Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and United States. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock and acid rock, heavy metal bands developed a thick, monumental sound characterized by distorted guitars, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats and loudness.
In 1968, three of the genre's most famous pioneers – Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – were founded. Though they came to attract wide audiences, they were often derided by critics. Several American bands modified heavy metal into more accessible forms during the 1970s: the raw, sleazy sound and shock rock of Alice Cooper and Kiss; the blues-rooted rock of Aerosmith; and the flashy guitar leads and party rock of Van Halen.