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“Rap Sabbath?”: Black Sabbath’s bizarre collaboration with Ice-T in 1995
02.18.2019
11:02 am
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Ice-T and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
 
By the time Black Sabbath took ten days to record their eighteenth record Forbidden, they had parted ways twice with vocalist Ronnie James Dio, as well as another Sabbath vocalist, Tony Martin. Dio would go back to his solo work, and Martin would return to Sabbath for Forbidden. Dio really dodged a bullet as Forbidden would go down in history as one one of the Black Sabbath’s biggest blunders, kind of like Metallica’s Lulu. This is not meant to knock Iommi’s superior riffs or the thunder brought by Bill Ward’s replacement, Cozy Powell, or to be dismissive of the multi-talented Tony Martin who, among other things, can play the fuck out of the bagpipes. Alas the combination of star power and talent does not always result in righteous ear candy.

For many fans, Forbidden falls below the categorization of “For Fans Only” to a spot lower on the rock and roll ruler somewhere around, as Blender magazine called it, “the band’s worst album.” Of course, not everyone hates Forbidden, including Tony Iommi who began the process of remastering the album in early 2018 saying he hoped to release it sometime this year. In all honesty, I do not hate this record and if you think you do, or should, maybe give it another listen. So how was Ice-T enlisted to provide some vocal assistance for the song “Illusion of Power,” which was written by Ice and Tony Martin?

For Forbidden, Sabbath brought in Detroit-born guitarist Ernie C (Ernie Cunnigan) to produce the album. Ernie and Ice-T go way back to high school, where they first met in 1975, and has been playing with Ice in Body Count for nearly three decades. Ernie headed to Par Street Studios in Liverpool to record with Sabbath completing it in just ten days. Here’s more from an interview with Tony Martin and Cozy Powell talking about when they heard Ice-T was going to “rap” on the album:

Tony Martin: We had a phone call basically. He wanted to work with us. Tony went to meet him, they got on well, and from Ice-T, Ernie C was recommended to us as a producer for some of the tracks on the album, so it all started to develop, step by step. And in the end, Ernie ended up producing the whole album, which is quite good. His input really was a “feel”-thing, all the songs were already written by the time he got there. Well, you see, we didn’t know what he was gonna sing…In fact, he didn’t know what we were gonna write, and we didn’t know what he was gonna rap! So it was kind of rap by post if you like. We did the songs in the UK, sent one of them over to him, he rapped on it and sent it back. It turned out quite good.
Cozy Powell: I mean, if it had been a typical rap-thing with us it would have been ridiculous, but what he’s done on the track is actually really good.
Tony Martin: It is different, but that’s the point, it was supposed to be.
Cozy Powell: It was meant to be a guest appearance on one track, nothing more. It’s just a little bit different.
Tony Martin: We had to ask a lot of questions… It’s not something that sort of came up, like, “oh yeah, let’s do that,” we all looked at each other and went: “Are you sure ??” Do we really wanna do this? But it turned out good.
Cozy Powell: I think Ice and Ernie were a lot influenced by Sabbath anyway, so…That was where the connection originally came from, not that we absolutely wanted some rappers on a Sabbath-album..!
Cozy Powell: Goodness only knows…! We’ll probably have Madonna on the next!
Tony Martin: (laughs) NOT!!”

Martin has also been quoted saying that during the process of recording Forbidden, the band seemed to be okay with making what he called a “rap Sabbath” record. Which really makes no sense as Ice’s lyrical contribution to the song is a whopping sixteen seconds long. And he phoned it in from Los Angeles, so there’s that. The song is posted below. You have been warned.
 

“Illusion of Power” featuring vocals by Ice-T.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The curious case of Black Sabbath guitar god Tony Iommi and his very 70s sweater collection
‘Kiss My Baadasssss: Ice-T’s Guide To Blaxploitation’
Black & Blue: The infamous riot at a Black Sabbath & Blue Öyster Cult gig in Milwaukee, 1980
Black Sabbath’s 1972 cocaine budget: $75,000
Did Black Sabbath lift the opening riff from ‘Paranoid’?
Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992

Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.18.2019
11:02 am
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David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne’s insane ‘cocaine challenge’ of 1978


 
In 1978 Van Halen and Black Sabbath teamed up for a tour to end all tours. Van Halen shared bills with a bunch of big acts in ‘78 during their first world tour, all of whom immediately regretted the decision because VH was next to impossible to upstage. I mean, how do you follow a band that shows up to a gig by parachuting from a plane, then catches a ride from a van waiting for them on the ground, and starts playing the show still wearing the jumpsuits they jumped out of the plane in? Oh, and they just happen to be Van fucking Halen, no big deal. Of course, the members of VH didn’t actually jump out of a plane in California just so they could play their set at the Anaheim Stadium Summer Fest in September of 1978, they had stuntmen do it, so they didn’t miss out on happy hour before the show. Priorities, Van Halen has ‘em.

In getting back to VH’s tour with Black Sabbath, Sabbath quickly learned their choice of opening bands might have been a mistake. Ozzy told writer Greg Renoff (author of the fantastic book, Van Halen Rising) that he and Sabbath were “stunned” after witnessing Van Halen’s set during the start of the tour in Europe in May of 1978. 1978 had been a rough year for Sabbath, and their collective drug and alcohol consumption was at an all-time high. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this was especially true for Ozzy.

Ozzy was so messed up he actually quit the band, briefly forcing Sabbath to replace him with Dave Walker (Fleetwood Mac/Savoy Brown). Ozzy would return, and the tour rolled on through Europe, eventually wrapping up in the U.S. for the second leg of their North American shows. The night before the tour stopped in Nashville, Tennessee, Roth and Ozzy decided to stay up until nine in the morning doing blow to see which one of them would faceplant first. Score one for DLR for having the balls to challenge Ozzy to a competition involving drugs without dying in the process. Somehow, both Roth and Osbourne made it to the airport, got to Nashville, and checked into their hotel. Later on when it came time to head off to sound check, Ozzy didn’t show up. The tour manager had never given Ozzy the key to his room which would explain why Ozzy wasn’t found there either.
 

A photo of Dave Walker, a Brummie pal of Tony Iommi, during his short time with Black Sabbath. On January 6th, 1978, Black Sabbath appeared on the British TV show ‘Look Hear’ performing “War Pigs,” and an early version of the song “Junior’s Eyes” penned by Walker. Listen to it here.
 
Things got frantic quick given Ozzy’s less than stellar track record of not being a responsible human and it had everyone thinking the worst—the singer had been kidnapped or was lying dead somewhere in Nashville. At some point when it became clear Ozz wasn’t going to materialize in time for the show, Roth said members of Sabbath asked him if he could sing any of their material, but he didn’t know any of their lyrics. Van Halen would play their opening slot, but Sabbath would have to cancel for obvious reasons. By this time the hotel and surrounding areas were now swarming with the local police and the FBI, all searching for Osbourne. At the center of it all was David Lee Roth, as he was technically—as far as anyone knew—one of the last people to see Ozzy alive. Searches for the singer turned up no clues, no sightings, nothing. Then, as things were starting to seem quite bleak Roth recalls Sabbath had been hanging out sitting on a carpet in the hotel lobby, grim as fuck waiting to have their worst fears confirmed. What actually happened was a very out-of-it-Ozzy headed up to what he thought was his room, #616, as he still had the key from the previous night’s hotel in his possession. The room was being cleaned and Ozzy told the housekeeper to beat it so he could crash for eighteen hours or so after doing blow for half a day with DLR. According to the police report, when he woke up, he realized he was in the wrong room and toddled off to his real room where he picked up a call from a Nashville detective. Dave remembers at around 6:30 in the morning a not dead, maybe only half dead Ozzy walked out of the hotel lobby elevator. Here’s a hilarious quote from Lt. Sherman Nickens of the Nashville, Tennessee PD on the incident. Oh, Lt. Nickens, if you only knew!

“Ozzy Osbourne may have been kidnapped or been the victim of some other form of foul play. Here’s a man who makes a lot of money and has never missed a show in ten years. He doesn’t drink or use dope. He disappears and his people are so frantic. So it was possible that something had happened to this man. While all the time he’s sleeping.”

Let this be a lesson to you folks: never challenge David Lee Roth to a cocaine duel—you will lose.

Sabbath returned to Tennessee with VH a few days later to make up the gig and by most accounts it wasn’t great, as Osbourne’s voice was shot. What follows are photos of VH and Sabbath (one is NSFW) taken during their massive tour in 1978. Also included below is footage of Sabbath’s incredible performance at the Hammersmith Odeon on June 1st, 1978, and equally impressive bootleg audio of Van Halen’s set the same night. Your speakers are about to get a well-deserved workout.
 

A collage of amusing headlines and articles about Ozzy oversleeping in the wrong hotel room in Nashville.
 

 
More coked-up mayhem and mischief after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2018
08:42 am
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Black & Blue: The infamous riot at a Black Sabbath & Blue Öyster Cult gig in Milwaukee, 1980
01.10.2018
09:38 am
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A poster for the concert film ‘Black & Blue’ (note producer!) which captured performances from both Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Hempstead, New York on October 17th, 1980.
 

“We wanted to give a lot for you, but not our blood. If you don’t want to enjoy it, then tough shit!”

—A pissed-off Ronnie James Dio’s parting words to their Black Sabbath’s Milwaukee fans before a massive riot broke out at the MECCA on October 9th, 1980.


