Black Sabbath was undoubtedly one of the most influential bands of all time. They are considered as one of the pioneers of the heavy metal genre. They paved the way for future metal bands with their groundbreaking compositions and unique sound.
During their almost 50 years long career, they manage to release a total of 19 studio albums. They cemented their names in not just metal but in music history forever.
They are a two times Grammy Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee band.
Black Sabbath was founded in the grimy industrial city of Birmingham, UK. When all the music business was focused in one city, growing up and living in Birmingham made them want to stand out and be more unique than the other rock bands from that era. It also had a big influence, on their compositions, their lyrics, and their overall sound as well.
In 1968, Tony Iommi, and Bill Ward reached out to fellow musicians in the Birmingham area, Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne, to form a blues band.
Little did they know that these slick-looking, long-haired guys would change music history forever. But they did exactly that. In less than 5 years they released 3 albums that would change the face of metal music forever.
We know, it is hard to break down 50 years worth of legendary Black Sabbath songs to just 5, but in our opinion, these 5 are the most prominent and groundbreaking heavy metal songs of all time.
Everyone listening to modern metal should go back to these 5 songs and pay homage to the legends and the legacy they created in the metal community.
Also, this list is in no particular order, so let’s dive into it!
5. Iron Man
Starting our list is Iron Man from their second studio album, Paranoid. Iron Man has one of the most memorable guitar riffs in a metal song, period. It also charted on the Billboard HOT 100 at the 52nd spot. I don’t think we could imagine a heavy metal song reaching the HOT 100’s anytime soon, but Black Sabbath was different, they achieved the unachievable. This was the highest charted song of their career.
Fun fact, Ozzy sang behind a giant metal fan to get that robot sound in the intro.
4. War Pigs
War Pigs is a blues tune disguised as a metal song. It starts with a shuffle jam, something you would hear today in a heavier blues setting. Later on, it goes full metal, just like how we anticipated from a song named ‘War Pigs’.
This song is the opening track from their 1970 album, Paranoid.
Again, we have another song from their Paranoid album. This is an all-time classic song.
Paranoid features an iconic guitar-bass riff that carries the whole song. It is fairly simple, so a lot of kids when they first start playing, start with Paranoid. At least I did.
Paranoid was listed on VH1’s list of greatest heavy metal songs of all time, rightfully so.
This song goes out to all the rock bass players out there! N.I.B starts with an epic bass solo provided by the legendary Geezer Butler. Geezer wrote the lyrics for this song, as he was Black Sabbath’s main lyricist.
This song was on their debut album, ‘Black Sabbath’ that was released in 1970. N.I.B sure changed the metal genre forever. N.I.B’s prominent bassline made the bass players more comfortable with standing out and getting in the limelight.
1. Black Sabbath
This tune comes from their debut self-titled album and is widely considered as one of the first Doom Metal songs of all time.
This heavy guitar riff was something that has never been heard before in 1970, thus making them instantly the kings of heavy metal
After Ozzy left the band, Black Sabbath went on a bit of hiatus. They had a resurrection in popularity with their new singer, Ronny James Dio in the 1980’s. But still went on to have many different band member changes over the years.
Black Sabbath officially retired in 2017, after almost 50 years of playing together. The only constant band member and de-facto leader was Tommy Iommi.
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