A Brief History of the Metal umlaut

Ëvërÿthïng’s mörë mëtäl wïth ümläüts!

The German Umlaut started to appear in various Germanic languages around 450 or 500 AD and it’s been really popular with hard rock or heavy metal bands ever since. The most famous example is, of course, Motörhead.
Their singer Lemmy Kilmister once said in an interview, “I pinched the idea off Blue Öyster Cult. Then Mötley Crüe pinched it off us and it goes on and on.”

The metal umlauts have been parodied in film and fiction. A character in the Guitar Hero game series is even called Lars Ümlaüt. In the mockumentary film This Is Spın̈al Tap, fictional rocker David St. Hubbins says, “It’s like a pair of eyes. You’re looking at the umlaut, and it’s looking at you.”

metal umlaut logo

The first gratuitous use of the umlaut in the name of a hard rock or metal band appears to have been by Blue Öyster Cult, in 1970. Blue Öyster Cult’s website states it was added by guitarist and keyboardist Allen Lanier, but rock critic Richard Meltzer claims to have suggested it to their producer and manager Sandy Pearlman just after Pearlman came up with the name: “I said, ‘How about an umlaut over the O?’ Metal had a Wagnerian aspect anyway.”

Motörhead followed in 1975 and Lemmy also advised his guitarist Würzel to add an umlaut to his name. Then the band Hüsker Dü debuted in January 1979 and Mötley Crüe formed in 1980. According to Vince Neil in the band’s Behind the Music edition, the inspiration came from a Löwenbräu bottle. They subsequently decided to name their record label “Leathür Records”.

The umlaut is supposed to give a band’s logo a more Teutonic quality—connoting stereotypes of boldness and brutality presumably associated with Germanic and Nordic cultures, but it is not generally intended to affect the pronunciation of the band’s name. Speakers of languages which use an umlaut may have trouble with the pronunciation nonetheless.

Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe told Vanity Fair, “[W]e put some umlauts in there because we thought it made us look European. We had no idea that it was a pronunciation thing. When we finally went to Germany, the crowds were chanting, “Mutley Cruh! Mutley Cruh! “ We couldn’t figure out why the f*** they were doing that.”

Geoff Tate, the lead singer of Queensrÿche, said, “The umlaut over the ‘y’ has haunted us for years. We spent eleven years trying to explain how to pronounce it.”

Related Links:

How to speak Death Metal English

TV TROPES: Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut

Funny Yü should ask — Cam Hassard about the Umlaut


Grammarly – Free grammar and spelling checker

Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that improves communication by helping users find and correct writing mistakes. It’s easy to use:
Copy and paste any English text into Grammarly’s online text editor, or install Grammarly’s free browser extension for ChromeChrome, Safari, and Firefox.
Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Grammarly explains the reasoning behind each correction so you can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.


For users who want to supercharge their writing performance and leave no errors unchecked, Grammarly Premium is a paid upgrade that checks for over 250 types of grammatical errors, provides vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detects plagiarism, and provides citation suggestions. Grammarly Premium also includes Grammarly for Microsoft® OfficeGrammarly for Microsoft® Office.

Grammarly is an Inc. 500 company with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Kyiv.

Mashable (May 09, 2017) — “San Francisco startup Grammarly just raised $110 million to take its AI-driven grammar-checking tool to the next level. The funding, led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital, marks the first venture capital round in the company’s eight-year life.

How to Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

hyphen dashes
The differences between the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—) can be confusing. Comma Queen Mary Norris from The New Yorker clarifies the difference in a video from her wonderful Youtube channel.

Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978 and was a query proofreader at the magazine for twenty-four years. She has written for The Talk of the Town and for newyorker.com, on topics ranging from her cousin Dennis Kucinich to mud wrestling in Rockaway. She is best known for her pieces on pencils and punctuation. Her book, “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” (Norton), is now available in paperback.

Related article — The Chicago Manual of Style: Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

how to use dashes hyphens

Keyboard shortcuts for hyphens and dashes

hyphens dashes commandelated article

“Translator’s Note” by Amanda DeMarco

Translator’s Note

A TRANSLATOR must naturally take certain liberties with other people’s words in order to wrest the most truth into the text. In this essay on translation, composed strictly of quotations, I have taken the liberty of replacing select words and phrases with “translation,” “translator,” and the various verb forms of “translate.”

Read the essay by Amanda DeMarco at the Los Angeles Review of Books

Amanda DeMarco is the founder of Readux Books. She is currently translating Franz Hessel’s Walking in Berlin (Scribe Publications, 2016), as well as Gaston de Pawlowski’s New Inventions and the Latest Innovations (Wakefield Press).

From mic drops to manspreading: an Oxford Dictionaries update


Let’s pick that mic up again and check out some of the words that have been added toOxfordDictionaries.com in the world of informal language. The mic drop in question can be a literal ‘instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive’, but it’s more likely to be figurative – or an exclamation to emphasize a particularly impressive point: Nuff said. Mic drop.

Read on…

When to use “me”, “myself” and “I”

When to use %22me%22, %22myself%22 and %22I%22

Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.

Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Karrot Animation.