Diamond Head are an English heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and is acknowledged by later bands like Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence. Formed by school friends in 1976 Brian Tatler and Duncan Scott with Tatler playing on a cheap fuzzy guitar and Scott on biscuit tins. The name "Diamond Head" came from a Phil Manzanera album that Tatler had a poster of in his room. Sean Harris later joined the band after they learned about his vocal abilities while on a school trip, singing Gene Vincent's 1956 hit "Be-Bop-A-Lula", and auditioned him in Tatler's bedroom. Bassist Colin Kimberley, a friend of Tatler's from primary school, joined the band in 1978 (and was in fact Diamond Head's fourth bassist). The band started to play local gigs in the Black Country area, with their first gig at High Park School in Stourbridge on 10 February 1977 but things did not go too smoothly at that gig, with feedback problems marring the start of the concert.
In their early days, the band played few cover songs and concentrated on their own material. Exceptions were Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", "Its All For The Love of Rock and Roll" by the Tuff Darts and "Motorhead" by Motörhead. In one interview, Brian Tatler stated that they wrote some 100 songs before their first studio recorded release, and only one song (It's Electric) from their 1978 set was recorded for their debut.
The band recorded self-financed demo tapes in 1979. Recorded within six hours on a four-track, their unique sound and quality of writing gained enough attention for the band to tour as support to AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Although several record companies expressed interests in signing the band, no contracts were forthcoming. The band was at the time mainly managed by Sean Harris' mother (Linda Harris),who reportedly turned down an offer from the influent Leiber/Krebs Management,. Thus while other 'New Wave of British Heavy Metal' bands were signed to major labels and headlining their own tours Diamond Head remained independent. The management decided that they would release their material through their own label; 'Happy Face Records'.
The first release was the 1979 single "Shoot Out The Lights" (B-side Helpless), second single "Sweet and Innocent" (B-side "Streets of Gold") was released by Media Records in 1980.
In the same year the band also recorded their debut album on Happy Face. Most commonly known as Lightning to the Nations, (although it was officially untitled), the collection was recorded in seven days at The Old Smythy Studio in Worcester, a venue which the band described later as 'dead'. The album was packaged in a plain sleeve with no title or track listings, simply bearing a signature of one of the band members. The reason for this was that the band's co-manager, Reg Fellows owned a cardboard factory and could produce blank sleeves at a suitably low cost. Only 1000 copies were originally pressed and made available at concerts or via mail-order for £3.50. The only mail-order advertisement appeared in Sounds and ran for four weeks. The band did not pay for the advertisement and ended up being sued. The idea for recording this album came from Fellows and Linda Harris as an attempt to record tracks to entice attention from a record company, which would take care of the recording costs.
This album has become one of the most sought after items among record collectors. Another 1000 copies were pressed along with the track listings at a later date. Unfortunately, the original stereo master tapes were lost after they were sent to the German record company, Woolfe Records, and never returned. However, Woolfe Records released a version of the album, and later re-released via Sanctuary Records in 2001. Fanart Banner