Los Angeles is considered one of the most important and influential music cities in the world. Some of the music industry’s biggest names started in LA before achieving global success. In this post we look at five bands that came from the City of Angels and changed music forever.
(By Kreepin Deth – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6230336)
When Metallica formed in 1981, the band took the LA scene by storm and didn’t relent. A decade later the band released their eponymous self-titled album also referred to commonly as The Black Album.
By 1983, Metallica had recorded and released their debut album, Kill ‘em All, which was followed by Ride the Lightning a year later, by Master of Puppets in 1985, and And Justice for All in 1988. All four albums were hugely popular, but none would compare to the opus that is The Black Album. The album was a massive worldwide success, and it helped push Metallica into global superstardom.
(By Stuart Sevastos – Jane’s Addiction @ Steel Blue Oval (1/3/2010), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23472838)
Formed in 1985, Jane’s Addiction is widely regarded as one of the movers of alternative rock. In his essay on Billboard, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello described the band as “the punk rock Led Zeppelin,” with a “small, brilliant catalog of songs and a shocking, groundbreaking ethos that changed music forever.”
GUNS N’ ROSES
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Before they hit the mainstream, Guns N’ Roses regularly played at The Troubador, a famed nightclub in LA where Elton John, Van Morrison, and Kelly Clarkson often played. By 1986, GNR were performing on bigger venues, including the Roxy Theatre and Whisky a Go Go.
In August 1987, GNR released Appetite for Destruction. The album became a smash worldwide, turning the band into one of the biggest and brashest rock acts in the world.
In 1996, Slash left the band citing a break in relations with Axl Rose. It would take two decades for the original members of the band (minus Izzy Stradlin) to finally get back together, much to the delight of hardcore GNR fans who have kept the legacy of the band alive and well. Despite the changes in the lineup the music continued to endure, and there are quite a few reminders of the band’s wild heyday, even in the gaming community. Slingo’s popular Guns N’ Roses slot game is a throwback to the original GNR and is a perfect reminder of their seminal Appetite for Destruction days. The fans’ patience was rewarded in 2016 when Slash and original bassist Duff McKagan rejoined the band for Coachella 2016 and the wildly successful “Not in This Lifetime” tour.
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Years before GNR, Metallica, and Jane’s Addiction could command throngs of head banging, mosh pit forming, body slamming fans, Mötley Crüe was already doing it, and more. The music was fast, brazen, heavy, and edgy, just like the lifestyle of the band members. Today, ironically, the Crüe’s vast musical influence is evident in country music. As Rolling Stone explains in the article ‘Motley Crue’s Big, Badass Influence on Today’s Country’, more and more country artists are resembling not only the sound of Mötley Crüe but also their livewire act onstage. In fact, some of today’s best country acts have banded together to make a tribute album for Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, and company.
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A contemporary—and in some ways, fierce rival—of Metallica, Megadeth nonetheless blazed their own trail, leaving behind a memorable catalog of “thrash music” that was fierce, fast, and ferocious. Phoneix New Times hails Megadeth as a pioneer of thrash music, ranking the band’s 1986 opus Peace Sells . . . But Who’s Buying as one of the most influential albums in the genre.