There’s no band more important to heavy metal than Black Sabbath. Founded in Birmingham, England in 1968 (as Earth), the original quartet — guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne — spent their first decade releasing several seminal and immensely revered records. By pioneering the genre’s propensity for gloomy lyricism, commanding rhythms, distorted riffs, and flashy guitar solos, the quartet put an effectively darker and angrier spin on blues rock, acid rock, and psychedelic rock, setting the stage for countless acts to follow.
Black Sabbath remained commercially and creatively prosperous after Osbourne was replaced by Ronnie James Dio in 1979. In fact, Sabbath’s subsequent years produced some of their most beloved LPs — such as Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, and Headless Cross — as some new blood helped them carry on their incomparable legacy (Dio, Ian Gillan, Vinny Appice, Glenn Hughes, Cozy Powell, Tony Martin, and both Rick and Adam Wakeman, to name a few). Even their swan-song reunion album with Ozzy, 2013’s 13, was a satisfying and sentimental beast.
In a sense, Black Sabbath were the Beatles of the genre, directly or indirectly influencing every metal musician who heard them. As a result — and also like the Fab Four — narrowing down their legendary catalog to just 10 songs is quite the arduous task.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’re here to do! Below, we present Heavy Consequence‘s list of Black Sabbath’s 10 greatest tracks (from early classics to newer gems and a few in-between). Check ‘em out below, let us know what you think, and try not to get too paranoid in the process!
— Jordan Blum,