Black Sabbath (English heavy metal band)

~ Group

Also performs as: Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath/Dio reunion)


Black Sabbath were an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1968 by guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. They are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with their first three albums Black Sabbath, Paranoid (both 1970) and Master of Reality (1971). Following Osbourne's departure in 1979, the band underwent multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout their history.

After previous iterations of the group – the Polka Tulk Blues Band, and Earth – the band settled on the name Black Sabbath in 1969. They distinguished themselves through occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and down-tuned guitars. Signing to Philips Records in November 1969, they released their first single, "Evil Woman", in January 1970, and their debut album, Black Sabbath, was released the following month. Though it received a negative critical response, the album was a commercial success, leading to a follow-up record, Paranoid, later that year. The band's popularity grew, and by 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, critics were starting to respond favourably. This album, along with its predecessor Vol. 4 (1972) and its successors Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976) and Never Say Die! (1978), saw the band explore more experimental and progressive styles.

Osbourne's excessive substance abuse led to his firing in 1979. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Sabbath recorded three albums with Dio: Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981) and the live album Live Evil (1982), the last two featuring drummer Vinny Appice replacing Ward. Following Dio and Appice's departures, Iommi and Butler recorded Born Again (1983) with then-former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan and Ward returning on drums, while the latter was replaced by then-Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan on the subsequent tour. Black Sabbath split in 1984, with Iommi assembling a new version of the band the following year. For the next twelve years, the band endured many personnel changes that included vocalists Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin, as well as several drummers and bassists. In 1991, Iommi reunited with Butler, Dio and Appice to record Dehumanizer (1992), though Dio and Appice had both departed again by the end of 1992. After the release of Forbidden (1995), which was Black Sabbath's last studio album for eighteen years, the band went on a one-year hiatus until the original line-up reunited in 1997. They released a live album, Reunion, in the following year, and continued to tour sporadically until 2005, most of which saw Black Sabbath headline Osbourne's annual festival tour Ozzfest. The band went on hiatus in 2006 when the Mob Rules lineup reunited as Heaven & Hell, touring during the late 2000s and releasing its sole studio album, The Devil You Know, in 2009 before disbanding after Dio's death in the following year. The original line-up of Black Sabbath reunited once again in 2011, though Ward departed prior to the recording of their final studio album and 19th overall, 13 (2013). During their farewell tour, Black Sabbath played their final concert in their home city of Birmingham on 4 February 2017. Occasional partial reunions have occurred since, most recently when Osbourne and Iommi performed together at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Black Sabbath have sold over 70 million records worldwide as of 2013, making them one of the most commercially successful heavy metal bands. Black Sabbath, together with Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Metal Band of All Time" and placed second on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them number 85 on its "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" list. Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. They have also won two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance, and in 2019, the band received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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1970Black SabbathBlack Sabbath4.4543
1970ParanoidBlack Sabbath4.757
1971Master of RealityBlack Sabbath4.5540
1972Vol 4Black Sabbath4.2533
1973Sabbath Bloody SabbathBlack Sabbath4.339
1975SabotageBlack Sabbath3.9532
1976Technical EcstasyBlack Sabbath3.2523
1978Never Say Die!Black Sabbath3.220
1980Heaven and HellBlack Sabbath4.6528
1981Mob RulesBlack Sabbath4.4521
1983Born AgainBlack Sabbath3.314
1986Seventh StarBlack Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi3.516
1987The Eternal IdolBlack Sabbath3.415
1989Headless CrossBlack Sabbath3.6510
1990TYRBlack Sabbath4.2510
1992DehumanizerBlack Sabbath3.515
1994Cross PurposesBlack Sabbath3.57
1995ForbiddenBlack Sabbath3.2510
201313Black Sabbath3.7520

