BLACK SABBATH: TOP 5 ALBUMS

Black Sabbath is an English Rock Band, formed in Aston, Birmingham England in 1969, by Ozzy Osbourne (Lead Vocalist), Toni Iommi (Guitar), Geezer Butler (Drums), and Bill Ward (Dums).  They were the first band to use tuned down guitars and to use occult laden inspired lyrics.  Black Sabbath has been cited as the Pioneers of Heavy Metal Music.  Most experts call them the Forefathers of the Heavy Metal Genre.  They have been ranked as the #1 Heavy Metal Band of all time by MTV.  VH1 rated them the Second Best Hard Rock Band of all time behind Led Zeppelin.  Rolling Stone Magazine called Black Sabbath “The Heavy Metal Kings of the 70’s.”  Black Sabbath was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 followed by their induction into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.  They have sold over 15 Million Records in the United States alone as well as 75 million albums worldwide.  Its really not a question wether or not Black Sabbath is the Greatest Heavy Metal band of all time.  Most experts agree that they were not only the first and best, but that they also spawned many other sub sets of Metal throughout the past decades.  The purpose of this post will be to chronicle the Top 5 Sabbath Albums as far as my opinion goes.

1)  Paranoid-  Paranoid was Black Sabbath’s Sophomore Studio Album and was released on September 18, 1970.  The album was recorded at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios in London.  Paranoid spawned the hit singles Paranoid, Iron Man, and War Pigs which are the three signature Black Sabbath titles.  Paranoid has went platinum 4x meaning it has sold over 4 Million Records alone.  Paranoid is the only Black Sabbath album to reach Number #1 on the UK album chart.  The Track Listing for this album is as follows:

“War Pigs”, “Paranoid”, “Planet Caravan,” “Iron Man,” “Electric Funeral,” “Hand of Doom'” “Rat Salad,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.”  War Pigs was written about the Vietnam War.  Iron Man was written by Geezer Butler and is about a man who time travels into the future, sees the apocalypse.  Upon his return he is turned into steel by a magnetic field and he is rendered deaf and mute.  He is unable to verbally warn people of the impending doom and people mock and make fun of him.  This causes Iron Man to get mad and have revenge causing the destruction seen in his future vision.

2)  Heaven And Hell-  Heaven and Hell was Black Sabbath’s Ninth Studio Album and was the first album to feature Ronnie James Dio on Vocals.  The album was released on April 25, 1980 under the Warner Brother’s Label.  This album marked the official rebirth of Sabbath, who had “died” after the departure of Ozzy Osbourne.  Heaven and Hell became one of their best selling records.  As of today, Heaven and Hell is the Third Highest Selling Sabbath album behind Paranoid and Master of Reality respectively.  The album hit Ninth on the UK Rock Chart and Twenty Eighth on the US Billboard Charts.  In 1982, the album reached Gold Platinum.  The Track Listing was as follows:

“Neon Nights, Children of the Sea, Lady Evil, Heaven and Hell, Wishing Well, Die Young, Walk Away, and Lonely is the Word.”  The Title Track Heaven and Hell is about how we all have free will and choices to make: either good or evil.  Heaven and Hell is ranked 81 on VH1’s Top 100 Hard Rock Songs.

3)  Master of Reality-  Master of Reality was the third Studio Album released by Black Sabbath.  It was released on July 21st, 1971.  This album was certified Double Platinum for having sold over 2 Million Copies.  Master of Reality is more of a mellow type metal album as it mixes quiet acoustic songs with loud heavy songs interlinked.  The album’s first song Sweet Leaf is named after the drug marijuana which typically links this album to a “stoner type vibe.”  Geezer Butler wrote all of the lyrics on this album.  The track listing is as follows:

“Sweet Leaf, “After Forever, Embryo, Children of the Grave, Orchid, Lord of this World, Solitude, Into the Void.”  The tune Solitude featured the multi-talents of Toni Iommi on Guitar, Piano and Flute.  Lord of this World, Sweet Leaf and Children of the Grave are hit singles.  Children of the Grave has been covered numerous times and Pantera covered Lord of this Woirld.

