Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by AlexandreG.0
Best Black Sabbath Songs
Top 13 Best Black Sabbath Songs
The time is come for the release of ’13’, the new album from Black Sabbath, and there is no better time than this to make a poll with the best songs of this charismatic and influential band.
It is kind of risky to write an article on this topic, moreover by reducing the selection to 13 songs. Many agree with one fact: they really invented Heavy Metal. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward have putted the music in another level, in particularly with their first four albums. I understand that it is hard set up ‘the list’ of the Best Black Sabbath Songs, and some might do not agree with our list, that can only be due to the fact that the band have produced so many masterpieces, making the selection subject to discussions and doubts. If you are that person who want to drown in the sound of Black Sabbath, please feel free to listen to this top 13 Best Black Sabbath Songs, enjoy!
1 – ‘War Pigs’ – Paranoid (1970)
‘War Pigs’ was destined do become a controversial song, because it had initially been written as ‘Walpurgis’ (the Witches’ Sabbath), another demonstration of the band’s interest in the occult. An anti-war song, reflected in the words os bassist/lyricist Geezer Butler, about the ongoing Vietnam War. It’s nearly eight minutes long and was never released as a single, but the song became a crucial part of their live show. It remains their opening number to this day. The Best Black Sabbath Song Ever!
2 – ‘Paranoid’ – Paranoid (1970)
By the end of the recording of Paranoid album, the running time was a bit short , and Black Sabbath were forced in the last minute to come up with another track. Vertigo at the time didn’t hear a potential single, and asked the band do persevere. ‘Paranoid’ emerged under a half an hour and it ended up being the title track, and one of the most iconic heavy metal songs of all time. It was also voted the greatest guitar riff ever in a Kerrang! magazine readers’ poll.
3 – ‘N.I.B’ – Black Sabbath (1970)
Best song on their debut, the lyrics in ‘N.I.B’ are in the first person, from the point of view of Lucifer. Some listeners think the song is about Lucifer seducing the listener. Geezer Butler, the bass player of Black Sabbath explains that ‘the song was about the devil falling in love and totally changing, becoming a good person.’ About the meaning of the title, Ozzy Osbourne once clarify saying: ‘The irony about ‘N.I.B.’ is that everyone thinks it means ‘Nativity In Black’ and it doesn’t.We were all stoned in Hamburg and Bill used to have this really long, pointy beard and I said, ‘Hey, Bill, you look like a pen nib!’ So when Geezer said, ‘What we going to call this new song?’, I said, ‘Oh, call it ‘N.I.B’
4 – ‘Sweet Leaf ‘ – Master of Reality (1971)
From their 1971 album Master of Reality, the song Sweet Leaf open the album with a repetitive rhythmic from guitarist Tony Iommi coughing. The lyrics essentially praise the cannabis, if you have any doubts pay attention to Ozzy singing : ‘My life was empty, forever on a down, Until you took me, showed me around/ My life is free now, my life is clear/ I love you sweet leaf, though you can’t hear.’
5 – ‘Iron Man’ – Paranoid (1970)
According to fan site black-sabbath.com, ‘Iron Man’ tells the tale of a man who travels to the future and sees an apocalypse brought on by our own behavior. As he travels back to warn us, he gets turned to steel, and becomes unable to communicate.
The riff is one of the all-time greats and was recognized in through the years: Beavis and Butt-Head know it; covered by numerous artists from Marlyn Mason to Busta Rhymes; used on the film School of Rock and Iron Man , even appearing in cartoons such as Simpsons, Futurama an King of the Hill.
6 – ‘Heaven and Hell’ – Heaven and Hell (1980)
After two weak albums ‘ Technical Ecstasy’ and ‘Never Say Die’, the group has stopped producing music for a couple of years which culminated with the departure of Ozzy Osbourne from combat.
