Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal


Suzie Smiled...

Tales From The NWOBHM


John Tucker


The widely-accepted view is that the birth of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal can be dated to a gig in May 1979, which means that 2004 marks the 25th Anniversary of the NWOBHM.  Interest in this movement has been growing steadily over the years, culminating in a significant number of albums and singles being re-issued officially on CD for the first time, replacing the numerous CD bootlegs that have flooded the market over the years.


Whereas this musical phenomenon catapulted Iron Maiden and Def Leppard to global fame and fortune, there were countless bands that could have made it ? indeed should have made it ? but didnít; the bands that could have been giants but ended up cult legends; the bands that could have played Hammersmith Odeon but had to settle for the Frogís Arse pub in Huddersfield.


Suzie Smiled?Tales From The NWOBHM describes, in the bandsí own words, what it was like to be writing and playing heavy metal in the post-Punk era and sets the music in the bleak social context of the time, when getting a feature in the local paper was a real big thing, being played on BBC Radio 1ís Friday Rock Show was the ultimate means of mass marketing (as well as the ultimate seal of approval), and bands like Metallica could play covers of NWOBHM songs live and pass them off as their own.


Through a mixture of exclusive new interviews and contemporary articles and photographs (some never before published), Suzie Smiled lets the musicians tell it how it was, from writing songs while watching Coronation Street on TV to the thrill of almost getting a major record deal; from the difficulties involved in keeping a band together to how to fire the bassist (who also happens to be your ex-Geography teacher); and how some of the greatest Heavy Metal songs ever written came about.  Bands already exclusively interviewed include the likes of Motorhead, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Shiva, Jaguar, Bitches Sin, Trespass, Avenger, Holocaust, Girlschool and Blitzkrieg.


As a fanzine writer and photographer ? as well as a big fan of the music ? I was lucky enough to watch the NWOBHM unfold around me.  More recently, I have worked with Sanctuary Records on a number of their NWOBHM re-issues, both compiling CDs and writing booklet notes.  Suzie Smiled?Tales From The NWOBHM is not a nostalgia trip by an aging rocker but a personal tribute to the bands from the movement and to the timeless music they produced.