Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

In 2005, Black Sabbath was finally inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. They had been overlooked seven times, prompting Ozzy to ask that the band be taken off the list, feeling it was a sham because fans don’t vote for the inductees. The band’s friend and neighbor, Brian May, inducted them. In 2006, the band was also inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tony Iommi was almost unable to take his award home with him because airport security told him that the large sculpture could be used as a weapon.

The band used to rehearse across from a movie theater. They got the idea to make scary music after seeing how much people enjoyed horror movies.

There is a 1964 Boris Karloff movie called Black Sabbath, but according to Tony Iommi, none of the band had seen the movie at the time.

Iommi joined Jethro Tull for two weeks in 1968. He appeared with Tull on The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus special, miming “A Song for Jeffrey.” Iommi didn’t like Jethro Tull’s organization, in which he was treated more like an employee than a bandmate. However, he did learn by observing Tull’s disciplined rehearsal routines, and brought that professional work ethic back to the band with Ozzy, Geezer, and Bill. Shortly after becoming more structured, the band started writing the songs that would later be recorded for Black Sabbath.

After working with Jethro Tull, Iommi bought a flute and occasionally played it live. For the most part, it didn’t work out.

According to music historian William Ruhlmann, 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 called “Black Sabbath” that took its title from a novel by occult writer Dennis Wheatley called The Devil Rides Out, in which a Satanic ritual called a Black Sabbath is described. The group adopted it as their new name and often played up the demonic angle, even though it was mostly an act. Ozzy once said: “The only black magic Sabbath ever got into was a box of chocolates.”

Butler wrote most of the song lyrics by borrowing phrases from Ozzy’s stream-of-consciousness vocal melodies and fleshing them out. Ozzy did very little writing until he left the band.

One of the candidates to replace Ozzy when he left in 1978 was Michael Bolotin, who would later change his name to Michael Bolton and sing soft rock. They went with Dio instead.

They were one of the first bands to be considered “Heavy Metal.” The phrase was introduced by the 1968 Steppenwolf song “Born To Be Wild.”

Osbourne’s solo work did much better than the Black Sabbath material after he left.

Iommi used to date Lita Ford. Ozzy did a duet with her in 1989 – “Close My Eyes Forever.”

Osbourne and Dio hated each other. One of Ozzy’s tours featured a dwarf who Ozzy would call “Ronnie,” referring to the vertically challenged Ronnie James Dio. Dio in turn refused to appear at any date in which Black Sabbath was slated to open for Ozzy’s act, calling Ozzy a clown.

Their music is rather aggressive, but their worldview is not. Ozzy explained: “Sabbath were a hippie band. We were into peace.”

Prior to the group truly coming together, Iommi worked in an industrial factory. He eventually decided to quit and become a full-time working guitarist. During the last few hours of his last day on the job, his hand became caught in a piece of equipment, severing the tips of his fingers on his right (fretting) hand.

Losing the tips of the fingers on your hand is a debilitating accident for a guitarist, but Iommi found a unique way to soldier on. After battling depression over the accident for quite some time, he was visited by his supervisor from the factory, who brought along some Django Reinhardt records. Reinhardt was a jazz guitarist from the mid-20th century who had a disability – several of his fingers had been fused together in a fire. When Iommi heard Reinhardt play (and after receiving a pep talk from his supervisor) he decided that he could overcome his misfortune. He tried various ways to cover and/or extend his fingertips, to dull the pain he now had when trying to play and to make the tips themselves move more easily over the strings. What he finally came up with was taking a plastic detergent bottle, melting it, shaping it into thimble-like prosthetics, sanding them down, and covering them with leather from several jackets until he found one with the right feel. After taking care to form the new tips to snugly fit his fingers, and experimenting with various bonding agents to secure them, Iommi found that he could play again with minimal pain.

All original members were from Aston, which is a suburb of Birmingham. They all lived in a one-mile radius from each other.

Dio helped popularize the “Rock Hand Symbol” of the two middle fingers and thumb in to the palm of the hand and the pinky and index finger out as a symbol to “Rock On.” He got it from his grandmother because she used it towards what she believed to be evil people.

In their early embryonic days as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, the group also featured a slide guitarist and saxophone player. The rest of the band eventually reformed stealthily without them.

Despite going to the same (violent) school in Birmingham, Ozzy and Iommi never spoke to each other much until several years afterward, when they connected through an ad Ozzy had circulated about needing a band.

Early rejected band names included: “Fred Carno’s Army” (suggested by manager Jim Simpson) and “Jimmy Underpass and the Six-Way Combo” (Ozzy’s suggestion).