Ronnie James Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and joined Black Sabbath, replacing Ozzy Osbourne. Even with some members of the band experiencing problems ( Geezer Butler was going through a divorce , and Bill Ward was beginning to suffer from alcoholism at this time) , ‘Heaven and Hell’ is a tremendous song. Dio in certain moments is superior to Ozzy, and puts ‘Heaven and Hell’ has the Best Black Sabbath Song in years.
7 – ‘Children of the Grave’ – Master of Reality (1971)
More classic, thundering riffs from Tony Iommi (he is not a virtuoso like Jimi Hendrix, but the riffs go right to the mind of the listener and over there will never comes out!). ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Electric Funeral’ carried themes of war, revolution and peace, as ‘Children of the Grave’ too. Geezer Butler’s pacifist ideals of non-violent civil disobedience was express on this one. Off the 1971 album Master of Reality, ‘Children of the Grave’ continued became a hit amongst fans and other musicians alike.
8 – ‘Hand of Doom’ – Paranoid (1970)
Since the release of ‘Hand of Doom’ it has been performed in many of Black Sabbath’s live concerts. Again the lyrics were written by Geezer Butler while the music was written by the four members. The seven minutes long of ‘Hand of Doom’ are darker and heavier than ever, the quit/loud moments of the song given by Geezer Butler is incredible. Even Bill Ward was at his peak, he’s trying different tempos here. One of the best songs of ‘Paranoid’ album.
9 – ‘Snowblind’ – Black Sabbath Vol.4 (1972)
Black Sabbath Vol.4 was actually to be called Snowblind, but was forbidden by the record company due to strong allusion to drugs. Characterized by the beginning of the drug problems, the iconic ‘Snowblind’, which is one of the greatest classics of Black Sabbath, talks openly about ‘Cocaine‘, the word whispered quite audibly after the first verse: ‘What you get and what you see / Things that do not come easily / Feeling happy in my vein / Icicles are in my brain / (cocaine).’ Tony Iommi shows an exemplary inspiration on the riffs for this song.
10 – ‘Sabbath Bloody’ Sabbath’ – Sabbath Bloody’ Sabbath (1973)
Black Sabbath decides to expand their arrangements, experiencing synthesizers and orchestrations resulting in a more refined production than those on previous work. Any suspicion about this change is already demolished in ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’, one of the songs more characteristics in band’s history. With a masterful riff that only Iommi manages to do and typically ‘sabbathian’ lyrics : ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Nothing more to do / Living just for dying / Dying just for you’. The album starts at a high level in which the main riff has been recognized as the Black Sabbath riff that saved the band, because Tony Iommi in this period was suffering from writer’s block.
11 – ‘The Wizard’ – Black Sabbath (1970)
Taken from their 1970 album Black Sabbath, ‘The Wizard‘ was the B side to the title track of the band’s second album Paranoid. The song is about a wizard who uses his magic to encourage people he encounters. It was also meant to be about their drug dealer at the time. However Butler claims it’s named after Gandalf, the wizard character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The song kicks off with the Ozzy’s harmonica, a rarity for this band, and it was never played live until over two decades later in 1994.
12 – ‘Black Sabbath‘ – Black Sabbath (1970)
Written in 1969, ‘Black Sabbath’ is the opening track of the debut album Black Sabbath…yeah i almost forgot…from the band Black Sabbath! The album opens in shocking way, the song starts with the gloomy sounds of a storm , making the perfect introduction to Black Sabbath’s atmosphere. Many argue, and with some sort of reason, this song invented heavy metal. The heavy metal blueprint arrived with Black Sabbath – the band, the album, and the song. The song was inspired by an experience that Geezer Butler had related to Ozzy Osbourne : ‘ In the days of Earth, Geezer 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’.
‘Supernaut’ has some great energy from Ozzy and keeps the track moving at a great pace alongside with more great guitar riffs from Iommi, placing the song as one of the heaviest single track in the Sabbath catalog. ‘Supernaut’ and ‘Snowblind’ was the salvation of Black Sabbath Vol.4.