The original Black Sabbath lineup includes Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Lommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward. Four childhood friends from the north of England-grew out of the UK's late-60s blues/hard rock scene, which also included Led Zeppelin, Cream, Blue Cheer, and other greats. Sabbath's sweeping and masterful metamorphosis away from that tradition spawned heavy metal music, inventing the template for everything that would follow. With crushing rhythms, torpedo riffs, haunting songs, and Ozzy's other-worldly vocals, the band conjured a dark, menacing, and resonant sound that reverberates still. Rhino. 2006.
Somewhere in every good music fan's basement is a worn-out copy of either the vinyl, eight-track, or cassette of Black Sabbath's We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll. The 1976 compilation captured the darkest and beefiest moments from the Ozzy years and served as a right of passage for millions of aspiring musicians, burnouts, pastor's kids, and closet miscreants. Rhino's 16-track Greatest Hits 1970-1978 anthology only trumps the single-disc We Sold Our Soul CD by two songs, but it offers superior sound and features at least a few cuts from 1976's Technical Ecstasy and 1978's Never Say Die!, the band's last two pre-millennium Ozzy records. All of the faves are here ("Paranoid," "War Pigs," "Iron Man"), as well as fan classics like "Hole in the Sky" and "Supernaut," but there is enough material missing to call it a sampler rather than a "best of." Fans who are unwilling to shell out the extra money for Sanctuary's superior two-disc Sabbath collection from 2005 will find this sparse yet solid overview to be a useful "CliffsNotes" rendering of the birth of heavy metal. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi