Part of “an incomplete history of hard rock, heavy metal, and punk rock music”, continued from here.
I am going to dispense with most of the commentary and concentrate on simply listing things. Otherwise I will never actually finish any of these posts. As with part 1, videos disappearing off of youtube is a constant threat to the usefulness of these links. Ye have been warned.
Heavy Metal – the NWOBHM and its fellow travelers
Many of the bands here were part of the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (NWOBHM) circa 1979-1982. Confusingly but predictably, this music is now referred to as Traditional Heavy Metal.
NHOBHM wasn’t so much a single musical style as a cultural movement, and elements of later genres can already be heard.
- Judas Priest
- Victim of Changes (1976)
- Dreamer Deceiver / Deceiver (1976) – this is actually two songs, the transition is around 6:00
- Sinner (1977)
- Dissident Aggressor (1977)
- Exciter (1978)
- Beyond the Realms of Death (1978)
- Stained Class (1978)
- Hell Bent for Leather (1978)
- Rapid Fire (1980)
- Metal Gods (1980)
- Breaking the Law (1980)
- Living After Midnight (1980)
- Heading Out to the Highway (1981)
- The Hellion / Electric Eye (1982)
- You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (1982)
- Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
- Riding on the Wind (1982)
- Jawbreaker (1984)
- Ram it Down (1988)
- Painkiller (1990)
- Bands with Ronnie James Dio on vocals
- Rainbow – Man on the Silver Mountain (1975)
- Rainbow – A Light in the Black (1976)
- Rainbow – Kill the King (1978)
- Black Sabbath – Neon Knights (1980)
- Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell (1980)
- Black Sabbath – The Mob Rules (1981)
- DIO – Holy Diver (1983)
- DIO – Rainbow in the Dark (1983)
- DIO – The Last in Line (1984)
- Diamond Head
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Iron Maiden
- Sanctuary (1980)
- Running Free (1980)
- Murders in the Rue Morgue (1981)
- Twilight Zone (1981)
- Invaders (1982)
- The Number of the Beast (1982)
- Run To The Hills (1982)
- Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)
- Where Eagles Dare (1983)
- Flight of Icarus (1983)
- The Trooper (1983)
- Aces High (1984)
- Two Minutes to Midnight (1984)
- Flash of the Blade (1984)
- Powerslave (1984)
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1984)
- Alexander the Great (1986)
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
- Cirith Ungol
- Tygers of Pan Tang
- Hollow Ground
- Witchfinder General
- Mercyful Fate
- Grim Reaper
Glam Metal and its strange bedfellows
Glam Metal (also known as “Hair Metal”) was not so much a musical fusion of Heavy Metal with Glam Rock, as the adoption of Glam Rock hair and clothing by hard rock and metal bands. The earliest Glam Metal was, musically speaking, almost indistinguishable from the Heavy Metal listed above. But these similarities faded fast.
By the late 80s, Glam Metal was so popular that it was the “default” style of hard rock in the popular mind. The genre nearly vanished from public view during the 90s.
- Def Leppard
- Mötley Crüe
- Hanoi Rocks
- Quiet Riot
- Twisted Sister
- Bon Jovi
- Guns N’ Roses
- Faster Pussycat
- Great White
- White Lion
- Circus of Power
- Britny Fox
- L.A. Guns
- Skid Row
- Ugly Kid Joe
Neoclassical Metal and other “shred” artists
- Yngwie Malmsteen
- Steve Vai
- Racer X
- Joe Satrianni
- Tony McAlpine
- Vinnie Moore
- Jason Becker
The darker, edgier, heavier Metal of the mid to late 80s. The sonic characteristics that defined Thrash have become so widely diffused, in the 21st century to say that a band or genre is influenced by “metal” is mostly synonymous with saying they have a Thrash influence.
- The Four Horsemen (1983)
- No Remorse (1983)
- Seek and Destroy (1983)
- Fight Fire With Fire (1984)
- For Whom the Bell Tolls (1984)
- Fade to Black (1984)
- Master of Puppets (1986)
- Disposable Heroes (1986)
- Leper Messiah (1986)
- Orion (1986)
- ..And Justice For All (1988)
- One (1988)
- Harvester Of Sorrow (1988)
- Enter Sandman (1991)
- Nuclear Assault
- Death Angel
Stuff that simply has to be listed but doesn’t fit elsewhere on the page.
- The Cult
- Samhain – since both the Misfits and Danzig are on these lists, kind of have to include Samhain somewhere
- Drivin N Cryin
- The Black Crowes
Coming in part 3: 80s hardcore, crossover thrash, alternative metal, etc etc
A comic that I drew during the 1992-1993 academic year, mostly during first period A.P. Spanish II, taught by “Señor Bryant”.
These strips were the first mention of “Fluxum Florum” (later spelled FLVXXVM FLORVM), some time before I thought to start using it as a musical alias.
This strip is probably a redrawn version of a lost original. You can tell by the late date (too late for that school year), the fact that it is inked, and the fact that it is not on 3-hole notebook paper. These very-evenly-sized panels were created on a computer, printed out, and inked-over so they looked drawn.
This is a genuine drawn-in-class one. It was the introduction of Junker’s nemesis, “Spearmint Sherry”. The “Franco-Prussian War Flying Ace” was a running gag, of which this was the first instance.
Another re-drawn one on printer paper, a tribute to Dr. Demento:
A roughly drawn two-parter that mentions Fluxum Florum and sees the introduction of “Kermit Grande”.
I’m pretty sure this Holodeck was not the only Trekkie reference in the strip. I distinctly recall one where Kermit Grande was a Ferengi.
A stand-alone drawing of “Kermit Grande”:
Three more genuine classroom productions. This one, the version I chose to scan was a photocopy made soon after drawing it. It is better preserved than the pencil version.
A really rough one. The “small people” here refers to, if I recall correctly, an internal parody of “Mr. Men and Little Miss” that may or may not have appeared in other strips.
The “Ben Gray” in this strip is not, as some have assumed, a parody of Ben “The Thing” Grimm. (He doesn’t even look like The Thing, ffs) He is rather a fairly accurate depiction of a classmate. “Junior” is an accurate rendering of the sign from a convenience store of that name close to the school.
Note the backstory of Junker’s parents was changed from that depicted in the first strip shown above. At some point I decided that they were not just generic “square middle aged people”, but very specifically they were “square middle aged people who used to listen to punk rock back in like 1977 or something”.
Here’s two more strips involving the “Franco Prussian War Flying Ace”. I did these in pencil with the intention of tracing in ink later, but never did. The fact that the letterhead and panels appear to be printed on something better than a dot matrix suggests these were much later than all the others here. (I have no memory of having any access to inkjet or laser printers at any time while in high school)
Because while writing about wide nose variations I realized there also didn’t really exist such a catalog of non-wide cabs. Conventional road-switchers only!
Except for the railroad custom jobs at the end, standard cabs are not being built new since the 1990s. However, so many were sold over the years that they remain ubiquitous in all situations other than the lead unit on a mainline train: trailing power, locals, switching; not to mention museum-pieces.
Early high nose
The classic, original EMD look of the 1950s. Used on early road-switchers such as the GP7, GP9, GP18, etc.
