Black Sabbath are a British heavy metal band originally composed of Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass), Bill Ward (drums).
Black Sabbath started in Birmingham, England in the late 60s under the name Earth.. Initially a blues band. Black Sabbath became one of the definitive classic heavy metal bands, to be ranked alongside Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Judas Priest.
With a competent rhythm section and the extraordinary antics of Osbourne the band enjoyed success with their British metal of brutal riffs right from their first album, the eponymous Black Sabbath (1970). Their second album Paranoid (1970) made them a success in America. Both the albums's tunes and covers marked the band as influenced by the occult and 'black' magic.
They released a further three albums, Master of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972) and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) before management problems and the label change from Vertigo to WWA ruined the bands schedules in 1973. The next album Sabotage was not released until 1975 and the follow-up to that, Technical Ecstasy (1976) was the last Ozzy-Era album in the heavy Sabbath style.
In 1978 the band released Never Say Die and rumours that Osbourne was to leave the band were proved true in 1979 (Osbourne formed Blizzard of Ozz, swiftly renamed to Ozzy Osbourne Band). He was replaced by Ronnie James Dio but it was the end of an era.
Black Sabbath's first album with Dio, Heaven and Hell, did much to bring back the Sabbath spirit of heavy metal. However, after the departure of Bill Ward, with the Mob Rules album, they started to lose their touch, effectively fading into generic heavy metal oblivion for the most part.
That is, until the reunion of all the original Sabbath members in 1998.
The band rarely received any critical praise ("blundering bozos" was one description) and Osbourne vocal talent can be safely labelled as exuberant but non-existent. Their musical talent and ingenuity are however irrefutable. They served as a pioneer in the heavy metal field, and many heavy metal bands cite Sabbath as their inspiration, including such famous and successful groups as Iron Maiden and Metallica.
Many of the incidents and characters in the spoof rock documentary This is Spinal Tap are based on Black Sabbath.
Black Sabbath Lyrics