Black Sabbath: Ten Interesting Facts About The Heavy Metal Gods
There are lots of legendary bands touring in 2013: The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers Band, Steely Dan, and Fleetwood Mac. However, the only icons releasing a new album in 2013 (and touring) are Black Sabbath. The heavy metal pioneers will release 13 (their 19th overall) on June 10. It’s the band’s first studio album since 1995’s Forbidden and their first with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm since 1978.
To support their latest opus, the band will embark on a 20-date tour of North America beginning July 25 in Houston, Texas. Their spree ends Sept. 3 in Los Angeles. Major stops on their route include Black Sabbath in Toronto on Aug. 14; Black Sabbath at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington on Aug. 24; and Black Sabbath in Las Vegas on Sept. 1.
To get you ready for the upcoming Black Sabbath tour, BSTLV has come up with ten interesting facts about the band. Even if you’re a hardcore fan you still need to read our list. We guarantee that you’ll either learn something new or you’ll have a knowledge gap filled in that might have “developed” over the years. If you’re new to Sabbath, then our rundown is the perfect way to learn more about the greatest heavy metal band of all-time.
>>Black Sabbath’s First Album Was Released On Friday the 13th.
How appropriate for a band so closely associated with the macabre, and one named after a horror film, to release their self-titled debut album on Friday the 13th (in February of 1970). The band only had one day to record their first LP so they laid down all the tracks live and pretty much in one take.
>>Black Sabbath Released Their First Three Albums In A 17-month Period.
The band’s self-titled debut dropped in February of 1970. Their sophomore effort, Paranoid, came out in September of the same year. Their third studio album, Master of Reality, was released July 21, 1971. At the time, all the three albums were panned by critics. Nowadays, those three discs are considered hard rock classics and seminal to the genre of heavy metal music.
>>Black Sabbath’s Record Company Renamed Two Of Their Early Albums.
Black Sabbath wanted to call their second studio album War Pigs after the work’s lead track. Their record company disagreed and changed its name to Paranoid after the album’s lead single. The band’s fourth album was originally titled Snowblind after their song about cocaine abuse. The record company called an audible and renamed the work Black Sabbath Vol. 4. That was somewhat of a ridiculous epithet since there were no volumes one, two, or three.
>>Black Sabbath Toured With A ‘Who’s Who Of Hard Rock’ In The 1970s.
The band spent most of the early 1970s on the road selling Black Sabbath tickets. They played all over the world. Of course, the zenith of Black Sabbath concerts was their appearance at the California Jam Festival on April 6, 1974. The music festival attracted more than 200,000 fans and parts where broadcasted on ABC. Besides Sabbath, fans also enjoyed sets by The Eagles, Deep Purple, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Well-known bands that opened for Black Sabbath in the 1970s include KISS, Boston, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, and Van Halen.
>>Sharon Osbourne Suggested Ronnie James Dio As A Replacement For Ozzy Osborne.
In the late 1970s, Black Sabbath were nothing but a bunch of drunks especially Ozzy Osborne. In fact, he was such a booze hound, and was contributing so little to the band, that they fired him. As for a replacement, the band followed the suggestion of Sharon Arden, the daughter of their manager, and who, in a few years, would become Mrs. Ozzy Osbourne. Sherri’s suggested Ronnie James Dio. It was a good idea. The former Rainbow singer breathed new life into a fledgling band.
>>”Mob Rules” Recorded At A Beatles’ Former Home.
“Mob Rules” is the title track and lead single from Black Sabbath’s 1981 opus. The song was recorded in England at a home that once belonged to former Beatle John Lennon. An alternate version of the song was used in the animated film Heavy Metal. The album Mob Rules would be the last Black Sabbath album with Dio singing lead until 1992 (Dehumanizer).
>>The Live Album, Live Evil, Eventually Cost Black Sabbath Half Of Their Lineup.
The material for Live Evil was recorded in 1982 during a Black Sabbath tour. While mixing the album, Tommy Iommi and Geezer Butler accused Dio of sneaking into the studio and secretly increasing the volume of his vocals. In the middle of all this turmoil was a poor sound engineer receiving contrary directions from two warring factions. Eventually, Dio took his microphone and went home. He also took Vinny Appice, the band’s drummer at the time, and started his own group. Needless to say, Black Sabbath and Dio were overshadowed during this period by Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career.
>>Black Sabbath Inspired A Bit In The Movie This Is Spinal Tap.
Remember in the movie This Is Spinal Tap when “Stonehenge” is lowered from the rafters onto the stage and it’s just 18 inches tall? “There was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.” Well, that scene was inspired by Black Sabbath. The band was going to have a Stonehenge set built for a string of Black Sabbath concerts. Unfortunately, the dimensions were incorrectly written down and instead of Stonehenge standing 15 feet high it stood 45 feet high. At that size, it was much too big for even the largest of concert stages.
>>Bob Geldof Gets Original Black Sabbath To Reunite.
The 1985 Live Aid Benefit Concert inspired three reunions of three major British rock and roll bands: The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. The original lineup—Osbourne, Iommi, Butler, and Bill Ward— performed in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. It was the first time the prime foursome had been together since 1978.
>>Osbourne Sues Iommi
How does that saying go? You’re not a legendary rock band until your members start suing one another. In May of 2009 Osbourne sued Iommi for 50 percent ownership of the Black Sabbath name. In Iommi’s defense, he’s been the only constant member in the group’s four decade-plus career and for several albums released in the 1980s and 1990s he was forced to use the name “Black Sabbath” by the record label. Osbourne and Iommi ended their dispute in June of 2010 not long after Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer.
By David B.