Black Sabbath is widely regarded as the first ever heavy metal band. Hailing from Birmingham, England, the band’s four founding members are Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums). Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979, and embarked on a successful solo career throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.
The band’s sound is dark, ominous, and makes use of drop tuned guitars, with horror and doom inspired lyrics.
Black Sabbath released their debut album, Black Sabbath, in 1970. It charted at #8 in the UK, and featured the concert staples “Black Sabbath,” “The Wizard,” and “NIB.” Capitalizing on the success of their debut album the band recorded Paranoid just four months later and released it in November 1970. The single “Paranoid” was a huge success, reaching #4 in the UK. The album reached #1 in the UK, and sold four million copies in the US. Paranoid consistently is mentioned as one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. It features the single “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Planet Caravan,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.”
The band delved further into what would become the archetype of all types of heavy metal with their third album, Master of Reality, released in 1971. Elements of early thrash can be heard in “Into the Void”, while other songs like “Children of the Grave” and “Sweet Leaf” feature brooding, sludgy riffs.
Black Sabbath Vol. 4, originally titled “Snowblind,” continued in the vein of Master of Reality, with darker tones and a more developed sound.
The band had their first critically acclaimed album with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in 1973, just three years after their debut album (and five albums later). Following this album, the band evolved into a sound that was more commercial, using keyboards and other instrumentation. Their final album with Osbourne was recorded in 1978, Never Say Die. The album was their worst performing one with Osbourne on vocals. Osbourne has since expressed his distaste for the album. It strayed far from the original dark, signature heavy metal sound the band was known for.
Following Osbourne’s firing, the band hired Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The band’s sound changed back to a heavier, yet very different sound that was met with much acclaim from critics and fans. They recorded Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules before parting ways with Dio in 1982. Dio went on to form his own successful solo band upon leaving Black Sabbath.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Black Sabbath had multiple singers and few commercially successful albums. The band reunited with Osbourne in 1997 to headline Ozzfest, and released the song “Psycho Man” in 1998. The Dio-era Black Sabbath reunited in 2006 to record new material and tour under the moniker “Heaven and Hell.”
Black Sabbath began working on new material for their forthcoming album 13 in 2011. The single “God is Dead” was released on April 18, 2013.
- 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)
- 13 (2013)
- The 2013 Annual Metal Descent Heavy Metal Awards
- The Best Heavy Metal Songs of 2013
- The Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2013
- The 25 Best Traditional Metal Albums
- The Best Selling Heavy Metal Albums of All Time
- 10 Most Recognizable Heavy Metal Bassists
- 10 Most Recognizable Heavy Metal Singers of All Time