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Black Sabbath (A Debut Album)

Updated on July 4, 2012

Black Sabbath are a Birmingham Hard Rock and Roll band that formed in 1969. They are credited as one of the fathers and pioneers of the music genre "Heavy Metal".


Band Members

Black Sabbath's original line up fits Tony Iommi on lead guitar, Bill Ward Shredding on drums, Geezer Butler on bass and the "Prince of Darkness" Ozzy Osbourne as their front man.

Black Sabbath Is Formed

The war-scared, factory consumed, Birmingham England was a perfect birthplace for dark and gloomy heavy metal music. In 1968, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi were seeking members to form a heavy style blues band out of Aston, Birmingham. These two musicians enlisted Ozzy as well as bass player geezer butler to preform with them under the name "Polka Tulk" (Which they later changed to the name "Earth"). While they were playing shows around England they realized that there was already a band preforming under the name "Earth" and that they would need a different, unique name to call their own and to be able to draw a fan base from it. Across the street from the bands rehearsal room was a cinema. This movie theater was playing a film titled "Black Sabbath", one of the many horror films that was being screened at the time. This gave the band the idea, If people will pay money to be scared by horror films, why wouldn't they pay to be scared by music? Inspired by the film and an evil silhouette in a nightmare that Bill Ward had, Ozzy and Bill wrote the lyrics to the song "Black Sabbath". The band paired the lyrics of evil figures with the demonic sound of the musical tritone or Devils interval, creating the horror sound they were seeking out. The band took great inspiration in th dark roots they were creating. In August of 1969 they changed their band name to Black Sabbath and aimed all of their material in a dark, horror inspired direction.

Main riff of the song "Black Sabbath"
Main riff of the song "Black Sabbath"

Recording the album

In November of 1969, Black Sabbath were signed to Philips record, who helped them release their single, "Evil Woman". This was a cover version of a song by the band "Crow" and was released in January of 1970.

Philips Records soon placed Sabbath under one of their sub-labels, Vertigo Records. They were Given two days to produce and album. One day for recording and another for mixing. Given the short time window, the band made the decision to play live, with Ozzy singing in a separate booth and they finished most of the tracks in one take.

Track List

1. Black Sabbath (6:20)

2. The wizard (4:24)

3. Behind the wall of sleep (3:37)

4. N.I.B (6:08)

5. Evil Woman (3:25)

6. Sleeping Village (3:46)

7. Warning (10:28)

Album Release

The album "Black Sabbath" was released on February 13, 1970. The artwork on the album cover features the Mapledurham watermill with a "figure in black" standing in front, ultimately complimenting off the bands dark and disturbing atmosphere.

Despite the albums widely panned criticism, "Black Sabbath" reached number 8 on the UK album chart. This album has gone on to be the mainframe or foundation for the next generations of heavy music, giving influence to Metal, Hard rock and Gothic musicians.

Did you know?

Guitarist Tony Iommi's two middle finger tips on his right hand were cut off in a steel factory accident. Tony was a left handed guitar player, meaning he needs his right hand fingers to be able to finger the frets of the guitar. This accident threatened to never allow him to play properly again. Determined to keep playing, Tony crafted fingertips out of rubber, a sort of home maid prosthetic, to allow him the use of his hand once again. Tony also tuned down his guitar so the strings wouldn't put as much strain on his finger tips. Geezer butler tuned his bass to match Tony's. Having the lower sound coming from the guitars helped to define Black Sabbath's deep, heavy sound.

What is your favorite original Black Sabbath Album?

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    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good to hear that you enjoyed it Klanguedoc!

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for writing. I have been fascinate with the band for a long time so I enjoyed your hub very much

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Epigramman - thanks for the invite i would love to check out your group, and your very lucky to have the vinyl, i only have Sabbath 4 and Mob Rules in mint condition.

      Steve - Like i said, i hold of their albums close to me, i really dig them all. Nib is a great song. Some more of my favorites are Fairies Wear Boots, Children of the Grave, Planet Caravan, the Wizard, and Electric Funeral. They have so many great tunes they truly are a rock legend.

      Akki1992 - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub! Studying rock and heavy metal music is sort of a hobby of mine and i love to share what i learn!

      Rock on All!

    • profile image

      akki1992 5 years ago

      Very good work . It seems u have closely observed this legendary Rock band . I cannot take Paranoid out of my mind . keep it up friend

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Master of Reality, without a doubt! Paranoid, a very close second. A great Hub on a great album!

      NIB has to be one of my favorite songs from Sabbath, though I listen to the original more than the re-recorded Ozzy one.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ..nice to see Erica here - she is a member of our FB music/cinema group Let's just talk music or cinema in which you are invited to join - and this world class hub presentation and true labor of love will posted to our group with a direct link back here - and yes I still have their debut album on vinyl in mint condition - sending warm wishess to you from lake erie time ontario canada 8:02pm

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the compliment! I'm a huge Sabbath fan, so its hard for me to single out a single album as a favorite. I believe their self titled album deserves a great deal of credit, because like you said it was the beginning of a revolution. But allot of their great songs came after.

    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Fantastic and detailed hub! I love the debut too- it was really the start of something big. I voted for Paranoid in the poll (very obvious of me) because I think it's just slightly more consistent than the rest of their albums. I pretty much enjoy them all, though.