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Black Sabbath
Formed: 1969 in Birmingham, England
Active: '60s-2010s Major
Styles: British Metal, Heavy Metal, Album Rock Major
Members: Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Nicholls Representative
Albums: "Master of Reality", "Black Sabbath, Vol. 4", "Paranoid" Representative
Songs: "Paranoid", "Black Sabbath", "War Pigs"

UPC Type Title
602537349579 CD 13
4988005772381 (i) CD 13
602537354269 (i) CD 13
602537349609 Vinyl 13 (LP)
4988005772374 (i) CD 13 Deluxe Edition
602537349586 CD 13-Deluxe Edition
5050749232526 (i) CD Best of Black Sabbath
075992725927 CD Black Sabbath: Vol. 4
075992718523 CD Black Sabbath
5050749203120 (i) CD Black Sabbath
5050749203427 (i) CD Black Sabbath: Vol. 4
4988005459107 (i) CD Black Sabbath (Mini LP Sleeve)
602527008172 (i) CD Black Sabbath -Deluxe Edition (2 CD)
602537540563 DVD Black Sabbath Livegagathered in Their Masses
823880019272 DVD Black Sabbath's Paranoid
823880020858 DVD Black Sabbbath in Their Own Words
5055396350296 (i) DVD Black Sabbath-Reflections on Paranoid
602537540907 Blu-Ray Black Sabbath Live...Gathered in Their Masses
081227981662 Vinyl Black Sabbath
081227976576 Vinyl Black Sabbath: Vol. 4
725543630315 Vinyl Black Sabbath: Vol. 4
725543630414 Vinyl Black Sabbath: Vol. 4
725543352514 Vinyl Black Sabbath
725543629814 Vinyl Black Sabbath
5050749207524 (i) CD Born Again
602527704067 (i) CD Born Again Deluxe Edition
4988005672421 (i) CD Born Again: Deluxe Edition
4988005688552 (i) CD Born Again
081227989002 CD Dehumanizer
077771315527 (i) CD Dehumanizer
081227999247 CD Dio Years
075992554824 CD Eternal Idol
602527524603 (i) CD Eternal Idol-Deluxe Edition (2CD)
5050749207722 (i) CD Eternal Idol
4988005688576 (i) CD Eternal Idol
4988005672445 (i) CD Eternal Idol: Deluxe Edition
081227336523 CD Greatest Hits 1970-78
602527058801 (i) CD Greatest Hits
081227988982 CD Heaven & Hell
075992337229 CD Heaven & Hell
5050749207227 (i) CD Heaven & Hell
4988005701558 (i) CD Heaven & Hell
4988005688521 (i) CD Heaven & Hell
602527350738 (i) CD Heaven & Hell-Deluxe Edition (2CD)
823880021107 DVD Heroes of 66: In Their Own Words
5055396351132 DVD Iron Men Black Sabbath the Inside Story
886979756397 DVD Last Supper
074645018799 DVD Last Supper
886977902598 (i) DVD Last Supper
5050749207128 (i) CD Live at Last
4988005600189 (i) CD Live at Last
602527499109 (i) CD Live at Last
081227988999 CD Live Evil
5050749207425 (i) CD Live Evil
4988005606242 (i) CD Live Evil
725543349019 Vinyl Live Evil
602527339290 (i) CD Live Evil: Deluxe Edition
823564628226 CD Lowdown
5055396350647 DVD Maestros From the Vaults
075992725323 CD Master of Reality
602527303253 (i) CD Master of Reality
602527011066 (i) CD Master of Reality: Deluxe
4988005459121 (i) CD Master of Reality (Mini LP Sleeve)
081227981655 Vinyl Master of Reality
725543630117 Vinyl Master of Reality
725543630216 Vinyl Master of Reality
725543630711 Vinyl Master of Reality
081227976552 CD Mob Rules
5050749207326 (i) CD Mob Rules
725543346315 Vinyl Mob Rules
602527350707 (i) CD Mob Rules-Deluxe Edition (2CD)
075992735223 CD Never Say Die
602527165332 (i) CD Never Say Die!-2009 Remastered
4988005688514 (i) CD Never Say Die!
5050749203823 (i) CD Never Say Die
4988005606211 (i) CD Never Say Die
5050749500557 (i) DVD Never Say Die
603497939763 Vinyl Never Say Die
602527165486 (i) Vinyl Never Say Die!
075992732727 CD Paranoid
602527303277 (i) CD Paranoid
5050749203229 (i) CD Paranoid
081227897611 Vinyl Paranoid
725543630018 Vinyl Paranoid
725543629913 Vinyl Paranoid
4988005459114 (i) CD Paranoid (Mini LP Sleeve)
602517824447 (i) CD Paranoid: Deluxe Edition
801213029594 DVD Paranoid-Classic Album
801213335190 Blu-Ray Paranoid-Classic Album
602527499079 (i) CD Past Lives: Deluxe Edition
4988005672414 (i) CD Past Lives: Deluxe Edition
074646911525 CD Reunion
4547366196481 (i) CD Reunion
9120817151564 DVD Rock Heroes
081227993436 CD Rules of Hell
075992727228 CD Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
602527168463 (i) CD Sabbath Bloody Sabbath-2009 Remastered
4988005459145 (i) CD Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Mini LP Sleeve)
4988005688477 (i) CD Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
081227976583 Vinyl Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
725543630513 Vinyl Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
8013252540127 (i) Vinyl Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
075992728720 CD Sabotage
4988005688484 (i) CD Sabotage
5050749203625 (i) CD Sabotage
725543973016 Vinyl Sabotage
725543349910 Vinyl Sabotage
081227976569 Vinyl Sabotage
602527166643 (i) CD Sabotage-2009 Remastered
081227963286 CD Seventh Star Featuring Tony Iommi
4988005672438 (i) CD Seventh Star: Deluxe Edition
602527524726 (i) CD Seventh Star: Deluxe Edition
5050749207623 (i) CD Seventh Star
4988005688569 (i) CD Seventh Star
075992730525 CD Technical Ecstasy
602527165509 (i) CD Technical Ecstacy-2009 Remastered
4988005688507 (i) CD Technical Ecstasy
5050749203724 (i) CD Technical Ecstacy
603497939770 Vinyl Technical Ecstasy
602527165516 (i) Vinyl Technical Ecstacy
823880021114 DVD Total Rock Review
823880023019 DVD Up Close & Personal
725543339713 Vinyl Vol. 1-Attention Black Sabbath
725543339812 Vinyl Vol. 1-Attention Black Sabbath
725543357519 Vinyl Vol. 1-Attention! Black Sabbath
5050749500519 (i) DVD Vol. 1-Black Sabbath Story
725543358110 Vinyl Vol. 2-Attention! Black Sabbath
5050749500526 (i) DVD Vol. 2-Black Sabbath Story
602527168579 (i) CD Vol. 4-Black Sabbath-2009 Remastered
602527168586 (i) Vinyl Vol. 4-Black Sabbath
075992730228 CD We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'N'
4988005688491 (i) CD We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'N' Roll
4988005490858 (i) CD We Sold Our Soul for Rock'N'Roll (Mini LP Sleeve)
5050749207821 (i) CD We Sold Our Souls
725543629715 Vinyl We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'N' Roll
081227965334 Vinyl We Sold Our Soul for Rock N Roll