Early low nose
Used on a very small number of GP9s, and then on GP18, GP20, etc. The factory low nose sloped downward from back to front. I have seen divided and undivided windshields, not sure if both are original or not.
Early, chopped nose
Most of the low-nose first generation EMD’s are the result of modification by the owners. These vary wildly in appearance depending on who rebuilt them and when.
Unique design, never used again, but serving as a transitional model between the generations before and after.
If you think that looks unusual, check out the high hood version:
Standard, aka “Spartan” Cab
This is the normal basic EMD cab, the face of US railroading for decades. Introduced with the GP35 in 1963 and used up through the SD70.
Final models (SD70s, some SD60s and GP60s) have a housing on the side of the nose for the “ICE” (Integrated Cab Electronics).
Standard, high nose
Associated with Southern and N&W. Considered more crashworthy than the low version. (It was also cheaper for a long time) These kept their high short hoods well into the NS era.
Elongated nose to hold early radio control equipment. Used only on SD40-2 – taking advantage of the model’s long frame.
Used only for demonstration units, this is the standard cab with the edges rounded off.
GE’s standard cabs had generally stubbier noses than their EMD counterparts.
There are probably more variations than shown here, but one so rarely encounters older GEs that I’ve never had a reason to try to learn more about it than this.
Early version, low nose
Characteristic of U-boats, Dash-7s. Short, “round but square” nose, rounded roof.
The side view shows how short the nose really is:
Note the first model, the U25B, had a longer nose than its successors.
Early version, high nose
Southern ordered their GE’s with a high nose, because of course they did.
Transitional design used on early Dash-8s. The nose is more like the next version, but the round roof is still round. Notice the roof is lower than than body behind it.
Seen on Dash-8s and the small number of Dash-9s that were not built with wide cabs. The roof is angled instead of round, and matches the height of the overall body. The nose has sharper angles and is not as blunt as the Dash-7 version.
All of these are museum pieces now, but relevant in the history of road-switcher design.
Used on RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, etc., all the way back to 1941. These were by far the most popular ALCO models, so this is the look usually associated with the builder. The short hood is the same height as the long hood, but the cab is notably taller than both.
Later models are “rounder” than the RS-1.
1st version, chopped
No low-nose alternative was offered for these early ALCOs. But like their EMD counterparts, they ended up getting chopped every which way, resulting in a snoot almost like an SD40-2.
2nd version, high
Starting with the RS-11 they made the hood as tall as the cab, and changed the shape of the nose.
2nd version, low
The lowered version of the same nose as above. There appear to have been both one- and two- window variants.
The length of the nose compared to its height is truly crocodilian, especially on the 6-axle RSD-15. The “Alligator” is disproportionately famous for a model that sold only in the double digits.
On the even less successful RS-27, they shortened the nose down to a mere stub of its former self.
The Century Series featured a totally new look. They simplified the look of the nose, and angled the front windows. Most models had a very short GE-like nose. The C420 had a different, longer nose than the others.
Santa Fe CF7 Cab
The CF7 program to rebuild F-Units into a road-switcher involved an oddly proportioned parody of the standard EMD cab. Both rounded and angular roofs were used.
NS Admiral Cab
This is used by NS for some of their rebuilds. It is similar to the EMD standard cab, but with sharper edges, higher number boards (which go above the roof), and windows angled outwards (from bottom to top).
CSX “Dash 3” Cab
Some of CSX’s rebuilds use this blocky design which is very controversial among railfans.
Similarities to the cab used on various NRE Genset models have been noted, but they are not so identical as to suggest that CSX simply bought the cabs from NRE.
There have been several flavors of wide-nose / wide-cab designs over the years. I have not seen a site that has pictures of all on one page. So here they are in rough chronological order.
This article covers only hood unit and cowl units. Carbodies and monocoque designs are a different subject altogether.
The earliest version from 1967 had no crash safety benefits over a standard cab, and was designed purely for aesthetic reasons. Created for the cowl units FP45 and F45, the same design was also used on the DDA40X hood unit.
Passenger-only no-steps version
This was similar to the first design, but lacked stairways and handrails. Used most notably on the ill-fated SDP40F of 1973, and F40C. All locomotives with this cab were cowl units.
The first ones built had a nose almost exactly like the FP45:
On subsequent units the point of the nose, where the door was, was flattened.
When the SDP40F was put into freight service as the SDF40-2, stairs and cutouts in the nose were added.
Unique and unmistakable for anything else, especially by EMD. The F40PH of 1975 featured a much simpler nose design than its older cousins, and became the face of Amtrak for the next 20 years.
GE, like EMD, produced wide-nosed cowl units for passenger service. Unlike the EMD counterparts, these appear to be one-offs, not part of the overall evolution of cab design. Not very many of these were ever built, and none survive.
Canadian Comfort Cab
The true “Canadian” Cab was created by CN in 1973. This was the first cab that was designed with crew safety in mind. All units with this design were originally sold in Canada but a number have been resold to US railroads and can be seen on shortlines and lease fleets.
For many years, US railfans tended to call almost any freight locomotive with a wide nose a “Canadian Cab”, as wide nose designs didn’t catch on down here until the early 90s.
The actual Canadian version can easily be distinguished by the four front window panes. Unlike the earlier (and most later) EMD designs, these windows are vertical rather than slanted back.
CN continued to order these from multiple manufacturers into the 90s, when they switched to the same 2-window models as US railroads.
Used on GP38-2W, GP40-2LW, GP40-2W, SD40-2W, possibly others.
Differs from the contemporaneous EMD design by the shape of the windows.
Looks very similar to the EMD one, but on a GE locomotive. Used on C40-8M, C44-9LW, possibly others.
Unmistakable 3-window design. Otherwise very similar to the Canadian cab. Introduced circa 1988 and used for the SD40-2F, F59PH, and the earliest orders of SD60M. This can still be seen on mainline freights, but is rare and much sought after by railfans.
EMD North American Safety Cab
The most numerous EMD variation, starting in 1990. “North American” means the cab was sold in both the US and Canada, unlike earlier versions that were only for one country or the other.
Note superficial resemblance to the original 1967 design, particularly the shape of the windows. One visible, though small, difference is the nose on these is slightly tapered and the corners are more rounded.
Used on SD60M, SD60MAC, SD70M, SD70MAC.
Sante Fe offset-light version
Designed by Sante Fe and used only for the GP60M. This design has a headlight that is not actually in the center of the nose but just to the right of center when facing the locomotive. Unlike the standard EMD wide cab, the nose is not tapered and looks more like the FP45 cab.
This looks nearly identical to the standard version, but was the first EMD cab isolated to reduce noise and vibration. A vertical seam is visible on the side of the nose. Used on SD60I, SD70I, SD80MAC, early SD90MAC.
Later “notched” version
Used on late examples of SD70M and SD70MAC. Nose has a slightly taller mid-section to accommodate full-height door, resulting in a somewhat “notched” appearance. The whole nose is less rounded and more angular than before, and no longer tapered.
Current Design, “more notched”
Late SD90MAC-H (1999), SD70ACe (2004-2014), SD70M-2, and several others. The nose is deeply notched to improve visibility. The distinctive teardrop window shape of earlier designs is gone.
