Am I Evil?

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"Am I Evil?"
Song by Diamond Head
from the album Lightning to the Nations
Released 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Heavy metal
Length 7:43
Label Happy Face
Producer(s) Diamond Head

"Am I Evil?" is a song by British heavy metal band Diamond Head released on their 1980 debut album Lightning to the Nations. The song was written by vocalist Sean Harris and guitarist Brian Tatler and released on Happy Face Records, a label owned by the producer Muff Murfin of The Old Smithy studio of Worcester. The song was immediately popular among the heavy metal circles in the United Kingdom around the time of its release, but only rose to international prominence after Metallica covered it as a B-side on their "Creeping Death" single in 1984; the cover was re-released on their 1998 covers album Garage Inc.. The song was influenced by the Black Sabbath song "Symptom of the Universe."[1]

Release and reception

The song was originally released on Diamond Head's 1980 debut, Lightning to the Nations, but then also re-recorded for their second album Borrowed Time. It remains a live favourite and is still included in the band's setlist to this day. However, Sean Harris has gotten fed up with continually playing "Am I Evil?", one of the reasons he took the stage dressed as the Grim Reaper during their performance at the National Bowl.

The song has roots with Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" (from The Planets Suite) and used a riff, that was used earlier on "Ring of Fire" by The Eric Burdon Band in 1974.

Cover versions

"Am I Evil?"
Single by Metallica
A-side "Creeping Death"
Released 23 November 1984[2]
Recorded October 1984[3]
(Sausalito, California)
Genre Heavy metal, thrash metal
Length 7:50
Label Megaforce, Elektra
Songwriter(s) Sean Harris, Brian Tatler
Producer(s) Metallica, Mark Whitaker
Audio sample

The song was made most famous by Metallica's cover of the song, found on the 1988 re-release and the Japanese version of its debut album Kill 'Em All (the original version of the album lacks the inclusion of the cover), though the cover was originally released as a b-side to the "Creeping Death" single in 1984, and was later released on Garage Inc. in 1998. The song has also been featured in Metallica's live set throughout its career, often in a faster and heavier version. Hetfield also changed the final chorus from "Am I evil? Yes, I am" to "Am I evil? Yes, I fucking am!" Diamond Head has stated that the band's members are flattered by the cover and that the royalties from it have enabled the band to continue.[4] Faith No More also has covered the song.

In 2010 at The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria, in an extended homage to the song, the united members of the "Big Four of Thrash"—Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth—performed the song together. With the exclusion of Slayer's Tom Araya, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, the combined members of these bands performed the first half of the song. The recording was released later on The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria DVD.

At the U.K part of the Sonisphere Festival, Bill Bailey used the song as an intro to his set. Diamond Head themselves were also performing at the festival.

In the game The Neverhood, there is a cutscene in which Klaymen pulls a pin that keeps 2 halves of the Neverhood separated when the sides are coming together, an altered version of the Metallica cover is played.

Usage in popular culture

The original Diamond Head version of the song is included in the 2009 video games Guitar Hero: Metallica and Brütal Legend, as well as the 2009 film Halloween II. A cover of the Metallica version is included in the game Rock Revolution as a playable track.

Parody band Beatallica recorded a mashup of "Am I Evil?" and the Beatles' "And I Love Her" entitled "And I'm Evil", on their 2009 album Masterful Mystery Tour.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Creeping Death". Metallica. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Kill 'Em All". Metallica. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  4. ^ The Story Behind the Song "AM I EVIL"
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