Headbanging is a type of dance which involves violently shaking the head in time with music, most commonly rock music and heavy metal music.


The term "headbanger" was coined during Led Zeppelin's first US tour in 1968.Fact|date=July 2007 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. They allegedly played with only 1 album released over four hours of music.

Lemmy from Motörhead, however, said in an interview on the documentary "", that the term "Headbanger" may have originated in the band's name, as in "Motorheadbanger". But this is merely speculation and hasn't been proven as of yet. Fact|date=December 2007

Health issues

In 2005, Terry Balsamo, Evanescence guitarist, received a stroke from headbanging. [ [http://ultimate-guitar.com/interviews/interviews/evanescence_guitarist_filling_ben_moodys_shoes.html Evanescence Guitarist: Filling Ben Moody's Shoes | Interviews @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com ] ] There have also been cases of people receiving whiplash from headbanging, and it is not uncommon for some to receive headaches and bloody noses from headbanging. It is assumed that headbanging is the cause of these symptoms, but no medical studies have been conducted regarding the relationship between injury and headbanging.


There are various styles of headbanging, including:
*"The up and down": the most common style, which involves shaking the head up and down. This style is demonstrated at the climax of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene in the movie "Wayne's World". It was also commonly used by the cartoon characters Beavis and Butt-head.

*The "circular swing": swinging the head in a circular motion. This style is more commonly known as the Windmill or Helicopter. It was popularized by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse, and is used by members of Slipknot, Meshuggah, Voivod bassist Jason Newsted (formerly of Metallica), Dimebag Darrell, Brian Fair of Shadows Fall, Corey Beaulieu of Trivium, Matt Tuck of Bullet For My Valentine, Jordan Mancino of As I Lay Dying, Joseph Bender, Jacob Clamp, and Damien Richardson of Indecent Exposure, Former Cradle of Filth guitarist James Mcilroy (who is known to do it much faster than most artists do), Cradle of Filth guitarist Charles Hedger, and Catacomb bassist Marcus Hutchens, to name a few. Some bands also put into practice synchronized windmilling (simply headbanging in unison), like Amon Amarth (four members of which windmill at once), Behemoth, Dethklok, Devildriver, and Apocalyptica members Eicca Toppinen and Perttu Kivilaakso.

*The "whip": A similar headbang to the windmill. While in circular motion, the person slows down on one side, then speeds up on the other.

*"Drunk style": a form of head banging in random directions, as if the person is drunk. This style is used often by Sid Wilson of Slipknot

*The "half-circle" or "V" : swinging the head repeatedly from side to side in a downward arc, pendulum motion or swinging the head down at an angle towards the middle of the body and up at an angle away from the body. This style is often used by Tom Araya of Slayer, members of Blind Guardian, and Olavi Mikkonen of Amon Amarth.

*The "figure eight": shaking the head in a figure eight. This rare movement is used by Unearth frontman Trevor Phipps, and can be seen doing this in their music video for "This Glorious Nightmare". The headbanging style can also be seen performed by the lead guitarist of Mnemic in the music video for their song "Deathbox", especially during the first chorus line.Fact|date=July 2008

*The "side to side": shaking the head from side to side, whipping the hair on each transition. This style is used by Wayne Static of Static-X, Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, James Root of Slipknot (during the "build-up" moments of a song), Martin Mendez of Opeth, Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo. In the music video Sheena Is A Parasite by The Horrors, the girl is doing a "side to side" style. The side to side is also known as the nono bang (shaking head in disagreement/no).

*The "whiplash": an especially violent form of the traditional "up and down" style, characterized by the hair of the headbanger moving about so rapidly that it obscures their face. This style has been used by Mick Thomson of Slipknot and late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton and Concrete Lip singer Michael Maloney.

*The "Two up, Two down": Similar in style to the "whiplash" but instead of moving alternately up and down to the beat, the performer executes two beats 'down' and two beats 'up'. This is an attempt to accurately mimic the movements of Angus Young who appears to only 'go down' every other beat. When performed properly, the heel of the back leg is lifted on the 'down' strokes, and the heel of the front leg is lifted on the 'up' strokes.

*The "all-out": dropping on the ground, holding oneself up with the arms, and violently swinging the head between the arms. This style sometimes involves grabbing onto tables and other fixed objects, as their head movements have become so violent they seriously affect balance. Vaughan Cook and Sid Wilson from Slipknot often perform this style of headbanging during their live sets.

*The "thrust": an antisocial form of headbanging where the person violently swings forwards and backwards from their waist, often headbutting people in front of them, or in more extreme circumstances, behind them.

*The "hammer": a form of headbanging performed by Till Lindemann of Rammstein and Mathias Nygård of Turisas. It is performed by semi-squatting and hitting the opposite knee of the hand you're doing the hammer motion to, while moving your head side to side or up and down. The speed of the Hammer fist goes hand in hand with the drum beat.

*The "breakdown": When several members of a band (especially guitarists, if there are two) all headbang simultaneously in a violent "down and back" variant during a particularly intense part of a song. Korn were especially known for this during performances of the song "Blind".

*The "low-profile": a variation of the "up and down" where the performer's headbanging movements are short and more subtle, but still noticeable. This style of headbanging is used by Kerry King of Slayer, former Opeth guitarist Peter Lindgren, and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.

*The "full body": also known as the body bang, is a variation of the "up and down" where the performer brings the head down to almost his knees, brings it back up does a standard shake down, and then goes back down to the knees, in a swinging motion, used extensively by Jens Kidman of Meshuggah, Jason Peppiatt, the vocalist of Psycroptic, Tim Lambesis, vocalist of As I Lay Dying and Jonathan Davis, vocalist of Korn.

*"Happy headbanging": in this variant, the performer swings from left to right from the hips and keeping the upper body straight while doing so. This creates a metronome-like motion. It is sometimes combined with slowly bending down and up using the knees.

*The "gallop": also known as the skip. It is a variation of the "up and down" where the performer bobs his head down, then moves the body back and lightly bobs downward, then repeats.

*The "half body": Similar to the Full Body, the half body is a bizarre variation of the "up and down" where the performer keeps their head straight, but bends at the hips, usually in time with every second beat of the song. Usually the performer only bends to approximately a 45-degree angle, to maintain balance. This style of headbanging can be seen performed in tandem by James Root and Paul Gray of Slipknot, in their live performance in the movie "Rollerball". It is possible this style of headbanging was formed by guitarists who found conventional headbanging too distracting while performing. This form of headbanging is used in Family Force 5's video for the song Love Addict. Various styles are often mixed together according to taste and to the tempo and aggressiveness of the music. They can also be performed with eyes closed and/or in combination with hand gestures such as devil horns, singing, yelling, and lip syncing. Headbangers' bodies usually bang with the head, reducing the strain on the neck and making the body move in a serpentine, up-and-down fashion to the music. There are a number of different stances a headbanger can stand in, which include:

*Standing up straight. This is most commonly performed with the legs slightly apart, mainly to keep balance.
*Standing with the legs slightly bent and the hands on the knees or thighs. This is a common stance for headbangers performing the half-circle, as it allows maximum movement and balance.
*Standing with the hands behind the back.
*Standing with one leg in front and one behind, with the hands held together near the lower body. This style is often used in tight spaces or to alleviate cramp and maintain balance.
*Standing with legs extremely stretched to the front and back of the body, lowering the head and body as low as possible to avoid loss of balance, while shredding an Air guitar, usually with the hand holding the guitar neck placed on the according knee and the other one lowered to "pick the strings".
*Standing with arms crossed and feet slightly apart.
*Put your hands on the ground and swing head between arms in a windmill type motion.A headbanger can also perform while seated, crowd surfing, or in a number of other positions.

ee also

* stage diving
* crowd surfing
* air guitar
* Mano cornuto (devil horns)
* list of dances
* A Night at the Roxbury
* "Headbangers Ball"
* The Headbangers


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • headbanging — ☆ headbanging or head banging [hed′baŋ΄iŋ ] n. rhythmical moving of the head up and down in dancing to HEAVY METAL adj. of or having to do with HEAVY METAL * * * …   Universalium

  • headbanging — ► NOUN ▪ violent rhythmic shaking of the head by fans of heavy metal music …   English terms dictionary

  • headbanging — ☆ headbanging or head banging [hed′baŋ΄iŋ ] n. rhythmical moving of the head up and down in dancing to HEAVY METAL adj. of or having to do with HEAVY METAL …   English World dictionary

  • Headbanging — El headbanging es un tipo de movimiento que involucra la sacudida violenta de la cabeza al ritmo de la música, por lo general en el heavy metal, aunque han existido danzas similares que se han llevado a cabo con otros estilos musicales desde hace …   Wikipedia Español

  • Headbanging — Headbangen Headbangen (auch „Headbanging“ oder „Bangen“) ist eine Tanzform, die hauptsächlich von Metal Fans praktiziert wird. Beim Headbangen wird der Kopf im Takt der Musik schnell vor und rückwärts, seitwärts, im Kreis oder in Achterform… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Headbanging — Head|ban|ging [ hɛdbɛŋɪŋ ], das; s [zu engl. headbanger = Verrückter, eigtl. jmd., der seinen Kopf ruckartig bewegt]: heftige rhythmische Kopfbewegung (bes. bei stark rhythmisierter Musik). * * * Headbanging   [englisch, hedbæȖɪȖ; wörtlich »mit… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • headbanging — /ˈhɛdbæŋɪŋ / (say hedbanging) noun 1. a style of dancing to heavy metal music in which the dancer shakes the head violently. 2. the action of banging the head against something or shaking the head violently, sometimes while rocking the body, as… …   Australian English dictionary

  • headbanging — noun A type of dance associated with rock or heavy metal music, in which the head is shaken violently in time with music …   Wiktionary

  • Headbanging — style of dancing to heavy metal music in which the dancer shakes the head violently …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • headbanging — Australian Slang style of dancing to heavy metal music in which the dancer shakes the head violently …   English dialects glossary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.