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Essay: History of Black Sabbath

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  • Subject area(s): Music Essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: December 14, 2019*
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  • History of Black Sabbath
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In 1968 in Birmingham the band Polka Tulk Blues Company was established by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, and Geezer Butler. After they were established they changed their band name to Earth, and then in 1969 they changed their name one more time which became Black Sabbath. Since Black Sabbath has been created they have won many awards including getting the grammy awards in the year 2000, 2002, and three in 2014, and earning their spot in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as performer in 2006. They are known for their songs such as Paranoid, Iron man, The Wizard, and many more. There has always been a controversy around Black Sabbath about if they are classified in the hard rock genre, or the Heavy Metal genre. In this essay I will explore the history of Black Sabbath and compare and contrast hard rock and heavy metal to see in which genre they fit and if it has changed over time when Ozzy Osbourne was replaced by Ronnie James Dio.

Black Sabbath was established in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler in Birmingham, England. They were first named Polka Tulk Blues Company but they quickly changed their name to Earth, after that they later changed their name again to how they are known as today, Black Sabbath. Their first album Black Sabbath produced by Rodger Bain was recorded on the 16th of October in 1969. Their second debut album Paranoid was released on the 18th of September 1970 which reached number 23 on the U.S charts and number 8 in Britain. The album went gold in 1971 in the US and platinum in 1986 and in 1995 the album was certified quadruple platinum. After Paranoid was released the band released six more albums until they decided to kick Ozzy Osbourne out of the band, which was one the 27th of april, 1979, and replaced him with Ronnie James Dio who left the band Rainbow to fulfill his spot in Black Sabbath. After Dio had joined Black Sabbath, they released the album Heaven and Hell in 1980, and later in 1982 they released the album Mob Rules in which they featured a new drummer, Vinny Appice. Later in 1982 there were conflicts growing within the band which lead to Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice leaving the band and starting their own together known as Dio. In 1983 the band auditioned for a new singer and ended with former deep purple singer Ian Gillan, Bill Ward returned to the band again as their drummer. Ozzy Osbourne rejoined Black Sabbath again with Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi and has done reunion tours since then and ending it in 2017. Bill Ward refused to join on these tours as the has been a conflict between Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward, although Ozzy has requested Bill to join them.

According to hard rock is a style which is “rhythmically simple and usually high amplified style of rock and roll”. In the late 20th century towards the end of the 1960’s many people grew tired of the psychedelic movement and of groups such as The Beetles, they were looking for something harder. Some of the first bands to breakout of this mainstream were Led Zeppelin, Iron butterfly, The Who, and more. Hard rock mainly dominated the music scene during the 1970’s. Over time hard rock became more amplified and louder.

Hard rock music is characterized by the heavy use of aggressive vocals, guitars with a heavy distorted sound, bass guitar, drums, and usually a keyboard as well. Examples of hard rock music are Highway to Hell by AC/DC, Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin and Train Kept a Rollin’ by Aerosmith. All of these songs share the same characteristics of hard rock music where the vocals are all aggressive meaning that vocals are a bit distorted, high pitched and have an unnatural feeling. Each song use a heavy distorted sound for their guitar, and then they are accompanied by a bass and drums.

Heavy metal is a genre of music which was developed during the 1960’s and 1970’s, mainly in England and America.

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