Black Sabbath is the debut album by Black Sabbath, released on Friday, February 13, 1970. Widely considered the first true Heavy Metal album, it was recorded within only a 12-hour period between a few European gigs. The lyrics deal with far darker themes than their contemporaries, dealing with occultism, Satanism, and Lovecraftian horrors, and the trademark dark banjo-stringed guitar, alongside Ozzy Osbourne's vocals, made it even more radical and unique.
The album was a commercial success, having gone to number eight on the UK charts after its release. After its June 1970 release in the States, it peaked at number 23 on the Billboard charts and sold one million copies during the year that it was ranked there. Critics didn't take too kindly to it at first, though—Rolling Stone, who upon release dismissed the album as "Just like Cream! But worse," have since ranked it at #243 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012.
Tracklist (original European edition):Side One
- "Black Sabbath" (6:20)
- "The Wizard" (4:24)
- "Behind The Wall of Sleep" (3:37)
- "N.I.B." (6:08)
- "Evil Woman" (3:25)
- "Sleeping Village" (3:46)
- "Warning" (10:28)
Tracklist (original North American edition):Side One
- "Black Sabbath" (6:20)
- "The Wizard" (4:22)
- "Wasp"/"Behind The Wall Of Sleep"/"Bassically"/"N.I.B." (9:44)
- "Wicked World" (4:47)
- "A Bit Of Finger"/"Sleeping Village"/"Warning" (14:15)
- Ozzy Osbourne - vocals
- Tony Iommi - guitar
- Geezer Butler - bass
- Bill Ward - drums
"Never troping, just keeps walking, spreading his magic":
- Alliterative Title: "Wicked World"
- Big "NO!": Ozzy's response to the figure in black telling him he's The Chosen One in the title track.
- Cover Version: "Evil Woman" was originally recorded by Crow, and "Warning" was by Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.
- Crapsack World: "Wicked World." It's right there in the title.
- Darker and Edgier: Than anything else in rock and roll at the time.
- Epic Rocking: "Warning" runs 10:32, doubling as Longest Song Goes Last.
- Filk Song: "The Wizard" is about Gandalf. Doubles as the trope maker for Heavy Mithril. "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" qualifies too, since its title was taken from H. P. Lovecraft's "Beyond The Wall Of Sleep".
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: The title track starts this way.
- Fun with Acronyms: Subverted. "N.I.B." doesn't actually stand for anything; they came up with the title because of how drummer Bill Ward's beard looked like a pen nib. That hasn't stopped people from saying it stands for "Nativity in Black," though.
- Instrumentals: "Wasp," "Bassically".
- Love Redeems: "N.I.B." is about Satan finding love and turning away from his evil ways.
- Non-Appearing Title: The title track is not a Singer Namedrop. "N.I.B." doesn't appear in the song either.
- Performance Video: They made one for the title track.
- Record Producer: Roger Bain.
- Self-Titled Album: Well, duh
- Single Stanza Song: "Sleeping Village":"Red sun rising in the sky
Sleeping village, cockrels cry
Soft breeze blowing in the trees
Peace of mind, feel at ease"
- Title Track: "Black Sabbath"
- Wham Episode: For rock music in general—this and Paranoid were where Heavy Metal truly started.