To some chemists, iron is a heavy metal. To musicologists, “Iron Man,” is heavy metal. Because the American Chemical Society national meeting is in Indianapolis this year, your best bet for a local heavy metal fix is to catch the performance of the pioneers of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath, on Friday, August 30, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.
In 1968, British musicians, guitarist Tony Iommi, bass player Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and singer Ozzy Osbourne, got together to form a heavy blues band known as the Earth Blues Company, later shorted to Earth. The band’s destiny was shaped when Butler, a fan of horror films and the black arts, approached his band mates with an idea for a song that was inspired by an apparition Butler had. The result was a song called “Black Sabbath,” (named after a 1963 Boris Karloff movie). With its doom and demonic lyrics, the song not only paved the way to the type of music the group would compose, it also became the name of the group.
With their second album, 1970’s “Paranoid,” Black Sabbath cemented its legacy. Songs such as “War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” and “Iron Man,” helped the album sell over ten million copies. The sound of the album is the very definition of the term “heavy metal.”
Like many successful rock groups of the 1970’s, drugs and alcohol took its toll on Black Sabbath. Osbourne temporarily left the band and then was fired in 1979 due to excessive drug and alcohol abuse. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio was hired and the band took on a different flavor but remained highly popular in the early 1980’s. Ultimately, both Butler and Ward left the band, leaving Iommi as the only original band member who has been with Black Sabbath in all its personnel incarnations.
In 1997, the original line-up of Black Sabbath reunited and headlined Osbourne’s, who by now had become a successful solo artist, Ozzfest, in 1998. After a hiatus, the original band members also headlined the 2002, 2004 and 2005 Ozzfests. In 2006 Black Sabbath was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2013, the original Black Sabbath line-up, minus Ward, who held back due to contractual issues, released their newest album “13.” Despite the multi-decade popularity of Black Sabbath, “13” is the first Black Sabbath album to ever reach number one on the United States Billboard Top 100 Albums. Expect to hear in concert some songs from “13” as well as songs from the Ozzy Osbourne early years of Black Sabbath.
Tickets for Black Sabbath’s U.S. Airways Center show still remain, but are going fast. Information for the show and ticket sales can be obtained through Live Nation, Danny Zelisko Presents or Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from $44.75 to $120.25 plus fees. There are also some Platinum seats available for $225.00 per ticket.