Album + Compilation

1970Black Sabbath (compilation aka “Club Sonderauflage”)Black Sabbath2
1972Attention! Black Sabbath!Black Sabbath3
1974Attention! Black Sabbath! Volume 2Black Sabbath2
1975ReflectionBlack Sabbath1
1976Black Sabbath / ParanoidBlack Sabbath2
1976The Original Black SabbathBlack Sabbath1
1976We Sold Our Soul for Rock ’n’ RollBlack Sabbath4.811
1977Greatest HitsBlack Sabbath510
1977Vol 4 / Master of RealityBlack Sabbath2
1984Hand of Doom: 4 Record SetBlack Sabbath1
1984The History of Rock, Volume Twenty SevenBlack Sabbath / Deep Purple / Wishbone Ash / Mott the Hoople1
1985The Sabbath CollectionBlack Sabbath53
1988Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Black SabbathBlack Sabbath1
1989Blackest Sabbath: Black Sabbath 1970–1987Black Sabbath42
1989Backtrackin’Black Sabbath4
1990Black Sabbath (USSR compilation)Блэк Саббат2
1991The Ozzy Osbourne YearsBlack Sabbath43
1991The Black Sabbath StoryBlack Sabbath1
1992ForeverBlack Sabbath1
1992Iron ManBlack Sabbath1
1992The Ultimate in Heavy MetalBlack Sabbath / Judas Priest1
1993Between Heaven & Hell: The Best of Black SabbathBlack Sabbath2
1993The Very Best of Black SabbathBlack Sabbath1
1993The Gallery, Volume 6Black Sabbath1
1994Iron ManBlack Sabbath1
1995The Best of Ozzy Osbourne YearsBlack Sabbath1
1995Between Heaven and Hell: 1970–1983Black Sabbath3
1996Ozzy Osbourne Best TracksBlack Sabbath1
1996The Sabbath StonesBlack Sabbath32
1996Under Wheels of Confusion: 1970–1987Black Sabbath31
1996The Best of Black SabbathBlack Sabbath12
1997Rock GiantsBlack Sabbath1
1999The CollectionBlack Sabbath1
2000The Singles: 1970–1978Black Sabbath1
2001The Complete 70’s Replica CD Collection: 1970–1978Black Sabbath1
2001Rock ChampionsBlack Sabbath1
2002Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970–1978Black Sabbath1
2004Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970–1978Black Sabbath51
2006Greatest Hits 1970–1978Black Sabbath53
2007The Dio YearsBlack Sabbath510
2009Greatest HitsBlack Sabbath4.53
2010The Complete Ozzy Years: 1970–1978Black Sabbath1
2014The Complete Albums 1970–1978Black Sabbath2
2016The Ultimate CollectionBlack Sabbath4
2017The Ten Year WarBlack Sabbath2
2018Supersonic Years: The Seventies Singles Box SetBlack Sabbath1

Album + Compilation + Live

1984Heavy Metal, Vol. 1Motörhead / Judas Priest / Black Sabbath2
1994Cross BoxBlack Sabbath1
2002Past LivesBlack Sabbath3.358
2008The Rules of HellBlack Sabbath52
2012The Vinyl Collection: 1970–1978Black Sabbath2

Album + Live

1980Live at LastBlack Sabbath3.6516
1982Live EvilBlack Sabbath3.3517
1995Cross Purposes – LiveBlack Sabbath32
1998ReunionBlack Sabbath46
2007Live at Hammersmith OdeonBlack Sabbath31
2013Live… Gathered in Their MassesBlack Sabbath3
2017The End (4 February 2017, Birmingham)Black Sabbath310


1970Evil WomanBlack Sabbath4
1970ParanoidBlack Sabbath46
1970The WizardBlack Sabbath1
1971Iron ManBlack Sabbath2
1971Sweet LeafBlack Sabbath1
1972Children of the GraveBlack Sabbath1
1972Tomorrow’s DreamBlack Sabbath1
1973Sabbath Bloody SabbathBlack Sabbath1
1976Am I Going Insane (Radio)Black Sabbath1
1976GypsyBlack Sabbath1
1976It’s AlrightBlack Sabbath1
1978Never Say DieBlack Sabbath1
1978Hard RoadBlack Sabbath1
1980Neon KnightsBlack Sabbath1
1980Die YoungBlack Sabbath1
1981Mob RulesBlack Sabbath1
1982Turn Up the NightBlack Sabbath1
1987The ShiningBlack Sabbath1
1989Devil and DaughterBlack Sabbath1
1989Headless CrossBlack Sabbath2
1990Feels Good to MeBlack Sabbath21
1992TV CrimesBlack Sabbath6
1992Master of InsanityBlack Sabbath3

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