It should have been a gig for the ages—a co-headling show between two musical juggernauts, Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult. BÖC and Sabbath had been touring pretty steadily together since July (along with a bunch of other bands like Molly Hatchet, Journey, and Cheap Trick) and by all accounts, the dream bill was something to behold. With Ronnie James Dio at the helm, Sabbath had just released Heaven and Hell to much acclaim from their fans and music critics. BÖC also had a new record to promote, their seventh, Cultösaurus Erectus. It is estimated that 1.5 million people were lucky enough to witness one of the many shows the two bands did together—though one stop on the tour at Milwaukee’s MECCA (the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center Arena) on October 9th, 1980 didn’t go exactly as planned…

Accounts of how the gig devolved into a riot, vary. Some say Blue Öyster Cult played too long leading fans to get restless for Black Sabbath. Other reports say the hour wait between the two sets got under the audience’s skin making them edgy. Whatever it was or wasn’t, the 9,000 plus, near-capacity crowd in attendance at the MECCA was fired up when Black Sabbath took the stage a few ticks before 9:30. The band kicked off their set with “War Pigs” followed by “Neon Knights.” Then, as the lights were purposefully dimmed as Dio introduced their third song, “N.I.B.”, someone hummed a bottle at the stage which struck Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler in the head, knocking him unconscious. Here are Butler’s recollections of the fateful night:

“It’s all a big misunderstanding, really, The lights were down, first of all, so unless the fellow was some sort of incredible quarterback, I don’t know how he could have hit me on purpose. But I was knocked out, and the band was busy getting me off the stage and to a hospital. When the lights came back up, there was no band on stage. And of course, the crowd freaked out. Someone should have gone out and explained—the promoter or someone. I mean, the band was worrying about getting me to the hospital, you know? So the crowd freaked out because there was suddenly no band on stage, and things got worse from there.”

 

. A shot of Buck Dharma of BÖC on stage at the MECCA.
 
Things had yet to get completely out of hand but did shortly after Dio came out and told the rowdy crowd to suck it (Dio’s actual quote appears at the top of this post). Then, Black Sabbath’s tour manager, Andrew Truman took the still darkened stage (as noted in Billboard magazine, October 25th, 1980) as did Sabbath’s production manager, Huw Price. Both Price and Truman took turns admonishing the crowd, telling them the show would not go on saying the band wanted to play Milwaukee but “didn’t appreciate being hit by unidentified flying objects.” Price was allegedly the one who got the job to tell the crowd “just cool out,” as Sabbath wouldn’t be “coming back on stage as the bass player (Butler) is too hurt.” It was now around 11:15—nearly two hours after Sabbath’s unplanned two-song set and in response to Price’s speech, they started shouting in unison “We want Sabbath! We want Sabbath!” The lights went on, and the crowd turned its rage towards the MECCA itself.

Chairs were thrown, smashed and hurled into a growing pile in the center of the floor. Fans ripped out the handrails in the balcony, and one guy tried to light a pile of wooden chairs on fire because of course, he had his handy BIC lighter with him. Pay phones (remember them?) were ripped from the walls, and random bare-knuckle brawls broke out in the crowd who were now tossing chairs at the stage and smashing windows. Once large numbers of Milwaukee’s finest moved in, all decked out in riot gear, they started indiscriminately beating the shit out of people with their billy clubs, something they would repeat a few months later on the face of Plasmatics vocalist Wendy O. Williams. The riot continued outside the MECCA where angry fans took their aggression out on police cars, private property and even the cops themselves. 160 people ended up spending the night in jail for various crimes including a large number of drug-related arrests. The next day, Milwaukee Police Chief Harold Breier announced there would be no further rock concerts at the MECCA as well as no more beer served at the concessions stands. What a buzz-kill. Thankfully, the restrictions didn’t last and in 1981 rock and roll (and BEER!) returned to the MECCA as did AC/DC and Van Halen.

I’ve posted audio of the show below where Butler gets his block rocked by a bottle as well as some visual artifacts of the riot and its aftermath.
 

Fans exiting a broken down door at the MECCA (Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center Arena) during riot that followed a Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult’s show on October 9th, 1980. All photos from the show and the aftermath are via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
 

 

 

He seems nice.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.10.2018
09:38 am
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Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992


Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford onstage with Black Sabbath (guitarist Tony Iommi is pictured to the left), November 15th, 1992.
 
So here’s the backstory as to how Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford ended up fronting Black Sabbath in 1992—and man is it a doozy, mostly due to the fact that this very metal moment also involves two other pivotal members of Sabbath—original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Ozz’s replacement, the great Ronnie James Dio. So get out your devil horns and turn them up because here we go...

