Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath is credited with creating heavy metal. The success of their first two albums - Black Sabbath and Paranoid - marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term heavy metal enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided.

With their riff-based songs, extreme volume, and dark, demonic subject matter, Black Sabbath embodied key aspects of the heavy-metal aesthetic. Yet in their own words, Black Sabbath saw themselves as a heavy underground band. That term denoted both the intensity of their music and the network of fans who found them long before critics and the music industry took notice. In a sense, though theyve sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, they still are a heavy underground band. Although they became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, they werent inducted until 2006. The truth is, they remain one of the most misunderstood bands in rock history.

The Black Sabbath story began in Birmingham, England, where Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were looking to escape a life of factory work through music. The four musicians got their start in such psychedelic outfits as the Rare Breed and Mythology (although Osbourne had been a short-haired Mod who loved soul music). Influenced by the reigning British blues bands - Led Zeppelin, Cream, John Mayalls Bluesbreakers - the four of them formed Earth Blues Company (shortened to Earth), in 1968.

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