Am I Evil?

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"Am I Evil?"
Song by Diamond Head
from the album Lightning to the Nations
Released1980
Recorded1979
Genre Heavy metal
Length7:43
Label Happy Face
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Diamond Head

"Am I Evil?" is a song by British heavy metal band Diamond Head released on their 1980 debut album Lightning to the Nations. The song was written by vocalist Sean Harris and guitarist Brian Tatler and released on Happy Face Records, a label owned by the producer Muff Murfin of The Old Smithy studio of Worcester. The song was immediately popular among the heavy metal circles in the United Kingdom around the time of its release, but only rose to international prominence after Metallica covered it as a B-side on their "Creeping Death" single in 1984; the cover was re-released on their 1998 covers album Garage Inc. . The song was influenced by the Black Sabbath song "Symptom of the Universe." [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Diamond Head (English band) British metal band

Diamond Head are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the new wave of British heavy metal movement and is acknowledged by thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence.

<i>Lightning to the Nations</i> 1980 studio album by Diamond Head

Lightning to the Nations is the debut album by British heavy metal band Diamond Head. The album was recorded in 1979 and released in 1980 through Happy Face Records, a label owned by the producer Muff Murfin of The Old Smithy studio of Worcester, due to lack of interest from major labels and the band feeling that they needed to get the ball rolling as other bands from the same era, such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, were already becoming big names. It was originally released in a plain white sleeve with no title or track listing, and was subsequently named after the first track on the album. Metal Blade Records re-released it on compact disc in 1992. In 2001, it was re-issued in its original "White Album" form by Sanctuary Records, featuring seven bonus tracks that were featured on singles and EPs from this era.

Contents

Release and reception

The song was originally released on Diamond Head's 1980 debut, Lightning to the Nations, but then also re-recorded for their second album Borrowed Time. It remains a live favourite and is still included in the band's setlist to this day. However, Sean Harris has gotten fed up with continually playing "Am I Evil?", one of the reasons he took the stage dressed as the Grim Reaper during their performance at the National Bowl.

<i>Borrowed Time</i> (Diamond Head album) 1982 studio album by Diamond Head

Borrowed Time is the second studio album by Diamond Head. The album was recorded in 1981 and released in 1982, reaching Number 24 on the UK album chart.

National Bowl

The National Bowl is an entertainment venue located in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The site was a former clay-pit, filled in and raised to form an amphitheatre using sub-soil excavated by the many new developments in the area and it has a current maximum capacity of 65,000. The arena is open-air grassland, without seats.

The song has roots with Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" (from The Planets Suite ) and used a riff, that was used earlier on "Ring of Fire" by The Eric Burdon Band in 1974.

Gustav Holst English composer

Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite The Planets, he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success. His distinctive compositional style was the product of many influences, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss being most crucial early in his development. The subsequent inspiration of the English folksong revival of the early 20th century, and the example of such rising modern composers as Maurice Ravel, led Holst to develop and refine an individual style.

Ring of Fire (song) Song popularized by Johnny Cash

"Ring of Fire", or "The Ring of Fire", is a song written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore and recorded by The Carter Family in 1962 and by Johnny Cash in 1963. The single appears on Cash's 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. The song was originally recorded by June's sister, Anita Carter, on her Mercury Records album Folk Songs Old and New (1963) as "(Love's) Ring of Fire". "Ring of Fire" was ranked No. 4 on CMT's 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music in 2003 and #87 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In June 2014, Rolling Stone ranked the song #27 on its list of the 100 greatest country songs of all time.

Eric Burdon English singer-songwriter

Eric Victor Burdon is an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was previously the vocalist of rock band the Animals and funk band War. He is regarded as one of the British Invasion's most distinctive singers with his deep, powerful blues-rock voice. He is also known for his aggressive stage performances.

