One band that can seriously lay claim to creating a music genre is the mighty Black Sabbath. The band laid the groundwork for many of the themes, sounds, and trappings that define heavy metal to this day. Here’s our pick of 5 of the best from the metal masters.
Black Sabbath set the music world on fire when the crunching guitar riff to “Paranoid” came crashing through the speakers. Tony Iommi’s sound and technic created perhaps the most dynamic and memorable song the band ever recorded. Released in 1970, “Paranoid” was the title track and Black Sabbath’s first major hit.
2. Iron Man
Tony Iommi’s signature riff on “Iron Man,” which by the way, Ozzy described it as sounding: “like a big iron bloke walking about” is easily one of the bands most recognizable tracks. With bassist Geezer Butler’s lyrics, the stage was set for a tale about an apocalyptic future.
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Tony Iommi has said that the guitar lead that anchors the title track from the bands 1973 album is: “the riff that saved Black Sabbath.” At the time the band were suffering serious writer’s block and were extremely unhappy with the business side of the band. Iommi ‘s kickass riff, paired with lyrics that pointed at the businessmen who stifle the creative process, led to one of Sabbath’s biggest and most recognizable songs.
4. Heaven and Hell
This was the title track from Ronnie James Dio’s debut as Sabbath’s singer. The album fast became a fan favorite, and Dio was excepted as the new voice of the band overnight. With music by Iommi and lyrics by Dio, “Heaven and Hell” opened a new chapter in Black Sabbath’s arsenal but kept the integrity of the band’s previous work.
5. War Pigs
Black Sabbath wrote their most politically charged song with “War Pigs.” Originally titled “Walpurgis” after the witches’ Sabbath. Lyrically, Sabbath compared witches and black masses to generals and politicians who send young men as cannon fodder in wars. Lyricist Geezer Butler stated in an interview that he felt war was the true “great Satan” of mankind and used the comparison of warmongers to practitioners of the dark arts.