Q #2,016: METAL PARENTHESES: Quiet Riot, ‘Bang Your Head (____ ____)
Quiet Riot’s ‘Bang Your Head (Metal Health)’ appears on the band’s third studio album, 1983’s ‘Metal Health.’ The parenthetical was added after the original vinyl release, and has sometimes also been seen reversed, with the ‘Bang Your Head’ in the parentheses. It’s understandable how a label could have made minor printing errors on a record that was pressed like mad, selling over six million albums to date in the US alone (to compare, ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ was Pantera’s best selling effort and is “only” certfied 2X Platnium).
‘Metal Health’ is far and away the biggest success of the band’s career, and has helped propel multiple incarnations of the band forward throughout the years. Originally formed by famed Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and legend Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot’s first two efforts ended with Rhoads departing and the band collapsing as a result. Bassist Rudy Sarzo also left Quiet Riot and joined Rhoads in the Ozzy camp. A great amount of Quiet Riot material went on to become Ozzy material but reworked with new lyrics.
When Rhoads died in a plane crash in 1982, vocalist Kevin Dubrow wrote a tribute to him entitled ‘Thunderbird,’ which was recorded with his solo band at the time. The group enjoyed working together on the song so much, that they ended up recording a good chunk of what would become the ‘Metal Health’ album during the ‘Thunderbird’ sessions. The album came together and was re-branded as Quiet Riot once again.
The biggest single off of ‘Metal Health; was a cover of Slade’s ‘Cum On Feel The Noize,’ which was the first heavy metal track to hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‘Bang Your Head’ would reach #31, and help Quiet Riot achieve a #1 album the same week they had their top five single. The title track appeared on the ‘Footloose’ film soundtrack, while ‘Noize’ was receiving regular video airplay on MTV. This proved to be winning combination for the band, and they reaped the benefits. The album took the #1 album slot away from The Police, and lost the spot to Lionel Richie.
‘Condition Critical’ was the follow up to ‘Metal Health,’ and this proved to not just be a clever name. The album contained another Slade cover, ‘Mama, Weer All Crazee Now,’ which many thought was an attempt to play it safe and copy the band’s previous effort. It’s painful to put the following into words, but selling three million units was considered to be a commercial failure back then. Could you imagine what sales numbers today would have done to record execs during this era of the industry? A 3x Platinum disappointment? Inconceivable!
In perhaps the ultimate metal band qualifier, the current Quiet Riot lineup consists of no original members.