Black Sabbath

Jump to: navigation, search


Black Sabbath


Black Sabbath are an English Heavy Metal band from Birmingham, who are known to be co-founders of the Heavy Metal genre along with Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbaths' dark and heavy music was the blueprint for todays Black Metal or Doom Metal. The original lineup consisted of Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass-guitar) and Bill Ward (drums). Since the bands formation in 1968, the lineup changed multiple times but the band is still active to the present day.


Image:Black sabbath title.jpg

In august 1968 school friends Bill Ward and Tony Iommi formed a heavy blues band. Bassist Geezer Butler and his singer Ozzy Osbourne from the band Rare Breed joined the lineup aswell as two other musicians from Birmingham, slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips and saxophonist Alan "Aker" Clarke. The band was called Polka Tulk Blues Band or just short Polka Tulk. The band played blues and jazz until Clarke and Phillips left the band. The band was renamed into Earth and continued to play blues. The band nearly broke up when Tony Iommi joined Jethro Tull but he was unsatisfied with his job and came back to his band Earth. In 1969 they had to change their name again because another band called Earth got a record deal. They changed the band's name into Black Sabbath which was also the name of a song written by Geezer Butler. Along with the name change the musical style of the band changed from the ground up: Inspired by a nearby Horror-cinema Iommi wanted to play frightening music to scare the listeners. To make their music equivalent to a horror movie they started to use the musical tritone (blue note) , also known as "The Devil's Interval", their guitars were distorted and the dark lyrics pushed the band in a darker direction, which was a strong contrast compared to the popular music of the late 1960s, which was dominated by flower power, folk music, and hippie culture.

The Ozzy Years

The bands first self titled record Black Sabbath was recorded in only a single twelve-hour-session and naturally sounded alike but the debut-Lp reached the top ten in the United Kingdom and stayed in the US-billboard charts for over a year, selling over one million times in the United States. Their following record Paranoid debuted on #1 in the Uk in 1970 and was sold more than 4 million times.

The band had more disposable money for the upcoming records and spend more than a little of the production money into all kinds of drugs. Under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, the band released Masters Of Reality in 1971, also reching the top ten and selling gold within the first week. Their musical style did not change except for their first acoustic songs like Sweet Leaf or Children Of The Grave.

The band toured for several years and the drug abuse increased with their fame. For Black Sabbath Vol.4 they used most of their studio time just sitting arround and doing drugs. The band began to use synthesizers and keyboards for Volume 4 and released it as another gold-selling record in september 1972.

The band had a lot of trouble coming up with new material in the upcoming years until they started to rehearse in old dungeons to get a feel for the atmosphere. The new arrangements for Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath were more complex and involved orchestra and string ensembles aswell as a lot more keyboard so that a session-keyboarder was taken into the band. With the platinum selling 5th record in 1974 and the following record Sabotage, Black Sabbath gained the right to play every festival and tour with whichever band they liked.

Most important record of the Ozzy-lineup: Paranoid


This century record features everything that build the legend of Black Sabbath: simple but remindable riffs, a mystic atmosphere, Osbourne's frightening voice and an overall atmosphere from beyond the grave. The album has not a single average quality song on it, every single track is an instant classic and will be remembered forever. The album starts with War Pigs, anti Vietnam War song about the absurdity of war and fighting. War Pigs is followed by Paranoid, a rock song about insanity and one of the most popular songs of all time. The ballad Planet Caravan is followed by Iron Man, propably the song with the heaviest main-riff of all time. The other tracks keep up the disturbing mood and send the listener on a descent into darkness and madness. There are very few records with a comparable intensity of emotions.

1. War pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Planet caravan
4. Iron man
5. Electric funeral
6. Hand of doom
7. Rat salad
8. Fairies wear boots

The Split

With their 1976 record Never Say Die the band moved more and more from doom metal to uptempo rock with synthesizers and keyboards. The record failed to enter the top 50 and got bad overall reviews. Before the next recording session in 1977, Ozzy Osbourne quit the band because he was unsatisfied about the musical direction the band was going to. He came back after two weeks and Black Sabbath recorded the next album Never Say Die!. The record did not became a success. The band decided to throw their singer out because Ozzy was not longer able to be productive due to his heavy drug abuse. Ozzy started his (very successful) solo-career and Black Sabbath replaced Ozzy with Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio.

The Dio Years


Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbaths' vocalist and joined officially in june 1979. With the fresh blood in the band the whole approach to music changed. The new attitude led towards the new record Heaven & Hell which was the bands' best selling record since Sabotage, a multi-platinum record once again. The band toured the early 80's until drummer Bill Ward had to be replaced due to his declining health by Vinnie Appice. The second Dio-record was 1981's Mob Rules which continued the path of Heaven and Hell but with an even rougher attitude. Dio left the band after the unfullfilling Live-record Live Evil.

Most importand record of the Dio-lineup: Heaven and Hell


This album surprised all those who thought Black Sabbath without Ozzy Osbourne would be impossible. Together with former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio the band released an all-time Rock N Roll classic. The Songs are much faster and harder but combined with Dio's godlike high-pitched vocals they create a whole different atmosphere than the doomish Ozzy-tracks. The fast opener Neon Knights is topped off by a gigantic solo by Tony Iommi, who surprises with his solos all over the record. But not the entire record is fast and heavy, it also contains acoustic guitars and melancholic singing like on Children Of The Sea. There is only one bad thing to say about this record: with only about 40 minutes it is too short, because you do not wont this record to end when you listen to four great musicians at the peak of their creativity.

