Black Sabbath's iconic sound is unmistakable. The first six albums that Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne put together between 1970 and 1975 are rightly and fairly regarded as immortal classics not just of heavy metal, but of heavy music all told. The band's pioneering music gave birth to an entire music genre in a history lesson that need not be repeated.
Many, however, largely ignore the progression of Black Sabbath’s music following the departure of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne—indeed, even the band’s last two albums with Ozzy, “Technical Ecstasy” and “Never Say Die”, are frequently ignored.
Yes, the Ronnie James Dio era, particularly the first incarnation that produced “Heaven and Hell” and Mob Rules”, does get its fair share of attention, comparatively, and the band enjoyed quite a bit of success recently before Dio’s untimely passing a few years ago, but still, it is worth looking back on not just this era of Black Sabbath, but all subsequent eras.
As Black Sabbath is set to release its first full-length album with original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne later this year, it seems to be the perfect time to pay homage to the works under the Black Sabbath name that endured between now and Ozzy’s last recording with the band.
After Ozzy was fired in 1979 and Dio was eventually brought in to replace him, it was not set in stone that the new project would continue to bear the name Black Sabbath—as would later be the case with the “Seventh Star” album.
Another fact that many may not realize is that much of the music for the first album with Dio, “Heaven and Hell”, was written while bassist Geezer Butler was out of the band. He later returned to the band after hearing some of the music that they were writing, and was relieved when he returned to find that he did not have to handle the lyrical duties for a change.
After “Heaven and Hell”, Bill Ward left the band and was replaced with Vinnie Appice on drums, leaving the duo of Tony Iommi and Butler as the sole remaining original members for “Mob Rules”. As will be seen in chapter two, however, Ward would return for the next go around with Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan in the fold. For those unfamiliar with the Dio-era Sabbath material, here is a quick overview.
Click here to read about the Ian Gillan era in chapter two.
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