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Black Sabbath have a fair few stories to tell from their music career, but some will forever remain untold. Best known for their musical creativity, Black Sabbath are also known for their line-up changes and drug escapades. With Ozzy Osbourne in its ranks, this band is one of the pioneers of heavy metal music, with Led Zeppelin considering it to be one of the most important bands of all time.
Tony Iommi was the band's permanent guitarist as well as the musical head of the band. Their debut caused a sensation and totally shocked the British public, with the 1970 album "Paranoid" becoming one of the most legendary metal albums of all time. Get the Black Sabbath merch you've always wanted on the Black Sabbath merchandise page.
Ozzy Zig Needs Gig - how it all began for Black Sabbath
Aston, England was not the most hip of places back in the late 60s. Locals worked in factories, met after work at the local pub, and crawled into bed after drinking the town dry. And if you didn't work in a factory, you tended to occupy yourself with petty crime. As Ozzy said himself, life in the traditional working class town of Aston was grey, very grey.
It's no wonder really that this Birmingham suburb offered no chances for young teenagers. Take Ozzy for an example, who worked as a butcher for a while, and spent his spare time unsuccessfully robbing things and discovering drugs and alcohol. It didn't take long for Ozzy to end up in the nick, where he spent 6 weeks. But awful Aston wasn't so awful after all... it allowed Ozzy's passion for music to grow and grow.
One day in 1968, Ozzy strolled to the nearest music shop and placed an ad reading "Ozzy Zig Needs Gig - has own P.A.". And since virtually no one had their own PA system at the time, especially one loud enough for a band rehearsal, it wasn't long before Ozzy became a member of a band. From that point onwards, Ozzy started playing in the Polka Tulk-Blues-Band together with school pals Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler (with whom he'd already played in the band "Rare Breed"), Bill Ward and two other musicians.
When the two other musicians left the band, this somewhat blues/jazz-style band was shortly unnamed for a while before adopting the name "Earth". In 1968 and 1969, Earth was supporting act for Ten Years After, as well as Van der Graaf Generator, luck was really on their side!
From Earth to Black Sabbath
As there was already a band with that same name, they had to come up with a new one and eventually decided upon "Black Sabbath". Bassist Geezer Butler came up with the name whilst watching the horror film "Black Sabbath", and named one of his songs after it. Along with the change of name came a change in style, and when they were rehearsing across the street from a cinema, Iommi came to the conclusion that music should inspire listeners to feel fear and discomfort. Obsessed with the idea, the boys tinkered with Black Sabbath's style, which still continues to influence countless rock and metal bands.
Back in 1970, and after endless hours in the rehearsal room, they managed to write their debut album, and for once it's easier done than said - it took only 12 hours for the band to create Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album, which featured in the UK's top 10 charts! The debut album remained in the USA charts for more than a year...not bad, is it?
Paranoid - how Black Sabbath took over the world
Black Sabbath released their legendary second album "Paranoid" in that very same year, it shocked the bourgeois community and amused Black Sabbath at the same time. They dominated the charts with their lead single "Paranoid", which ironically only ever served as a gap filler. It was recorded at the end of the album session and was shoved on, but actually became one of the most successful Black Sabbath songs of all time.
Major tours and horrendous amounts of drugs and alcohol were to follow. Inspired by their success, they brought out even more legendary albums that were to shape the rock and metal scene in a massive way, including albums such as "Master of Reality", "Volume 4" and "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". You'll be able to find the albums at our Black Sabbath Merchandise Shop.
The post-Ozzy era
Not all the band's members dealt with success in the same way, and after serious drug problems, Ozzy Osbourne left the band in 1979, and dedicated himself to a solo career after successfully withdrawing from drugs. Various ever-important rock albums were written with members of other bands up until 1995, and every decent record collection will feature them! Pieces with Ronnie James Dio and co. have massively influenced the metal scene, and the 1980's album. "Heaven and Hell" is still considered as one of the most influential metal albums of all time.
The reunion with Ozzy
In 1997, Black Sabbath announced that the band would reappear with its original line-up, meaning Ozzy Osbourne on the microphone! It resulted in the band bringing out "Reunion", a live album, which showed Black Sabbath in full glory. Ozzy's reappearance made fans believe that a new album would come out, and fans waited more than 15 years for a new one. It clearly paid off!
13 - Black Sabbath's last album
In 2011, Black Sabbath announced it would be releasing a new album and touring again - original line-up included. In 2012, before the album was released, drummer Bill Ward left the band, but they powered on without him!
On 7th June 2014, the 19th and last ever Black Sabbath album was released under the title "13". Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk took his place behind the drum kit in the studio as well as for the "13" tour.
Despite topping the charts in the UK, the USA, Germany and Switzerland, Black Sabbath decided to call it a day after the "13" album. "The End" tour was both their farewell tour and also marked the end of their careers. Their final UK concert was played in their home town of Birmingham on 4th February 2017. Well, you can't say they didn't leave on a high note. RIP Black Sabbath!
Black Sabbath t-shirts, albums and plenty more
Black Sabbath may be done with touring the world, but these Brummy legends will always be with us here at the EMP Black Sabbath Merch Shop. Deck yourself out in Black Sabbath t-shirts, discover all the Black Sabbath Albums, or choose your favourite accessories, such as Henry the band mascot! Let's revel in the memories and put on all our favourite Black Sabbath records.