Ozzy had been riding high for a dozen years thanks to a successful solo career after getting kicked out of Sabbath for being a coke and booze-fueled mess in 1979. Then, rather suddenly in 1992, Ozz announced his retirement from touring. Osbourne said his decision to retire from the road was two-part; one was his recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—which turned out to later be in error. The second reason Ozzy cited is that he wanted to spend more time with his family—which turned out to be a fib as he would quickly announce after the tour he was already bored with being a homebody and jumped back into the limelight. The “No More Tours” tour concluded with two dates at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California on November 14th and 15th. Per Ozzy’s special request, the opening band would be none other than Black fucking Sabbath led at the time by Ronnie James Dio. But it didn’t go down that way. And that’s because Dio didn’t like the idea of Sabbath seeing their old mate because it might lead to a full-fledged reunion. Here’s more from RJD on his refusal to play the show which ultimately led to his decision to break up with Black Sabbath:

“No, sorry. I have more pride than that. A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So, by them agreeing to play the shows in LA with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out ‘reunion with Ozzy.’ And that obviously meant the end of our particular project.”

And with that, Dio closed the iron door on Sabbath leaving them without a vocalist for the gigs, so they turned to metal god Rob Halford to save them. Halford had just called it quits with Judas Priest in May blaming his exit on the band’s long-time record label Columbia and their lack of support for his desire to pursue solo work. As Dio’s departure was unexpected and quick, Halford had very little time to learn Sabbath classics such as “Mob Rules,” “Into the Void,” “Neon Knights,” and “Sweet Leaf,” but he did. The first show was all Halford ripping through a ten-song-set including a two-song encore featuring 1972’s “Supernaut.” For the tour finale the next night the crowd got what they were all wishing for—a reunion of Sabbath with all but one of the original members of the band. During the second encore, Ozzy joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice on stage performing four songs together; “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Black Sabbath,” “Iron Man,” and “Paranoid.” The mini-gig didn’t turn into a full-on reunion as Dio had suspected until 1997 when Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler (along with Faith No More timekeeper Mike Bordin on drums who replaced Bill Ward due to health problems) headlined Ozzfest along with Ozzy’s touring band. Halford would once again sit in on vocals for Sabbath on August 26th, 2004 when Ozzy got bronchitis and wasn’t able to perform—something that Halford considered a birthday gift of sorts as the day prior he had just celebrated his 53rd year around the sun. Awww.

I’ve posted eighteen minutes of footage of Halford killing it with Sabbath on November 15th, 1992 as well as a few photos from the blessed event after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.13.2017
11:48 am
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Buffalo: Australia’s answer to Black Sabbath
05.22.2017
08:37 am
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Buffalo and Black Sabbath
 
The Australian band Buffalo was one of the earliest acts to show an obvious debt to heavy metal pioneers, Black Sabbath. Their Sabbath-inspired debut, Dead Forever…, came out in 1972 and sold over 25,000 copies. The Sydney-based group was signed to Vertigo Records, which was also Sabbath’s label in Australia.

Prior to the release of their third album, a live Buffalo set was recorded for Australian TV, with portions airing over multiple nights during the GTK (as in “get to know”) program. The below video is a collection of the five clips, ending with their version of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which doesn’t appear on any Buffalo LP. If you want to skip to “Paranoid,” start at 19:47, though I’d suggest you watch the whole damn thing. You’ll be glad you did.
 

 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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05.22.2017
08:37 am
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Easy Doom: Dig the Black Sabbath soft rock remix
04.05.2017
09:37 am
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Black Sabbath is directly responsible for some of the hardest and heaviest sounds ever created by man or beast. One fateful day in Birmingham, seventeen-year-old sheet metal worker Tony Iommi lost a couple fingertips in a bloody industrial accident, and the world gained heavy metal as a result. Well, Iommi claims it was an accident, anyway. Seems more like a deal with the devil, if you ask me.

Anyway, despite their well-earned reputation as the grandfathers of everything hard, heavy, and unholy in general and the architects of blood-freezing doom metal in particular, early Sabbath wasn’t always heavy, all the time. They mellowed the fuck out on occasion. Brit DJ Robert E. Lee proves the case with the incredible Balearic Sabbath, a 35-minute excursion into Black Sabbath’s most placid moments, a slow n’ easy Sunday morning remix full of free-flowing flutes, jazzy coffeehouse guitar noodles and softly banged bongos. From “Planet Caravan” to “Laguna Sunrise” to “Solitude” and back, this droopy-eyed foray into Sabbath’s gentler side is the perfect soundtrack to your next lost weekend.

Doom and despair have never sounded so groovy.

Have a listen after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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04.05.2017
09:37 am
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Remember the Alamo: The lengthy list of crimes committed by the members of Black Sabbath


Black Sabbath clearly thinking about doing all kinds of illegal stuff.
 

“I wonder what jail I’ll wake up in tomorrow?”

—Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne musing about what might happen after one of his routine drug and alcohol induced blackouts back in the day.

If you could only use one word to describe what it’s like to be a part of the world of rock and roll it is this one: dangerous. First of all, the job isn’t really built for longevity, and it’s well known that many notable icons punched out of their mortal time clocks before they reached the age of 28 (aka, the 27 Club). There are the non-stop parties involving two good old heathen vices—sex and drugs, which at some point catches up with you in one way or another. Another job hazard of this (apparently) illustrious gig includes the occasional skirmish—or worse—with law enforcement. Let’s face it. If you’re in a successful touring rock band and you don’t already have a mugshot in your photo album, just wait. It’ll probably happen. And this leads me to the following breakdown highlighting the many crimes committed by the members of the greatest heavy metal band in history, Black Sabbath. And since Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne’s rap sheet is the longest, let’s start with him, shall we?

