13 Loudest Bands Ever

loudest bands everWe’ve all been to loud gigs, but just how loud is too loud? And who indeed is the loudest?  The pain threshold for human hearing is 120-130 Decibels, but any sound above 85dB can cause hearing loss or damage. Interestingly, the loudest ever sound is estimated at coming from the Tunguska Meteor event that happened near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia back on June 30, 1908. According to Wikipedia, “The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometers (3–6 mi) above Earth’s surface. It was measured with the similar impact of a 1000-Mega-ton bomb with a decibel rating 300-315. This is often considered to be the loudest single-event in history.” So that was a big rock that caused a lot of noise, but what about the act of rock? Just who are the loudest bands ever? Guinness will no longer recognize records in this category due to potential hearing damage so there are a few estimates in this lot.

1. Sleazy Joe
In 2008 the Swedish rockers reportedly hit 143.2dB in Hassleholm, Sweden.

2. Manowar
Manowar apparently hit a SPL of 139 dB during the sound check at the Magic Circle Fest in 2008.

3. Leftfield
In 1996 the English House/Electronica band Leftfield caused dust and plaster to fall from the roof of the Brixton Academy when they hit 137 dB.

4. Kiss
Hit 136dB during a show in Ottowa in 2009. This clip is from that gig!

5. Gallows
British punk band Gallows wanted to set a new record so locked themselves into a studio and turned the amps up to a flab-wobbling 132.5db.

6. Motorhead
In 1986, Motorhead reached a reported decibel level of 130 at the Cleveland Variety Theater.

During the 1980s Back in Black tour, the group churned out a series of concerts at a whopping 130 dB.

8. Led Zeppelin
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has proven Zep’s big sound status by measuring a performance of Heartbreaker at 130 dB.

9. The Who
A record breaking 126 decibel show in London, 1976 may have contributed to Pete Townshend’s damaged hearing…

10. Deep Purple
In 1968 at the London Rainbow Theatre reached 117 dB. Three audience members were rendered unconscious!

11. Foo Fighters
When the Foo Fighters played in New Zealand on December 13, 2011 when, their concert was recorded on the GeoNet seismograph for the duration of the gig.

12. Blue Cheer
While recording of Outsideinside, they were forced to record some songs somewhere else for being too loud. The next session had people on boats 14 kilometers complaining they could hear the noise.

13. Spinal Tap
Well they did turn up to 11…


12 Comments on “13 Loudest Bands Ever

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  3. Loudest gig number 13 deep purple on the history channel they are reporting it was done in 1972 so this post says 1968 wrong probably but then again who gives a fuck

  4. the motorhead show at the variety in cleveland was dec 2, 1984. it brought plaster down throughout the show.

  5. Rawkus an Australian band clocked in at 135 decibels in 1993 at the big concert room at the Grosvenor Hotel in WA. Apparently Guinness after taking the measurement decided to drop the record in future because it was too dangerous. I was there that night. My ears where ringing for a good week afterwards. Definately copped some damage. Sadly because Guiness decided to drop the record from their book, Rawkus never really got the acclaim the deserve, but they held that record for a good 3 years afterwards, recognized or not.

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  8. the guiness book of world records has monowar as the loudest rock band in the world…. others can say theyre louder…. but none of them are official.
    officially manowar are the loudest…. thats an indisputable fact.
    Ive been to many outdoor festivals…. only one band hurt my ears about 100ft from the stage…. that was motorhead.
    indoors the loudest I attended was easily saxon in 1986

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  10. “Angel” at the Capitol Theater in Flint Mich caused hearing loss
    to almost everyone in our group of 12 who attended. The small 600 seat
    venue was filled with a P.A. that was meant for a outdoor festival! Angel’s high
    piercing vocals and the screaming guitar licks of Punky Meadows cause actual
    pain in my ears during the whole show and hearing loss for ever. We were young and stupid in the 70’s and foolishly thought “the louder the better”! WRONG. I just bought
    hearing aids for 5k plus. If I had it to do again I would have at least put some cotton
    in my ears to drop the Db level a titch!

    • You will certainly need a LOT more than some tidbit of junky cotton to do any protection. Sorry. Ever listened to a classical guitar? Very high level of PURE SKILL and musically totally charming, and relaxing in between periods of mild excitement. Much healthier on the entire body/mind system. BUT you have to closely watch the hands. Looks impossible, so you will first have to let your brain regain all the lost development during the recent years of abuse. Still sorry, you will need a good Audiologist AND a Licensed Social Worker too.

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