It seems that we have seen the last of the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath as they played their final show together in Birmingham, England. They would end up playing a lot of their hits like Paranoid, Crazy Train, and others. It should be noted that the band started in Birmingham, England, so it seems fitting that they finish up their run in the same area where they started. They wrapped up a run that ran from 1968-2006 and then was picked up again in 2011 and would run until 2017. There are people who have said over the years that Black Sabbath are the pioneers of heavy metal music.
It should be interesting to note, however, that they hated being a heavy metal band. In an article on the BBC website, Guitarist Tony Iommi recalled the early days of Black Sabbath. He said in the beginning, they were playing heavy rock and he claims that they got the label of being a heavy metal band from an American journalist in the 1970s. According to Iommi, the journalist said to them, “you’re playing heavy metal’ and I (Tony Iommi) said ‘ no, its heavy rock what’s that?” What he was referring to was the term of heavy metal.
It should be noted that the first people who happen to be credited with coining the term has been debated for years as both Lester Bangs and Mike Saunders who were critics for the Rolling Stone magazine have both laid claim to using that term first. When the term was first being used, it was being used as a form of an insult. The reasoning was that is was a sneering description of this new wave of “aggressive” musicians with their loud, thrashing sounds that would end up packing venues of sweaty people. The claim was as talked about by Geezer Butler, was that while the band was not too happy by being labeled a heavy metal band and everyone else liked it, they pretty much got used to it.
Once Black Sabbath took on the label of being a heavy metal band, it went from being a derogatory term to a whole new lifestyle. When Black Sabbath was trying to make it in the music world, they were not alone. In 1968, there happen to be two other bands who were also trying to make it in the heavy metal genre and they happened to be Led Zepplin and Deep Purple. However, Sabbath is credited with being the first band with creating distinctive riffs that would define that genre. As talked about by Tony Iommi, they created that noise as a twist of fate by a young Iommi who was working in the steelworks in Aston, Birmingham.
The story goes that as he was cutting metal, the machine he was using came crashing down on his right hand, ultimately cutting off the tips of his middle and right fingers. Also in the interview, the provide the reason for ending this run. For starters, they aren’t spring chickens as Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne are both 68 and Butler is 67, they have all had medical problems as of late. In addition, they felt exhausted after doing an 81 city tour that wrapped up in England last Friday.
One thing that is known in the world of music is that you very rarely see a band, out and right say they are done. Just ask the band the Who about that. As Tony Iommi put it, they aren’t saying goodbye as such, as in they are never doing it again, but they don’t want to do world tours anymore. It should be worth noting as well that they are both in the UK Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.