Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Black Sabbath Makes It into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Yesterday the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the latest bands and individuals to be inducted on thier March 13, 2006 ceremony. Among the indcutees are legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Gruops and individuals become elgible for induction into the Hall of Fame 25 years after their first record. In the case of the 38 year old Black Sabbath, they were rejected seven times beofre finally being accepted into the Hall of Fame this time around.

Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham, England in 1967 by Ozzy Osbourne, Terence Butler, Bill Ward, and Tony Iommi. Originally named the Polka Tulk Blues Band (later shortened to Polka Tulk) and later renamed Earth, the group changed its name to Black Sabbath after the song of the same name (possibly inspired by an old Boris Karloff movie). Black Sabbath combined blues style hard rock with elements of the European folk song and power chords. Their lyrics generally dealt with darker themes than other groups around at the time. The result was some of the earliest heavy metal music to ever be recorded. While Led Zeppelin is sometimes classed as heavy metal, it can be argued that they were a hard rock band who occasionally recorded heavy metal songs. On the other hand, there can be no dobut that Black Sabbath was a heavy metal band. In fact, they may have been the first heavy metal band to find success. Their first album, Black Sabbath, brought them a good deal of attention, although it was their second album, Paranoid, with the song of the same title and "Iron Man," that established them as a success. Among other things, Black Sabbath was one of the first groups to deal with fantastic themes in their songs. Besides their horror movie influenced early work, they also recorded such songs "Iron Man (about a man transformed into a creature of metal)" and "Spiral Architect."

Personally, I am a bit shocked that it took seven tries for Black Sabbath to make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More than any other group, they helped shape the subgenre of rock music known as heavy metal. Their songs are still played to this day. And the band established the career of Ozzy Osbourne, who would later become a successful solo artist in his own right (not to mention a TV star). Of course, it must be pointed out that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not been particularly favourable to heavy metal in the past. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one other heavy metal band to make it into the Hall of Fame--Australian band AC/DC.

As to the other inductees, Lynyrd Synyrd made it after seven tries as well. I cannot say that I am overjoyed with that, not being a big fan of the group, but I suppose that they did have an impact on creating southern rock (a subgenre I really don't care for). Among the inductees are also The Sex Pistols. As a Sex Pistols fan, I must say that I am happy about that. They were the first punk band to achieve any sort of prominence. And like Black Sabbath, I am surprised that they were not inducted sooner. Blondie has also made it into the Hall of Fame this time around. I really don't think Blondie had any impact as far as influencing rock genres, atlhough I have always been a Blondie fan. They produced some of my favourite songs from the late Seventies and early Eighties. Of course, I must admit that I had a bit of a crush in high school on Deborah Harry....

Over all I am pleased with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's latest inductees, particuarly Black Sabbath. They have been one of my favourite bands since I was a kid. And I don't think it can be argued that they did not have a lasting impact on rock music.

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