Ozzy Osbourne - vocals; Tony Iommi - guitar; Geezer Butler - bass; Bill Ward - drums
Although there were many other hard rock bands before them, Black Sabbath must get credit for being rock's first heavy metal band. This show, taped at the Bremen, Germany television studios where the Beat Club show was filmed, goes back to the earliest, and arguably the best, period in Sabbath's musical history.
Taped in front of a small audience, this show only contains four songs—"Black Sabbath" from the band's debut album, a crunchy re-make of the Carl Perkins classic "Blue Suede Shoes," and two songs which were brand new at the time: "Paranoid" and "Iron Man."
The band was less than two years old, and their energy level was still very high. Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne is actually intelligible while singing, behind a full armada of sound provided by guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward. The audio quality is quite good considering the limited dynamic in the sonic quality of the old TV studios. In 1970, live music on TV (especially something this loud) was rare, and it is reflected in the sound, especially the abundance of high frequencies on the cymbals and guitar. Still, this is far better than the underground bootlegs of this recording that have been floating amongst Sabbath fans for years.
Emerging from the working class city of Birmingham, England, Black Sabbath evolved from a hard rock band called Earth, which formed in 1968. They met through ads in the U.K.'s Melody Maker magazine, and by 1969 had signed with Warner Brothers Records. With their bombastic low-end power chords and riffs, Sabbath captured the interest of the ever-growing young music scene with their self-titled debut LP in 1970. By early 1972, they were the biggest hard rock band in the world, essentially becoming the influence for much of today's contemporary metal sound.
By the end of the 1970s, the band fell into drugs, paranoia, and a divisive management conflict. In 1980, they fired Osbourne over his drug use, and carried on with a number of different lead vocalists. Osbourne, whom many thought would fade away without the band, went on to become a heavy metal superstar, pop culture icon, and reality TV star, thanks largely to the efforts of his wife/manager, Sharon Osbourne.
The original Sabbath reunited in 1995 and have performed sporadically ever since.