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Head or tails?

Headbangers now have a safety device. The School Of Risk And Safety at the University Of New South Wales has proposed neck braces to prevent injuries from excessive excitement at rock concerts, writes Parag Kamani.

music Updated: Jan 28, 2009 14:28 IST
Parag Kamani

Headbangers now have a safety device. The School Of Risk And Safety at the University Of New South Wales has proposed neck braces to prevent injuries from excessive excitement at rock concerts. The School has compiled 11 head-banging songs at concerts by Motorhead, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Ozzy Osbourne, Ratt, WASP and Whitesnake.

Head-banging is a way of listening to music with the head and neck moving up and down, in circular motion or side-to-side, in sync with the sound.

Butt off
The School has announced that songs which have a rhythm of 146 beats per minute or quicker combined with head-banging arcs of 45 degrees or more are potential reasons for head and neck injuries. The study adds that you no longer need to butt your head against the stage or with the fan next to you to injure yourself.

It observes that in 2005, doctors admitted that the guitarist of the American alternative metal band, Evanescence, even experienced a stroke from head-banging.

Head-banging is believed to have commenced at a Led Zeppelin concert in 1968 but founders, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, have not commented on the study. Their response would probably be a head-and-neck movement from side-to-side which, for all practical purposes, means that they would completely disagree.

Flipside story
But there is a downside to the study. How credible is it? There is no reference to the 11 songs which were analysed. However, researchers did compare the songs against the tempo of — ouch! — Whitney Houston’s I will always love you (a Dolly Parton composition), Lionel Richie’s Hello and Babe by Styx.

While the School has also suggested that record companies label albums with — egad! — head-banging warnings, they are not demanding a statutory warning which says that it’s safer to shake your booty than your head.

Just to ensure that I wasn’t going nuts reading — or writing — about this study, I recharged my senses by watching actors Mike Myers and Dana Carvey head-bang in Wayne’s World to one of the classic songs of all-time: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. You should too!