Though Ozzy’s bad behavior is infamous, he was apparently never arrested while he was with Sabbath, despite the fact that he was prone to relieving himself in places other than a toilet and was stark-raving drunk most days. Prior to joining the band, Ozzy held several strange jobs including working in a factory that produced car horns, a funeral home, and even a slaughterhouse. Since Ozzy and a straight job didn’t really get along, he turned to burglary to make a living. This landed the great and powerful Ozz in Winson Green prison for six weeks for petty theft after his father refused to pay his bail. While behind bars, Ozzy gave himself his famous “OZZY” knuckle tattoo using a sewing needle and graphite polish, as well as getting the two adorable smiley faces that adorn his kneecaps.
 

Ozzy being Ozzy in the 1970s. 
 
While Sabbath’s antics are about as epic as they come, Ozz would completely run amok once he was kicked out of the band in 1979. His arrest record would grow to include public urination and intoxication after he took a piss close enough to the beloved historical landmark the Alamo in 1982 (wearing a dress no less) that he was banned from entering San Antonio for a decade. This was also the same year that Ozzy famously bit the head off of a live bat on stage in Iowa. In 1984 Ozzy was once again arrested for public intoxication and was sent off to the drunk tank after being found completely inebriated traipsing up and down the streets of Memphis’ Beale Street entertainment district. In 1989 he was charged with the attempted murder of his wife Sharon Osbourne whom he tried to strangle with his bare hands while completely blotto on whatever he could snort, pop or swill. Let’s also not forget that before Ozzy’s wife Sharon took over as his manager during his solo career, it was her father Don Arden (known not-so-affectionately as the Al Capone of pop managers), who called the shots. Arden was quite literally one of the most feared members of the music scene in England and once hung rival manager Robert Stigwood (Cream and the Bee Gees) by his feet from his office window over a dispute involving the Small Faces. Damn.

When it comes to Tony Iommi and breaking the law we start back In 1968 when the buzz-killing police raided Iommi’s home in Birmingham and found *gasp* marijuana residue for which the guitarist received the British equivalent of probation for two years. In 1973 he nearly lost his life to an overdose, technically a crime in itself, at a Sabbath show at the Hollywood Bowl. And that was after helping his bandmates snort $75K worth of blow in 1972. In 1983 he blew up a bunch of prized carp belonging to businessman and airline mogul Richard Branson while the band was recording Born Again at Branson’s studio in Oxfordshire. Then he trashed drummer Bill Ward’s car at a go-cart track and let it burn after it caught fire. Iommi has a long history of getting his kicks by blowing stuff up which he thankfully documented in his 2011 book Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.03.2017
09:37 am
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On this day in 1970, Black Sabbath invented heavy metal
02.13.2017
06:04 pm
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This morning I was alerted to the fact that the first Black Sabbath album was unveiled upon this world like an evil curse on this day 47 years ago. Try to imagine what kind of experience it was when someone first whacked Black Sabbath onto their turntable in 1970. There had never before been such a purposefully infernal-sounding racket in rock at that point and it set such a high watermark so as to almost never (ever?) have been topped in that category. Black Sabbath was radical, primal, primitive and quite unprecedented. The young group’s formula—Dennis Wheatley/Hammer Horror meets Cream/Vanilla Fudge—was ingenious and yet dumb enough to please the cheap seats.

What must Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath‘s opening track “Black Sabbath” have sounded like when people got their first taste of the group? To properly appreciate how truly radical this must’ve been coming at you like a rock to the head just as the Sixties had ended—flower power this was definitely not—you’d really have to mentally erase the decades of imitators who have come since, which is difficult to do. If you trace heavy metal down to its root moment, its true moment of birth, it was when these four guys in their early twenties happened upon this sound:
 

 
At the time of the song’s composition, the group was still named Earth, which they knew they had to change due to another band already using it. When they noticed long lines waiting to get into a Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath across the street from their rehearsal studio, they wondered if the punters would also line up for a sort of heavy horror rock. The band was renamed Black Sabbath and gained a new direction and winning formula that would make them famous and wealthy faster than a pact with Satan.
 

 
Writing at On This Deity, the Arch Drude Julian Cope had this to say about the album:

Cannily clad by their record company in a self-consciously Wiccan outer package more fustily archaic and holy than modern “secular” postwar New Testaments could ever have dared to be, and possessed at its centre of an enormous inverted cross, BLACK SABBATH summoned the ears of the Hippie Generation’s little brothers and dragged them jerking into the cold light of the 1970s. The Downer had begun.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.13.2017
06:04 pm
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Literal heavy metal: Brass band plays Motörhead, Maiden, Sabbath, and AC/DC


 
Over the weekend, my Facebook feed—and a fair few others’ as well—blew up with a years-old video of a Dutch brass band called Heavy Hoempa busking Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” at the prog/metal festival ProgPower in 2013. Despite its age, the video went viral seemingly out of nowhere, racking up 50,000 shares in just a few days. If you weren’t one of its three million viewers, check it out now, it’s quite wonderful.
 

