"Black Sabbath" is a song by the British heavy metal band of the same name, written in 1969 and released on their self-titled debut album. In 1970, it was released as a four-track 12" single, with "The Wizard" also on the A-side and "Evil Woman" and "Sleeping Village" on B-side, on the Philips Records label Vertigo.


 [hide*1 History


According to the band, the song was inspired by an experience that Geezer Butler had related to Ozzy Osbourne. In the days of EarthGeezer Butler painted his apartment matte black, placed several inverted crucifixes, and put many pictures of Satan on the walls. Osbourne gave Butler a book about witchcraft. He read the book and placed the book on a shelf beside his bed before going to sleep. When he woke up, he claims he saw a large black figure standing at the end of his bed. The figure disappeared and Butler went to get the book, and it was gone.[2]

A version of this song from Black Sabbath's first demo exists on the Ozzy Osbourne compilation album The Ozzman Cometh.[3] The song has an extra verse with additional vocals before the bridge.[4]

It's one of the band's most frequently performed tracks, being featured on every single tour of their career.


Allmusic's Steve Huey said the song is an example wherein Black Sabbath appropriated the blue note from the standard pentatonic blues scale and developed a heavy metal riff.[5] The main riff is constructed with a harmonic progression including a diminished fifth / augmented fourth.[6] This particular interval is often known as diabolus in musica,[7] for it has musical qualities which are often used to suggest Satanic connotations in Western music.[7][8][9] The song "Black Sabbath" was one of the earliest examples in heavy metal to make use of this interval,[7] and since then, the genre has made extensive use of diabolus in musica.[7][10]

The riff was created when bassist Geezer Butler began playing a fragment from the Gustav Holst piece 'Mars'. Inspired, guitarist Tony Iommi returned the next day with the famously dark tritone.[11]

[1]The main riff of "Black Sabbath" is one of the most famous examples of harmonic progressions with the tritone G-C.[citation needed]==Cover versions[edit]==

"Black Sabbath" has been covered by the following bands:


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