Black Sabbath turned the hard rock world on its axis with their eponymous debut album in 1970-a record that has been credited for pioneering heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal, and goth. Released on this date in 1970 (which was a Friday), the album hit #8 on the UK charts and is ranked #241 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Let's take a closer look at this heavy debut.
The album starts with the title track, which introduces audiences everywhere to heavy metal in a hurry. Tony Iommi, using the fingers he had left, modified the blues scale to create one of the best metal riffs ever. With Bill Ward smashing the life out of his drums, the quartet immediately got their name out there and scared critics everywhere. Inspired by JRR Tolkein's wizard Gandalf, "The Wizard" brings out more of the evil and black magic themes that Sabbath was known to represent. This track also features Ozzy on harmonica and Iommi using the slide guitar.
Combined on the North American edition, "Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Bassically/NIB" was inspired by HP Lovecraft's short story 'Beyond the Wall of Sleep' and combined British blues with the new heavy metal genre. Bassist Geezer Butler recorded "Bassically" in one take, using wah-wah on his bass. Thankfully for American fans (since this song was preferred), "Wicked World" was included on the North American edition. Its slow, dominating riff takes over the entire number.
The album ends with the combined "A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning," again only issued like this on the North American version. The introduction to "Sleeping Village" effectively captures the entire eerie mood of the record and Iommi shows off his excellent soloing skills in "Warning."