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Black Sabbath


Black Sabbath
Courtesy Warner Bros. Records


1969 in Birmingham, England

Original Black Sabbath Members:

Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Geezer Butler (bass)
Bill Ward (drums)

Significant Facts About Black Sabbath:

  • Considered to be the first true heavy metal band
  • There have been personnel changes over the years, but since 199 the band has consisted of the four founding members
  • Nominated eight times before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006

Black Sabbath Beginnings:

The band began as Polka Tulk Blues Band, and was also known as Earth before adopting Black Sabbath after bassist Geezer Butler titled one of his songs that way, inspired by a 1963 movie of the same name. The band progressed from blues rock to heavy metal to progressive as it evolved over the years. They are usually mentioned along with Led Zeppelin as pioneers of the heavy metal genre.

Black Sabbath' Points of Difference:

At a time when other bands were heavily into peace, love and flower power, Sabbath set itself apart with music about drugs, the occult, and anger at The Establishment. They were also unique in their incorporation of gothic and folk music elements. Their unique sound, coupled with Ozzy Osbourne’s wild onstage theatrics helped set the stage for today’s shock rock artists.

Times of Change:

Osbourne left the band in 1979 and established himself as a successful solo artist. Over the next 18 years the band employed no fewer than six lead vocalists, including Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, David Donato, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin. Osbourne rejoined the group in 1997.

In 2006, current and former band members Iommi, Butler, Dio, and Appice announced that they would begin touring in 2007 using the name Heaven and Hell, the title of the 1980 album featuring that personnel configuration of Sabbath.

Essential Black Sabbath CD:

Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978
The two-CD set is a compilation of the band's work during its first incarnation. It provides a picture of the band's musical evolution. If your budget allows, all eight of the albums represented on the compilation set are available in a boxed set, Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978).

Black Sabbath Resources:

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