Black Sabbath

Formed 1969.
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Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Sian Llewellyn from Classic Rock magazine remembers the first time she heard Paranoid

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Black Sabbath are an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward. The band have since experienced multiple line-up changes, with guitarist Iommi being the only constant presence in the band through the years. Originally formed in 1968 as a blues rock band, the group soon adopted the Black Sabbath moniker and began incorporating occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and tuned-down guitars. Despite an association with these two themes, Black Sabbath also composed songs dealing with social instability, political corruption, the dangers of drug abuse and apocalyptic prophecies of the horrors of war.

Osbourne's regular abuse of drugs and alcohol led to his dismissal from the band in 1979. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Following two albums with Dio, Black Sabbath endured countless personnel changes in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin, as well as several drummers and bassists. In 1992, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record Dehumanizer. The original line-up reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and released a live album Reunion. Black Sabbath's 19th studio album, 13, which features all of the original members but Ward, was released in June 2013.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

    Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 1972

    Reviewed by Tim Cunningham
    ...deserves to be given a jolly good thrashing on any self respecting stereo system.
  2. Review of Black Sabbath, Vol. 4

    Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 1972

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    ...Vol.4 is careful not to tamper with what was now a successful formula...
  3. Review of Paranoid

    Paranoid 1970

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    Sabbath may not have been the most musically adventurous group of their generation but...
  4. Review of Black Sabbath

    Black Sabbath 1970

    Reviewed by Pete Marsh
    This wasn’t good time music.
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