1. Neon Knights
2. Children of the Sea
3. Lady Evil
4. Heaven and Hell
5. Wishing Well
6. Die Young
7. Walk Away
8. Lonely Is the Word

Original Lineup Reunion

In December 1997 the band reunited with it's original members Ward, Osbourne, Iommi and Butler for several tours in the upcoming years. They recorded a live-reunion record and also started a new Black Sabbath record but during the writing progress Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne strayed off the record their own solo records and the production of the unfinished album just came to an end. Producer Rick Rubin was not happy that the album was left unfinished because he saw freat potential in it. Black Sabbath stopped touring in the original lineup in 2002, when Ozzy started his reality Tv show The Osbournes.

Heaven & Hell Reunion

In 2007 Black Sabbath reunited with Ronnie James Dio to tour without having to play the Ozzy classics like Paranoid or Iron Man. The band wasn't called Black Sabbath because the original lineup was inducted into the rock n' roll hall of fame in 2006 and they did not separate from Ozzy again. Rumors say that Ozzy's lawyers didn't allowed Tony Iommi to use the name Black Sabbath for reuniting with Dio. So the band was called after the most famous record of the Dio-Era: Heaven & Hell. The drummer Bill Ward was replaced by Vinnie Appice in 2007. The band released a best of the Dio Years and filmed a Live DVD from their 2007 tour called Live at the Radio music hall. It is likely that the Heaven and Hell linup is currently working on new material.

Influence On Music

Black Sabbath is called the first Heavy Metal band and the creator of an entire genre of rock music. They were the first band known to use downtuned guitars and dark vocals about satanism and murder to create a frightening atmosphere. Black Sabbath's music influenced the genres of Stoner Metal, Doom Metal, Gothic Metal and even Black and Death Metal. Many famous artists count Black Sabbath as their major influnce for example Scott Ian of Anthrax, Joey DeMaio of Manowar or James Hetfield of Metallica. Thanks to their second frontman Ronnie James Dio the heavy metal scene has it's own signature handsign, the devils' horns.

Ozzy Osbourne


John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne (born December 3, 1948 in Birmingham, UK) is a British Singer and songwriter. He was the first vocalist of Black Sabbath and is also a very successful solo-artist. He is nicknamed as The Prince Of Darkness and Madman because of his stage performances, for example biting the head of a living bat. Lately he has been the star of the reality show, The Osbournes, showing him and his familys' personal life. Considered by many to be the "Godfather of Heavy Metal," Ozzy has enjoyed a career that has now spanned four decades.

Tony Iommi


Frank Anthony Tony Iommi was born on february 19, 1948 in Birmingham, England. Tony Iommi is the guitarist and founder of Black Sabbath. He started to play the guitar as a teenager, inspired by Hank Marvin and played in several blues bands aswell as in Jethro Tull before he founded Black Sabbath. On a working-accident at a steel-factory he lost the fingertips on the ring and middlefinger of his right hand and being lefthanded the accident made it impossible for him to fret the guitar. He managed to maintain the guitarplaying by using plastic fingertips and became the founding father of the heavy metal guitar. He made downtunings popular but he used them to lower the string tension to help him fret chords with the plastic tips. Tony Iommi is the main songwriter in Black Sabbath, he is famous for his dark minor scale riffs and pentatonic solos. Tony plays his own Gibson SG signature with cross inlays through various Laney Amps.

Geezer Butler


Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler born on the 17. July 1949 in Aston, England is the bassist of the british Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath. He is a schoolfriend of Ozzy Osbourne and played the rythm guitar before he joined Black Sabbath. He switched to the bass guitar because Tony Iommi did not want to play with another guitarist. Butler is one of the first known to be using a wahwah on the bass (like on the track NIB) and to detune his bass 3 halfsteps lower. He plays with his fingers aswell as with a pick (like on the track Iron Man). Many famous bassists started by playing Butlers' famous basslines, for example Metallicas' Cliff Burton. After Butler left Black Sabbath in 1984 he recorded three solo records and toured with Ozzy in 1998.

Bill Ward


Bill Ward was born on the 5th of may, 1948 in Birmingham, England. He is the drummer and founding member of the metal band Black Sabbath. Ward started to play the drums as a little child and had his first gigs at the age of 15. He teamed up with Tony Iommi in 1964 and founded several bands with him. He left the band in 1980 during the Heaven and Hell tour but worked occasionaly for the band since 1983. He is playing again for Black Sabbath since the orinal lineup reunited in 1997.

Ronnie James Dio


Ronnie James Dio, born on the 10th of Juli 1942 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA)as Ronald James Padavona, is an US american Hard Rock singer. Ronnie gave himself the name Dio (italian for god) after a famous mafia boss and he claims to be the person who brought the Devil Horns symbol into the scene. He was also bassist in his first band The Elves but stoped playing to concentrate on his singing. He became famous as the Singer of Ritchie Blackmore's Singer on the band Rainbow. He became Black Sabbaths' singer after Ozzy had left the band and brought a little more dynamic into the band. Ronnie James Dio is currently working with his Solo band Dio and Black Sabbath in disguise, known as Heaven and Hell.


   * Black Sabbath (1970)
   * Paranoid (1970)
   * Master of Reality (1971)
   * Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (1972)
   * Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
   * Sabotage (1975)
   * Technical Ecstasy (1976)
   * Never Say Die! (1978)
   * Heaven and Hell (1980)
   * Mob Rules (1981)
   * Born Again (1983)
   * Seventh Star (1986)
   * The Eternal Idol (1987)
   * Headless Cross (1989)
   * Tyr (1990)
   * Dehumanizer (1992)
   * Cross Purposes (1994)
   * Forbidden (1995)

--ZakkWylde 22:31, 19 May 2008 (CEST)