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=BLACK SABBATH(Bark At The History)


#This article is about the British heavy metal band. For the 1946 British arrests of Jewish paramilitaries, see Operation Agatha. For the 1963 film see Black Sabbath (movie)
Black Sabbath are a British progressive heavy metal band, originally comprised of John "Ozzy" Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums). They are cited by many as the very first heavy metal band.

Black Sabbath formed in Birmingham, England in the late 1960s under the name Polka Tulk Blues Band (soon shortened to "Polka Tulk"), and later Earth. Initially a blues-rock band, Earth moved in a darker direction when Geezer Butler, a fan of the black magic novels of Dennis Wheatley, wrote an occult-themed song titled "Black Sabbath" (the song name was apparently inspired by a 1963 Boris Karloff film). When the band found themselves being confused with another local band called Earth, they adopted the song title as their new name.

Originally, they started as a blues-influenced hard rock group, but as they progressed they added more European folk elements to their sound, a sound that was not like any other group during their time. Thus, this was known as heavy metal, and in due time, the band became what we know as doom metal. Their lyrics dealt with darker issues than most conventional rock as well.

The newly-named Black Sabbath adopted darker lyrical themes, and a slower, ominous style - a significant element in the genre that would later be known as heavy metal, often ranked above Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Judas Priest in importance and influence in the genre.

Even though Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and Deep Purple may have had a profound influence on the emergence of hard rock and heavy metal music, Black Sabbath is sometimes considered to be the first true heavy metal band.

The group found its signature sound almost by accident. After seeing a horror movie together, Ozzy Osbourne reportedly said to Geezer Butler, "If people pay to see scary movies, why wouldn't they pay to listen to scary music?" The band began to purposely write dark, ominous riffs in an attempt to be music's answer to horror movies.

However, much of the group's material featured acoustic guitar, piano, symphony orchestras, keyboards, and even horns. After the band's first three albums, the group became increasingly experimental and progressive, leaving much of their dark metal roots behind.

They were ranked number 2 in VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock
#History (1970s)
With an extremely gifted rhythm section and the extraordinary on-stage antics of Ozzy Osbourne, the band enjoyed success with memorable songs and brutal riffs beginning with their first album, the eponymous Black Sabbath (1970). Their follow-up album, Paranoid (also 1970), was a tremendous success, bringing them even greater attention in America and the UK.

The content of the songs (both originals and cover versions) from both albums demonstrated a tongue in cheek interest in the occult and black magic. This was a crucial step in establishing the "darkness" and "heaviness" of later heavy metal lyrics, and Black Sabbath was the first group to feature such lyrical content, almost to the exclusion of other topics. Led Zeppelin, The Doors and others might have hinted at magic or the occult, but few contemporaries could match Black Sabbath for directness, such as "My name is Lucifer/Please take my hand" (from Black Sabbath's "N.I.B."). Butler wrote most of the lyrics.

Another innovation was the by-product of an accident: Iommi's fretting fingers were injured in an industrial accident during his early tenure with Earth. He was working in a sheet metal factory at the time and the tops of the two middle fingers on his right hand were sliced off. Initially, he forged himself prosthetics from a melted plastic detergent bottle. The injured fingers were understandably tender, so Iommi downtuned his Gibson guitar from standard E to C#. The resultant slackness of the string allowed him to play with less bother to his fingertips. Butler also downtuned his bass guitar to more easily follow Iommi's playing. The lower pitch often seemed "heavier" or more substantive, and Black Sabbath were perhaps the first popular group to downtune. The practice of downtuning is now common — perhaps even standard — among metal groups.

Black Sabbath released another smash hit in 1971, Master of Reality. This was the first Sabbath album to feature a significant amount of acoustic material ("Solitude" contained a flute solo by Iommi). This was a crucial and often overlooked switch in style by Sabbath, as they are largely known only for their simple, dark riffs from their earlier releases. By the time the band released Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 in (1972), they were a full-fledged progressive rock group. Featuring the hit "Changes" (containing only vocal, piano, and strings) and sonic rock anthems like "Supernaut" and "Snowblind," Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 was the group's most mature record to date.

By this point, the band were one of the most popular bands in the world, and were a major concert attraction. Arguably the band's creative peak, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) saw the band work with Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman (who remains a close friend of the band today). The album contains some of the best known Black Sabbath material, including the acoustic space rock voyage, "Spiral Architect," and the haunting prog-rock workout, "A National Acrobat."