Upon writing their first original songs, the band immediately knew they had something good. It was dark and menacing and made extensive use of the tritone, a musical interval of notes that sound particularly tense, almost evil. The band soon grew tired of playing cover tunes, especially because their original material didn’t mesh well with the blues that they’d been playing up until that point.

At one point Tony Iommi played an upside down Gibson SG. Someone saw him doing it and said “I have a [right-handed] friend who plays a left-handed one upside down”! That guy and Tony swapped guitars, and both were happy.

In April 1989, while the band was touring in support of Headless Cross, a gig in Mexico was shut down and crew members were arrested on arrival. The Catholic Church in Mexico had protested the Sabbath show, and the mayor banned the event last-minute.

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio died of metastasized stomach cancer in 2010.

On 11-11-11 the band’s original lineup announced that they were reuniting for a new album and tour in 2012, having already written several new songs. The album, titled 13, emerged in 2013.

Black Sabbath’s debut album in 1970 began with the sound effects of a church bell and thunder. Forty-three years later, in 2013, their final album ended with the same sound of a church bell and thunder.

Geezer Butler got arrested in 2015 for punching a Nazi in a bar. He hit the Nazi in the face after he spewed some antisemitic remarks to Butler.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series,where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Wicked World By Black Sabbath, Album: Black Sabbath (1970)

After Tony Iommi left his momentary gig with Jethro Tull, he brought the work ethic he’d seen in Tull back to the band that would become Black Sabbath. “Wicked World” was one of the first songs that the band wrote as a result of their renewed work ethic.

This was the first song recorded by the band for their debut album and the only song where Tony Iommi used a Fender Stratocaster. The Strat was his main guitar but the pick up failed after the recording of this track. He used his back up guitar (a Gibson SG) for the rest of the album and never changed back afterwards.

The track was included on the US version of the album but was originally only a b-side to Evil Woman in the UK and Europe till the 1996 remastered CD added it to the album proper.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Five months ago was the 50th anniversary of the 1970 debut self-titled album from Black Sabbath. The iconic record bore an equally iconic cover-art, which would go onto inspire the tropes of metal imagery for decades to come.

50 years on, photographer Keith “Keef” Macmillan goes behind the scenes of the iconic first Black Sabbath album cover, revealing the identity of the mysterious woman.

The woman featured on the cover of Black Sabbath is Louisa Livingstone. Livingstone was about 18 at the time and working as a model.

“She was a fantastic model,” Macmillan describes. “She was quite petite, very, very cooperative. I wanted someone petite because it just gave the landscape a bit more grandeur. It made everything else look big.”

For the location, Macmillan picked a 15th-century Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire, about an 80-minute drive from London. In the final image, Livingstone is depicted as a witch-like figure dressed in all black, standing amongst trees in front of an eerie white building.

“Nowadays it’s very much more modernized, beautified, and touristed,” Macmillan describes. “Then, it was quite a run-down and quite spooky place. The undergrowth was quite thick and quite tangled, and it just had a kind of eerie feel to it.” 

Macmillan decided to use Kodak infrared aerochrome film, usually used for aerial photography. In order to capture infrared light, they started the shoot as early as possible. Macmillan then did “a little bit of tweaking in the chemistry to get that slightly dark, surrealistic, evil kind of feeling to it.” He would then boil and freeze the film to make it grainy and undefined.

Now the artist behind the work, Keith “Keef”Macmillan, has spoken about the photo, finally revealing the identity of the woman in the image.

Incredibly, Livingstone herself was recently tracked down. Speaking on the image she recalled: “I had to get up at about four o’clock in the morning, or something as ridiculously early as that.”

“It was absolutely freezing,” she continued. “I remember Keith rushing around with dry ice, throwing that into the pond nearby, and that didn’t seem to be working very well, so he was using a smoke machine. But it was just one of those very cold English mornings.”

Apparently Macmillan brought along a taxidermy crow and a real black cat. Macmillan says that Livingstone is holding the cat in the final shot, although Livingstone herself has no memory of the cat.

“When I saw the cover, I thought it was quite interesting, but I thought, ‘Well, that could be anybody,’ so it’s not like I got any kind of ego buzz out of it,” described Livingstone.

Check out the iconic artwork below.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Black Sabbath, Shes Gone. Album: Technical Exstacy (1976)

Technical Ecstasy is the seventh studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and released in September 1976. The album was certified Gold on 19 June 1997 and peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. “Shes Gone,” has a psychedelic rock sound.

Black Sabbath has been one of my favorite bands all through the seventy’s. This album would rate in my top five. The song She’s Gone is/was one of my favorites.

