Monday, December 11, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Black Sabbath

Thundering out of Birmingham, England in the late 1960s came a band that was to re-define hard rock and create a whole new style of music that would influence generations of bands all the way to the present day.

The band was Black Sabbath and the musical genre they created was Heavy Metal. Sabbath were the first true metal band - the template for every other group that followed.

Black Sabbath has been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style. The group took the blues-rock sound of the late '60s to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies.

If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition, Black Sabbath took that tradition in a new direction, and in so doing helped give birth to a musical style that continued to attract millions of fans decades later.

The group was formed by four teenage friends from Aston, near Birmingham, England: Anthony "Tony" Iommi (guitar); William "Bill" Ward (drums); John "Ozzy" Osbourne (vocals); and Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass).

The group released their debut album, Black Sabbath, in 1970 and followed that up with a string of wildly successful albums.

After the self-title debut an onslaught of great material followed throughout the early to mid-seventies: Paranoid; Master of Reality; Black Sabbath Vol. 4; Sabbath Bloody Sabbath; and Sabotage.

After Ozzy was fired in 1979, Sabbath continued on through the eighties with Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan and many other manning the vocal duties. The original Black Sabbath reunited in 1997 for a world tour which spawned the live album, Reunion, a two-CD set featuring two new studio tracks. The original lineup continues to get together for concert gigs, but no new material has yet to be released.

Here they are. The Godfathers of Metal: Black Sabbath!

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