Black Sabbath (Engelska)

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Page: Chapter:

1. I Introduction
1. II History
4. III The bands
5. IV Drugs
6. V Hypes, gimmicks & myths
6. VI Sub genres
7. VII Summary


Being a fan of hard rock, I pondered a while what I should choose as subject for such a big project as this, however I soon realized that choosing something that interested me would greatly increase my chances for achieving the grades I desire for this course. Thus I picked Heavy Metal, probably the musical genre that I love the most.
As I love music, find my inspiration in it, relax to it, party to it and so on, I’ve learned to love the music style called Heavy Metal and especially the founders of Metal, Black Sabbath, probably the band that’s changed the ways of music most – including The Beatles, Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones and many more. I guess you’ve already heard of them. Read about them and a few more bands in the chapter named “The bands”. Writing something about Heavy Metal would be cool, I thought, but it’s also a pretty wide subject and I chose to limit it and concentrate on my favorite metal band, Black Sabbath and thus focus more on the band that I think changed the way of rock like no one else has managed to. But what is heavy metal? It’s like rock, only it’s not as happy.


It all started with Black Sabbath, PERIOD!
They were the first heavy metal band and thus, I will focus on their records, however I have not forgot the other bands, be patient. Before we begin, there are some things you need to learn. 1. How to scream and sing. I guess you already know how to do that. 2. How to headbang. Bang your head up and down, your hairstyling should now be ruined if you’re doin’ it right. 3. Throw your hands in the air, do the sing of the devil: Fold in your thumb, index- and ring finger, this imitates the two thorns of the devil. That’s it. Now, let’s get to business.
Black Sabbath records...

ike one album wasn’t enough, 1970 was intense yet highly satisfying year for Black Sabbath, as their first two records saw release. In January, their first eponymously titled record, Black Sabbath, the most blues sounding one, was released, and half a year later, Paranoid (see discography below), was released and with it, Sabbath enjoyed a Billboard top 10 single 1970 (it was a top 10 hit again when it was re-released in 1980) and they performed a gig on Top Of The Pops alongside with Engelbert Humperdinck and Cliff Richard. This exposed the group to a far wider audience than earlier, many young fans who often were to young to frequent the sleazy clubs where Sabbath had built their reputation. In this essay, I have chosen to concentrate on the Sabbath records during the Ozzy years and exclude the greatest hits albums.

Paranoid is considered the best album by many experts and fans, including myself and it contains the bands most enduring material, like War Pigs, Paranoid (recently voted the best riff of all time), Fairies Wear Boots and Electric Funeral. The record was named War Pigs, but Sabbath’s American label Warner Bros. felt that the title would be distasteful to Americans, as the embarrassing Vietnam war (which some of the songs deal with) was ongoing. Thus, the title was changed and everybody was happy. It is clear what Sabbath felt about Vietnam and war in general, for example the lyrics in War Pigs and Electric Funeral shows the bands disrespectful attitude towards war. The Americans, of course, wanted to profit from such a huge hit as Paranoid and could not do so if the title remained unchanged. However, the title change came late and thus the artwork remained the same with a blurred, futuristic warrior, swinging a Japanese samurai sword and wearing a police helmet, symbolizing someone who fights an enemy he can’t see, disillusioned he swings his sword at everything and everybody.

“ - Reflex in the sky warn you you’re gonna die. Storm coming you better hide - from the atomic tide. Flashes in the sky turns houses into sty, turns people into clay
radiation mighty day” (Electric Funeral)

”Politicians hide themselves away, they only started the war. Why should they go out to fight? They leave all that to the poor! Yeah! …On their knees the war pigs crawling, begging mercies for their sins, Satan laughing spreads his wings“ (War Pigs)

