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Top 10 Loudest Bands of All Time

Discussion in 'Book of Lists' started by That 70s Guy, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. That 70s Guy

    That 70s Guy Blue On Black Staff Member

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    Mötorhead

    The exact dB levels of concerts by these punk-fueled granddaddies of speed and thrash metal – the sonic foundation of groups like Metallica and Napalm Death – is not published, but there are so many anecdotal tales of their outrageous displays of howling volume that they’ve earned their place on this list in spades and aces. Mötorhead titled their third album Everything Louder Than Everyone Else… ’Nuff said.


    The Who

    These days The Who don’t seem terribly dangerous, with Pete Townshend wielding his Gibson SJ-200 as often as he hefts an electric axe. But in 1976 they earned a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for achieving a measured 126 dB roughly 100 feet from stage at the Valley, a London sports arena, touring behind The Who By Numbers.


    MC5

    According to their manger John Sinclair, Detroit’s MC5 were so loud they practiced with their Marshall 4x12 cabinets face-down flat on the ground, with the speakers firing straight into the floor. “Kick Out the Jams” wasn’t just a song to this influential pre-punk outfit; it was their manta. Part of that balls-out-all-the-time attitude was raw volume pushed to the maximum. Another part was sheer endurance. When they played at the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago to protest the war in Vietnam, their set lasted eight hours.


    AC/DC

    In the early 1980s these Aussie maniacs were hell bent on becoming the world’s loudest band, fueled in large part by Angus Young’s Gibson SG-powered wall of amps. During the Back in Black tour, the group turned in a series of concerts at a whopping 130 dB. Complaints from promoters, however, moved the group to drop things down a few notches to the mere bone-crunching volume they play at today.


    My Bloody Valentine

    These modernist art rockers from Dublin use volume as a tool for creating fireworks and swirls within their textural guitar sound. Live, their feedback spikes and eddies of pitch-bent notes create an intoxicating and occasionally disorienting effect which is even more mesmerizing than it is painful to the naked ear. Expect no kindness from a group named after a 1981 Canadian slasher flick that was compelled to cut nine minutes of gore by the Motion Picture Association of America before it could be released the theaters.


    Deep Purple

    This might sound like urban legend, but The Guinness Book of World Records crowned Deep Purple the world’s loudest band after a 1972 concert at London’s 3,000-seat Rainbow Theater that rendered three fans unconscious with the intense pressure created by 117 dB of sound in an enclosed space. As Robert Ripley said, “Believe it or not!”


    Led Zeppelin

    Writer David Krebs made the case in Rolling Stone that Led Zeppelin’s live performances of “Whole Lotta Love” were the loudest on stage in 1970. But the year before that, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has already proven Zep’s big sound credibility by measuring a performance of “Heartbreaker” at 130 dB.


    Manowar

    These metal mongers from New York State are literally the band that broke the record on volume. After they scored Guinness’ recognition for the loudest musical performance at 129.5 db in 1984, they claim to have reached or exceeded that level again in 1994, but this time the famed book of records refused to acknowledge that accomplishment. Guinness had stopped including a category for world’s loudest band, supposedly because of the dangers of hearing damage caused by record seekers.


    Leftfield

    How loud must a group be to bring the roof down? For British electronica excessives Leftfield, the answer was an excruciating 137 dB in June 1996 at South London’s Brixton Academy, where chunks of plaster and dust began raining on their dance-crazed audience.


    KISS

    Thirty-six-years into their career KISS were still making headlines and defying gravitas. During a 2009 concert in Ottawa the group was reportedly clocked at 136 dB and were forced to turn down after police responded to complaints from neighbors in the area around the sports arena.
     
  2. Slip'nn2Darkness

    Slip'nn2Darkness Sub Sonic Soul Shaker

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    Ted Nugent or ZZ Top :heheh: My ears rang for weeks..
     
  3. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Now that is what I call a true "Loudness War"...:)

    Brings back memories reading all those excerpts, but at the same time playing your music as loud or louder than a jet engine is a little insane. I've always enjoyed the dynamic range differential at a live show more than the sheer volume level. And the bass and drum kit being given enough low range/power to transmit the sense of power at a live show.

    A footnote about Pete Townshend, he has lost almost all his hearing, he will be deaf within a few years due to the amount of exposure to live music over his career. Ted Nugent, Eric Clapton and Al Di Meola all are suffering with various amounts of hearing loss as well.

    The i-pod generation about 10 years from now will be the largest number of young people suffering hearing loss in history, because playing loud music on headphones/earbuds is about as bad as it gets. The equivalent of using heavy equipment without hearing protection.
     
  4. coltrane2

    coltrane2 Musicologist

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    I think Blue Cheer were officially the loudest band ever in terms of dbs. I saw Cheap Trick in the UK just over a year ago and the volume was incredible!
     
  5. Sunny

    Sunny Settling down at last

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    I went to see Yngwie Malmsteen in a smallish venue and talk about LOUD!! My whole body was vibrating during the gig and my hearing wasn't the best the next day :D
     
  6. Lynch

    Lynch Rockin' Out

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    Went to one particular Ratt concert back in like 1989 or so. Had 3rd row just left of center stage (in front of Robin Crosby). That concert was SO loud, I couldn't hear anything out of my left ear for almost 3 days. It just rang and 'buzzed' for a long time.
     
  7. Sunny

    Sunny Settling down at last

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    ^^^^ I wonder how many people have poor hearing due to going to loud rock concerts.
     
  8. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff List Writer Staff Member

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    That would likely be from not wearing ear plugs. To me it is utterly idiotic to not use them at concerts.
     
  9. Sunny

    Sunny Settling down at last

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    I am an idiot then :D I'll have to get some - mind you there is nothing wrong with my hearing ...................... yet.
     
  10. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff List Writer Staff Member

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    I do still think its foolish to not use them, people always get on my case about using them, its like well if you wanna go deaf its not my place to tell you not to, I intend to keep my hearing. :)
    I can't hear the distinct tone of the music without them. It is all just distorted sound to me.
     

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