Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: “Black Sabbath”
Label: Vertigo Records
Release Date: 2/13/1970
Genre: Heavy Metal/Blues Hard Rock
I could think of no better present on a Friday the 13th than to share with the heavy music fans of the world the news that Black Sabbath’s own debut (and self-titled) release “Black Sabbath” is having its 45th Anniversary today. The phrase “It Begins Here” was never truer based on so very many listeners viewing this as the crushing beginning of the Heavy Metal sound. It was different from the type of Rock that bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Cream had delivered before them and while holding some similar roots in the Blues area with a little more amplitude, the stuff that Sabbath delivered on this debut was much heavier, darker and had numerous ominous and occult references. Just look at how it began in the title track of “Black Sabbath” and you quickly see the sinister tone that the band was out to deliver to their fans and whoever might take a chance on it.
“What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one
“Big black shape with eyes of fire
Telling people their desire
Satan’s sitting there, he’s smiling
Watches those flames get higher and higher
Oh no, no, please God help me”
With this early 1970 album, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward would make the term Heavy Metal music their own despite bands like Mountain and Blue Cheer who played heavy stuff as well prior to them and were instead labeled as being Proto-Metal. Now I was not listening to Sabbath back when this album first came out since I was only five years old and my own Metal awakening would not happen until my teens and looking back on this one I can admit that it is not my favorite in the bands catalog even though I loved a number of tunes on it. My own favorite is “Paranoid” which I think a lot of readers also find some preference to as well. There were seven tracks on the debut and that made sense since some tunes were longer than others and you only had so much space on an LP back then. It was rare to assume that a first album would get a two LP release and not so much so with a small label that was a sub-division of something larger (Vertigo Records was an offshoot of Phillips/Phonogram Records to be a place where Prog and other non-mainstream groups could be placed). Let’s look at the track listing and then continue along.
1. Black Sabbath
2. The Wizard
3. Behind The Wall Of Sleep
5. Evil Woman
6. Sleeping Village
Looking over the tracks on this album I can say that the tunes that were my first favorites have remained the same since first hearing them and that pretty much amounts to the full first side of the LP. Remember, you had to flip the big black disk on your turntable back in the old days to hear the rest of an album and those of us who really cared for our records, did not readily skip tracks as much as they let a full side play through. I don’t think you will argue their level of importance across the Heavy Metal chords of time. Of this first side, the top two for me are “The Wizard” since it employs some sweet harmonica along with its solid riff and “N.I.B.” and I think that this stems from my watching friends in bands and the famous ones all delivering their own cover of it. What were your favorites from this album? Were they the same as my own or did you find the whole body of work a stunning piece of Metal’s early history? Speak up in the comments on this post so we get some larger idea from the readers. You can learn more about the album itself in terms of the production and the course of history of the time via its Wiki entry linked below and of course check in with what Sabbath is up to in the here and now via their own website link as well.
Official Album Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sabbath_%28album%29
Official Website: http://www.blacksabbath.com
The album was remastered a bunch of years ago but never received a larger, expanded edition to this day. Perhaps it will happen upon the fiftieth anniversary when that happens in five more years. Stay tuned but until then you can order a copy if you should need one via the link below. Happy Anniversary Black Sabbath, and thanks for starting up the sound that would resonate and grow, proliferate and change with every new exciting Metal band.