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About Black Sabbath
Pioneers of the heavy metal sound, Black Sabbath were formed in Birmingham, England in the late 1960s. The original line-up of guitarist Tony Lommi, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward were destined for a life working in the city's industrial factories before the success of Led Zeppelin and Cream inspired them to try their hand at music. With over eight million albums sold in the 1970s alone, induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and an invitation to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year later, the boys from Birmingham are rightly considered an important part of music history.
Early releases from Black Sabbath were unlike anything anyone had heard before. Their very name was inspired by black magic writings and the band's unique lyrics, which often centred on mental anguish, drugs and the occult, soon found a dedicated and devoted audience. Though recorded in less than two days, the anti-establishment stance of debut album Black Sabbath, as well as its follow-up Paranoid, were both certified gold within a year of release and cemented the band as innovators in their genre.
Vol. 4, the group's fourth studio album, revealed a softer side with the inclusion of popular ballad Changes, and it was to signify something of a change in musical direction. The band's fifth and sixth releases further showcased a shift in style, reflecting a more experimental and progressive period for the band. However, although partly influenced by the softer sound of the European folk tradition, the band did not stray too far from their roots and the dark subjects and gothic themes their fans had grown to love still remained.
In 1978, front man Ozzy Osbourne left and his departure kick-started a number of changes in personnel throughout the 1980s and 1990s. With a new singer in place, former Rainbow front man Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath continued to achieve musically. Indeed, Dio's time with the band included the release of their most successful album in five years, Heaven and Hell. Further collaborations with Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan and Electric Light Orchestra's Bev Bevan sustained this success until the original line-up reunited in the late 1990s before recording and releasing their first No. 1 album for 43 years in 2013. Although the ever-humble group would still describe themselves as underground, their remarkable longevity and continued ability to sell out venues worldwide set them apart as real rock legends.