On the SD70ACe-T4 produced since 2015, the nose shape is simplified – but still deeply notched – and the original EMD window shape has returned.
General Electric, Current Design
Unlike the constantly changing EMD, GE’s cab/nose design basically looks the same on nearly models since 1990. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There are thousands on the rails, the most likely thing to see leading any mainline train. Examples include Dash-8, Dash-9, AC4400CW, ES44AC, ES44DC, etc.
This one-off prototype was created in 1988 from a B40-8.
Canadian Dash-9 “Australian” Cab
This seems to have been used in North America only on CN C44-9W’s, and on several GE models sold to the Australian market. Notice the EMD-like front windowpane shape.
Norfolk Southern Crescent Cab
Used for the SD60E rebuild program. This cab is designed by NS and manufactured by Curry Supply.
NS has a similar cab built by RLS that is used on the Dash-8.5 rebuilds.
An incomplete history of hard rock, heavy metal, and punk rock music, Part 1 of ???
The subtitle of this blog promises “classic rock”, a promise I have until now failed to make good on.
This post is mainly a series of links to youtube videos illustrating the music genres in question. This is not meant to teach you, the reader, anything you didn’t already know, but may be helpful in explaining these genres to your kids or something. I started making it for that purpose myself, but it has grown way longer than I expected it to.
Band names are links to Wikipedia, song titles are links to music videos.
Keeping the links alive is already turning out to be a constant battle – at least one song was removed from youtube for copyright reasons between when I started writing this post, and when I published it.
Blues, Jazz, early Rock-n-Roll
We begin with a very brief selection of early songs that “look forward” to fuzztone, distortion, and fast guitar pickin’.
- Django Reinhardt – the first guitar hero in the history of recorded music
- Charlie Christian – largely credited with popularizing the electric guitar
- T-Bone Walker – the first prominent bluesman to take up the electric guitar
- Jackie Brenston and this Delta Cats (aka Ike Turner band)
- Rocket 88 (1951) – usually cited as the first “Rock and Roll” song, it predates the first wave of “rock” by several years; also one of several early songs where the overdriven guitar sound is said to have been produced by the amp having been damaged prior to recording
- Howlin’ Wolf
- James Cotton
- Chuck Berry – one of the founders of Rock n Roll, influenced basically every later rock guitarist
- Maybellene (1955) – more overdriven than Berry’s later hits, due to use of smaller amp
- Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio
- Train Kept a Rollin’ (1956) – this is the version that inspired the Yardbirds; the highlight here is probably the screaming vocals, but the guitar is pretty overdriven for 1956; officially credited to Paul Burlison but some authorities suggest it may have actually been played by Grady Martin (see below)
- Link Wray – important precursor of surf-rock, garage-rock, and instrumental rock in general. He had lost a lung in the Korean War, explaining both the rarity of singing and sound when he did
- Rumble (1958) – infamous sound supposedly created by slicing up the amplifier’s speaker with a razor
- Rawhide (1959) – even fuzzier guitar sound, hard to believe it did not involve a fuzz pedal
- Ain’t That Lovin’ You Babe (1960) – a rare track featuring Link Wray’s vocals, this is probably the purest blues cover recorded by any “rock” (that is, white) artist until the British invasion
- Jack the Ripper (1961)
- Grady Martin – first guitarist known to use a “fuzz” effect, initially caused by plugging the guitar into the wrong channel of the mixing console (or something), then repeated on purpose
- Dick Dale – king of surf-rock
- Misirlou (1962) – the fast tremolo picking and “exotic” music mode set the standard for instrumental surf rock
- The Ventures – the quintessential early-60s instrumental rock group
- The 2000 Pound Bee (1962) – used a custom-built fuzz box constructed for the band
British Invasion, British Blues, Freakbeat
The standard narrative of the early 60s musical invasion of the US by British bands is that the Brits, being less racist (or at least racist against different races than Americans were), “got” the Blues in a way that most white Americans didn’t. This is almost certainly bullshit.
However, many of these bands did (re)introduce some of the rawer, grittier elements of the music back to American audiences.
- The Rolling Stones
- The Kinks
- You Really Got Me (1964) – power chords! Like Link Wray, the fuzzed guitar tone was allegedly created by poking holes in the amplifier’s speaker. There is a persistent urban legend that Jimmy Page (later of Led Zeppelin) played on this track, which he has always denied.
- All Day and All of the Night (1964) – more of the same
- The Who
- My Generation (1965) – in the 60s these lyrics and attitude were seen as the opening blast of generational war between the baby-boomers and their elders, but in long hindsight it seems more like a harbinger of punk rock 10 years early
- Boris the Spider (1966) – the low, growly vocals here have been cited as influential on death metal. that’s probably bullshit, but it’s still a cool song.
- I Can See For Miles (1967) – noisy, feedback, crashing guitar
- The Yardbirds – predecessor band of Cream and Led Zeppelin. All of these tracks feature Jeff Beck on lead guitar
- I’m a Man (1965) – speed-freak blues with a harmonica vs fuzz-guitar duel in the “raveup” section; widely influential in the garage-rock world; what I really love is the moment when you can actually hear guitarist Jeff Beck switch the fuzz pedal on
- I’m Not Talking (1965) – 12-bar blues dominated by guitar fuzz riffs throughout, one of the first songs to be nothing but fuzz
- Train Kept a Rollin’ (1965) – blues/rockabilly standard updated for the mid-60s fuzz sound; an epoch-making step towards hard rock
- Shapes of Things (1966) – early example of “psychedelic” fuzz-rock
- Stroll On (1966) – re-recorded version of “Train Kept a Rollin'” recorded for the film Blowup; this was one of the only songs recorded by the Yardbirds with both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck on guitar; already nearly sounds as overdriven as anything Page would ever do with Zeppelin
- Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (1966) – another Beck/Page collaboration; a dissonant psychedelic freakout that sounds almost like prog rock
- John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
- Hideaway (1966) – where Eric Clapton really established himself; also the reason the Les Paul and Marshall amp became the standard equipment for rock guitarists.
- The Troggs
- Wild Thing (1966) – amazingly primitive recording.. are there even drums or just somebody kicking a crate?!
- Small Faces
- You Need Lovin’ (1966) – Led Zeppelin was obviously inspired by this recording
- The Voice
- Train To Disaster (1966) – fuzztone train to hell!
- The Creation
- Making Time (1966) – noted for using a violin bow on electric guitar, famously later popularized by Led Zeppelin
Garage rock can be seen as one of America’s first two punches back against the British Invasion (the other, more successful punch, was Motown).
Garage Rock was dismissed as teeny-bopper stuff at the time, merely a derivative of both British bands and of 50s rock and roll.
The retroactive re-appraisal of Garage Rock started with the Nuggets series. In the 70s it came to be seen as the direct ancestor of punk rock, also recognized for having pushed the envelope towards psychedelic or “acid” rock later in the 60s.
This section could use expansion.. or you could just go find more yourself.
