|Song by Black Sabbath|
|from the album Black Sabbath|
|Released||13 February 1970|
|Recorded||16 October 1969|
"Black Sabbath" is a song by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, written in 1969 and released on their self-titled first album. In 1970, the song appeared as an A-side on a four-track 12-inch single, with "The Wizard" also on the A-side and "Evil Woman" and "Sleeping Village" on the B-side, on the Philips Records label Vertigo. In Japan and the Philippines, a 7-inch single on the Philips label was released with "Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Games with Me" on the A-side and "Black Sabbath" on the B-side. Ice-T sampled the song on his 1989 song "Shut Up, Be Happy" and his 1991 song "Midnight". Other musicians have done covers of this song. One of them was Beth Gibbons of Portishead.
History[change | change source]
According to the band, the song was inspired by an experience that bassist Geezer Butler had in the days of Earth. Butler had recently become obsessed with the occult,so he painted his apartment matte black and placed several inverted crucifixes and pictures of Satan on the walls. Ozzy Osbourne gave Butler a black occult book as a gift. It was written in Latin and decorated with numerous pictures of Satan. Butler read the book and then placed it on a shelf beside his bed before going to sleep. When he woke up, he claims he saw a large black figure standing at the end of his bed, staring at him. The figure vanished and Butler ran to the shelf where he had placed the book earlier, but the book was gone. Butler related this story to Osbourne, who then wrote the lyrics to the song based on Butler's experience. The song starts with the lyrics:
What is this that stands before me?"
"Figure in black which points at me.
A version of this song from Black Sabbath's first demo exists on the Ozzy Osbourne compilation album The Ozzman Cometh. The song has an extra verse with additional vocals before the bridge. The guitar and bass are tuned down one whole step, resulting in the key position of A being played on the fretboard, but having the pitch as G (octave - D flat) to the listener. It's one of the band's most frequently performed tracks, being featured on every single tour of their career.
References[change | change source]
- Chris Nickson (3 August 2002). Ozzy Knows Best: The Amazing Story of Ozzy Osbourne, from Heavy Metal Madness to Father of the Year on MTV's "The Osbournes". St. Martin's Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-4299-5452-5.
- Irwin, William (23 October 2012). Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality. John Wiley & Sons. p. 79. ISBN 9781118397596.
- "Black Sabbath Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Garmes With Me Japanese Promo 7" vinyl single (7 inch record / 45) (751970)". eil.com.
- "Black Sabbath". The Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- Osbourne, Ozzy (2010). I Am Ozzy. ISBN 9780446569897.
- "Overview The Ozzman Cometh". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- "Black Sabbath". Black Sabbath Online. Retrieved 26 April 2012.