What makes a rock song "head banging"? When is a rock called head banging?

Could you also list a few popular head banging rock songs?

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    This seems like a joke, but it's any song you can bang your head to. So, basically any song you like. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


Humans have a natural tendency to bob their heads to a beat. This occurs in many types of music, but "headbanging" is when this is taken to a much more intense level. The performer or listener throws his or her whole body into moving to a hard rock song, shaking their head violently forward and backward to the heavy beat, often making their long hair fly back and forth.

This move first became named and popular among listeners in the early 1980's in the hardcore punk scene, about the same time that the similar activity of "moshing" in a "mosh pit" took off, but there are documented cases of listeners headbanging at Led Zeppelin shows as early as 1969, and of the performers Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler doing it by 1970. It grew more common in the late 1980's and early 1990's at heavy metal and grunge concerts, and the term was further popularized with the 1987 launch of the nighttime MTV show Headbangers Ball.

Headbanging on the album cover of Nirvana's 1989 debut, Bleach

Headbanging on the album cover of Nirvana's 1989 debut, *Bleach*

Classic music to headbang to would be 1980's hardcore. Black Flag, The Germs, or Minor Threat would all be good choices. If you prefer heavy metal, Metallia, Slayer, or Pantera all have songs hard and fast enough to headbang to. If you want to try to headbang to something from the 2000's, you could try nu metal bands like Korn, Slipknot, or Linkin Park.

Warning: Headbanging can be dangerous if done with excessive force. Do not hurt yourself just for a quick thrill.


Metal Health (Bang Your Head) by Quiet Riot, hence the title.


This is a term related with the action when musicians or audience banging their heads in rhythm with the music.

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Probably the first HeadBanging:

The origin of the term "headbanging" is contested. It is possible that the term "headbanger" was coined during Led Zeppelin's first US tour in 1969. During a show at the Boston Tea Party, audience members in the first row were banging their heads against the stage in rhythm with the music.

A definition describing "headbanging", from the book "Subgenres of the Beast: A Heavy Metal Guide" By Yrjänä Kegan

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  • Metal Health (Bang Your Head) by Quiet Riot. Just a song reffering to the headbanging.
  • Headbangers Ball. MTV´s program that take this term for their title.

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