1968-A Review

Masters of Reality

The formation of Black Sabbath in 1968….

In 1968 four young men from Birmingham, England formed what would become one of the most underrated and pioneering musical acts of the last fifty years. Black Sabbath pioneered the heavy metal genre like no other. Their unique style and sound would go on to inspire some of the biggest bands of the eighties, nineties and beyond, all offshoots of the heavy metal sound would credit Sabbath with inspiring them musically and lyrically and so I include them as part of my ongoing review of 1968-the year that changed everything.

And Black Sabbath really did change everything, they were heavier than Led Zeppelin, the MC5 and Deep Purple, took more drugs than the Grateful Dead and produced six of the finest rock albums ever made, the rest weren’t bad either. Theirs was a rags to riches story so typical of many British bands of the sixties who rose to prominence the hard way and found fame and fortune in America and beyond. The writing talents of guitarists Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler have never received the critical acclaim they deserve, that Iommi could produce so many classic guitar riffs over six decades is testament to his ability and that Ozzy Osbourne is still standing remains a mystery to the world of medical science.

They formed the same year as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, two bands with technically more gifted musicians but Black Sabbath held their own with consistently good albums and it is hard to think of another group who could not only replace an iconic singer but do so with one of the genre’s finest ever albums in Heaven and Hell (1980)

1968 was an incredible year for music; Hendrix was at the height of his powers and the output of British rock and blues bands post The Beatles and Rolling Stones was remarkable. It was a year within a decade in which art, across all of its platforms, thrived. Combined with an energised youth whose protests filled the streets across Europe and America it became an unstoppable force and Black Sabbath, with their power chords and Satanic verses epitomised the revolution. Listen to the title track of the band’s first album, Black Sabbath and consider the mainstream artists of the day: Englebert Humperdink, Des O’Connor, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones and those chords suddenly become all the more remarkable.

For more information on the events of 1968 please click here


1 reply »

  1. Black Sabbaths first first 6 albums are some of the best hard rock/heavy metal music ever made, Tony Iommi is such an underrated guitarist. This band was ripped off by management about as bad as any band could be, except Badfinger. They were called Earth and almost never existed if Tony had stayed with Jethro Tull, they were genuinely spooky on that first album which is arguably their best, you mentioned Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, there was always something a little different about Sabbath, especially on those first albums, Jimmy Page had grandiose ideas and his band was bigger and he really was into the occult, where Sabbath always seemed to be using the devil and occult imagery as a sales gimmick and not something they practiced, they were more like street fighters, especially Tony.


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