The term “headbanger” was coined during Led Zeppelin‘s first US tour in 1969. During a show at the Boston Tea Party, audience members in the first row were banging their heads against the stage in rhythm with the music.
Lemmy from Motörhead, however, said in an interview on the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years, that the term “Headbanger” may have originated in the band’s name, as in “Motorheadbanger”.
Ian Gillan, frontman of Deep Purple, when asked if he invented headbanging, said, “That’s a definite possibility”.
In 2005, Terry Balsamo, Evanescence guitarist, incurred a stroke from headbanging. There have also been cases of people incurring whiplash from headbanging such as Craig Jones of Slipknot and it is common to experience headaches and stiff or sore necks as a result of headbanging
There are various styles of headbanging. Various styles are often mixed together according to taste and to the tempo and heaviness of the music. They can also be performed with eyes closed and/or in combination with hand gestures such as the sign of the horns, singing, yelling, and lip syncing. Headbangers’ bodies usually bang with the head, reducing the strain on the neck and making the body move in a serpentine, up-and-down fashion to the music. There are a number of different stances a headbanger can adopt, from a wide stance with one foot farther in front than the other to feet wide apart to either side. The stance chosen is usually determined to gain the best base for the headbanger to keep their balance and avoid falling over. Another popular style of headbanging is windmill headbanging.