As one of the most influential and innovative bands in rock music history, Black Sabbath has helped mold heavy metal into a music genre that breaks ground and limits. They are referred to as the forefathers of heavy metal and stood up to that term with the release of some major albums.
Black Sabbath previously known as Earth, were an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1968. Their music was often described as psychedelic and acidic giving them a uniqueness by assuming a horror-theme lyrics and an occultic identity.
On Guitars was Anthony Frank Lommi (Tony Lommi). On drums was William Thomas Ward better known as Bill Ward. Terence Michael Joseph Geezer Butler (Geezer Butler) handled the bass guitar duties. And John Michael Ozzy Osbourne was the band’s primary vocalist. This was the original line-up of the Black Sabbath.
History of Black Sabbath
Tony Lommi and Bill Ward were both members of English blue rock band, Mythology that broke up in 1968 so they decided like many others to follow a path and form a heavy blue rock band in Birmingham, Aston.
They recruited Ozzy Osbourne, widely known as the “Prince of Darkness”, and Geezer Butler who both played together in Rare Breed.
In the earlier stages of their formation, the band was called Polka Tulk Blues Band, derived from a confused origin of an Indian or Pakistani clothing shop.
Polka Tulk later recruited Alan Clarke (Saxophonist) and Jimmy Phillips, an old friend of Ozzy’s.
After a few months the band was renamed to Earth, a band name some members found appalling.
The band had a minor setback with its line-up when the new members were considered to lack dedication to the band. Earth soon restricted itself to a four-man band, excluding the newer members.
Earth recorded a number of demos including The Rebel, When I came down and Song for Jim which they played in Hotels in the last quarter of 1968.
Lommi parted ways with the band to join another, Jethro Tull.
The band decided a name change was best when they had been mistaken for another band also called Earth in 1969 and chose Black Sabbath.
They signed their first record deal in November 1969 with Philips Records and released their debut single “Evil Woman” in January 1970. After the progression of this single, they released their debut album Black Sabbath, on Friday, 13th February, 1970 which was a success. They then climaxed 1970 with another album, Paranoid.
The group’s popularity grew when they appeared on the famous John Peel’s Top Gear radio show in 1969 to perform some of their greatest hits including to a huge British audience.
By the time the band released their 1973 album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, they had started to garner favorable music critic reviews, even though they had some negative criticisms early on.
The Black Sabbath album stayed at number 23 on the US Billboard 200 charts for more than a year and climbed to number 8 on the UK Album Charts.
The group had zoomed fully into live performances and constant recordings in 1971.
In April of that same year the band released another Top 10 in the US and a certified gold album Master of Reality. This album spawned the group’s first acoustic songs Sweet Leaf and Children of the Grave.
The band had at this point been engaged for over two years and were beginning to prove saggy during their performances so they took a well-deserved break and came back in mid-1972 to work on their next album.
They jumped backed into the saddle with an extensive tour in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. It was considered as though the band just liked to work themselves.
Black Sabbath released their sixth album in July 1975. The album, titled Sabotage gained the band great reviews and many notable honors.
Many other singles and albums were released even through the health crisis of Osbourne who had a motorcycle accident affecting his back.
They worked on their next album in June 1976, making headlines and manifesting prolifically in the later years. But within those years, Ozzy quit the band unexpectedly, leaving the band in need of a vocalist. Dave Walker, an old acquaintance of the band was called in to assist the band.
The group had major album breaks through the years such as Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, Tyr, Born Again (1984-1986), Dehumanizer (1990-1992), followed by many others.
Through the summer of 1997, Lommi, Butler and Osbourne together headlined Ozzy Osbourne’s Ozzfest. By 2010 when Ozzy had skyrocketed in his solo ambitions, he reunited with his old band mates to record a new album titled 13.
The band embarked on several tours through 2013 and 2014, with the most notable being their North American tour, Latin American tour, and European Tour.
Facts about Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath had an estimated record sales of over 70 million globally as of 2013, and sold a RIAA-certified 15 million records in the US.
They won two Grammy Awards: Best Metal Performance in 2000 and 2014, and were honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.
VH1 ranked them number 2 on their list of 100 Greatest Hard Rock Artists, while MTV listed them as number one on their Top Ten Heavy Metal Bands list.
They won the Kerrang! Award for Artist of the Millennium in 1999and Inspiration Award in 2012.
The band was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the following year.
The band was once asked to play for a Satanist group during their “Night of Satan” celebration to which they refused. The group reportedly placed them under a hex, and Ozzy asked his father to make the band some crosses which they wore for protection.
Their first album was recorded within one single day.
During the recording of their 1972 album, the band was reported to have spent approximately $75,000 on cocaine.
Black Sabbath was noted for its uniqueness, identity and resilience against critics that disagreed with the values that the heavy metal band portrayed. In March 2017, they announced their disbandment via their official social media channels.
While there were speculations about a possible reunion during the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Ozzy ruled it out in a November 2020 interview, emphasizing that the band was definitely over.
Top Black Sabbath Songs
The list below contains some of the most renowned songs released by Black Sabbath:
- “Age of Reason”
- “Am I Going Insane”
- “Call of the Wild”
- “Children of the Grave”
- “Devil and Daughter”
- “Die Young”
- “End of the Beginning”
- “Evil Woman”
- “Feels Good to Me”
- “God Is Dead?“
- “Hard Road”
- “Headless Cross”
- “Iron Man“
- “It’s Alright”
- “Lady Evil”
- “Master of Insanity”
- “Neon Knights”
- “Never Say Die!”
- “No Stranger to Love”
- “Psycho Man”
- “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”
- “Selling My Soul”
- “The Devil Cried”
- “The Mob Rules”
- “The Shining”
- “The Wizard”
- “Tomorrow’s Dream”
- “Turn Up the Night”
- “TV Crimes”
- “Wicked World”