- The Kingsmen
- The Trashmen
- Paul Revere and the Raiders
- The Standells
- The Monks
- The Count Five
- The Music Machine
- The Shadows of Knight
- I’m Gonna Make You Mine (1966) – amazing amount of true amplifier distortion for 1966
- The Leaves
- Davie Allan and The Arrows
- Blue’s Theme (1966)
Psychedelic Rock, Blues Rock, Acid Rock, Proto-Metal (1967-1969)
This was the point when Rock (with a capital “R”) really split off from the pop mainstream. This is a selection of some of “heavier” songs; this period also featured a lot of wispy psychedelia, folk rock, and semi-classical chamber-rock that eventually became Progressive Rock.
This music is obviously directly ancestral to 70s hard rock and heavy metal, but most reckon punk rock’s ancestry to have already split off (see Proto-Punk).
- Cream – the original “power trio” of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker set the template followed by many rock bands of the late 60s and early 70s
- Jimi Hendrix – near-universally acclaimed as the greatest guitarist in the history of Rock, and one of the most distinctive performers in any 20th-century genre; blazed new trails of fuzz-tone, feedback, whammy bar usage; even most of his imitators never really bothered trying to sound like him
- Purple Haze (1967) – unavailable due to copyright enforcement, 1970 live version here
- Foxey Lady (1967) – unavailable; 1968 live version
- Manic Depression (1967) – unavailable; needs link
- I Don’t Live Today (1967) – unavailable; 1967 live version
- Stone Free (1967) – unavailable; 1970 live version
- If 6 was 9 (1967)
- All Along the Watchtower (1968)
- Voodoo Child, Slight Return (1968) – unavailable; 1970 live version
- Jeff Beck Group
- Beck’s Bolero (1966, released 1967) – the band assembled for this one-shot single was the earliest prototype of Led Zeppelin, as it involved Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones; Page and Beck have disputed composer credits for the song ever since.
- Shapes of Things (1968) – compared to the Yardbirds version, sounds like a 70s rock song
- I Ain’t Superstitious (1968)
- Spanish Boots (1969)
- Vanilla Fudge
- You Keep Me Hanging On (1967) – early prog rock
- The Doors – most of their output is too eclectic to be on a hard-rock list
- Pink Floyd – much more famous for spacy proto-prog-rock (and in the 70s, full-blown prog), they very occasionally could rock pretty hard
- Jefferson Airplane – “…which cleared the way for Jefferson Starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons Project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft..”
- The Beatles – the biggest rock band of the 60s, and one of the biggest of all times, only enters into this list late in their career
- Helter Skelter (1968) – unavailable due to copyright stuff; often cited as a “heavy metal” song, it’s arguably not even the hardest rockin thing on the White Album..
- Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (1968) – the cowbell on this makes it more metal than “Helter Skelter” if you ask me (nobody does)
- Revolution (1968)
- Born to Be Wild (1968) – “Heavy Metal Thunder!” line is one of the earliest uses of the words “heavy metal” in song lyrics
- Blue Cheer – often considered both the most important proto-metal band and a proto-punk band of sorts, due to their extravagantly fuzzed out sound and raw energy
- Iron Butterfly
- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968) – one of the first songs considered “heavy” at the time; “remember when we used to make out to this hymn?”
- The Pretty Things
- Old Man Going (1968) – this gets pretty damn weird and heavy in the middle section
- The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – not much about the band’s sound is hard rock, but Brown’s theatrics and (later in the song) screaming falsetto are pretty metal.
- The Amboy Dukes – the launchpad of Ted Nugent’s career
- Open Mind
- Coven – an openly, and seriously, Satan-worshipping band, with a female singer, in 1969?! That description sounds way more ahead of their time than their sound actually was.. but still.
- Love – yes, the same band that was already listed under Garage Rock, this song is way too proggy to be put in that section
- The Who – the end of the 60s saw the Who moving from “Mod” psychedelia into a long-form hard rock sound
- Pinball Wizard (1969)
- We’re Not Gonna Take It (1969)
- Baba O’Riley (1971)
- Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)
- Rare Earth
- Get Ready (1969)
The Big Three
These are the three main hard rock bands of the early 1970s, which most other bands are compared to, for better or worse. None of these bands self-applied the label “Heavy Metal” during the period represented here. Like many rock genre names it was generally not a label that bands tended to voluntarily embrace, until much later on. They and their contemporaries were tagged with the “heavy” label by the music critic establishment, largely as an insult at first.
The only one of these bands that is universally considered (retroactively) to have been a true Heavy Metal band the entire time is Black Sabbath.
- Led Zeppelin – firmly rooted in blues, Jimmy Page’s post-Yardbirds supergroup dabbled in a little of everything: folk rock, middle-eastern music, almost-prog, fantastical lyrics, shameless plagiarism, teenage groupies and dead sharks. The topic of whether or not any of their music counts as “metal” is a minefield, pretty much the longest-running argument in rock fandom after “is Paul dead?”, though in the past 10 years or so the “No” side has pretty conclusively won and put the question to rest. This is a list some of their “heavier” songs.
- Communication Breakdown (1969)
- Dazed and Confused (1969)
- Whole Lotta Love (1969)
- Heartbreaker (1969) – one of the archetypal riff-based hard rock songs; the unaccompanied guitar wankfest that occurs at 2:03 inspired many similar breakdowns in hard rock and metal history
- Ramble On (1969) – almost certainly the first rock song about Lord of the Rings
- Immigrant Song (1970) – probably the first rock song about Vikings
- Black Dog (1971)
- Rock and Roll (1971)
- When the Levee Breaks (1971)
- Stairway to Heaven (1971)
- No Quarter (1973)
- The Ocean (1973)
- The Rover (1972, released 1975)
- Custard Pie (1975)
- Kashmir (1975)
- In My Time of Dying (1975)
- The Wanton Song (1975)
- Nobody’s Fault but Mine (1976)
- Achilles’ Last Stand (1976)
- Wearing and Tearing (1978, released 1980)
- Black Sabbath – Combining slow, “lumbering” music and a downtuned, heavily distorted guitar sound with dark lyrics in the style that would retro-actively become known as Doom Metal and Stoner Metal, Sabbath is the gold standard of Heaviness. Most modern fans simply do not recognize anything not built on top of Black Sabbath’s musical legacy as being Heavy Metal at all.
- Black Sabbath (1970)
- N.I.B. (1970)
- The Wizard (1970)
- Evil Woman (1970)
- Paranoid (1970)
- War Pigs (1970)
- Iron Man (1970)
- Electric Funeral (1970)
- Hand of Doom (1970)
- After Forever (1971)
- Children of the Grave (1971)
- Sweet Leaf (1971) – the original “stoner metal” song
- Lord of This World (1971)
- Into the Void (1971)
- Tomorrow’s Dream (1972)
- Supernaut (1972)
- Snowblind (1972)
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
- A National Acrobat (1973)
- Symptom of the Universe (1975) – proto-thrash
- Deep Purple – Purple had been kicking around for several years before theyswitched to full-bore hard rock. They played faster than the other other two here, with more classical influences (especially in John Lord’s keyboards), serving as the prototype of Speed Metal and its ilk.
