The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time


486 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55022-530-8
DDC 781.66





Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


Everyone from preteens to baby boomers shares an interest in heavy
metal. The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time gives fans of all ages
a chance to debate on common ground.

This well-researched and entertaining book is the result of a huge poll
through which the heavy metal standard favourites of 18,000 participants
were tallied and rated. The author took the final listing and
interviewed members of the various groups, so that almost each entry has
anecdotes, quotations, or reflections from the artists who released the
song. The artist notes include reflections on performing live (Ozzie
Osborne), on “keeping it natural” (Van Halen), and on staying
grounded (T.N.T.). Each entry also includes the album, the label, the
year, and the number of points garnered in the poll. Popoff, who writes
in an easy, conversational style, often reminds the reader that this is
just one list and, as such, is not carved in stone.

Appendix 1 lists the songs rated by points, Appendix 2 sorts the top
500 by band, Appendix 3 lists the points of the 10 top countries of
origin, and Appendix 4 contains “Some Freewheeling Observations” by
Popoff. In this last section, he mentions some of the bands that
surprised the compilers by not making the cut for the top 500 and others
that didn’t get mentioned at all.

Popoff, a Toronto-based rock critic, has written four previous books on
heavy metal.


Popoff, Martin., “The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,