This style developed from the late 1960s, reaching its peak of popularity in the mid 1970s, and showcased the highest levels of musicianship through lengthy, epic and often highly intricate compositions. Bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, Caravan, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Rush would push the conventional boundaries of rock music, drawing inspiration from folk, classical, jazz and eastern styles, usually heavily themed around a central story, each track an element in an overall concept.
Fretboard tapping was a novel technique when Eddie Van Halen recorded his groundbreaking, legendary shred showcase piece “Eruption” for Van Halen’s 1978 debut album. With its spectacular application of fretboard tapping, the song quickly established tapping as an essential element within a new modern vocabulary of flash licks and tricks.
Thrash developed in the early Eighties as a subgenre of the broader heavy metal category and gained momentum throughout the decade. From the pioneering “Big Four” bands—Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax—to Exodus, Testament, Overkill and Sepultura, thrash metal pushed the boundaries of aggression, speed and stamina with fast, muted open-string-based riffs and furious lead breaks.
The following is excerpted from Randy Rhoads by Steven Rosen and Andrew Klein (Velocity Publishing Group). In 1979, Randy Rhoads had to decide whether to stay with a struggling unknown act called Quiet Riot or join forces with the famous former lead singer from Black Sabbath. The decision wasn't as easy as you think. Dana Strum -- the Hollywood-based Badaxe and Slaughter bassist who Ozzy considered for his band -- recalls the events surrounding Randy Rhoads' audition for Ozzy Osbourne.