calmly remarked into the microphone, “Wow… that’s not good.”

Within 40 seconds of the ignition, Great White had stopped playing and left the stage and the venue’s fire alarm began to sound, but it was not connected to local fire department.

The Station did not have a sprinkler system installed. Thick smoke began to fill the station one minute after the ignition and the crowd began to escape the building.The fire spread throughout the building and was completely engulfed within six minutes of the pyrotechnic ignition.

Of the 462 people in the building for the concert, 100 were killed, 230 were injured, and 132 escaped uninjured. The initial death toll was 96 people; Four more individuals died in the hospital in the weeks following, bringing the toll to 100.

Among those who died in the fire were Great White guitarist Ty Longley, and the show’s emcee, WHJY DJ Mike “The Doctor” Gonsalves. Longley reportedly died after returning to the building to retrieve his guitar.

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