- Speed King (1970) – note the actual song starts at 1:30, after a freeform noise intro
- Hard Lovin’ Man (1970) – Richie Blackmore’s guitar solo is pretty damn advanced for 1970.. from the overdubbed harmonies at 3:37 to what sounds a like tapping at 4:33
- Black Night (1970)
- Child In Time (1970) – slow-burning build up from quiet beginnings to screaming crescendo, with Ian Gillan summoning a true banshee-wail. The music is based on the instrumental “Bombay Calling” by It’s a Beautiful Day.
- Fireball (1971)
- Highway Star (1972)
- Space Truckin’ (1972)
- Smoke on the Water (1972)
- Burn (1974)
- Stormbringer (1974)
Early Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
At this point, “hard rock” and “heavy metal” were not defined as different genres, and indeed were not really even distinguished from progressive rock yet.
The standard sound was rooted in blues and early rock, usually mid-tempo, with a guitar sound that tended to be powered by fuzz pedals at first and gradually relying more on amplifier overdrive as that technology became more advanced, and a vocal style that bordered on screaming (but would of course be considered “clean” by extreme metal standards).
Songs consist mostly of guitar power chords, swinging/shuffling rhythms inherited from blues, riffs derived from the blues scale, and frequent guitar solos. The bluesy nature is a main thing that distinguishes this style from later styles of metal and rock.
- Grand Funk Railroad – as I wrote many years ago, Grand Funk is possibly the most characteristic rock band of the early 70s. They don’t sound like much before them, and they don’t sound much like anything after them, they are firmly of their era and damn proud of it.
- Humble Pie – though mainly remembered for former Small Faces frontman Steve Marriot, Humble Pie was also the launchpad for guitarist Peter Frampton
- King Crimson – definitely belongs on the prog rock list if I make one, at least one song is pretty heavy
- Jethro Tull – Tull started out as blues-rock and gradually went prog, but along the way they rocked pretty hard
- Spooky Tooth – believe it or not, the singer of this band is Gary Wright. That Gary Wright.
- Cactus – like Grand Funk, Cactus was one of those bands that was pretty popular at the time but didn’t leave much of a following behind, but they could grind out the blues covers with the best of ’em
- Wishbone Ash – often noted for their two-lead-guitar setup, usually associated with Southern Rock and common much later in the history of Metal
- Sir Lord Baltimore – this is one of the bands that you can use to tell if the person who are talking to is into all this stuff – if they’ve heard of Sir Lord Baltimore, you’ve found a friend! SLB is also one of the few examples of a rock band with a singing drummer who actually sang while drumming!
- Warpig – in spite of what you’re probably thinking, this Canadian band was formed too early to have been named after the Black Sabbath song “War Pigs”. Like many of the lesser-known bands here, they produced only one album but it was quite a doozy
- Uriah Heep – the Heep meandered around in the uncanny valley between hard rock and prog-rock for most of the 70s
- Lucifer’s Friend
- Ride In The Sky (1970) – similarity to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” are supposedly coincidental; yes that’s a french horn doing the “ahahhhhhah!” part
- James Gang – face it, Joe Walsh just rocked a lot more before he got mixed up with them Eagles
- Leaf Hound – another shibboleth like Sir Lord Baltimore – name-dropping Leaf Hound will either demonstrate your early-70s cred, or totally baffle whoever you’re talking to
- Budgie – neither their little bird name nor their stupid album covers hint at the slow, bass-heavy, lumbering riffs to be found here
- Dust – Believe It Or Not! the drummer of this band later became Marky Ramone
- Alice Cooper – also considered Glam Rock, Proto-Punk, the name “Alice Cooper” in this period referred to the entire band
- Hawkwind – the most famous band of the “space rock” subgenre, Hawkwind is also notable for launching the career of Lemmy
- Captain Beyond – cult supergroup with alumni from Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly
- Buffalo – one of Australia’s first hard rock bands, Buffalo was as heavy as anything in their day
- Pentagram – the world just wasn’t ready for Pentagram, and their recorded material from the early 1970s remain unreleased for 20 years
- Montrose – the group that Sammy Hagar came from, for better or for worse
- Edgar Winter Group
Here we pause the progression of hard rock in the 1970s, and step back to the 60’s to explore the development of punk out of garage-rock roots.
Other than the Velvet Underground, who were too artsy-fartsy to be lumped into a “genre”, these bands were characterized as Hard Rock or Glam Rock by contemporary observers. Later (meaning after the Ramones and Sex Pistols) they were retroactively re-christened as punk forebears.
Even after the deluge of the 1977-style punk rock, there have been continual waves of new punk- or punk-related bands that still sound more like these ancestral bands.
- The Velvet Underground – while they dabbled in all kinds of musical indulgence, drugs, dark lyrics, and beatnick pretentiousness, some of their songs are sufficiently loud to serve as unmistakable milestones.
- The MC5
- (Iggy and the) Stooges – if you’re looking to draw a straight line between mid-1960s garage rock and late 1970s punk, this is the main vein right here
- The Modern Lovers
- Roadrunner (album version, recorded 1972, released 1976) – if anyone ever asks, this is officially My. Favorite. Song.
- The New York Dolls – the Dolls were on the scene immediately before New York punk, and represent its most direct musical antecedent; they sound like a fusion of the Glam tropes with a Stooges intensity
Glam Rock was closely related to hard rock, but had a glitzy hair-and-makeup image completely different from the “dirty hippie” look of most other contemporary rock. It was an almost exclusively British phenomenon except in the very late phases.
It should be noted the Glam Rock was more of a fashion movement than a musical one. Musically, if glam rock has a central tendency, it would be towards a sound firmly based in 1950’s Rock n Roll – including such trappings as I-VI-IV-V chord progressions, boogie-woogie rhythm guitar, pounding piano, vocal harmonies, saxophone as a main instrument – but updated for 70s production values and hard rock guitar sounds, with a certain pompous grandeur that’s harder to describe in words than it should be.
The same 50’s nostalgia can be heard in much other 70s rock, from Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” to about half of Bruce Springsteen’s career, not to mention the Rolling Stones and Faces – Glam was musically continuous with its contemporaries and hard to draw a box around. It’s not for nothing that this was also the decade of “American Graffiti” and “Happy Days”.
The musical elements of Glam – especially the pounding beats and “Chuck Berry turned up to 11” guitar – were important influences or inspirations to punk and post-punk, and even more obviously an influence on Glam Metal (especially the 2nd, less metallic wave of bands like Poison).
This list only includes the harder-rocking songs by these artists.
- Mott the Hoople
- T. Rex – the major instigators (along with Bowie) of Glam as the hot trend of the early 70s
- David Bowie – one of the great musical chameleons of the rock era, Bowie’s true “Glam” period only lasted from about 1971 to 1974. But he is probably the name most associated with the style.
- Roxy Music – almost as difficult to pin down as Bowie, and influential across a wide range of genres, Roxy definitely made some contributions to Glam in their early period
- Slade – one of the hardest-rocking Glam bands, a definite precursor of Glam Metal
- The Sweet – managed to transition freely between top 40 bubblegum pop and pure hard rock, actually being pretty damn good at both
- Mud – you think a band named “Mud” would sound a lot, well, muddier..
