Black Sabbath / Ozzy Osbourne
It’s been said time and time again, but it’s the gospel truth. Heavy metal as we know it wouldn’t exist without Black Sabbath. Founded in the bleak industrial environs of Aston, near Birmingham, England, by four teenage friends, Black Sabbath – which started out as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, before adopting the name Earth – transformed the blues-oriented rock of the late 1960s into something more evil, as they dipped macabre lyrics into a slow, sludgy mix of wailing vocals, heavy guitars and thundering rhythms. After being mistaken for another band called Earth, they changed their name to Black Sabbath, taking the moniker from a movie title. Their powerful live performances attracted the attention of record labels, and in 1969, they signed with Phillips Records, whose subsidiary, Vertigo Records, released Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut album. The record reached the U.K. Top Ten, with success in America coming later that year. Not long after, Sabbath’s follow-up Paranoid was released in the fall of 1970, and it was a masterpiece, sparking a run of hit albums in the ‘70s, including Master of Reality, Black Sabbath, Vol. 4, and Sabotage, among others, until they ran out of steam. In 1977, singer Ozzy Osbourne departed, later embarking on a massively successful solo career with the late guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads. Sabbath hired Osbourne’s replacement, the dearly departed Ronnie James Dio, in 1979, and they came back with a vengeance, recording classic LPs Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath Live at Last, and Mob Rules. In 2013, Iommi, Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and new drummer Brad Wilk plan to put out a new Sabbath record. Vintage Sabbath concert t-shirts are highly prized by collectors, as are rare concert tickets and posters from the ‘70s, promotional photos and press kits, show programs, and pins and buttons.
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