 

 
Thing is, that’s just a small taste of their offerings. The Uden-based Heavy Hoempa, which I’m pretty sure means “heavy busker,” specialize in metal covers; per Google translate, their self-description on Twitter is “Solid rock with a big wink from blazers with balls.” The band still exists, purveying quite wonderful versions of metal classics including “Paranoid,” “The Trooper,” and “Highway to Hell.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.03.2016
08:13 am
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Demo versions of Black Sabbath songs that completely smoke the album versions
09.30.2016
09:10 am
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Though it is often maligned by Black Sabbath fans as being “one of their worst albums,” I’ve always had a soft spot for the Born Again LP. Featuring Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan on vocals, many referred to this line-up as “Deep Sabbath.” Gillan, a rock super-star in his own right, was obviously no slouch, but Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio both left big shoes to fill in the Sabbath camp. Many fans at the time expressed great disappointment over the album recorded with this line-up.

It may have been hearing “Trashed” on a K-Tel compilation as a kid that warmed me to this era of Sabbath and that song in particular, but I’ll readily admit that the production on Born Again always left something to be desired. It always sounded a bit hollow to me and a bit cheesed out with the keyboards.

Fans have always been divided on the album’s iconic cover art as well. Some decrying it as one of the worst album covers of all time or at least, certainly, the worst Black Sabbath album cover, while others have found it to be a repellant work of genius. I’ve always adored the demonic baby image and its disturbingly vibrating blue and red color scheme. One of my favorite hardcore bands of the 1990s stole their logo directly from the hand-lettered “Born Again” font on the sleeve.

The story of this sleeve almost deserves its own post, but it’s totally worth reprinting here, direct from designer Steve Joule’s mouth, speaking to Black-Sabbath.com:

The Black Sabbath Born Again album sleeve was designed under extraordinary circumstances; basically what had happened was that Sharon and Ozzy had split very acrimoniously from her father’s (Don Arden) management and record label. He subsequently decided that he would wreak his revenge by making Black Sabbath (whom he managed) the best heavy metal band in the world, which, of course they are but back then in the early ’80’s they weren’t quite the international megastars that they had been in the ’70’s. His plans included recruiting Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, getting Bill Ward back in on drums and stealing as many of Sharon and Ozzy’s team as possible and as I was designing Ozzy’s sleeves at the time I of course got asked to submit some rough designs.

As I didn’t want to lose my gig with the Osbourne’s I thought the best thing to do would be to put some ridiculous and obvious designs down on paper, submit them and then get the beers in with the rejection fee, but oh no, life ain’t that easy. In all I think there were four rough ideas that were given to the management and band to peruse (unfortunately I no longer have the roughs as I would love to see just how bad the other three were as sadly my booze and drug addled brain no longer remembers that far back), anyway one of the ideas was of course the baby and the first image of a baby that I found was from the front cover of a 1968 magazine called Mind Alive that my parents has bought me as a child in order to further my education, so in reality I say blame my parents for the whole sorry mess. I then took some black and white photocopies of the image (the picture is credited to ‘Rizzoli Press’) that I overexposed, stuck the horns, nails, fangs into the equation, used the most outrageous colour combination that acid could buy, bastardized a bit of the Olde English typeface and sat back, shook my head and chuckled.

The story goes that at the meeting Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were present but no Ian Gillan or Bill Ward. Tony loved it and Geezer, so I’m reliably informed, looked at it and in his best Brummie accent said, “It’s shit. But it’s fucking great!” Don not only loved it but had already decided that a Born Again baby costume was to be made for a suitable midget who was going to wear it and be part of the now infamous ‘Born Again Tour.’ So suddenly I find myself having to do the bloody thing. I was also offered a ridiculous amount of money (about twice as much as I was being paid for an Ozzy sleeve design) if I could deliver finished artwork for front, back and inner sleeve by a certain date.

As the dreaded day drew nearer and nearer I kept putting off doing it again and again until finally the day before I sprang into action with the help of a neighbor, (Steve ‘Fingers’ Barrett) a bottle of Jack Daniels and the filthiest speed that money could buy on the streets of South East London and we bashed the whole thing out in a night, including hand lettering all the lyrics, delivered it the next day where upon I received my financial reward. But that wasn’t the end of it oh no, when Gillan finally got to see a finished sleeve he hated it with a vengeance and hence the now famous quote “I looked at the cover and puked!” Not wanting to sound bitchy but over the years I’ve said the same thing about most of Gillan’s album sleeves. He also allegedly threw a box of 25 copies of the album out of his window. Gillan might have hated it but Max Cavelera (Sepultura, Soulfly) and Glen Benton (Deicide) have both gone on record saying that it is their favorite album sleeve.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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09.30.2016
09:10 am
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Elf: Early recordings of Dio covering Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry & Black Sabbath in 1972
08.18.2016
10:49 am
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Elf.
 
