On February 13, 1970,
Black Sabbath released its first album and
changed the face of music forever.
The band seemed to come out of nowhere, with a dark, otherworldly sound dominated by the soul-piercing wail of twenty-two-year-old John "Ozzy" Osbourne. Once its brooding, overpowering music was out, millions of listeners couldn't get enough, an record and in concert. It was the birth of heavy metal.
In Black Sabbath: An Oral History, Mike Stark leads you into the studio and on tour with the quintessential British metal band, a primary influence right up to the present day on hundreds of rock groups, from Metallica to Spinal Tap. Here are firsthand accounts from Black Sabbath's four founding members -- Bill Ward, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne -- and from other members through the years, including Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Eric Singer, Tony Martin, Cozy Powell, and Neil Murray. In their own words, they tell you what it's like to turn up the amps, hit the stage, and power-chord an audience into submission -- and create a brand -- new kind of rock in the process.
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Dave Marsh was a founding editor of Creem and an editor at Rolling Stone, where he created The Rolling Stone Record Guide. He is a music critic at Playboy, publisher of Rock & Rap Confidential, and a prolific author of books about music and pop culture. His Before I Get Old is the definitive biography of The Who, and Glory Days and Born to Run, both about Bruce Springsteen, were bestsellers. He lives in New York and Connecticut.
Mike Stark is the former host of "Pure Rock Talkback" on the groundbreaking metal station KNAC-FM, Long Beach, California. Stark has produced numerous radio programs and co-produced "Rock & Rap Confidential Report," based on the newsletter Rock & Rap Confidential. As an independent radio journalist, Stark has interviewed hundreds of artists from all forms of music, including George Clinton, Pat Boone, Roger Daltry, Les Paul, John Lee Hooker, Slash, and Clint Black.
Critics hated us. Audiences loved us. We were never accepted by the press. We were not accepted by any religious factors anywhere in the world. We had a terrible time. Going to Miami going to Louisiana,
going down to Baton Rouge, trying to get into Corpus Christi, Texas, in the seventies was not an easy task. We had to face the mayor of the town. We were banned all the time. They were afraid of us. They really thought we were going to put a spell on you.
I know that sometimes in our music it was loud and there was profanity, and there was violence, too, onstage violence. Often I would become violent onstage. It's not an unusual phenomenon where I would literally pick up my drums and throw them at the audience. That's audience participation, I guess. But back then, it was just that the band was just extremely turbulent. So we had to do a lot of trailblazing and take a lot of heat.
A lot of other bands were going in but they were safe. It was safe. Zeppelin was safe. And I love Zeppelin. I mean, it's not a put-down. But the mayors in the towns, man, would come out and meet us. "You're not playing in this town. Period." We'd have to confront forty or fifty cops or something, man. All these places now you can go. In Corpus Christi today, you can go there. Heavy metal and punk and everything. There's a wonderful selection of music now, but twenty odd years ago these were tough territories.
Copyright ) 1998 by Mike Stark
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