Headbangers Ball: Wikis


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Headbangers Ball
Classic logo
Genre Music
Narrated by Kevin Seal, Adam Curry (initial hosts), Riki Rachtman (host 1990-1995), Vanessa Warwick (host 1991-1996 in Europe only), Jamey Jasta (host 2003-2007)
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 410
Running time 1 hour (3 hours in 1988 & 1989; 2 hours 1989-2008)
Original channel MTV2, MTV
Original run April 18, 1987 (1987-04-18)-January 28, 1995 (1995-01-28) (MTV)
May 10, 2003 (2003-05-10) – present (MTV2)
Preceded by Heavy Metal Mania
External links
Official website

Headbangers Ball is a television program consisting of heavy metal music videos airing on MTV2, MTV Australia, MTV Two (formerly known as MTV2 Europe, however still covering the whole of Europe), MTV Adria (the MTV subsidiary covering the former Yugoslavia), MTV Brand New, MTV Portugal, MTV Finland, MTV Arabia, MTV Norway, MTV Sweden, MTV Denmark, MTV Greece, MTV Türkiye, MTV Hungary and MTV Japan. The show began on MTV on Saturday, April 18, 1987, playing heavy metal and hard rock music videos late at night, from both well-known and more obscure artists. The show offered (and became famous because of) a stark contrast to Top 40 music videos shown during the day.

However, with the mainstream rise of alternative rock & rap music in the '90s, the relevance of Headbangers Ball came into question, and the show was ultimately canceled in 1995. Over 8 years later, as new genres of heavy metal were gaining a commercial foothold and fan interest became unavoidable, the program was reintroduced on MTV2. It has remained in varying degrees on the network.



"The Ball," as it is commonly called, replaced Heavy Metal Mania (which began airing monthly in June 1985), helmed by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame. In doing so, MTV expanded the format and added more live interviews with bands. At its premiere it was hosted briefly by Kevin Seal, then by VJ Adam Curry, before ultimately settling on Riki Rachtman, who to many viewers became the most identifiable host of the show; although some viewers were upset that Curry was replaced by Rachtman, fans of the heavier bands in the genres were equally as happy to have a host that represented both it and them better than Curry, who was seen as a fan and representation of Glam and Hair Metal.

Popularity and influence

The name "Headbangers Ball" was originally invented and used by DJ John Brent of Bury, Lancashire and was used on his rock and metal roadshows from 1980 onwards and toured throughout the UK with great success. John's Headbangers Ball Rock charts were also regularly featured in the pages of Rock publications Kerrang! and Sounds along with many features on the show in local periodicals.

Headbangers Ball was one of the most popular music shows ever to air on MTV, on the air for nearly 8 years, and for a time, it was one of the network's flagship shows. For some time in 1988 and '89, the show was increased to 3 hours. One hour added, plus Hard 60, a daily version of the ball that aired for an hour every weekday afternoon.

Its influence was made widespread with the rise of heavy metal in the 1980s and early '90s. While the program primarily showed videos from the mainstream friendly "hair metal" genre, it gave an equal amount of time to the often more aggressive-sounding heavy metal music scene active in the late 1980s and early '90s. When "hair metal" faded from the limelight, the show expanded to include coverage of such alternative rock bands as Alice in Chains and Soundgarden while continuing to focus on less mainstream forms of heavy metal.

Other notable TV programs have emulated Headbangers Ball, such as Fuse TV's Uranium and VH1's Rock Show. Indeed, the popularity and effectiveness of Uranium in the early 2000s may be cited as a strong influence to the revival of The Ball in 2003.

Road trips

Bands would visit the set for interviews, and in some instances, the show would follow bands on trips to assorted locations across the world. Memorable road trip episodes include Alice in Chains's trip to Action Water Park, skydiving with Megadeth, Oktoberfest in Munich with Danzig, and Van Halen's adventure at Cabo Wabo.

The Headbangers Ball originated in the UK in the late 70s and carried on throughout the 80s as a rock roadshow[citation needed]. The name was devised by John Brent, who was the roadshow DJ for the Headbangers Ball throughout this period. Legal proceedings are currently in progress over MTV's copyright infringement of the name and its use. Early rock magazines such as Kerrang regularly publicised the 'Headbangers Ball chart' based upon John Brent's roadshow. There is a planned rebirth of the original Headbangers Ball roadshow possibly next year with the support of 106.1 Rock Radio and John Brent back at the helm.

Death of The Ball

The show remained on the airwaves until January 1995, when MTV abruptly canceled the show without any prior warning to viewers, Riki Rachtman, or the production staff. The European version, hosted by Vanessa Warwick, was on the air until 1997 and axed to an hour and a half (from three hours in past years).

Rachtman was informed of the cancellation days afterward when, after filming what would end up being the final episode, he was simply informed via phone call that he would not have to show up to work the following week. [citation needed] No official reason was given for the show's cancellation, but considering the strong promotion of grunge and alternative rock in the early and mid '90s, Headbangers Ball found itself airing content that already had exposure on more mainstream MTV programming. Such factors could point to its supposedly deteriorating relevance.

Still, given the popularity of The Ball, many MTV fans were outraged at the show's abrupt cancellation[citation needed], denying Rachtman and the production staff the chance to inform viewers that the show was going off the air, or to allow them to put together a "farewell show" for the loyal viewers of Headbangers Ball[citation needed] . To this day, many critics of MTV cite the cancellation of Headbangers Ball as one of the key decisions which caused the network to "jump the shark."[citation needed] The demise of The Ball also came in at #4 on VH1's 40 Least Metal Moments in 2005.[1]

Over the years, MTV Europe attempted to fill the void left by the cancellation of Headbangers Ball with other rock-themed block programs such as the Julia Valet-hosted Superock, but all have failed for various reasons - including MTV's attempt to make these replacements more mainstream friendly with Top 40 and alternative rock videos added to the shows.