Paranoid is an album that you can put on repeat a whole weekend and not get tired, it’s definitively the best record I own and I keep finding details in the music every time I listen, lyrics, drums, bass, whatever. Ozzy sings with a high voice, almost preaching, “Oh lord, yeah!” this makes the record as much a political protest as a deep and thoughtful production with elements of religion, as the extract from War Pigs shown above, where Satan takes the war pigs’ souls to hell. Paranoid saw the band moving away from the bluesier sound characterized the first album and established the band as the arguably most popular heavy metal band at the time. The title track was, according to the members, written in 5 minutes and deals with mental instability. It was at first considered a B-track but turned out to be the bands greatest hit ever. The promotion tour in the U.S. was cancelled due to the exposure of the Manson family/Sharon Tate murders. Charles Manson later stated that he’d been inspired by the “hidden messages” he’d received from the Beatles white album, released in ‘68. One can’t help to wonder what he could have done if he’d been inspired by Paranoid…

After Paranoid came Master of Reality, eight songs, of which two were Iommi compiled instrumental guitar intros. Lyrically, I think this is the best record they released during the 70’s, the songs deal with such things as homosexuality, religious doubts and pollution of nature due to space research.

”Straight people don’t know what you’re about. They put you down and shut you out. You came to me – a new belief and soon the world will love you, Sweet Leaf. Oh yeah, baby!” (Sweet Leaf)

Master of Reality was very seventies, so to speak, both musically and lyrically; for example homosexuality was a fairly new inquiry. The album artwork featured bold text in pink . Both on and off stage it was a creative time for Sabbath and I recommend this album to each and everyone who are beginners and would like just one album. It proves that heavy metal’s not only about bad poetry and wild, onstage guitar masturbation.
After one, comes another, Vol. 4 saw release in 1972, the title track name remained unchanged, however the album was to be called Snowblind, but this was not good, according to the censorship. The artwork is here too very seventies, it features Ozzy in colorful monks frock and typically 70’s letters – round and fat. This was the second time the band was struck by the bolts of censorship. This year, another British metal band, Deep Purple, became big news after a successful world tour and later, a live record from Japan, Made in Japan, was released. Tommy Bolin was still in the band – his drug abuse led to his death in ’76.
Discography: The Ozzy years:

Releasing one or two records every year is a tough job, even if the world’s full of war pigs, injustice, evil, drugs and instruments and Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath was the last in the very creative period of time when Sabbath became a world class act. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, an equivocal title, meaning both bloody as in damn or fucking, and bloody as in bloodshed. The tracks on the record have been covered lately by bands like Metallica (Sabra Cadabra) and The Cardigans (Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath). That really proves that it’s quality stuff – it still works, 26 years later. Sabotage followed in ‘75, not much to say there and Technical Ecstasy came along in ’76, a record with a modern art painting artwork featuring two kids throwing stuff at each other in an escalator and a real life picture of the same kids at the back of the album. The following records, I’m not going to talk about in terms of lyrics, music and onstage performance, I don’t know them good enough.

Hard feelings in the band started to escalate as Tony and Geezer felt like they were doing the job and Ozzy was smoking too much weed. So one day, when the band was in a rented house, writing and producing Never Say Die!, Tony came up to Bill and asked him to take a morning walk with him and told him during it that Ozzy had to leave. Bill later stated in an interview that his alcoholism got worse after he’d gotten the hard job to tell his friend that he had to quit. Ozzy did so, and pursued a successful solo career with his own band and hired guys like Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde to play with him. In 1989, Ozzy Osbourne took part in the Moscow Music Peace festival, where bands like Scorpions, Motley Crüe and Bon Jovi recorded a version of one of their favorite rock songs – Ozzy picked Purple Haze, by Jimi Hendrix (R.I.P.). The money from the records sold went directly to a fund for helping drug addicts.
The remains of Sabbath hired vocalist Ronnie James Dio and recorded two albums with him, however the fans refused to accept him, despite the fact that he was technically a better singer than Ozzy, but the lyrics he wrote was quite different from the earlier Sabbath ones. Sabbath shocked the rock world by hiring former Deep Purple member Ian Gillan, who did not last long. Bill Ward’s alcoholism now led to his departure and Vinny Appice became the new drummer, alongside vocalist Tony Martin. Vinny had once played percussion on one of John Lennon’s solo albums. Geezer Butler joined Ozzy’s solo band.

