Black Sabbath has been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style. The group took the blues-rock sound of late '60s acts like Cream
, Blue Cheer
, and Vanilla Fudge
to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies. If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition, Black Sabbath took that tradition in a new direction, and in so doing helped give birth to a musical style that continued to attract millions of fans decades later.
The group was formed by four teenage friends from Aston, near Birmingham, England: Anthony "Tony" Iommi (b. Feb 19, 1948), guitar; William "Bill" Ward (b. May 5, 1948), drums; John "Ozzy" Osbourne (b. Dec 3, 1948), vocals; and Terence "Geezer" Butler (b. Jul 17, 1949), bass. They originally called their jazz-blues band Polka Tulk, later renaming themselves Earth, and they played extensively in Europe. In early 1969, they decided to change their name again when they found that they were being mistaken for another group called Earth. Butler
had written a song that took its title from a novel by occult writer Dennis Wheatley, -Black Sabbath, and the group adopted it as their name as well. As they attracted attention for their live performances, record labels showed interest, and they were signed to ...