- Lou Reed
- Into / Sweet Jane (1974) – owing more to Mott the Hoople’s cover than to Reed’s own Velvet Underground version of Sweet Jane, the intro (which is basically an independent composition by the band) is famous in its own right
- Rocky Horror Picture Show cast
- The Time Warp (1975 movie version) – the major wave of Glam had washed over by this point, but the movie is a summation of the whole aesthetic
- Meat Loaf
- Paradise By the Dashboard Light (1977) – almost a (self?) parody of the nostalgic tendencies of glam, recorded a time when punk was already kicking down the door, but damn did Meatloaf get the “pompous grandeur” part of it right
Pub Rock was a “back to basics” style of music based on early Rock and Roll that existed mainly in the mid 70s and almost exclusively in London. Most of the bands involved in Pub Rock were never well-known in the US, and never will be, though a few individuals later became big name as New Wave solo artists.
It is notable mainly for being the genre that Punk Rock directly replaced as the “hot new thing” on the British music scene.
- Brinsley Swarz – one of the earliest Pub Rock bands, and the launching pad for Nick Lowe‘s career
- What’s So Funny (’bout Peace, Love, and Understanding) (1974) – much better known from Elvis Costello’s version of 1978
- Ducks Deluxe
- Dr. Feelgood
- The 101ers – as wikipedia says, ” notable as being the band that Joe Strummer left to join The Clash”
- Eddie and the Hot Rods
- The Motors
- Dancing the Night Away (1977) – no, I don’t get what this song has to do with a flying snowman, either, but this is the best video I can find
Further Developments in Hard Rock
“Everyone knows Rock attained perfection in 1974”
Meanwhile, after about 1973, Hard Rock itself was developing towards a more “radio-friendly” sound increasingly divorced from the fuzzy sound of the 60s. This development eventually led to Arena Rock.
Gradually, Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal were allowed to go off into their own spaces and be their weird selves in secret, while Hard Rock went mainstream in outlook.
This is still a large chunk of the music played on “classic rock” stations, along with the later Arena Rock.
- Thin Lizzy
- Blue Öyster Cult
- ZZ Top
- Queen – Queen’s earliest material fused prog and glam elements with a solid hard-rock foundation. The overt prog tendencies were gradually muted as they became one of the biggest bands in the world. Freddie Mercury’s huge vocal range and the band’s harmonious, anthemic music was influential to later genres including NWOBHM and Glam Metal.
- Keep Yourself Alive (1973)
- Great King Rat (1973)
- Ogre Battle (1974)
- Seven Seas of Rhye (1974)
- Stone Cold Crazy (1974)
- Now I’m Here (1974)
- Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
- Death On Two Legs (1975)
- I’m In Love With My Car (1975)
- Tie Your Mother Down (1976)
- We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions (1977)
- We Will Rock You – Fast Version (1977, released 2016)
- Fat Bottomed Girls (1978)
- Brighton Rock (1979) – live version of song originally recorded 1974
- Aerosmith – largely dismissed by contemporary critics as a derivative knockoff of Led Zeppelin and other earlier bands, Aerosmith proved to have staying power and wide influence on 80’s acts like Guns’N’Roses, Mötley Crüe, and others
- Mama Kin (1973)
- Dream On (1973)
- Same Old Song and Dance (1974)
- Train Kept a Rollin’ (1974) – yet another take on this rock-n-roll standard; note that although this was frequently played at Aerosmith concerts, this well-known version is a studio recording with fake crowd noises added
- Walk This Way (1975)
- Sweet Emotion (1975)
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – you won’t find a lot of “Southern Rock” on this list, but a few of the southern bands belong here
- Ted Nugent – before Uncle Ted became mainly known for his right-wing politics he was one of the most popular hard rock guitarists of the 70s
- KISS – also could be (and sometimes are) filed under Glam Rock because of their heavily made-up look; along with Aerosmith, the main godfathers of 80’s American rock
- Rick Derringer
- Rush – mostly belongs on a separate prog-rock list; first-album, pre-Neil-Peart Rush, was a hard rock band with almost no prog elements; the story is that when the songs from the album first started to be played on the radio, the general public actually thought it was Led Zeppelin
- UFO – like Queen, UFO is often seen as a prototype of NWOBHM and Glam Metal; they are, however, much less well-known
- Scorpions – had to fit them in somewhere.. as a German band, don’t really fit these mostly Anglo-American genre distinctions; they evolved from an almost Prog or even Krautrock style emphasizing long, slowly developed jams (most of which is not covered here) into a tight, metallic outfit for the MTV age
- AC/DC – probably the first Australian band that any American can name, AC/DC’s style of hard rock was so deliberately primitive that people at the time were tempted to lump it in with punk rock rather than the mainstream
- The Runaways – could also be classified as punk rock
- Rose Tattoo
- Nice Boys (1978) – famously covered by Guns N Roses
- Molly Hatchet – the other true Southern Rock band in this list
- Van Halen – could also go in Glam Metal, and definitely were a major influence on it, they predate it too much to really be put in there
Here I am following the definition of “Arena Rock” as laid out by TV Tropes: mainstream radio-oriented hard rock of the late 70s and early 80s. The lines around this category are pretty fuzzy, but you just sort of know it when you hear it. Most of the bands involved in this were not newcomers, but had been around in some form or other for years. This was the style that hard rock and prog-rock musicians seemed to naturally slide into as the 70s became the 80s. This is probably the first style someone unfamiliar with anything else on this page would identify if asked to name some “classic rock” songs.
- Kansas – though retaining more complex arrangements than other bands on this list, it’s hard to argue they shouldn’t be here, what with these vocal harmonies and radio ubiquity
- REO Speedwagon
Punk Rock and close relatives
The initial wave of Punk Rock took the Glam/Proto-Punk template a step further away from mainstream hard rock. Songs became shorter, faster, simpler, with fewer (or at least simpler) guitar solos, almost universal lack of any instruments beyond guitar/bass/drums, and deliberately unskilled vocals.
Punk Rock per se was short lived as a major commercial genre. Many of the more successful bands and/or their constituent musicians moved off, by the 80s, into the world of Post Punk, and the ones that didn’t change went back to a small niche market. Punk was largely replaced, in the public eye, by “New Wave“.
However, the stage had been set for descendants of punk rock to flourish underground, in local clubs and small independent record labels, in hand-written fanzines, out of sight and out of mind, to periodically burst back into the rock mainstream over the decades. (Seen this way, these bands here may actually count as the 3rd such eruption, after Garage Rock and Proto-Punk)
- Patti Smith Group – Patti Smith’s activities predated the main wave of Punk, and were significantly different in many respects, but still, she was part of the same scene, and an album out (Horses) out before any of the boys.
- The Dictators – the Dictators are hard to pin down, alternately sounding like hard rock, proto-punk, straight up punk, a precursor to the sleaziest kind of glam metal, or some ungodly combination of all those things
- The Ramones – The first Punk Rock band that most people can name, they practiced a minimalist version of rock, based around rock-steady beats and three (maybe, occasionally, four) power chords, with almost no lead guitar at all.
- The Saints – the first Australian punk band, and one of the first anywhere
- The Dogs – the Detroit-based Dogs held to a more proto-punk sound even as as the Ramones-influenced revolution was taking over
- The Sex Pistols – the first punk band to “make it big”, the Sex Pistols thrived on pure controversy as much (or more) as on the music itself – swearing on live TV, getting banned from the radio in the UK (but selling even more records as a result), bizarre hair and clothing.
- Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers – unrelated to Tom Petty’s band of the same name, these Heartbreakers were based around former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders, and had already been kicking around for 2 years, pioneering punk rock before even the Ramones, before they recorded their first album.
- Richard Hell and Voidoids – Richard Hell was a veteran of the proto-punk scene by the time he put this band together, having been a member of Television and the Heartbreakers (before any of those bands recorded anything)
- Marquee Moon (1977) – Television was either a throwback to the Velvet Underground style of proto-punk art rock, or the first fully post-punk band, or possibly both at the same time. Either way they didn’t really fit with Punk Rock. Here they are anyway.
- The Clash – their period as a true punk band was very short lived; by 1979 they’d moved out of the punk ghetto, but their brief period was influential out of all proportion on later waves and revivals of punk
- The Damned – like the Clash, the Damned had a long career only the very first part of which was really punk.
- The Jam
- Elton Motello
- Sham 69
- The Misfits – influential “horror punk” Misfits was the launching point of Glenn Danzig
- Generation X
- Dancing with Myself (1979) – an early version of what became a big solo hit for Gen X singer Billy Idol
- Joan Jett
- Bad Reputation (1980) – “freaks and geeks brought me here!”
- Jim Carroll Band
- People Who Died (1980) – they were all friends of mine, and they died. Died!
We’ll stop there for now. Next installment: The 80s, with everything from “Don’t Stop Believing” to “Angel of Death”!
This post gathers the information I’ve been able to find about the Roswell Railroad, one of the almost-completely vanished and forgotten rail lines of the Atlanta area. This was branch of Southern Railway that operated between Chamblee and Roswell from 1881 to 1921.
According to RailGa.com:
The Roswell Railroad Company was incorporated in Georgia in 1879 as successor to the Atlanta & Roswell Railroad Company. It was controlled by the Atlanta & Charlotte Air-Line Railroad Company, which constructed the 10-mile, 3-foot gauge line and opened it for business on September 1, 1881. In the same year, the A&CAL was leased to the Richmond & Danville Railroad (which became Southern Railway in 1894).
The town of Chamblee was originally called “Roswell Junction”.
However, feeling the name of the settlement was too similar to nearby Roswell, they randomly selected Chamblee from a list of petitioners for the new post office name.
The original Dunwoody depot was later moved and used as “Thompson’s Store”, but this building no longer remains.
The line never actually reached Roswell, as the company was never able to build a bridge across the Chattahoochee. It ran along Roberts Drive and what is now Dunwoody Place, and ended near the present North River Tavern. This station was referred to as “Roswell” by the railroad. The engine house was “moved to by the river for use as a barn”.
Roberts Drive is named after Isaac “Ike” Roberts, the “only engineer of the Roswell Railroad”, whose house still stands at 9725 Roberts Drive.
The final stop was Roswell Station, on the south bank of the Chattahoochee River, just east of the current Roswell Road. There was no means to turn the locomotive around, so it simply ran backwards on its return trip. The train was powered by 0-6-0-arranged Baldwin 1878 steam locomotive named “Buck.”
(from Historic Roswell Georgia)
There was also a branch to the current location of Morgan Falls Dam.
The railroad famously was used by Teddy Roosevelt when he visited Bulloch Hall in 1905.
Theodore Roosevelt, who had begun his presidency on reasonably good terms for a half-northerner president, had infuriated the South by inviting Booker T. Washington to dine in the White House. Consequently, he waited a few years until the episode blew over and finally visited Bulloch Hall for the first time while touring the South in 1905. He was thought to be the first sitting President of the United States to visit the South since the end of the American Civil War, however this is incorrect as William McKinley had visited the South earlier while celebrating the victory of the Spanish–American War.
It looks like I need to be paying a visit to the Roswell Visitors Center.
I have no recollection of Schambeau’s advertising on TV, especially not a spot this long. It looks like the early 80s. The kids shown buying from the candy counter were probably my classmates.
Schambeau’s was one of the two main grocery stores in Bayou La Batre, along with rival Greers. Schambeau’s was about a mile further from our house, but we shopped at both.
Schambeau’s was more of a General Store than Greers, which was purely a Supermarket. In the last years, Crum Schambeau was heard to remark that the real competition was the Walmart in Tillman’s Corner.
Schambeau’s did not long outlive Mr. Crum, due (I’m told) to his heirs not wishing to continue running the store. Greers continues.
When you grow up in Bayou La Batre, there are certain things long gone that you hear about from the older residents.
When we would drive around the shore on Shell Belt Road, my Pawpaw would point out a location where the “Old Factory” used to be. There was not even a trace of anything that looked like a building remaining.
This map, dated 1918, shows a “Canning Factory” at the end of a railroad spur, located conveniently near to the “Oyster Beds”. I don’t remember anyone specifically saying that oysters were what was processed at the factory, but it would certainly make a lot of sense if it was.
The railroad here was the “Bay Shore” branch of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, which operated from approximately 1899 to 1940. There is little to show of this line today, the rails having been physically removed soon after abandonment. It is memorialized by Railroad Street in the Bayou and Bay Shore Avenue in Mobile.
This (1926) map highlights the route from Mobile to Bayou La Batre:
The Bay Shore Historical Society website says:
At the far western end of the wye at San Souci was the lead to the Alabama Canning Company, also known as the American Canning Company. Alabama Canning Company was located on the north end of Coffee Island, about a mile south of the junction at San Souci. It was on this track that the trains would head down first, then back up through the wye toward Bayou la Batre.
The 1918 map disagrees about the factory being on Coffee Island, and I’m inclined to side with the map. An island location would have required the railroad to build a mile-long trestle over the bay. This does not fit with any description of this railroad that I’ve ever heard of before, and would have been a literal “bridge to nowhere”.
It seems more reasonable that the factory was located on the mainland.
At the approximate location of where the “Old Factory” was said to be, there is still a dirt “road” off from Shell Belt Rd through the salt marsh, leading towards the shore of Portersville Bay. It goes to a point that naturally sticks out into the bay. It can clearly be seen on modern satellite images:
This is what it looks like in Google Street View (and in real life too!):
It is most consistent with the old map if this “road” is actually the railroad right-of-way. Here is the satellite image with the guessed route of the railroad tracks highlighted in yellow:
The real revelation happened when I began searching for more info on the “Alabama Canning Company”.
It turns out there are a lot of pictures of this place, located in the National Archives and the Library of Congress!
This photo shows oysters being unloaded onto the dock. It looks like they had a large pier running out into the bay, with railroad tracks utilized for wheeled oyster baskets. The factory in the background looks like a sizeable operation. It must have been the biggest industry in town at the time.
Here we see the whole thing as it looked from out on a boat in the bay:
Many of the photos show very young workers in the factory and on the boats. This was the early 20th century, the era of child labor.
These photos were taken about 1912-1913. The children would have been born in the first decade of the 20th century. This is about the age of my great-grandparents. If you are from Bayou La Batre, some of them could be your great-grandparents, if not great-great-grandparents.
