Black Sabbath came together in 1967 to form one of the seminal Heavy metal bands of all time. The band was instrumental in creating the imagery commonly associated with Heavy Metal, the occult inspired, apocalyptic, death and destruction imagery that has so often been imitated over the years. Black Sabbath, were notorious for their amplified distortion, monstrous beats and the emphatic guitar solos of Tony Iommi.
Birmingham, England is the city that Black Sabbath came together; originally as a blues band, they would swiftly move on from this phase and by 1969, Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Bill Ward (drums) and Geezer Butler (bass) had christened themselves “Black Sabbath”. By 1969 Black Sabbath had signed a record deal with Phillips Records, releasing the single “Evil woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)” in the early 1970’s, the single did not prove a success. Later that year Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album that charted well in the U.K and sold over a million copies in the U.S, all with very little radio airplay.
Music critics on both sides of the Atlantic were shocked and appalled at the in your face, extreme and uncompromising sound that Sabbath were offering and were consistently panned by the press. The band ventured forward nevertheless and their next single “Paranoid” would become the single most synonymous with the band, the album of the same name would be released that same year 1971, remaining in the U.S chart for over a year and selling over to four million copies.
The band experienced varying success throughout the seventies, with enough drugs supposedly flying around to supply a large town and a conflict in the band between Iommi and Osbourne, surrounding the musical direction the band should take. Osbourne left the band to pursue a solo career. The band went through multiple line-up changes, with moderate success at the most. While Ozzy under the guidance of his wife Sharon (daughter of artist manager Don ‘Al Capone of pop’ Arden) set up the extremely successful OzzFest that has been going strong for 12 years, a period of being the most famous family in America, with MTV’s reality TV programme “The Osbournes”, not to forget creating the now infamous mystique as the bird head biting, Prince of Darkness.
The band would reunite in 1998 for a live album that would eventually culminate in a Grammy win for Best metal Performance and in 2006 Black Sabbath were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Black Sabbath continues to tour, sometimes with, sometimes without Ozzy, either way they continue to remind us what a groundbreaking and important band they once were.
For The Record:
Original members included Terry "Geezer" Butler (born July 17, 1949, in Birmingham, England; left group 1985, rejoined 1991), bass; Tony lommi (born February 19, 1948, in Birmingham), guitar, keyboards; John "Ozzy" Osbourne (born December 3, 1948, in Birmingham), vocals; and Bill Ward (born May 5,1948, in Birmingham; left group 1981), drums.
Later members include Vinnie Appice (born in New York, NY; bandmember 1981-1982, 1991—), drums; Bev Bevan (bandmember 1982-1987), percussion; Bob Daisley (bandmember 1987), bass; Ronnie James Dio (born in Cortland, NY; bandmember 1979-1983,1991—), vocals; Ian Gillan (bandmember 1983-1984), vocals; Glenn Hughes (bandmember 1986-1987), vocals; Tony Martin (bandmember 1989-90), vocals; Geoff Nicholls (bandmember 1986-1990), keyboards; Eric Singer (bandmember 1986-1990), drums; and Dave Spitz (bandmember 1986-90), bass.
Group formed in Birmingham, England, 1967; originally named Earth; signed by Vertigo Records (U.K.), Warner Bros. Records (U.S.), and released debut LP, Black Sabbath, 1970.
Awards: Gold records for Black Sabbath, 1970; Paranoid and Master of Reality, both 1971; Volume 4,1972; Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, 1973; Sabotage, 1975; and Technical Ecstasy and We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'N' Roll, both 1976.
Addresses: Record company—Reprise Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505-4694; 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019-6979.
Soon thereafter the band's relentless international touring schedule began to take its toll; but even as the members of the group announced their intention to tour less, their popularity continued to increase. 1972 saw the release of Volume 4, an ambitious excursion that brought more converts into the Sabbath fold. The LP included the gospel-tinged ballad "Changes," in which Osbourne's melancholy vocals were accompanied by strings and piano, and the kinetic rocker "Supernaut." Next came 1973's Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. By that time, Rolling Stone's response had become downright respectful. Reviewer Gordon Fletcher called the record "an extraordinarily gripping affair" and dubbed the group "a true Seventies band"—a compliment at the time. More sonically varied than most of the band's previous efforts, the LP included such embellishment as orchestral arrangements. Years later, in a retrospective of musical "guilty pleasures," Ken Richardson of High Fidelity called the record "a fierce, multidimensional revival that holds up well." For Richardson, however, Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath was the group's last important recording.
In the early 1970s Black Sabbath became involved in a squabble with their management and found themselves on a couple of different British labels—World Wide Artists and NEMS—though they would return to Vertigo in 1976. The group had resumed its intensive touring schedule after a hiatus and released a new album, Sabotage, in 1975. Sabbath touted the record in a Rolling Stone interview as a return "to basic roots." Even so, the group recorded a choir for part of the album and took keyboardist Jezz Woodruff on tour; lommi, too, played some keyboards on the record. "Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath's best record since Paranoid, " opined Billy Altman in his Rolling Stone review, "it might be their best ever." Melody Maker found that with their 1976 follow-up, Technical Ecstasy, the group could "break the mould and still provide fresh exciting music." That year also saw the release of the two-record retrospective We Sold Our Soul for Rock TV' Roll, which featured many of Sabbath's most popular songs.
Black Sabbath (includes "Black Sabbath"), 1970.
Paranoid (includes "Paranoid," "War Pigs," and "Iron Man"), 1971.
Master of Reality (includes "Sweet Leaf"), 1971.
Volume 4 (includes "Changes" and "Supernaut"), 1972.
Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, 1973.
We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'N' Roll, 1976.
Technical Ecstasy, 1976.
Never Say Die, 1978.
Heaven and Hell, 1980.
Live at Last, 1980.
Moo flutes, 1981.
Live Evil, 1983.
Born Again, 1983.
Seventh Star, 1986.
The Eternal Idol. 1987.
Headless Cross, I.R.S., 1989.
Tyr, I.R.S., 1990.
Dehumanizer (includes "Time Machine"), Reprise, 1992.
(Contributor) "Time Machine," Wayne's World, 1992.
Source: Segun Murray Ogunsheye, eNotes,
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