‘Earth’ aka ‘Black Sabbath’
John “Ozzy” Osbourne, Tommy Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward formed the band ‘Earth’ in 1968. When they were being confused with another band of the same name, they decided to change their name.
Reputedly, the band rehearsed across the road from a movie theatre which, at the time, was playing Boris Karloff’s film Black Sabbath.
They used the tritone (or diminished 5th, augmented 4th, Devil’s interval etc) and lyrics pertaining to the occult to create a darker feel for their music. This was in stark contrast to the “flower power” hippy music popular in the 60s. The guitarist Tommy Iommi lost the tips of his fingers in a sheet metal factory. He wore thimbles to cap off his missing fingertips, used lighter gauge strings and detuned his guitar a whole semitone. This contributed greatly to the bands “darker” sound.
Today, many heavy metal bands attribute their influence to Black Sabbath. It is standard practice among many metal acts to play with down-tuned guitars or 7 string guitars, or down-tuned 7 string guitars. The most common being “Dropped D tuning”, in which the lowest string of the guitar is tuned to D from E. This makes the notes of the strings DADGBE in ascending order. The perfect 5th made by the bottom strings facilitates power-chords to be played with greater ease.
Acts such as Slayer, Rage Against the Machine, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Lamb of God and more claim to be influenced by Black Sabbath. Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (from Metallica) inducted Black Sabbath into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Sabbath got me started on all that evil-sounding shit, and it's stuck with me” James Hetfield, Metallica
“Their arrival ground hippy, flower-power psychedelia to a pulp and set the standard for all heavy bands to come." — Tom Morello, Audioslave/ Rage Against the Machine
"They were and still are a groundbreaking band…They're on the leading edge of something extraordinary." — Rob Halford, Judas Priest
"To create something from nothing is impossible (unless you're a wizard). So what Black Sabbath did was magic. These four wizards from
"If anybody who plays heavy metal says that they weren't influenced by Black Sabbath's music, then I think that they're lying to you. I think all heavy metal music was, in some way, influenced by what Black Sabbath did." Chris Adler, Lamb of God
Palmer, Robert – Dancing in the Street: A Rock and Roll History, BBC Books