4)  Sabbath Bloody Sabbath-  This was the Fifth studio album released by Black Sabbath in December of 1973.  This album marked a transition of a slow, crunching style of metal to a faster guitar style of music.  The album furthered Black Sabbath’s transition as well as marked an eerie theme that actually followed their extreme lifestyle as Rock Stars.  The Track Listing is as follows:

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, A National Acrobat, Fluff, Sabbra Cadabra, Killing Yourself to Live, Who are You, Looking for Today, and Spiral Architect.”  Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and A National Acrobat were the two hit singles.  Anthrax and Megadeth both covered Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Metallica has covered Sabbra Cadabra.

5)  Black Sabbath-  This was the debut album from the Top Metal Band of all-time.  The title track was the first track to become a hit and this song was the prototype metal ensemble.  The album also featured “The Wizzard, Behind the Wall of Sleep, Nativity in Black (NIB), Evil Woman, Sleeping Village, Warning, and Wicked World.  Nativity in Black later became a title of a tribute album to Black Sabbath which included many superstar metal bands covering different Black Sabbath tunes.  This album cover is the most recognized Sabbath cover on their catalog.  It features a witch in front of what looks like an old stone church.

 

Im sure every Sabbath Fan has their own personal favorite album.  My personal favorite is Heaven and Hell because it was actually my first Sabbath Record.  I actually had the original record but have since misplaced it.  Wish I hadn’t, it is probably worth money.  Feel Free to comment on this post and comment on your favorite Sabbath Albums and Songs.ImageImage

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Remembering Ronnie James Dio

6/10/42-5/16/10…As a metal fan…when I hear the name Ronnie James Dio…I immediately think of the “Metal Horns” hand gesture for which he is known for popularizing. When Ronnie (Otherwise known as DIO) passed away in May of 2010 of stomach cancer, the Heavy Metal community lost a true legend. As I sit here listening to the Black Sabbath Album…”Heaven and Hell”…it sends chills down my spine. I mean…Ozzy Osbourne was the face of Black Sabbath…but I am not sure there has ever been a band where a lead vocalist left and the band did not miss a beat. I mean, Ozzy does not come close to matching Ronnie as far as vocal intensity and range. Ronnie will always be known for his high range pitch and the knack for hitting every vocal note possible.
Ronnie was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1942. He graduated from the Cortland City School in 1960 and went on to attend pharmacy school. He would never finish as he started his own band. His first significant band was called “Elf”, which formed in 1969. Ronnie adopted the nickname “Dio” named after the mafia member, Johnny Dio.
While performing in the band Elf, Ronnie recorded 3 albums and was the main opening act for the band Deep Purple. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple took a liking to Dio’s vocals and recruited him for his own band when he left Deep Purple. The band was known as Rainbow. His time in Rainbow was short lived as he only stuck around for 2 albums. In 1979 Dio left Rainbow and took over for Ozzy as lead vocalist for Metal Legend Black Sabbath.
In 1980, Black Sabbath released the album Heaven and Hell, which revitalized the career of Black Sabbath. The album was a huge success and hit platinum in sales in just 6 years (1,000,000)! After Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath produced “The Mob Rules,” which was Dio’s 2nd and last album with Sabbath as their were disagreements between the band members.
At this point, Dio and Vinny Apice (Drummer) left and formed “DIO.”. The band featured Dio on vocals, Apice on Drums, Vivian Campbell (who later joined Whitesnake and Def Leppard) on guitar, and Jimmy Bain on Bass, Bain having played with Rainbow. The first album “Holy Diver” was released in 1982. Holy Diver hit 56 on the Billboard 200 in the US and hit #13 in the UK. The album featured the hit title track as well as the single Rainbow in the Dark. All in all, DIO released 10 Studio Albums and was constantly on tour until the band broke up and Ronnie formed “Heaven and Hell” which featured former Sabbath mates Geezer Butler and Toni Iommi along with Vinny Apice in 1986. Ronnie is also accredited for writing some of the very first power metal lyrics in metal music.
Ronnie also participated in many fund raisers during his career, the most notable being Hear n Aid, which was similar to Live Aid. A huge festival that was created to raise money for hunger. Ronnie is known for his deafening lyrics and powerful dark themes. Dio was a musical genius and will always live in the hearts of us metal die Garda.
Ronnie James Dio was more than a vocalist…he was a field general when it came to his stage presence. He was performing right up until his death. Dio is an Icon/ Legend/ Star Vocalist. He popularized his style. Heaven and Hell is one of the top metal albums. Pop it in your CD player and let it play straight up! Ronnie is truly a musical genius. He will never be forgotten.

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