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The first Heavy Metal album to be number 1 on the Billboard 200


The first Heavy Metal album to be number 1 on the Billboard 200

Heavy Metal music always had a huge audience that is loyal, follows the genre throughout all their lives and is always supporting the groups live whenever they can. However, it’s not an easy kind of music to listen to and for many people it can only be a loud noise. So it was always hard for Metal groups to be played on the radio and to sell millions of records since they couldn’t reach the same huge audience that other Rock and Pop artists could, because their music was less heavy.


However, over the decades many bands were able to break some records and really show that Metal could also be commercially successful like Pop, for example. In 1983 that was proved by a group from Los Angeles, California, because they were the first Heavy Metal band to appear on the first position of the Billboard 200 chart.

The first Heavy Metal album to be number 1 on the Billboard 200

That group is Quiet Riot, which at the time was formed by Kevin DuBrow (Vocals), Carlos Cavazo (Guitar), Rudy Sarzo (Bass) and Frankie Banali (Drums). It was in 1983 that the group released “Metal Health”, which was their third studio record and would become their best-selling one.

It sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and six million only in the United States. That made the record go straight to the top of the Billboard 200 at the time, staying in that position for one week.

Behind them were Lionel Richie on the second position with the album “Can’t Slow Down”. On the third position was simply Michael Jackson with “Thriller”, which is the best-selling record in history. It sold an estimated amount of more than 70 million copies.

Produced by Spencer Proffer, the album had 10 tracks and two singles were released. They were “Metal Health” and “Cum On Feel The Noize”, which was a cover from the British band Slade. As a single, the title-track peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Slade cover peaked at position number 5. Other famous tracks on the record are “Slick Black Cadillac” and “Let’s Get Crazy”.

This is the Top 15 of the Billboard 200 when Quiet Riot was on the first position

  1. Quiet Riot – “Metal Health”
  2. Lionel Richie – “Can’t Slow Down”
  3. Michael Jackson – “Thriller”
  4. The Police – “Synchronicity”
  5. Billy Joel – “An Innocent Man”
  6. Kenny Rogers – “Eyes That See in The Dark”
  7. Linda Ronstadt & The Nelson Riddle Orchestra – “What’s New”
  8. Air Supply – “Greatest Hits”
  9. Culture Club – “Colour By Numbers
  10. Genesis – “Genesis”
  11. Def Leppard – “Pyromania”
  12. Bonnie Tyler – “Faster Than The Speed of Night”
  13. Pat Benatar – “Live From Earth”
  14. ZZ Top – “Eliminator”
  15. Daryl Hall and John Oates – “Rock N’ Soul, Part 1: Greatest Hits”

The Billboard album chart began in 1945 and initially only had five positions. It was finally in 1967 that started to show 200 positions.

Kevin Dubrow didn’t have a good time making the record

As the late singer Kevin Dubrow told Full In Bloom in an interview, he didn’t have a good time working on the album. The main problem was especially the producer Spencer Proffer, who he said was a “terrible person”.

“(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) Not a good person. He did some nice things and some bad things but not a good person. Not a person I had any fun, nothing good to say (about him), no fun memories. (…) He didn’t know anything about Hard Rock. It was a nightmare to trying to get the sound on the guitar right and try to get the guitar to be a dominant part of our mix. Spencer didn’t get it. Pretty sure ‘(You’re Having) My Baby’ by Paul Anka was his Rock background,” Kevin DuBrow said.

However, in the same interview DuBrow said that the producer helped him to kind of find his voice on the record. So it was a good thing that he did while producing the band.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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