Today in History - Black Sabbath Begins

in #history11 months ago

I'll go ahead and be honest and let you know that I am actually a day late on this. It happened on 13-Feb but is such an important band to me that I am going to publish this anyway.

The year was 1970


I wasn't even alive yet and wouldn't even discover the band until many years later when i was hunting through the attic of our Nebraska house and discovered a box of records that my parents had stashed away. I can't say for certain why this, and several other Sabbath albums were hidden away from us kids - religion may have played a part in it, but it was my first exposure to metal.

In many people's minds, Black Sabbath were the inventors of metal, which to this day is my favorite genre of music.


By 1970 the band had already been around in some form or another for a number of years. Before they were Black Sabbath they had a variety of names including Polka Tulk Blues Band (and they actually were a blues band) and later changed the name of the band to Earth.

They were reasonably successful as a blues band and were content to stay that way until they were in their rehearsal space preparing for upcoming shows and a cinema across the street was playing a 1963 horror film called Black Sabbath. Intrigued by the fact that people would pay money to see horror films, the band became accidentally inspired to try making some "scary music." They penned the song entitled Black Sabbath ant it would end up appealing to so many, including the band members, that they decided to change the name of the band as well.

according to the owner, this pic was taken when the band was still known as either Polka Tulk or Earth

What a wonderful "mistake" that day was that the film just happened to be playing across the street because if it hadn't, we might never have heard of these guys. Less than a year later, on Friday the 13th, Black Sabbath's debut self-titled album, was released.

It was an immediate sensation and climbed up to the top 10 U.K. charts despite being nothing at all like the music that was popular at the time. Later on in the same year the band experienced similar success in USA, where the album remained in the Billboard top 200 for over a year.

For the most part, musicians and historians agree that Sabbath invented metal and honestly I don't care if they are right or wrong, i'll save that for other people to argue about.

For me, it was the first time I had ever heard anything like it when I encountered those records in the attic. I suppose whatever inspired my parents to hide the albums away had worn off at that point, because they didn't seem all that fussed that I had found them and was now playing them.

You have to keep in mind that in the mid 80's when I discovered the records, MTV was a pretty brand new thing and featured pop music almost exclusively. We did have "metal" on the radio but it was exclusively glam rock or metal-ish stuff like Journey. I had never heard any metal that was truly "evil" at that point in my life.

black sabbath color.jpg

We all know how the band went down a spiral of drugs and booze on a monumental level, but to be fair to those guys it did take them nearly 10 years, more than a half-dozen hit records, and tons of fame and fortune for the band to finally fall apart and see the firing of Ozzy Osbourne around 1979.

from the Into the Sabbath channel

The title track, the album, and the band's stage presence lead to a lot of copycats and subsequently the birth and the evolution of my personal favorite genre of music.

A legendary track and album, "Black Sabbath" was unlike anything anyone had heard up to that point. Rob Halford of Judas Priest has said "Black Sabbath" is ""probably the most evil song ever written."

And as far as most of the world is concerned it all began today (yesterday, oops) 50 years ago....


How funny that you should post this today. The last song that played on the radio in my car before I walked into my office was N.I.B this morning. I have to admit, I am not really familiar with a ton of Black Sabbath songs, but to think they were doing that kind of music that long ago is pretty impressive. I can't think of any other band from around that time who is anything like them, so I would have to agree that they probably started the whole metal genre. Nice post!

Its amazing the Ironman himself, Ozzy is still rockin like an absolute legend. 1 day while Snowblind, at the Electric Funeral, all the War Pigs will gather. Cuz you know Fairies Wear Boots because theyre Paranoid....

I am listening to it right now! Awesome album! The first song Black Sabbath still gives me chills! :)...Metal was born when this album came out! \m/

50 years,shit me time flies. I see Ozzy has Parkinsons or something now and don't know how these guys survived after the things they got up to. I really enjoy your time line posts as they are interesting and just so varied on topics.

i'm sure you saw at least a few episodes of The Osbourne Show or whatever it was called. It's rather remarkable to me that Ozzy is in as good of shape as he is considering how it is that he has lived his life

Excellent write up on Black Sabbath.

I too am a metal head, and this is one of my all time favorite bands. I probably listen to War Pigs at least once per week :P

As a guitar player, Tony Iommi was a major inspiration for me, and Ozzy, well.. Who doesn't love Ozzy! just struck me that 1970 is actually 50 years now. Time flies so fast. Been around for only half the time so I'll be forgiven for never really being into metal.

I did like the disturbed version of sound of silence though

yeah that Disturbed song is pretty epic. I loved their first album but they kind of lost me after that. I think what happened with them is that he studio probably have demands on a certain number of albums need to be made, like one every year or so and there are very few bands that can keep up with that pace.

Awesome post, I have seen them once in original setup in Belgium, just epic. Ozzy is my hero..... no one like him.... I have played in a Ozzy tribute for some time, they were called Crazy Train :) Just posted about them yesterday ( ) @bozz pointed me out to your post.... Sabbath yeah !!!!

an Ozzy tribute band you say? Oh i'd definitely be interested in that!

Yes a Ozzy tribute band, but unfortunate we split..... I still love the music of Ozzy, and if I ever get the chance again I will join a new one without a doubt... :)

Truly interesting historical well written tale of the history of the dark side of the Metal force

I liked the music, look at those hair.... classic though!

They were a bunch of creative people. This proves music has no age limit, it stays immortal and lively. just listen to their albums for instance.

It's so crazy that they have been around so long.. I still remember jamming out to Iron Man when I was a kid and my parents schooling me on this stuff. My best friend was a huge fan and I liked it too - just not as much as him.

I was sad to hear about Ozzie getting Parkinson's... Although I believe he just announced it, I think he said he's known since 2003 or something. I wonder if that would explain his incoherence at all?

it may explain a bit of his behavior. I'm surprised he lived long enough in order for something like Parkinsons to get him. I think we have Sharon to thank for the fact that the man wasn't dead more than 20 years ago.

Ironman I likely heard before I discovered the records in the attic, that song was a lot more widespread than most of their tracks because it was a little less evil than a lot of their other hits.