Like many of our DM readers I’m a huge fan of everything that the late Ronnie James Dio did during his time walking among us mere mortals. Dio’s love of music started early and by the late 50’s at the age of fifteen he was already gigging regularly with a band. When it came time for Dio to graduate high school he apparently turned down a scholarship (which he earned for playing the trumpet, a discipline that Dio credited his powerful vocal range to) at the plush and prestigious Juilliard School to pursue a career in rock and roll. The band that Dio started out with, The Vegas Kings went through several name/lineup changes until they ended up settling on the proggy sounding The Electric Elves that in turn evolved into the more metal-edged sounding moniker Elf sometime in the early part of 1970s.

Once the 70s rolled around Dio (and most of the rest of Elf) ended up hooking up with one of the guitar gods Dio would perform with during his career Ritchie Blackmore, and that relationship produced three Rainbow albums including one of my favorite records of all time 1978’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. The reason I’m giving you my take on what the heavy metal history books refer to as Ronnie James Dio 101 is because when I mentioned in the title of this post that Dio was “covering” Black Sabbath I thought it might cause a few of our readers to throw a massive lump of “duh” in my general direction. But this is RJD circa 1972—a full seven years before he would front the sludgy outfit after Sabbath fired Ozzy who had become so “undependable” in 1979 that he stopped showing up to most of the band’s rehearsals. So to hear Elf along with Dio slaying one of Sabbath’s most epic jams, 1970’s “War Pigs” for a full nine-minutes in 1972 is rather surreal to say the least.
 

Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore and Mr. Blackmore’s very metal Pilgrim hat.
 
The other notable covers that Elf performed live and recorded as demos back in 1972 (that became the bootleg known as Elf: War Pigs ‘72) are a mish-mash of hits from bands like The Who, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and even the odd Rod Stewart song. As a forever fan of all things Black Sabbath it’s nothing short of thrilling to listen to Dio take on Chuck Berry’s 1959 classic “Little Queenie” and win. I’m not going to go so far as to tell you that the all of the recordings are good, because they aren’t. But I did post a few of my favorite tracks from War Pigs ‘72 and feel like it’s an interesting snapshot into where Dio was headed and something that any hardcore fan of RJD would brag about owning just for its high (and slightly odd) nostalgia factor. I also included an original Elf track called “Driftin” which is a dreamy track reminiscent of Queen that really showcases Dio’s remarkable vocal range. Devil horns OUT!
 
Listen to early Ronnie James Dio after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.18.2016
10:49 am
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Early-Black Sabbath ephemera including postcards from a young Ozzy Osbourne head to auction
08.15.2016
02:23 pm
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An early shot of Black Sabbath.
 

Arrived here safely, but it is not a very nice place, I don’t think the people like long hair.

Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in a postcard to his parents while the band was on tour during their early days.

 
Memorabilia from the early days of Black Sabbath including a rare show poster advertising the band under their original name “Earth” will head to an auction at the end of September at the Sheffield Auction Gallery. According to the house the items were discovered by a resident of the the town of Sheffield in a building that was set to be torn down in the London Docklands area in the 1980s.

In addition to the Earth-era ephemera are early publicity photos of the band as well as handwritten lyrics and a large number of postcards written by Ozzy Osbourne to his family (including Ozzy’s first wife Thelma Mayfair) while the band was out touring the world. And while I’m on the topic of the postcards from Ozz I took the liberty of transcribing one note Mr. Osbourne sent to his Mom and Dad from France that is so sweet it might hurt your teeth while reading it. Unless you’re reading this somewhere in France of course:
 

 

Dear Mom + Dad

Arrived here safely but IT IS NOT a very nice place, I don’t think that the people like long hair. We start playing tomorrow afternoon at 3-OCLOCK until 7-OCLOCK on the night. But apart from that I am still in one peace. By the way don’t forget we are on the radio next Saturday, I hope Iris and the baby are alright. I might phone Jean on my birthday. See soon.

Lots of Love, John xxxxxx

 
Awww. The heavy metal artifacts (that date from the years 1968-1973) are being presented as one lot which means everything in it goes to one buyer and is expected to fetch anywhere between $2500-$3800 bucks. Images of a few of items in the lot follow.
 

Earth-era show poster, late 60s.
 

Handwritten lyrics for ‘The Wizard’ that would appear on the Sabbath’s eponymous debut.
 

Handwritten lyrics from the ‘Earth’ era of Black Sabbath called ‘Changing Phases.’ The song would become ‘Solitude’ from Sabbath’s 1971 record, ‘Masters of Reality.’
 