Rebirth: Headbangers Ball redux

Headbangers Ball volume 2 logo.

After nearly a decade of the show being off the air, MTV2 reintroduced the series on Saturday, May 10, 2003 for an 11 pm ET schedule. The revived Headbangers Ball initially featured the same sort of "mainstream and non-mainstream" playlist format as its previous incarnation, as well as informative interviews with heavy metal artists old and new. The debut episode also gave hosting duties to Metallica;[2] following episodes would feature other mainstream bands hosting such as Staind and Deftones until Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta became full-time host. However, other musicians, including Phil Anselmo, Dave Mustaine, and Wayne Static, hosted on various occasions while Hatebreed was on tour. After debuting, the show's central focus would eventually shift from aforementioned mainstream acts that were already featured on other MTV2 programming to concentrate on growing or underground scenes such as metalcore, death metal, and thrash metal.

During VH1's 40 Least Metal Moments countdown, musicians criticized the current incarnation of The Ball in comparison with the original, citing its "scripted" studio feel and lack of excitement. Indeed, the new version rarely ventures beyond airing music videos and subdued, in-studio interviews.



Starting with the January 13, 2007 episode, Headbangers Ball is simply a block of heavy metal music videos with no VJ segments or artist interviews, as at that time MTV2 was in the process of firing its production staff, thus removing all VJs from its music video shows.[3] However, the June 23, 2007 episode went behind the scenes of the induction of the late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, including segments covering the event in between music videos. [4] Also, brief interview segments still frequently air before and after commercial breaks, typically re-airing on several consecutive episodes for a long period.

As of April 14, 2007, MTV2 has moved the show to the 11 pm-1 am ET time slot to make room for its Saturday Rock the Deuce music video program, which is more oriented towards alternative rock and hard rock in contrast with Headbangers Ball, to air at 10:00 P.M. Headbangers Ball is replayed on MTV2 early Tuesday mornings from 4:00 to 6:00 A.M. [5]

By early 2008, Headbangers Ball had clearly become a lower priority program. While new episodes still air, it has, on occasion, been pushed several hours into early Sunday morning or simply not aired at all. Assuming its schedule would instead be years-old reruns of shows such as Jackass and Viva La Bam.

As of late 2009, Headbanger's Ball has been moved to Tuesday mornings at 3am and is only an hour long.

International versions

Headbangers Ball has numerous international spinoffs, with each international version regionally tailor-made to play music videos from artists based in the regions where the international Headbangers Ball is aired.

Unlike many MTV programs, Headbangers Ball is not featured on any Canadian networks. MuchMusic does air a similar show called Loud, but it is currently only on for a half hour, features no regular host, and is frequently subject to preemptions.

There are several different versions of the show made for European viewers. For Western and Northern Europe, MTV Two airs their version of the series Tuesdays at 11:00 P.M. Western European Time. [6] On MTV Adria, serving most of the Balkan Peninsula, Headbangers Ball airs for 1.5 hours once a week on Monday at 11pm, without a host but usually with short interviews with different metal bands. The show uses the original logo.

MTV2 UK airs their version of the show on Tuesday at 12.00AM and lasts until 1:00AM. These shows ware presented by various artists from the hard rock/metal genres, but now just shows music videos. This version of the show also uses the original logo.
Headbangers Ball airs twice a week on MTV Australia, mostly late Mondays at midnight and late Thursdays at 1:00AM without a host. MTV Japan airs the series for half an hour late Tuesdays at 3:00 JST, with encore late Sundays at 2:00.[7]

It also airs twice weekly on Sundays and Fridays on MTV Arabia at Midnight (Cairo Local Time). The show debuted on 2 November 2008 on the newest channel in the MTV network. The debut was a failure though, as the channel showed the name of Headbangers Ball during the one hour segment, but didn't actually air any Rock/Metal music in this hour. Instead, other music genres were aired, especially Hip Hop. The channel sent out newsletters the next day announcing the debut for the following week at the same time. When asked about the incident, MTV Arabia officials did not reply.[8] The show actually debuted the following week, with a fair line up of videos, and huge success.


Headbangers Ball merchandise, including a tablature book and three CD sets featuring artists such as Hatebreed, Opeth, DevilDriver, God Forbid, Chimaira, Sevendust, Lacuna Coil, Atreyu, Shadows Fall, Children of Bodom, Lamb of God, A Life Once Lost, Cradle of Filth, Deftones, and Godsmack have also been released.

Each album contains at least one live song. The first Headbangers Ball compilation featured "Raining Blood" by Slayer as its live track[9], the second compilation used an in-studio performance of "My Tortured Soul" by Probot[10], and the latest compilation had two live tracks: "A Bid Farewell" by Killswitch Engage and "Now You've Got Something To Die For" by Lamb of God.[11]

To date, three compilations of songs featured on the Headbangers Ball series have been released in the United States. They are all structured very similarly to the television program, with the first disc featuring well-known bands, while the second disc focuses on more obscure acts. Songs featuring Slipknot band members Corey Taylor and Joey Jordison have appeared on all three albums, with Taylor's side project Stone Sour contributing "Inhale" and Jordison's project Murderdolls featuring "Dead in Hollywood" on the first[9] and two songs by Slipknot - Duality, and Before I Forget - appearing on the second[10] and third compilation[11], respectively. Other bands that have appeared on all three compilations include Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, and In Flames.[9][10][11]


External links


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