Today in History - Black Sabbath Begins
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.
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....