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Black Sabbath – Background and History

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Black Sabbath is an English rock band. Its members are originally from Birmingham, England and the band was formally established in 1968, almost 50 years ago. Its original members include Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitars), Geezer Butler (bass guitar), and Bill Ward (drums). Iommi and Butler also serve as primary songwriter and primary lyricist, respectively.

However, since its founding, the only member that has remained present all throughout its inception is Iommi. While blues rock was the original genre that the band broke into the industry playing back in 1968, it was no long before the group began to infuse occult themes into their performances. Their lyrics were likewise tinged with elements of horror while their guitars were noticeably tuned down.

However, in addition to occult themes, Black Sabbath is also known for composing songs that are centered on social instability, the devastating effects of war, apocalyptic prophecies, substance abuse, as well as political corruption.

In 1979, Osbourne was asked to leave Black Sabbath due to his record of severe substance abuse (e.g. drugs, alcohol). Ronnie James Dio, former lead vocalist of the band Rainbow, filled his spot. After putting out two records with Dio, band members were constantly changed and shuffled. Vocalists Ian Gillan, Tony Martin, Ray Gillen, and Glenn Hughes were once part of the band, and a number of bassists and drummers went in and out as well.

In 1992, Iommi, Butler, Dio and a drummer named Vinny Appice put out an album titled “Dehumanizer”. Five years later, in 1997, a reunion occurred involving Black Sabbath’s original members including Osbourne. A live album titled “Reunion” was the result. In June 2013, the 19th studio album of the band (all original members excluding Ward) was released. It was titled “13”.

When it comes to industry pioneers of heavy metal, it is not uncommon for Black Sabbath to be named. MTV once christened them the “Greatest Metal Band” in existence. They also made it to VH1’s list of “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”. Black Sabbath has sold over 70 million records on an international scale. They were likewise inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They have two Grammys under their best for “Best Metal Performance”.

Influence and Innovation

Countless bands cite Black Sabbath as one of their biggest influences. The list includes but is not limited to: Slayer, Metallica, Nirvana, Korn, Judas Priest, Guns N’Roses, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, The Smashing Pumpkins, Slipknot, Foo Fighters, Godsmack, and Van Halen.

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