If You Grew Up Listening to Sabbath, You're Probably a Success Now

metal dad
Were you told the music you listened to would turn you into a degenerate? Or are you worried that the music your kids are listening to will warp their little minds and make them unfit for society? Well worry no longer. Here's what heavy metal and the like really do to our youth.


A scientific study led by psychologist Tasha Howe of Humbolt State University surveyed 377 participants, including about 154 "1980s heavy metal groupies, musicians, and fans" who are now middle-aged. What they found was that those metalheads were "significantly happier in their youth and better adjusted currently than either middle-aged or current college-age youth comparison groups."

That's right, metal is good for you.

The heavy metal fans in the study had often experienced a troubled youth (the proverbial sex, drugs, and rock and roll), but the right music seems to have been just the outlet they needed, "a protective factor against negative outcomes," as Howe puts it. Not only that, belonging to the metal community gave them a sense of support and identity that helped them cope with life's challenges.

More from The Stir: 8-Year-Old Girl Brings Heavy Metal to the Mini Masses

These participants reported greater happiness in their youth and fewer feelings of regret over their past.

Admittedly this is a very small sample, and a somewhat self-selected group at that. But I still think it's illuminating.

I grew up in a very religious community listening to classical music and singing church hymns. We were warned against the evils of hard rock, and I was told the myth of backmasking, where satanic messages were supposedly recorded into songs like "Stairway to Heaven."

And because of that fearmongering, I lost valuable years of my youth listening to cheesy Mormon pop when I could have been listening to "Sticky Fingers." I had to forge through puberty without the cathartic release of AC/DC.

It wasn't until I was around 16 that I finally allowed myself to listen to Pink Floyd's The Wall. Imagine my amazement when repeated playings of "Stairway to Heaven" did not cause me to burst into flames or become possesed by Beelzebub. (OR DID IT???)

I would be a much happier, better-adjusted adult now had I listened to Metallica. But noooooo, I had to cry and scribble in my journal listening to Duran Duran instead. Simon effing Le Bon, what the hell did those lyrics even mean?!? Nothing, that's what. 

So parents, if you're worried about the influence your kids' music has on their minds -- I guess it's hip-hop we're worried about these days? Or dub step? -- relax. The kids are all right. Just remember where metal comes from, as narrated so beautifully by Black Sabbath guitarist and legend Tony Iommi. It comes from the grit and passion of overcoming obstacles, something we all want for our kids.

Tony Iommi from Paul Blow on Vimeo.

What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up? What influence do you think it had on your life?


Image via Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/shutterstock



Read More >