Biography: Black Sabbath have been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style. The group took the blues-rock sound of late-'60s acts like Cream, Blue Cheer, and Vanilla Fudge to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies. If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition, Black Sabbath took that tradition in a new direction, and in so doing helped give birth to a musical style that continued to attract millions of fans decades later.

The group was formed by four teenage friends from Aston, near Birmingham, England: Anthony "Tony" Iommi (b. Feb 19, 1948), guitar; William "Bill" Ward (b. May 5, 1948), drums; John "Ozzy" Osbourne (b. December 3, 1948), vocals; and Terence "Geezer" Butler (b. July 17, 1949), bass. 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 that took its title from a film directed by Mario Bava, Black Sabbath, and the group adopted it as their name as well. As they attracted attention for their live performances, record labels showed interest, and they were signed to Philips Records in 1969. In January 1970, the Philips subsidiary Fontana released their debut single, "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games with Me)," a cover of a song that had just become a U.S. hit for Crow; it did not chart. The following month, a different Philips subsidiary, Vertigo, released Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album, which reached the U.K. Top Ten. Though it was a less immediate success in the U.S. -- where the band's recordings were licensed to Warner Bros. Records and appeared in May 1970 -- the LP broke into the American charts in August, reaching the Top 40, remaining in the charts over a year, and selling a million copies.