The golden era of Sabbath was over. Sabbath continued throughout the eighties with s steadily decreasing crowd of fans and by 1989, the only remaining original member was Tony Iommi, guitarist, the rest of the lineup was Tony Martin, Geoff Nichols (keyboards, a typical 80’s instrument, a setback from the original rock quartet), drummer Cozy Powell and Laurence Cottle, bassist, as Geezer was playing in Ozzy’s solo band. Also, Queen guitarist Brian May, played on some records, but did not tour with the band. Their records pretty much sucked, except for the brilliant 1994 Cross Purposes, which belongs to the better half of the prod..
It was over, the legend was dead. Not. Because in 1997, for the first time in almost 20 years, the band stated that a new album Reunion – mostly old songs, but some new was to be released and the old lineup was complete. Fans celebrated, records were sold out and a new world tour began. Black Sabbath were scheduled to play in Globen Stockholm on August 5:th, I bought the tickets in early May – me and a friend from Sundsvall are going. It was postponed due to an extended U.S. tour. Sabbath will be playing on December 14:th, 1999. If I’m still going? Ha-ha…


fter playing together for awhile, four guys, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Terry “Geezer” Butler and Bill Ward started a blues band in 1967 called Polka Tulk. Tony knew Ozzy from high school. Ozzy had spent a few months in prison for breaking into houses. In 1968, they renamed to Earth, renamed it to Black Sabbath in 1969, and immediately created a whole new rock sound. Blues mixed with heavy-as-lead bass strokes and simple, rhythmic guitar riffs performed by Iommi, who, after cutting off one quarter of all his right hand fingers except for the thumb, had to learn how to play the chords on his Gibson SG-1 from scratch again. This time, it was with severely reduced force in his fingertips, this was the reason he did not strain his strings as hard as he used to, which lead to a whole new, doomy-gloomy guitar sound that was and is the trademark of Black Sabbath, the first, biggest and best Heavy Metal band in the world. The guitar was tuned down a half step because he couldn´t play comfortably; the lower tuning made his dark mammoth, heavy-as-lead riffs sound even heavier.

Sabbath emerged out of the 60’s rock scene, the hardest sound people had heard before was probably The Beatles “Helter Skelter” or the band Jethro Tull, who attended the first Woodstock festival in 1969. Sabbath were unique in many ways, not only the sound, but the myths and looks of the group and several of their lyrics got them banished in Jewish countries like Israel and some southern European countries. This was mostly because of their stage show with occult and satanic related lyrics and gear, such as crosses upside- down and crucifixes. Bassist Geezer was a Satanist in the early seventies, when the band changed its name; he redecorated his apartment, painted the walls black and hung upside-down crosses and pentagrams here and there. But an encounter with what he later described as “evil spirits” made him change his mind and buy some more paint in lighter shades and take the pentagrams off the walls. If he was stoned or drunk during the encounter, the story does not tell…

No one else in Sabbath has ever admitted themselves being Satanists or devil worshippers.
A new kind of music – heavy metal – was created. The band Judas Priest defined heavy metal even more by making it faster and more technical, musically speaking. But it did not end when Judas Priest went away in another direction – a new wave of bands – The new wave of British heavy metal during the 80’s with bands like Iron Maiden had been inspired by the early heavy
metal and Iron Maiden became the biggest heavy metal band in the world with their “World Slavery Tour 84-85”, a tour that ended up as live record, Live After Death. Sabbath and Judas Priest also provided further influence for different extreme forms of heavy metal, such as Death Metal, to follow in the mid 80’s.