The work was seasonal, with many families coming to town only during the cooler months when oysters were in season. You can see in the photos almost everyone is dressed for cooler weather. Many of the workers were also immigrants, as the captions mention some children being unable to speak English. From the Mississippi Gulf Coast Museum of Museum of Historical Photography website:
The [labor shortage] problem was resolved initially by bringing in Eastern European immigrants known as ‘Bohemians’ from the Baltimore, Maryland canneries. The Baltimore people traveled in special railroad cars from their homes in Baltimore to work the canneries during the winter oyster season along the coast. They lived in factory-owned camps near the canneries, and the children rarely attended local schools. Some of the Baltimore families stayed on after the oyster season.
We can assume the hiring practices established in Biloxi were also followed in Bayou La Batre.
It turns out the reason all of these 100-year old pictures from Bayou La Batre are part of the national historical record, is because they were part of a famous series taken by Lewis Wickes Hine. Lewis Hine is an unsung hero of American labor relations, risking his own safety to end the practice of child labor in this country.
In 1908 Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with focus on the use of child labor in the Carolina Piedmont, to aid the NCLC’s lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1913, he documented child laborers among cotton mill workers with a series of Francis Galton‘s composite portraits.
Hine’s work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen. At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery.
So here we have a connection to historical events of national importance, right there in Bayou La Batre, and all that’s left of it is a dirt path through the marsh grass and scattered recollections of an “Old Factory”.
Hine is also the photographer of a very well known series on the construction of the Empire State Building.
So when was this factory built, and whatever happened to it? The Bay Shore website says:
Below is a photograph taken before the hurricane of 1906, showing the company tracks on the west side of the building. The photographer is facing south, toward Portersville Bay.
The buildings seen in this image were either heavily damaged, or destroyed, in the 1906 hurricane, and the company either elected not to rebuild, or was financially unable to. At a later date (unknown) this location became the Dunbar & Ducate Factory. Dunbar & Ducate was later destroyed by a boiler explosion which claimed the lives of several employees.
“Dunbar & Ducate”, (or DuKate) had already taken over by the time of Hines’ photos in 1912-1913 (and indeed some of his captions refer to it as such).
The Biloxi Historical Society lists a number factories owned by several firms involving the DuKate family, including “Dunbars, Lopez, & Dukate Company“, in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It appears that it was often called the “Alabama Canning Company” even when it was owned by DuKate.
Julian Lee Rayford, writing in 1956, describes a world already long gone, including a “Big Factory” owned by “Dunn, Barr, and Ducate”.
GEORGE BRYANT told me about the factories
in Bayou la Batre.
The factories fall into two classes. First, the
factories of 1915, and a few years later. And,
second, the factories of today. There is little con-
nection between the two. True, the factories have
always canned shrimp and oysters, but there is a
distinct contrast between the periods.
Pure Food Laws have cleaned them up, and
now, everything is peaceful and quiet in the fac-
tories. Government inspectors stand on constant vi-
gil making the pickers maintain purity and quality
in the products.
After 1906, the factories lined the Bayou.
There was the Union factory, operated by the
Union. There was the finest and largest, the one
run by Daughdrille. On the coast, was the “Big
Factory,” controlled by Dun, Barr and Ducate. And
there was the “Green Factory,” so called because of
the color used on the outside of the building. All
along the Bayou were the picking sheds, which sent
their products to the larger establishments to be
packed, or, canned.
An article in the New Orleans Times-Democrat, April 7 1910, mentions a factory being constructed by this company in Bayou La Batre:
The John F. Wentzell mentioned here is probably related to Wintzell’s Oyster House founder J. Oliver Wintzell, as well as the Wintzell family of Bayou La Batre.
The factory is described as packing shrimp. It is not clear if this was the same facility as the oyster plant shown in the photos, or a different plant also located in Bayou La Batre.
I cannot find any information about the existence of the Alabama Canning Company earlier than this. It is possible it operated under a different name before DuKate took it over, if it actually existed before 1910.
The plant survived and was repaired after the 1916 storm:
I can only find one other page about an explosion, the Find-A-Grave page for Robert Walter Cox who died on August 16, 1923 when an ammonia tank exploded in the ice plant of the cannery. It reads like a newspaper article, but there’s no citation and I cannot find the same story anywhere else.
EXPLOSION KILLS ONE AND INJURES TWO AT ICE PLANT
Ammonia Tank Blows Up At Bayou La Batre, Killing Robert Cox and Wrecking Plant
Death injury and heavy property damage resulted form a violent explosion at the ice pant of the Alabama Canning Company at Bayou la Batre Thursday night. Robert Cox, 40 years old, frieman at the plant was almost instantly killed and two other persons, Willie and Aime Castello, father and son, recieved serious injuries. The disaster occurred when an ammonia generator exploded, wrecking the one-story structure. The loud noise which accompanied the explosion attracted the attention of people throughout the community, many of whom hurried to the scene.
Cox was discovered in a dying condition outside the boiler room a few minutes after the generator exploded. The younger Castello was huried to the roof of the building from which he was rescued by persons who rushed to the plant. Willie Castello, the father, is an engineer at the plant according to information received in Mobile. His son is tankman at the ice plant.
Shortly after the accident a Mobile physicain was summoned to treat the injured. The small casualty list was apprently attributable to the fact that only a few employees were on duty whe the explosion occurred.
Perhaps this explosion was too much for the Big Factory to come back from, and put them out of business. Perhaps the Pure Food and Child Labor laws had made the business unprofitable. Or maybe decreasing supply due to overfishing. Or a combination of all these things.
By the time of this 1943 map, the railroad is abandoned, the spur track for the factory is already just a dirt road, and the there is no indication building where the factory would have been.
It is also gone on this aerial photograph from the 1940s, where things do not look terribly different from today:
In the 20 years from 1923 to 1943, all trace of the Old Factory has vanished into the sea and sand.
When I was a kid in the early 1980s, the public library had a children’s movie program once a week during the summer. My mom, and I think most of the other parents who took advantage of it, would drop us off at the library and go do her shopping or whatever other errands she needed to run, while we sat in a darkened wing of the library and watched movies.
I’m guessing they were legally only allowed to show things that were in the public domain. Because everything they showed was old. Some of it as old as the 1920s.
Sometimes they would show silent movies and cartoons, which was a problem because the audience included children too young to read. The older children were expected to read it out loud for the younger ones.
Many of the cartoons I saw there, I later learned were so old that they were significant in the development of animation!
Things I can remember seeing there:
- Lotte Reiniger’s Cinderella – 1922 silent, black and white “cartoon” where all the characters are just black silhouettes. You can imagine how this confused the hell out of a bunch of 80s kids.
- Max and Dave Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels – 1939 technicolor feature film, the first such released by a non-Disney studio. The high budgets of this and their only other feature, Mr. Bug Goes to Town, contributed to the Fleischer studio losing its independence and becoming part of Paramount.
- Lev Atomanov’s The Snow Queen – 1957 animated feature from the USSR. The fact that this got an American dub release in 1959, with an all-star cast, seems like it must have been a triumph of Cold War diplomacy.
- Some weird, silent (but color?!) thing with puppets.
Question to my librarian friends, do ya’ll still do stuff like this?