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The Loudest Bands in History

January 22, 2021

Rock music has taken on many shapes over the last half-century. From the consumed theatrics of KISS and Slipknot to the raw simplicity of AC/DC, audiences continuously pack stadiums to get a taste of the rock ‘n’ roll energy.  But no matter the band on the bill, you can count on one thing — rock concerts are going to be loud.

We’re all about finding ways to keep noise in at Soundproof Cow, but today we wanted to take some time to appreciate the bands whose sound just couldn’t be contained. Once upon a time, the Guinness Book of World Records kept track and certified the loudest bands on the touring circuit. Today, we know the kind of damage that extreme decibel levels can cause to our ears, but it’s still fun to reflect.

Eight Earsplitting Rock Performances

Here are eight rock performances that truly shook the earth:

1. Deep Purple, 1972: Rainbow Theater in London, U.K. (117dB): Deep Purple cracked the record books with this earth-shaking performance, but they also knocked three out of their 3,000 listeners unconscious.

2. The Who, 1976: The Valley in London, UK (126dB): Guitarist Pete Townsend suffered permanent hearing damage as a result of this set at the home of the Charlton Athletic FC and others like it. The band’s record stood for eight years.

3. Led Zeppelin, 1969: Honolulu International Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii (130dB): One of the first truly-loud rock acts, Led Zeppelin took the crown during their performance of “Heartbreaker” in Hawaii, though many say “Whole Lotta Love” was just as loud.

4. AC/DC, 1980: Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (130dB): After this performance, venues told AC/DC to turn it down for the rest of their tour. The rock icons came back in black again over three decades later in 2015, hitting 103dB ins Australia.

5. Motörhead, 1986: Cleveland Valley Theatre in Ohio (130dB): Cleveland’s famous Spanish Gothic concert hall couldn’t handle Motörhead’s heart-pounding hard rock. The venue literally cracked under the pressure of the sound, sending debris falling down into the crowd. The band had no choice but to power down so the building could be repaired.

6. KISS, 2009: Bluesfest in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (136dB): After decades in the industry, KISS blew the Bluesfest volume limit out of the water by 46dB. Officials stepped in and ordered for the sound crew to turn it down.

7. Leftfield, 1996: Brixton Academy in London, U.K. (137dB): A popular electronica group in the late 1990s, Leftfield followed in Motörhead’s footsteps and shook the rafters to the point where chunks of plaster fell from the ceiling.

8. Manowar, 2008: Magic Circle Festival in Bad Arolsen, Germany (139dB): Like true heavy metal icons, Manowar broke the decibel record at their own festival in front of a crowd of 35,000 listeners. This wasn’t their first rodeo, however. The band peaked at 129dB once before during a 1984 show in Hanover, Germany.

Rock Out Worry-Free

Let’s face it — playing loud is just too fun. But if your neighbors could use a break, consider soundproofing solutions from Soundproof Cow. Keep up with our blog to learn more about impressive feats of sound as well as some helpful noise-reduction tips. To see how you can benefit from a soundproofing solution, contact our team today.