By 1974, the band were heavily addicted to drugs and experiencing major management problems (the group was managed by Ozzy's future father-in-law, Don Arden). The management problems and then a label change from Vertigo to WWA disrupted the release schedule of the band's new album. Despite the troubles, Sabotage was released in 1975 with continued success. However, drug problems, continued experimentation in their music style (Gregorian chants and a chorale of monks highlighted "Supertzar"), the hard rock scene's changing environment and some internal issues were affecting the stability and output of the band.

Technical Ecstasy (1976) turned out to be a commercial failure. The album was laden with symphony orchestras, synthesizers, and even drummer Bill Ward singing a Beatles-esque pop song. Some consider it one of the group's most ambitious records, yet fans of the classic Sabbath formula were disillusioned. After the 1977 tour, Ozzy Osbourne stopped turning up at band rehearsals. The remaining band members even recorded music with singer Dave Walker, formerly of Fleetwood Mac, but Ozzy continued on with Sabbath, releasing the highly controversial Never Say Die! (1978). By far the band's most experimental release, Never Say Die! is widely regarded as an excellent album (some hardcore fans call it their best), but a poor Black Sabbath album ("Breakout" featured a 15-piece horn section). Like the previous album, its sales were unfortunately poor.

Due to internal conflicts and a shown lack of commitment, Osbourne was asked to leave the band in 1979, leading to a surprisingly successful solo career in the long run. Ozzy went on to become one of the most successful artists in the history of heavy metal. He was replaced by former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio.
#History (1980s, 1990s, 2000s)
Black Sabbath's next album (and first with singer Ronnie James Dio), Heaven and Hell, proved to be a success, and saw the band's highest charting since 1975's Sabotage. It was on this tour that Dio popularised the "devil horns" hand guesture, which has since become a symbol of heavy metal music in general. The album also marked the inclusion of Quartz's guitarist-turned-keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (Nicholls has not been consistantly credited as an official member, and has often been forced to play live shows from backstage for supposed aesthetic purposes, but he has co-written many songs and has and stayed with Black Sabbath through all subsequent incarnations). Also during the tour, drummer Bill Ward quit the band for personal reasons (both his parents died in a rather short period, and Ward was struggling with alcoholism). Drummer Vinnie Appice joined to complete the tour and then record the next album Mob Rules, the whose title track appeared in the movie Heavy Metal.

The unauthorised release in 1980 of the live bootleg Live at Last (recorded in the Ozzy era during the 1973 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tour) prompted the band to properly record a live album on the Mob Rules tour, titled Live Evil. However, during the mixing of Live Evil, internal band problems and nasty accusations developed, which lead to Dio and Appice quitting the band to form Dio. Bill Ward returned to the drum throne and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple fame became the new singer. This line-up recorded the album Born Again, but once again Bill Ward dropped out of the tour, being replaced by Bev Bevan of Electric Light Orchestra. Although the album surprisingly ended up being one of their most successful ones to date (hitting #4 in the UK charts), things did not last, as Ian Gillan left to reunite with Deep Purple. Drummer Bill Ward once again returned to the fold, and the hiring of new singer David Donato was officially announced in 1984. However, after six months worth of rehearsals, Donato was discharged by management when Iommi and Butler squabbled over financial issues.

It was at this point that the band's frequent line-up changes, compounded with Ozzy Osbourne's increasing success in his solo career and side-taking from music critics, really ended up putting the band under Ozzy's shadow. Founding member Geezer Butler quit out of frustration and formed the Geezer Butler Band at this time, which did not end up releasing any albums. The original line-up of Black Sabbath reunited for one three-song show at Live Aid in 1985. After this, Tony Iommi decided to record a solo album and enlisted the help of longtime Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (who was finally made an official member) and vocalist Glenn Hughes, formerly of Deep Purple and Trapeze. Tony Iommi also got engaged to famous female heavy metal star Lita Ford, and enlisted the help of her band's bassist (Dave "The Beast" Spitz) and drummer Eric Singer, (later of KISS and Alice Cooper) to round off the line-up. However, record company pressure caused the album Seventh Star to be released as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

Early in the tour for Seventh Star in 1986, Glenn Hughes got into a fist fight, and suffered severe blood clotting in his throat which made him lose his voice. An unknown young American singer by the name of Ray Gillen (no relation to Ian Gillan) was tapped for the job and finished the tour. Although the morale in the band was very high when they started recording The Eternal Idol (former drummer Bev Bevan had returned as a percussionist, and a second bassist, Bob Daisley, also joined), the new Black Sabbath hit a devastating series of catasrophes involving mismanagement and financial debt, mainly from poorly planned use of the world's most expensive recording studio. As a result, Ray Gillen left the band during the recording sessions. He later hooked up with ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee to form the rather successful band Badlands (which ...

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