Chanting is good word for describing Ozzy´s way of singing the lyrics of Black Sabbath, that often touched upon drug related problems several times, for example in “Hand of Doom”, from Paranoid: “Push the needle in - face deaths sickly wind, holes are in your skin - caused by deadly pin!” The early heavy metal lyrics, by bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, often touched upon drugs and/or related problems. Many of the bands lost members as a result of alcohol or drug abuse, such as Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple) d. 1976, Bon Scott (AC/DC) d. 1980 (suffocated in his own vomits), Gary Thain (Uriah Heep) d. 1976, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) d. 1979 and Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), who died in 1986.
Great musicians, all lost forever. Note that both Judas Priest and Black Sabbath had names that referred to Christian and Jewish beliefs - ways of showing despise.
It was hard for the rockers to stay away from the drugs. Last night, I saw Gary Moore on TV and he said that he did not dare to do drugs back in the seventies, when he was a hard rocker, ‘cause he thought he would have liked it way to much. He ought to know.


Keeping people from hating you can sometimes be hard. In 1969, Black Sabbath was invited to play at a satanic festival at Stonehenge and
refused. As a result, a couple of Satan worshippers placed a curse upon the whole band, to ban them to hell forever. Ozzy and the guys were of course scared by his attempt to hurt them and asked chief witch Alex Saunders to place a protective spell over them, as long as they wore alloy crucifixes.
So far, 30 years later, they’ve not taken ‘em off and they probably never will. Whatever truth lies in such stories, they still made great publicity. It’s become one of their few gimmicks, as their slogan is “No hype, no bullshit, no gimmicks. The music speaks for itself, what the fuck more do you need?”

As most of the heavy metal bands have been touched by drug or alcohol related problems, the guys in Sabbath were pretty much stoned all the time, especially Ozzy admitted a few years ago that he’d been doing heroin and opium since 1970. He can’t stop his fingers from shaking, he explained. “My nerve system you know has been burnt out you know by he-he-heroin, you know.” At that time, drugs was part of everyday life, as flower power was sweeping over the world (the “summer of love”, 1967, took part merely a year before “Earth” was formed) and this was recognizable in Sabbaths’ wardrobe too.
Speaking about myths, creating myths about something often increases its popularity, this was the case with Sabbath. Here’s one: When Sabbath was in London to sign their record contract, Ozzy sat in the chair at the other end of the President’s desk and smoked a cigarette. Suddenly, he got up and grabbed the cage, which was on the desk, with a dove in it, opened it, picked out the bird, bit its head off and spit the head out on the desk and shouted, “fuck you!” Ozzy has admitted this. Stuff like that got them a bad reputation, which was good, because they sold more records.
Stories about Alice Cooper (he’s a glam rocker, not heavy metal) are popular, for example Alice should, according to some sources, have killed chickens on stage and used a real guillotine to chop the heads of them.
There are a lot of rumors about Ozzy Osbourne. For example, Ozzy was throwing living puppies to the crowd and would not take them back until they were dead, some fans say. I doubt it, but who knows…


Heavy metal was the first really big development of rock as it had been until 1970, the whole set – clothes, instrument tuning and of course the sound was totally different from the original rock, that was established by Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. If heavy metal was a development of hard rock, several sub genres to metal popped up during the 70’s and 80’s. Styles like Thrash, Goth, Death, Black and Speed metal all had their own inventors and predecessors. Thrash metal – thrash came around in ’83, fast and loud metal often with the most basic set of musicians – vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer was born in the early 80’s with the success of bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Melodic vocals were traded for screaming and shouting. Note that Metallica died as a band when bassist Cliff Burton died in 1985. They now suck. Goth metal – an extension of heavy metal, a little bit slower rhythm, bands like Sisters of Mercy are among the most famous. Death metal – VERY heavy rock, explicit lyrics with elements of Satanism, spirits and violence. Records are often tagged with parental warning. Vocalist often sings in a dark, screaming way, it’s hard to recognize words. Small genre, famous bands are Sepultura, Entombed and one of the first real Death bands, Possessed. Totally brutal in every respect, speed and evil screaming satanic vocals, many of the bands were and/or are devil worshippers. Black Metal – sometimes hard to separate from Death it often has screaming vocals and cathedral effects with choruses and nature sound effects. Swedish Black band Morte Macabre is a new band that has done themes for ho...

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Inactive member [2002-11-28]   Black Sabbath (Engelska)
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