Black Sabbath (8:24)

Cover of Black Sabbath

From Black Sabbath and 109 other releases

“Black Sabbath” is a song by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, written in 1969 and released on the band’s debut album, Black Sabbath.

According to the band, the song was inspired by an experience that Geezer Butler had related to Ozzy Osbourne. In the days of Earth, Butler painted his apartment matte black and placed several inverted crucifixes on the walls. Osbourne gave Butler a book about witchcraft. He read the book and placed the book on a shelf 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, only to find that the book was gone. He then told Osbourne, who wrote the lyrics to the song.

A version of this song from Black Sabbath’s first demo exists on the Ozzy Osbourne compilation album The Ozzman Cometh. The song has an extra verse with additional vocals from Osbourne, right before the bridge into the fast part of the song.

The main riff, a retarded variation of Gustav Holst’s main theme from “Mars, the Bringer of War” (“The Planets, Op. 32”), is constructed with a harmonic progression including a diminished fifth. This particular interval is often known as ‘diabolus in musica’, for it has musical qualities which are often used to suggest satanic connotations in Western music. The song “Black Sabbath” was one of the earliest examples in heavy metal to make use of this interval, and since then, the genre has made extensive use of diabolus in musica.


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  • jimbo_francis

    Creepiest three notes ever.

    17 Apr 12:15am Reply
  • bloody72

    pozdrowienia z Gierałtowic

    6 Apr 11:07am Reply
  • Dragoon104

    Most climatic song ever written... TOTAL MASTERPIECE!

    1 Apr 11:57am Reply
  • impronen

    Oh, yeah. Feels like you're diving to the deep end of everything vile that lingers in the subconscious.

    29 Mar 4:28pm Reply
  • samiskywalker

    Listening this is like witnessing the birth of heavy metal...

    20 Mar 9:37pm Reply
  • Mii85

    Best album by Sabbath. \\m/

    9 Mar 9:24pm Reply
  • HKA47

    Now THAT is how you start a debut album

    28 Feb 5:55pm Reply
  • DreamyGirl-


    21 Jan 12:49am Reply
  • HaohmaruXXX

    lots and lots and lots of sex changed me in my 20s

    17 Jan 12:05am Reply
  • samiskywalker

    This album changed my life forever.

    12 Jan 4:35am Reply
  • ljosio


    4 Jan 3:58am Reply
  • ngc1976

    This needs to be nominated for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

    4 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Druid66

    This song is so evil, I'm told that just playing the three notes used to be a criminal offense, punished by medieval authorities, and not with a fine and a stern warning... wow. Oz sounds around the bend here. Iommi's guitar is beyond frightening.

    14 Nov 2014 Reply
  • vinman76

    Be afraid... be very afraid!:}

    13 Nov 2014 Reply
  • kirokage

    sing it Ozzy

    13 Nov 2014 Reply
  • ilovemusix

    Epic guitar solo /outro part

    7 Nov 2014 Reply
  • ROSSANO1972

    the BLACKEST SABBATH......I love rain & bells

    30 Oct 2014 Reply
  • Wurzeltomte

    Those three notes which changed rock music...! Brilliant!

    25 Oct 2014 Reply
  • Aiseilles

    I can only imagine what parents thought when they heard their kids listening to this back in the day (2)

    22 Oct 2014 Reply
  • mktucker41

    Excellent start to their careers, what an eerie aura

    28 Sep 2014 Reply
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