Appearing at the start of the '70s, Black Sabbath embodied the Balkanization of popular music that followed the relatively homogenous second half of the 1960s. As exemplified by its most popular act, the Beatles, the '60s suggested that many different aspects of popular music could be integrated into an eclectic style with a broad appeal. The Beatles were as likely to perform an acoustic ballad as a hard rocker or R&B-influenced tune. At the start of the '70s, however, those styles began to become more discrete for new artists, with soft rockers like James Taylor and the Carpenters emerging to play only ballad material, and hard rockers like Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad taking a radically different course, while R&B music turned increasingly militant. The first wave of rock critics, which had come into existence with the Beatles, was dismayed with this development, and the new acts tended to be poorly reviewed despite their popularity. Black Sabbath, which took an even more extreme tack than the still blues- and folk-based Led Zeppelin, was lambasted by critics (and though they eventually made their peace with Zeppelin, they never did with Sabbath). But the band had discovered a new audience eager for its uncompromising approach.

Black Sabbath quickly followed their debut album with a second album, Paranoid, in September 1970. The title track, released as a single in advance of the LP, hit the Top Five in the U.K., and the album went to number one there. In the U.S., where the first album had just begun to sell, Paranoid was held up for release until January 1971, again preceded by the title track, which made the singles charts in November; the album broke into the Top Ten in March 1971 and remained in the charts over a year, eventually selling over four million copies, by far the band's best-selling effort. (Its sales were stimulated by the belated release of one of its tracks, "Iron Man," as a U.S. single in early 1972; the 45 got almost halfway up the charts, the band's best showing for an American single.)

Master of Reality, the third album, followed in August 1971, reaching the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic and selling over a million copies. Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (September 1972) was another Top Ten million-seller. For Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (November 1973), the band brought in Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman on one track, signaling a slight change in musical direction; it was Black Sabbath's fifth straight Top Ten hit and million-seller. In 1974, the group went through managerial disputes that idled them for an extended period. When they returned to action in July 1975 with their sixth album, Sabotage, they were welcomed back at home, but in the U.S. the musical climate had changed, making things more difficult for an album-oriented band with a heavy style, and though the LP reached the Top 20, it did not match previous sales levels. Black Sabbath's record labels quickly responded with a million-selling double-LP compilation, We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll (December 1975), and the band contemplated a more pronounced change of musical style. This brought about disagreement, with guitarist Iommi wanting to add elements to the sound, including horns, and singer Osbourne resisting any variation in the formula. Technical Ecstasy (October 1976), which adopted some of Iommi's innovations, was another good -- but not great -- seller, and Osbourne's frustration eventually led to his quitting the band in November 1977. He was replaced for some live dates by former Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker, then returned in January 1978. Black Sabbath recorded their eighth album, Never Say Die! (September 1978), the title track becoming a U.K. Top 40 hit before the LP's release and "Hard Road" making the Top 40 afterwards. But the singles did not improve the album's commercial success, which was again modest, and Osbourne left Black Sabbath for a solo career, replaced in June 1979 by former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio (b. July 10, 1949, d. May 16, 2010). (Also during this period, keyboardist Geoff Nichols became a regular part of the band's performing and recording efforts, though he was not officially considered a bandmember until later.)

The new lineup took its time getting into the recording studio, not releasing its first effort until April 1980 with Heaven and Hell. The result was a commercial resurgence. In the U.S., the album was a million-seller; in Britain, it was a Top Ten hit that threw off two chart singles, "Neon Knights" and "Die Young." (At the same time, the band's former British record label issued a five-year old concert album, Black Sabbath Live at Last, that was quickly withdrawn, though not before making the U.K. Top Five, and reissued "Paranoid" as a single, getting it into the Top 20.) Meanwhile, drummer Bill Ward left Black Sabbath due to ill health and was replaced by Vinny Appice. The lineup of Iommi, Butler, Dio, and Appice then recorded Mob Rules (November 1981), which was almost as successful as its predecessor: In the U.S., it went gold, and in the U.K. it reached the Top 20 and spawned two chart singles, the title track and "Turn Up the Night." Next on the schedule was a concert album, but Iommi and Dio clashed over the mixing of it, and by the time Live Evil appeared in January 1983, Dio had left Black Sabbath, taking Appice with him.

The group reorganized by persuading original drummer Bill Ward to return and, in a move that surprised heavy metal fans, recruiting Ian Gillan (b. August 19, 1945), former lead singer of Black Sabbath rivals Deep Purple. This lineup -- Iommi, Butler, Ward, and Gillan -- recorded Born Again, released in September 1983. Black Sabbath hit the road prior to the album's release, with drummer Bev Bevan (b. November 25, 1946) substituting for Ward, who would return to the band in the spring of 1984. The album was a Top Five hit in the U.K. but only made the Top 40 in the U.S. Gillan remained with Black Sabbath until March 1984, when he joined a Deep Purple reunion and was replaced by singer Dave Donato, who was in the band until October without being featured on any of its recordings.

