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Black Sabbath

In 1968, four high-school students from Aston, near Birmingham, England, formed a band that they at first called "Polka Tulk." The band consisted of John M. "Ozzy" Osbourne on vocals, Anthony "Tony" Iommi on guitar, Terrance "Geezer" Butler on bass, and William "Bill"Ward on drums. They later changed the name to "Earth", unaware that another local band, a "big-band" combo, was already using tha name. They wrote a song with a title taken from an Italian Boris Karloff movie called "Black Sabbath." When they showed up at a formal ball, having been mistakenly booked instead of the other "Earth", they were booed off the stage. They then decided to rename the band, and took the name of their first song as their new name.

Their debut album, also entitled "Black Sabbath", was released in February, 1970. It officially had only five songs; however, two of those songs were "suites" consisting of several shorter tunes. One of those suites was Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B. The title "Behind the Wall of Sleep" was copied from an H P Lovecraft short story called "Beyond the wall of Sleep." Other tracks from the album included "Black Sabbath" and "The Wizard."

They followed this release in September, 1970, with the Paranoid album. This album was originally to be titled "War Pigs", as the cover shows. Both titles are songs on the album, but "Paranoid" was released as a (quite popular) single, and so the record company capitalized on that by renaming the album after the song. Besides "Paranoid" and "War Pigs", the album included "Iron Man", "Fairies Wear Boots" and "Electric Funeral." Paranoid remained Sabbath's most popular album, and "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" became staples of their live shows, as well as Ozzy Osbourne's later solo shows.

The third recordd, Master of Reality, was released in August of 1971. By this time, some people had observed that Sabbath was repeating a formula: Iommi's heavy guitar riffs, combined with Ozzy's nasal vocals and songs about war, drugs, and the occult. Master of Reality's two big hits were "Sweet Leaf" (drugs) and "Children of the Grave" (war.) It didn't sell quite as well as Paranoid, but was still a popular record. +