Count Dooku Was a Headbanger – When Christopher Lee Went Heavy Metal

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Although he will forever be best remembered as an ominous character actor, Christopher Lee had a love affair with heavy metal. Late in his life, the horror icon responsible for bringing Hammer’s vision of Dracula to life and JRR Tolken’s evil wizard Saruman to the silver screen had a headbanging musical career of his own.

The movie star told Tony Iommi (via Metal Hammer) that he became involved in metal after providing narration for a Rhapsody Of Fire track:

“Joey [DeMaio, of Manowar] got me working with a band called Rhapsody. That was a few years ago [2004, on the album Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret]. Joey was very involved, in fact he was in charge.

“What I remember from those sessions was that everyone else was singing, and I was being left out. So I told them that I’d like to have a go. You can imagine the reaction. Not another actor who thinks he can sing! But I did it, a song called The Magic Of The Wizard’s Dream, and I think I can safely say I proved I could carry it off.”

Two years after this experience, Lee flirted with metal on his pop album, Revelation. This served as a harbinger of things to come, as the actor released the high concept symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010; releasing the album’s lead single on his 90th birthday. He expanded on the idea three years later with his next album Charlemagne: The Omens of Death. Lee’s final metal release was the 2014 EP, Metal Knight.

During the holiday seasons, Lee regularly released heavy metal versions of Christmas carols; putting out the Heavy Metal Christmas EP in 2012 and following with its sequel, A Heavy Metal Christmas Too, a year later.

Of his artistic pursuits, Lee told Metal Hammer: “I have a great belief that things – no matter what they are: music, literature, anything in life – should from time to time surprise people and that’s what I believe in: surprising people. Heavy metal has, since its very beginning, surprised in the best sense of the word, and people all over the world. To be involved in that, and to show people that even now I can still surprise my audience, it’s very important. I’ve spent my entire career taking risks. Acting is a risk, it has to be. I’ve never been afraid, and I’ve done my best to take those risks.”

In 2010, Tony Iommi awarded Christopher Lee the “Spirit Of Metal” award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards show. Given his contributions to heavy metal through film and music, there is no more deserving recipient.



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