I am a bad Black Sabbath fan. Allow me to explain.
It has nothing to do with familiarity with their catalog. I know every song on every album, backwards and forwards. And it has nothing to do with not knowing the group’s history. I can tell you everything, from who was the biggest alcoholic to which fingers guitarist Tony Iommi maimed to how much money was spent on cocaine while recording “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”
No, I am not a bad Black Sabbath fan for any reasons having to do with lacking familiarity with the group. I am a bad Black Sabbath fan because I like almost every album they’ve ever made, including the ones they made without founding vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.
This is “bad” because many diehard Black Sabbath fans will not accept anything that was recorded under that name that lacked the original lineup of Osbourne, Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. Hard pass.
I can sympathize. The first six albums that lineup made are unbeatable, and when you play any of them today, they still deliver. None of them have aged badly, and if anything they’re more impressive for standing the test of time.
The two they did after that with Ozzy still at the helm were mostly shit, but that’s another discussion for another day. But then he left the group, Ronnie James Dio replaced him, and the great debate over whether or not this band truly “was” Sabbath took hold, and has never gone away.
Black Sabbath made great music with Ozzy, beyond the songs like “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” that everyone already knows. They made great music when he was no longer in the group. They even made great music when Iommi was the only remaining original member. It’s a tragedy to write the later stuff off, just because it doesn’t conform to some very weird and arbitrary rule that even the band members themselves never signed up for.
So if you’re someone who goes through life saying “Sabotage” was the last Black Sabbath album, this list is for you. Please enjoy this list of great Black Sabbath songs, all of which are horribly, tragically underrated, and deserve some love and attention.