Psychedelic Lunch

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Black Sabbath: Heaven And Hell

Following the firing of Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath enlisted the vocal talents of one Ronnie James Dio to produce the outstanding Heaven And Hell in 1980.

Sabbath had been in a bit of a rut with their previous couple of albums (Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die!), so the lineup change presumably stirred their creativity. Dio had just recently parted ways with Rainbow, so the change was probably good for him, as well.

Heaven And Hell is full of amazing songwriting and performances, from the majestic title track, to scorchers like Lady Evil, Neon Knights, and Walk Away, plus more layered tracks like Children Of The Sea and Lonely Is The Word.

The production was top of the line for the time it was recorded.

I admit it is a little hard for me to accept any singer but Ozzy in front of Sabbath, the Dio era did produce amazing music (and it also allowed Ozzy’s own stellar solo career to blossom).

In that regard, change can definitely be good.

Heaven And Hell is a fantastic album from the originators of so many heavy metal moments and genres.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Black Sabbath’s first 6 albums are absolutely essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in heavy music.

I have gone on record proclaiming my love for Sabotage, but 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is a close second for me.

The band were initially faced with writer’s block due to excessive touring and even more excessive drug & alcohol intake, but Tony Iommi came up with the crushing riff for the title song, and the Birmingham bashers were back in the saddle once again.

The whole album is so well balanced, with plenty of the molten lava sludge doom metal that they have exclusive ownership of, but fleshed out with some delicate passages of beauty and melodic depth that came from growing up as a band.

Songs like Spiral Architect and A National Acrobat allowed the record to breathe a little in anticipation of the hammer blows of Killing Yourself To Live and Sabbra Cadabra.

Of course, the title track is one of the absolute killer songs of Sabbath’s entire discography, with Ozzy Osbourne in prime vocal form, raging like a pissed off banshee. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the sound of a legendary band at the top of their game, creating genres of metal as they go along.

Sabbath’s influence is everywhere and will likely continue as long as discontented youth find their way to electric guitars, basses, and drums.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Black Sabbath basically invented the genre of heavy metal with their 1969 debut, but with 1975’s Sabotage, they refined it to an art form and came up with the blueprint for thrash metal in the process. The crushing riff and breakneck tempo of Symptom Of The Universe influenced everyone who followed in their wake…the Big 4 should forever pay Sabbath royalties for inventing that signature style. Other amazing tracks on Sabotage included Megalomania and The Writ, both long, complex compositions with intense lyrics and featuring that molten lava density in sound that was unmistakably Black Sabbath’s sonic domain. Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals on this album were savage, in my humble opinion probably the best of his entire career. I also love the fact that there isn’t a single song on this album that was ever overplayed on the radio. To this day the music and songs on this album sound fresh and timeless to my ears, a true accomplishment from one of the most innovative metal bands of all time.

Written By Braddon S. Williams

“Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind”

 

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The Battle of Heaven and Hell, Where the Mob Rules, and the Dehumanizer is the Devil You Know

The Neon Knights and the Children of the Sea met Lady Evil in the battle of Heaven and Hell. Or so they thought. They met at the Wishing Well, there to see who would Die Young and who would Walk Away. Win or lose, all combatants knew that in battle, Lonely Is the Word.

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And the two sides did Turn up the Night. Voodoo flourished even in the very Sign of the Southern Cross, neither side knowing that E5150 was the code of their demise. First the Mob Rules, then the embittered County Girl retaliates as souls are Slipping Away, Falling off the Edge of the World Over and Over.

As the battle raged, the Computer God tallied the lost, for After All (The Dead) alone continue beyond the computer-generated TV Crimes, to send Letters from Earth to the Master of Insanity, hoping he will use his Time Machine to erase the Sins of the Father before it is Too Late, before each I is Buried Alive.

And The Devil Cried as the Shadow of the Wind shrieked against the Ear in the Wall.

 

Ultimately, Atom and Evil unleashed Fear once kept inside the Bible Black, to Double the Pain beyond the ministrations of even a Rock and Roll Angel. The Turn of the Screw proved so painful that it led to even the most sane and compassionate toward Eating the Cannibals, to Follow the Tears to Neverwhere, losing the last vestige of hope for Breaking into Heaven.

Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell (Live In N.Y 1980)

 

Written By Dr. Metal  <Martin Jacobsen>

The Battle of Heaven and Hell

imagesOn this date in history, 6/29/1999, I witnessed my second Ozzfest in the friendly confines of Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. This one was one of the best lineups they ever had, in my humble opinion, featuring Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Slayer, Primus, Godsmack, System Of A Down, Apartment 26, all on the main stage, with Fear Factory, Static-X, Puya, Slipknot, Hed (Pe), Flashpoint, Pushmonkey, and Drain S.T.H. on the second stage. 88a04e3ef23045e4c5f262e8039b09df

For some unknown reason even to myself, I didn’t see any of the second stage bands that year, but I have heard from many sources that the first Indiana appearance of Slipknot was legendary. I know that Static-X and Fear Factory likely delivered crushing sets as well.