Cover versions

"Am I Evil?"
Single by Metallica
A-side "Creeping Death"
Released23 November 1984 [2]
RecordedOctober 1984 [3]
(Sausalito, California)
Genre Heavy metal, thrash metal
Length7:50
Label Megaforce, Elektra
Songwriter(s) Sean Harris, Brian Tatler
Producer(s) Metallica, Mark Whitaker
Audio sample

The song was made most famous by Metallica's cover of the song, found on the 1988 re-release and the Japanese version of its debut album Kill 'Em All (the original version of the album lacks the inclusion of the cover), though the cover was originally released as a b-side to the "Creeping Death" single in 1984, and was later released on Garage Inc. in 1998. The song has also been featured in Metallica's live set throughout its career, often in a faster and heavier version. Hetfield also changed the final chorus from "Am I evil? Yes, I am" to "Am I evil? Yes, I fucking am!" Diamond Head has stated that the band's members are flattered by the cover and that the royalties from it have enabled the band to continue. [4] Faith No More also has covered the song.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and has been based in San Francisco for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members and primary songwriters Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

<i>Kill Em All</i> 1983 studio album by Metallica

Kill 'Em All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. Kill 'Em All is regarded as a groundbreaking album for thrash metal because of its precise musicianship, which fuses new wave of British heavy metal riffs with hardcore punk tempos. The album's musical approach and lyrics were markedly different from rock's mainstream of the early 1980s and inspired a number of bands who followed in similar manner. The album did not enter the Billboard 200 until 1986, when it peaked at number 155, following Metallica's commercial success with its third studio album Master of Puppets; the 1988 Elektra reissue peaked at number 120. Kill 'Em All was critically praised at the time of its release and in retrospect, and was placed on a few publications' best album lists. It was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1999 for shipping three million copies in the United States. The album generated two singles, "Whiplash" and "Jump in the Fire".

Creeping Death 1984 single by Metallica

"Creeping Death" is a song by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released as the lead and only commercial single from their second studio album Ride the Lightning (1984). Written from the perspective of the Angel of Death, it describes the tenth plague of Egypt. One of Metallica's most frequently performed songs, it has been played live 1,458 times, and it has occasionally been used on various tours as the opening song of the band's set. It stands as a classic example of the band's thrash style, albeit slower than the material on their first album, Kill 'Em All. The song's middle section, with its ominous chants of "Die!" set to a phrygian mode chord progression, is a fan participation staple during Metallica shows.

Recently, in an extended homage to the song, the united members of the "Big Four of Thrash"—Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth—performed the song together in Sofia, Bulgaria. With the exclusion of Slayer's Tom Araya, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, the combined members of these bands performed the first half of the song. The recording was released later on The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria DVD.

Anthrax (American band) American thrash metal band

Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group is considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene from the 1980s and is one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer; Anthrax is the only one of the four from the East Coast, and often credited as one of the early thrash metal bands to emerge from there, along with Overkill and Nuclear Assault. The band has released 11 studio albums, several other albums, and 26 singles, including collaborating on a single with American hip hop group Public Enemy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Anthrax sold 2.5 million records in the United States from 1991 to 2004, with worldwide sales of 10 million.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Megadeth American heavy metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

At the U.K part of the Sonisphere Festival, Bill Bailey used the song as an intro to his set. Diamond Head themselves were also performing at the festival.

Sonisphere Festival Annual English touring music festival

The Sonisphere Festival was a touring rock music festival which took place across Europe between the months of June and August. The festival is owned by John Jackson and Kilimanjaro Live. It is jointly promoted by K2 and Kilimanjaro Live. It has hosted heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Judas Priest, Megadeth and Avenged Sevenfold.

Bill Bailey English comedian, musician, actor, TV and radio presenter and author

Mark Robert Bailey, known by his stage name Bill Bailey, is a British comedian, musician, singer, actor, TV and radio presenter and author. Bailey is well known for his role in Black Books and for his appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You and QI, as well as his extensive stand-up work.

In the game The Neverhood , there is a cutscene in which Klaymen pulls a pin that keeps 2 halves of the Neverhood separated when the sides are coming together, an altered version of the Metallica cover is played.

The original Diamond Head version of the song is included in the 2009 video games Guitar Hero: Metallica and Brütal Legend , as well as the 2009 film Halloween II . A cover of the Metallica version is included in the game Rock Revolution as a playable track.

Parody band Beatallica recorded a mashup of "Am I Evil?" and the Beatles' "And I Love Her" entitled "And I'm Evil", on their 2009 album Masterful Mystery Tour .

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Creeping Death". Metallica. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  3. "Kill 'Em All". Metallica. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  4. The Story Behind the Song "AM I EVIL"