by (@McBeardo)

The Dawn Of The Heavy: 20 Proto-Metal Hard Rock Pioneers

[Photo: Getty Images]

[Photo: Getty Images]

This month, heavy metal turns 45 years old. The unofficially official birthdate is Friday, February 13, 1970. That’s when the band Black Sabbath released its first album, Black Sabbath, which opened with a terrifying first song titled “Black Sabbath.” But alas, Black Sabbath (and Black Sabbath and “Black Sabbath”) didn’t just come from nowhere. Rock-and-roll had been branded “the devil’s music” from its roots up, as embodied by the myth of 1930s blues shaman Robert Johnson obtaining his guitar powers from Satan “down at the crossroads.” That same infernal spirit carried on through Chicago blues blazers such as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters before Screamin’ Jay Hawkins explicitly combined horror and heavy sounds, most famously in 1956’s “I Put a Spell on You.”
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by (@BHSmithNYC)

Eric Clapton Pays Tribute To Cream Bandmate Jack Bruce With New Instrumental Posted Online

Classic rock fans and fellow musicians were saddened this weekend by news that influential bassist Jack Bruce died at the age of 71, succumbing to liver disease. The tributes poured in from members of The Beatles to Black Sabbath, and chief among them was those by his former Cream bandmates Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, with whom Bruce had pioneered the power trio format and hard rock genre. Now Clapton, who called Bruce “a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me,” has posted a musical tribute to the bassist on his Facebook page.

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Swan Songs: The 10 Greatest Farewell Albums In Rock

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Rock ‘n roll history is rife with bands that break up and reunite many years later only to release, well…not so great albums. But for some of the most iconic artists of all time, we’ve watched them burn out instead of fade away. Whether it’s due to the death of a prominent band member or tensions that led to the dissolution of the group, these artists just simply weren’t able to continue. And though they might have felt like abrupt endings at the time, the good news is that some of these groups ended on very high notes, releasing great albums – in some cases even putting out the best collections of their entire careers. From The Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel, Nirvana to The White Stripes, rock’s past is filled with examples of phenomenal artists releasing arguably their best work toward the end of their existence. Here’s a list of the 10 greatest farewell albums in rock history, records that signified the end of the bands, but the beginning of their legacies.