In August 1984 Metallica, Anthrax and Raven played New York’s Roseland Ballroom. Anthrax opened the show, then came Metallica and the headliners were Raven. Jon Zazula was the promoter of the show, forming Megaforce Records to sign and promote all three bands. He sure did his homework/promotions and over 3,000 people attended the show, along with a lot of major label executives.
For Raven, it was an accumulation of ten years hard work to get to this point. They built up their career by playing all the tough and confrontational workingman clubs in Northern England.
As was the norm for bands of that era, early albums on smaller independent labels led to major label contracts. Raven was no exception and a major label deal with Atlantic Records followed after. The pressures to deliver a more commercial sounding album that could cross over, alienated the original fans and didn’t really gain any new fans.
Today, Raven is more or less forgotten. Spotify stats are under 20,000 streams. YouTube has the song “On And On” at 211,697 views and “Lay Down The Law” has 171,772 views. No one is listening to them.
For Metallica, that show was the biggest show for the band up to that point. Michael Alago former A&R, at Elektra Records was there in attendance and he wanted to sign to Metallica to the label.
Today, “Enter Sandman” has 31,205,811 streams on Spotify and the official video on YouTube has 40,758,247 views, while a live version has 72,499,306 views. “Nothing Else Matters” has 27,925,987 streams on Spotify and the official video on YouTube has 62,987,299 views while a live version has 40,884,893 views. “One” has 86,077,668 views on YouTube and 13,304,900 streams on Spotify.
For Anthrax the show was a combination of three years hard work to that point for the band. The band wouldn’t get a major label deal until after “Persistence Of Time” when Elektra came knocking. On Spotify, “Madhouse” has been streamed 1,716,342 times. On YouTube the same song has been viewed 6,986,320 times. “Indians” has 4,279,543 views on YouTube and 732,107 streams on Spotify. “Got The Time” has 3,606,042 views on YouTube and 1,442.115 streams on Spotify.
Clearly the opening bands went on to great achievements compared to the headliners. The record labels that signed them would be flush with cash from the sales of records.
Elektra struck big with Metallica.With each album release Metallica kept on getting bigger and bigger.
Megaforce kept Anthrax up for about 8 years before Elektra came in circa 1992 (for the John Bush-era)
Meanwhile Atlantic didn’t get the results they wanted from Raven. After three disappointing albums (the first one was the strongest of all three), Atlantic dropped them.
It’s funny how the music business works.