Two postcards written by Ozzy to his parents while the band was off on tour. Awww.
 
H/T: Antiques Trade Gazette

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The curious case of Black Sabbath guitar god Tony Iommi and his very 70s sweater collection

Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.15.2016
02:23 pm
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Patton is GOD: Faith No More channel Black Sabbath with their crushing cover of ‘War Pigs’
06.28.2016
12:57 pm
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Faith No More giving zero fucks.
 
It has been 26 years since Faith No More tore the roof off of the Brixton Academy in London on April 28th, 1990 during their tour in support of their third record, The Real Thing—the band’s first album with vocalist Mike Patton after FNM parted ways with former vocalist Chuck Mosely in 1988.

The show was released on both VHS and DVD called “Faith No More: You Fat B**tards: (Live at the Brixton Academy) and on vinyl as FNM’s only live album “Faith No More: Live at the Brixton Academy.” The band’s performance at Brixton is mind-meltingly energetic and the then 22-year-old Patton commanded the stage like a hyperactive kid who decided to mainline a dozen Pixy Stix just for fun. Which might help explain Patton’s wardrobe changes during the show that included a skeleton mask, a police helmet and the eventual loss of his shirt mid-way through the performance. As a die-hard fan of Black Sabbath it wasn’t hard for me to love FNM’s ferocious seven-minute cover of “War Pigs” which nearly gives the original a run for its money. It was also an opportunity for Patton to show off his prodigious six-octave range which he does with mind-altering precision. Get ready—the annihilation of your auditory functions await! 
 

Faith No More performing a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ at the Brixton Academy in London, 1990.
 
The entire show, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.28.2016
12:57 pm
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‘The Hound of Baskerville’: German pop duo cover Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ as a Sherlock Holmes tribute
06.27.2016
02:20 am
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Jutta Gusenberger and Norbert Berger were a married couple from the western border of the BRD (West Germany) who were staples of the German pop scene in the 1970s. They went by Cindy und Bert, representing West Germany in the Eurovision Pop Contest in 1974 with “Die Sommermelodie.” In a strong year that included Olivia Newton-John and ABBA as competitors, Cindy und Bert finished 14th. Oh well.

They had a run of charting singles from 1972 to 1979 on the German Top 40 but before all that, in 1971, they turned in a delirious cover of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath with completely different German lyrics that were all about the hellhound invented by Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his few long-form Sherlock Holmes narratives, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

More on the strange case of Cindy und Bert, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.27.2016
02:20 am
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The curious case of Black Sabbath guitar god Tony Iommi and his very 70s sweater collection
06.01.2016
09:50 am
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The only person in the world who could rock a sweater vest with a print of a man with a top hat and monocle and still look as cool as fuck, Mr. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
 
Now before anyone out there thinks for one second that I’m in any way slagging the heavy metal messiah of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, you’d be wrong. Only a fool would have anything but praise for a man who, after losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand in an accident when he was seventeen, pressed on to become one of the most influential guitarists in the history. Couple that indisputable fact with the ass-kicking Iommi gave to The Big C—cancer—when it came calling, and you have Tony motherfucking Iommi—metal guitar god.
 

 
If you read Dangerous Minds on a regular basis, you probably already know that I’m a Black Sabbath super fan. Thanks to my folks, I played Sabbath’s second album, 1970’s Paranoid forwards and backwards (for those backmasked Satanic subliminal messages) until it would play no more. I look to that record as the reason for my delightful, nearly lifelong obsession with the band. As I’ve said in the past, any day that I get to write about Black Sabbath and get paid for it, is the best day ever. And today is another one of those great days!

Tony Iommi has always been about as metal as they come, and that’s especially true when you consider the look Iommi cultivated over the decades with Black Sabbath. You know, the leather biker jackets with fringe, the satin shirts, the gigantic cross necklaces and the ever present manly display of chest hair. And let’s not forget Iommi’s sweet patchwork jacket (which Iommi wore a lot during the Sabbath’s early days and which is currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin). That one garment could very well be responsible for the birth of the heavy metal fashion staple, the battle jacket.

As I often feel the need to scratch my nostalgic itches, I decided to flip through the Internet looking at photos from the band’s early days when I noticed that there seemed to be quite a few pictures of Iommi wearing of all things, sweaters. It didn’t take long for me to find quite a few images of Iommi rocking everything from a sweater vest to large-collared zip-up knitwear and even a turtleneck, which I found totally amusing given the fact that the look somewhat transforms Iommi into a mustachioed male model as featured in the pages of a vintage 70s Sears catalog. As you’re looking at the photos that follow, you’ll probably notice that Sabbath’s bassist, Geezer Butler was also a fan of quality 70s knitwear.

I’ve also included few images that postdate the fantastic 70s that I had to include because, well, sweaters.
 

 

 
More of Tony’s fab sweaters, turtlenecks and zip-up jumpers, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.01.2016
09:50 am
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