This was a concert of firsts for me. I saw System Of A Down, Godsmack, Slayer, and the mighty Black Sabbath for the first time at this show. I had seen Rob Zombie with White Zombie, but this was also the first time I saw him solo.

System Of A Down were up there doing what they do, and I was having a hard time wrapping my ears around it, having never properly heard them yet, but I started watching this guy who knew every word to every song and through his enthusiasm I caught their passion and became a fan instantly.

I went out and bought their debut cd the following day. Primus provided another first as they brought out Buckethead for an utterly mind blowing guitar solo segment during their performance. They also delighted the crowd by performing their self-penned theme song from the South Park tv show, creating a frenzied mosh pit that would have made Eric Cartman proud.

Speaking of frenzied mosh pits, Slayer came next and incinerated the playing field with their Slaytanic assault, melting faces and unleashing their legendary fury. I felt a little sorry for Deftones, who had to follow the blitzkrieg, but they are an amazing band in their own right, and they played great, as usual.

Rob Zombie put on a stunning visual overload type of show that he has made his career on, and proving beyond a doubt that he is one of the best metal headliners around. During “Thunder Kiss ’65”, Kerry King from Slayer joined Zombie on stage to deliver a ghoulish masterpiece.

imagesWhen Black Sabbath finally took the stage they opened with “War Pigs” and all the hair on my neck and arms literally stood up. I can’t begin to describe the glorious totality of that SOUND…Sabbath is like the slow moving lava cruising down the side of Mt. Doom, crushing all in its path in this infinitely compelling darkness. Without them, metal would have still been born one way or the other, but thankfully it WAS born with them, and this Ozzfest will always hold a special place in my heart. Sabbath and Slayer for the first time at the same concert? Yeah, that pretty much ruled!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

 

On This Date in History


The Story of the Black Sabbath That Made All Citizens Paranoid Because the Master of Reality Opened Volume Four of the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in Order to Sabotage the World Via Technical Ecstasy until the Citizens Said Never Say Die!


At a Black Sabbath I met The Wizard Behind the Wall of Sleep, where N.I.B. created a Wicked World from a Sleeping Village, which did not heed the Warning.  


The War Pigs made all citizens Paranoid. They fled on a Planet Caravan to find the Iron Man at his Electric Funeral. A Hand of Doom served Rat Salad, and the citizens knew they were in a land where Fairies Wear Boots.


And in this land, a Sweet Leaf grew until After Forever. As Embryo after embryo grew into the Children of the Grave, an Orchid bloomed, heralding the Lord of this World, who dragged the citizens toward the Solitude possible only after falling Into the Void.


And the Wheels of Confusion clouded Tomorrow’s Dream, and any Changes or FX that followed only made it easier for the Supernaut to make the citizens Snowblind, assuming a Cornucopia existed at every Laguna Sunrise, inciting a St. Vitus’ Dance Under the Sun as Every Day Comes & Goes.


But it was not really so, and the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath presided over by A National Acrobat dispelled the Fluff with one utterance of “Sabbra Cadabra.” Then the citizens said to their culture, you are Killing Yourself to Live. They then asked themselves Who are You? Are you Looking for Today? Do you expect to be saved by a Spiral Architect?


And then opened Hole in the Sky, and the citizens said to themselves “Don’t Start (Too Late), or you’ll fail to see the Symptom of the Universe, the Megalomania disguised as The Thrill of it All. Beware the Supertzar, and always ask Am I Going Insane? They did not know about The Writ, where the answers lay.


And the citizens became dehumanized, acting either as Back Street Kids shouting You Won’t Change Me or descending into denial saying “It’s Alright, the Gypsy will see to it that All Moving Parts (Stand Still), and the Rock ‘N’ Roll Doctor will say “She’s Gone” to all Dirty Women.


But hope again emerged among the citizens, who shouted “Never Say Die”! Johnny Blade was stopped from gouging out Junior’s Eyes, and even though A Hard Road had been created by the Shock Wave, the citizens were able to unite in an Air Dance, hoisting a banner of cooperation reading “Over To You” and marshalling their forces to Breakout by Swinging the Chain that had heretofore bound them to their own darkness.
Written By Dr. Metal <Martin Jacobsen>

The Story of The Black Sabbath