Music Dorkery

Did The Who Invent Death-Growled Vocals in Their 1966 Song “Boris the Spider?”

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The Who 1966, via The Academy Art Collection
The Who 1966, via The Academy Art Collection

MetalSucks reader Anthony B. emailed us yesterday to tell us about “Boris the Spider,” a song on The Who’s 1966 album A Quick One that he speculates might’ve been the first ever recorded example of what would later come to be known as growled vocals. Not being much of an expert on The Who I’d never heard the song before… and, well, Anthony’s got a point! Those are some fierce growls.

Sure, the vocals in this John Entwistle-penned tune aren’t quite GROWLED, per se — more like gurgled in a very low fashion — but they could probably pass the ear test with any of today’s modern metal bands, and they don’t have the benefit of being doctored up like most recordings today.

So, historians, you tell us: is this the FIRST ever recorded example of vocals in this style? Or did Elvis let out a ferocious death growl we’re not privy to? Chime in below.

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