22nd August 2011

jonathan churchill

tony iommi black sabbath

Thanks to Tony Mottram for the pics. Limited edition art prints are available on Tony’s site by clicking here. Tony is also happy to speak with anyone who needs images…


Black Sabbath are legendary but if you’re new to Metal or used to listening to uber-fast, slickly produced ‘product’ like Avenged 7x or Bullet For My Valentine then you may wonder what it’s all about, so here’s a simple introduction to Black Sabbath and a guide to one or two of their greatest moments.

There was a huge surge of excitement around the world earlier this week when it was announced – exclusively by – that the original Black Sabbath line up had reformed and were rehearsing for a tour.

The great Tony Iommi himself posted his brilliant ‘non denial’ in the’s article comments area, and news forums as far away as Brazil and Japan picked up the story, proving just how much reach now has!

But why all the fuss? This is a band that hasn’t released an album of new material featuring all four original members since 1979, and forged a successful new career without key members, as Heaven And Hell, with the legendary Dio.

ozzy osbourne black sabbath
Going through changes…

Well, to all you Metal newcomers and EMO kids raised on MTV cribs and ‘The Osbournes’ (and you pseudo Metal fans who own Metallica’s ‘black’ album and think you can have an opinion…) – wash out your ears. Get your chunky Beats headphones ready, log into YouTube and get listening!

Sabbath are the originators, godfathers, innovators and creators of true Heavy Metal and as a tribute to the band, I’ve been listening to their Greatest Hits and have some essential downloads for you to try out!


Let’s start with the most well known Sabbath track. This is pure gold and by far one of the most commercial tracks the band have released. The opening riff is pure, savage and hypnotically repetitive. Ozzy’s vocals are brutal and incisive, the lyrics going straight to the point: “Finished with my woman ’cause she wouldn’t help me with my mind.” Encapsulating the frustration of disaffected youth (and probably mental health issues!), like Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law’, this is a song that is utterly timeless. It’s as relevant now as it was then and will continue to be. And in an age before Heavy Metal was defined or established, quite simply it rocks.


Please, please do not accidentally go on YouTube and watch the duet with Ozzy and his daughter. Please. Check out this – the original:

‘Changes’ is genuinely a beautiful song. It has a simple piano-led melody, haunting vocals and a sense of melancholy that touches your heart as you immediately feel the pain of lost love. Anybody who has been through a break-up can identify with this song which illustrates a depth of emotion and talent that belies Sabbath’s ‘Satanic’ reputation. Above all, it is just pure class.


OMG as Paris Hilton would say. Where does one start? Incendiary political invective. Passion, anger, riffs that would summon Satan. And Ozzy singing as if his life depended on it. But there’s more to this than meets the eye. Apparently it started life with a different title and theme and it may not specifically be about Vietnam.

geezer butler black sabbath
The legendary Terry ‘Geezer’ Butler

But the key – as you’ll notice – with this, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Changes’ is the enduring accuracy of the message. Like the majority of moments from Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Holy Bible’, this is an ugly song because it confronts the truth. But it’s also a standout moment in British music and as possibly more powerful today than in 1970 because while Sabbath, Metal and the music world has evolved, the political elite warmongers have learnt nothing.

“Politicians hide themselves away. They only started the war. Why should they go out to fight? They leave that role to the poor.” ‘Nuff said.

tony iommi black sabbath
Tony Iommi. Godfather of Heavy Metal…


This is such a quirky, fun, almost jazzy track that it totally lays waste to the allegations of Satanism thrown at the band. The famous album opener ‘Black Sabbath’ is indeed a plodding doom-laden horror film of a song, but The Wizard sizzles with creativity, energy and a sense of humour. There’s a cheesy harmonica sound, spirited guitars and some ‘Lord Of The Rings’ imagery which allegedly disguises the more entertaining theme that the wizard may be in fact their drug dealer! Either way, it’s not what you’d expect of Sabbath, especially on their first album and is well worth checking out.

So why all the fuss? Well on the topic of Sabbath, there are many fan favourites and true classics not mentioned here which I hope will open some debate. But the simple fact is that this is a band, which not only sowed the seeds for Heavy Metal, but also wrote songs that have stood the test of time.

black sabbath
Late 80s vintage Sabbath; Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell, Tony Martin, Neil Murray

There’s a global audience out there who have never seen Black Sabbath live and want to hear this music performed as it was meant to be. And for that we can only clutch our upside down crosses to our chest, peer into the misty crystal ball of hope and look forward to Sabbath confirm the dates for the world tour!

What are your Sabbath favourites? Are you a long-term fan from the 70s or new to the band? Let us know what a Black Sabbath world tour in 2012 would mean to you on our Facebook page.

Jonathan Churchill.
Follow me on Twitter: MetalTalk_1976

Thanks to Tony Mottram for the pics. Limited edition art prints are available on Tony’s site by clicking here. Tony is also happy to speak with anyone who needs images…

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