Black Sabbath reunited with Ozzy Osbourne for its set at the Live Aid concert on July 13, 1985, but soon after the performance, bassist Geezer Butler left the band, and with that the group became guitarist Tony Iommi's vehicle, a fact emphasized by the next album, Seventh Star, released in January 1986 and credited to "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi." On this release, the lineup was Iommi (guitar); another former Deep Purple singer, Glenn Hughes (b. August 21, 1952) (vocals); Dave Spitz (bass); Geoff Nichols (keyboards); and Eric Singer (drums). The album was a modest commercial success, but the new band began to fragment immediately, with Hughes replaced by singer Ray Gillen for the promotional tour in March 1986.

With Black Sabbath now consisting of Iommi and his employees, personnel changes were rapid. The Eternal Idol (November 1987), which failed to crack the U.K. Top 50 or the U.S. Top 100, featured a returning Bev Bevan, bassist Bob Daisley, and singer Tony Martin. Bevan and Daisley didn't stay long, and there were several replacements in the bass and drum positions over the next couple of years. Headless Cross (April 1989), the band's first album for I.R.S. Records, found veteran drummer Cozy Powell (b. December 29, 1947, d. April 5, 1998) and bassist Laurence Cottle joining Iommi and Martin. It marked a slight uptick in Black Sabbath's fortunes at home, with the title song managing a week in the singles charts. Shortly after its release, Cottle was replaced by bassist Neil Murray. With Geoff Nichols back on keyboards, this lineup made TYR (August 1990), which charted in the Top 40 in the U.K. but became Black Sabbath's first regular album to miss the U.S. charts.

Iommi was able to reunite the 1979-1983 lineup of the band -- himself, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio, and Vinny Appice -- for Dehumanizer (June 1992), which brought Black Sabbath back into the American Top 50 for the first time in nine years, while in the U.K. the album spawned "TV Crimes," their first Top 40 hit in a decade. And on November 15, 1992, Iommi, Butler, and Appice backed Ozzy Osbourne as part of what was billed as the singer's final live appearance. Shortly after, it was announced that Osbourne would be rejoining Black Sabbath.

That didn't happen -- yet. Instead, Dio and Appice left again, and Iommi replaced them by bringing back Tony Martin and adding drummer Bob Rondinelli. Cross Purposes (February 1994) was a modest seller, and, with Iommi apparently maintaining a Rolodex of all former members from which to pick and choose, the next album, Forbidden (June 1995), featured returning musicians Cozy Powell, Geoff Nichols, and Neil Murray, along with Iommi and Martin. The disc spent only one week in the British charts, suggesting that Black Sabbath finally had exhausted their commercial appeal, at least as a record seller. With that, the group followed the lead of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, putting the most popular lineup of the band back together for a live album with a couple of new studio tracks on it. Recorded in the band's hometown of Birmingham, England, in December 1997, the two-CD set Reunion -- featuring all four of Black Sabbath's original members, Iommi, Osbourne, Butler, and Ward -- was released in October 1998. It charted only briefly in the U.K., but in the U.S. it just missed reaching the Top Ten and went platinum. The track "Iron Man" won Black Sabbath their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The band toured through the end of 1999, concluding their reunion tour on December 22, 1999, back in Birmingham.

In February 2001, Black Sabbath announced that they would reunite once again to headline the sixth edition of Ozzfest, Osbourne's summer concert festival, playing 29 cities in the U.S. beginning in June. More surprisingly, the group also announced their intention to record a studio album of all-new material, the original lineup's first since 1978. By the end of the year, a failed recording session with producer Rick Rubin proved what an unreasonable idea this was, and the band laid dormant while Osbourne enjoyed scoring a hit TV series the following spring. The band split once more. Osbourne went on recording and touring on his own, while Iommi and Butler reunited with Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio to form Heaven & Hell. The band recorded a live album at Radio City Music Hall, performing Sabbath material from the Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules albums in 2007, before releasing a studio effort entitled Devil You Know in 2009. Dio was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2010 of that year.

In late 2011, all four of Black Sabbath's original members announced yet another reunion; this time they claimed the band would record new material as well as tour. Iommi was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma early in 2012, however, and it was spring before Osbourne, Iommi, and Butler took to the stage on May 19th at O2 Academy in Birmingham, England for their first show together since 2005. At the end of the summer it was announced that the band was indeed working on material for a new album. The long-awaited 13 surfaced in the early summer of 2013; however, drummer Bill Ward was absent from the recording process completely. In his stead was Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk, who provided drums for the album as well as its accompanying live dates. Some evidence of the ensuing tour was documented with the live album Gathered in Their Masses, which arrived before the end of the year. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi