Loudest band in the world

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The loudest band in the world is a subject of some dispute in musical circles. Many bands have claimed to be the loudest, measuring this in various ways including with decibel meters at concerts and by engineering analysis of the CDs on which their albums are published.

Decibel records[edit]


During the recording of Outsideinside by Blue Cheer, the band were ejected from the recording studio for being too loud, and recorded some of the tracks in a warehouse at Pier 57 on the Hudson River, New York City. The performance was so loud that people on boats at 14 kilometers away complained that they could hear the noise. Drummer Paul Whaley hit the drums so hard he had to wear golf gloves.[citation needed]

Jim Morrison of The Doors called the group "The single most powerful band I've ever seen."[1]


Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone argues that "Whole Lotta Love" established Led Zeppelin's reputation as one of the loudest bands of their time.[2]


Deep Purple held the record and were recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the "globe's loudest band" when in a concert at the London Rainbow Theatre their sound reached 117 dB. Three of their audience members were rendered unconscious.[3][4]


The Who were listed as the "record holder", at 126 dB, measured at a distance of 32 meters from the speakers at a concert at The Valley in London on 31 May 1976.[5]

1984 and 1994[edit]

The heavy metal band Manowar is one claimant of the title of "loudest band in the world",[6] citing a measurement of 129.5 dB in 1994 in Hanover.[7] However, The Guinness Book of World Records listed Manowar as the record holder for the loudest musical performance for an earlier performance in 1984. Guinness does not recognize Manowar's later claim, because it no longer includes a category of loudest band, reportedly because it does not want to encourage hearing damage.[8][9][10][11]


In 1986, an article by Scott Cohen was published in the February issue of Spin entitled "Motörhead is the Loudest Band on Earth".[12] In this article, Cohen mentions an undated concert in which the Cleveland Variety Theater was damaged when the band Motörhead reached a reported decibel level of 130.[12] Cohen reported that this was 10 decibels louder than the record set by The Who.[12]


Pioneering English House/Electronica band Leftfield became known for the volume of its live shows on the tour to support their debut album Leftism. In June 1996, while the group was playing at Brixton Academy, the sound system caused dust and plaster to fall from the roof. Sound volume was 137 dB.[13]


Hanson set a record for the loudest crowd at a concert, at an eardrum-obliterating 140 decibels (14 decibels louder than previous record-holders The Who). In 2005, Hanson broke Australia's record for loudest concert.


British punk band Gallows allegedly broke Manowar's next to last record for loudest band in the world, claiming to have achieved 132.5 dB; however, this record was claimed in an isolated studio environment as opposed to live.[14]


Manowar achieved a SPL of 139 dB during the sound check (not the actual performance) at the Magic Circle Fest in 2008.[15]


On July 15, 2009, in Ottawa, Canada, the band Kiss achieved a SPL of 136 dB measured during their live performance (not the sound check). After noise complaints from neighbors in the area, the band was forced to turn the volume down.[16]


On December 13, 2011 when the Foo Fighters played in New Zealand, their concert was recorded on the GeoNet seismograph for the duration of their 2½ hour set (although the weight of the fans dancing was a major contributing factor to this)[17] . This is not the only instance of the Foo Fighters playing at extreme volumes; their performance at Tennent's Vital 2012 in Northern Ireland drew noise complaints from up to twelve miles away[18].


The notion of "loudness equals greatness" pervades rock music to the extent that it has been satirized. In the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, the band is presented by the fictional filmmaker Marty di Bergi, as "one of England's loudest bands". One popular joke from the film features Nigel Tufnel displaying the band's amplifiers which are calibrated up to 11, instead of up to 10, allowing them to go "one louder". As a consequence of this, real bands and musicians started buying equipment whose knobs went up to 11, or even higher, with Eddie Van Halen reputedly being the first to do so.[19] Marshall, the company that provided amplifiers for the film that the custom marked knobs were applied to, now sells amplifiers such as its JCM900 (first sold in 1990) whose knobs are marked from 0 to 20.[19][20]

Japanese garage punk band Guitar Wolf humorously claim that their album Jet Generation is the loudest album ever recorded and "may cause irreparable damage to stereo equipment".[citation needed]

The opening track of Manowar's album Sign of the Hammer is titled "All Men Play on Ten", alluding to the idea of loudness; Manowar themselves would go on to set the record for loudest SPL at a live concert, more than once (see below). It may also allude to the fact that they had just signed to Ten Records, their new record label.

Another well-known[citation needed] parody is the fictional band Disaster Area (appearing in Douglas Adams's The Restaurant at the End of the Universe), whose concerts can literally devastate entire planets. The audience listens from a specially-constructed concrete bunker some thirty miles from the stage, and the band plays its instruments by remote control from an even greater distance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American Artists". American Artists. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  2. ^ Kreps, Daniel. “Led Zeppelin II” Turns 40. Rolling Stone
  3. ^ Jason Ankeny. "Deep Purple". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  4. ^ McWhirter, Ross (1975). Guinness Book of World Records (14 ed.). Sterling Pub. Co. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-8069-0012-4. 
  5. ^ Matt Ashare (1999-06-08). "Total Death of Loud: Guitar Wolf, Atari Teenage Riot: louder than bombs". The Village Voice. 
  6. ^ "The World's Loudest Band, Manowar Kicks It Up a Notch with Meyer Sound and Westfalen Sound". Meyer Sound Laboratories Inc. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  7. ^ "Manowar Bio". The Gauntlet. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  8. ^ Dawk Sound Limited. "Manowar's Unofficial Founding Member". 
  9. ^ "Manowar's History". MetalYOU. 
  10. ^ Jose Fritz. "Bright Channel: Flight Approved Records". Ear To The Tracks. Planetary Group, LLC. 
  11. ^ Phil Brodie. "UK & WORLD Record Holders". 
  12. ^ a b c Scott Cohen, "Motorhead is the Loudest Band on Earth", Spin 1, no. 10 (February 1986): 36 ISSN 0886-3032.
  13. ^ "Leftfield Interview" (24). February 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Gallows become the world's loudest band!" (21). Kerrang! magazine. June 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2007. 
  15. ^ "MANOWAR Kicks It Up a Notch with Meyer Sound and Westfalen Sound". antiMusic. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  16. ^ "Bluesfest 2009: Bigger, wetter, quieter. It was 'definitely a successful year'". Ottawa Citizen. July 20, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  17. ^ "GeoNet - Shaken not stirred: Foo Fighters rocked Auckland!". GeoNet. December 15, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Foo Fighters concert provokes noise complaints". BBC. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Karl French (2000-09-22). "The A-Z of Spinal Tap". The Guardian. 
  20. ^ "Eleven". Spinal Tap A to Zed. 

Further reading[edit]