Over the weekend, I ran a contest where I was giving away a whole slew of prizes. Over the years I’ve run this site, I’ve gotten friendly with several folks at various record labels, and to that, they send me things to use as giveaways for prizes. However, from time to time, the giveaways sometimes don’t happen for whatever reason. Either I got too busy at home, or there were too many at once, and they get pushed back, etc…. I was cleaning out my home office, and found a whole pile of stuff, and decided to have a big giveaway of my stash, as I needed to clear space in my home office. So a big thanks to several of my friends who donated the stuff to be used in this contest (some going back several years – hi Liz Erman!). I also wanted to say thanks to Rob Gill @ Eagle and Steve Hammonds @ Universal. I’m also wanting to say thanks to John Willix, who donated several of the individual items out of the goodness of his own heart for me to use as giveaways. That’s not a record label guy, it’s a fan who purchased the items himself to be given away to other fans. Big thanks to all!
Now, as a reminder, the contest was simple, yet different. Most of my giveaways are centered around trivia contests. This time, I wanted to do something different. I had people write in and tell me what their first Black Sabbath album was – but more importantly WHY THAT ONE? It overwhelmed me somewhat, as I had a truckload of entries sent in, all with good stories. It made it harder to pick. While I had 21 prizes to give away, and that helped, over whittling it down to just two or three, when you got as many as I did, and so many were good, it was hard to pick just 21. I’m going to list those stories below. That’s not to mean that the stories I didn’t pick weren’t good – they were all unique to the people that sent them. That was “their” story. I respect that. The question I asked was a highly personal question, and as such, the picking of winners was a highly subjective task. Still, having said that, I think the ones I did pick show a variety of range both in the Sabbath albums chosen (they’re not all Paranoid), and the styles of writing. Before I get to the winners, I’ll relay my own story. Long time visitors will have heard me tell this story, but this seems like a good vehicle to replay it, so here goes MY story as to what my first Black Sabbath album was…
Joe Siegler: Back in 1981 I only had one album that was considered hard rock. That was AC/DC’s Back in Black. I got that as a birthday present in 1981. Before that I was listening to a wide range of what most metalheads would consider crap. A lot of disco, and spoken word records (Star Trek stuff mostly). Heck, my first ever album purchase was particularly embarrassing. It wasn’t all bad, as I was listening to Pink Floyd a lot too. Still, not much in the way of hard rock. So one day in Nov 81, I was thumbing through either Hit Parader or Creem or one of those rock rags from back then, and saw the cover art for Mob Rules and a full page ad for the album. I stared at that, and wondered “what the hell kind of music would go with artwork like THAT?” So I went down to my local record store, and picked up Mob Rules (on cassette tape, no less), and took it home. Put it in, and that opening riff to “Turn Up the Night” hit me like a sonic wave. Had it been some other song first on that album, I probably would have eventually got into Sabbath – they’re too good. But that riff grabbed me by the nuts, and never let go. It’s still a great riff to this day. So I digested that album with a zillion replays – and later in the week, I found out (this was pre internet, and no Wikipedia) that Sabbath had another half a dozen or so (I wasn’t so into the hard facts then) albums, so I went back to the record store, and picked up a second one totally at random. I didn’t know any of their material then besides Mob Rules, so it was a total random purchase. I bought Paranoid. Got it home, put it in, and got the opening to War Pigs, and was impressed, then the vocals hit – HEY WAIT A MINUTE – who the hell is that? I didn’t even realize they had another singer besides Dio. So after that initial shock, I was locked in by the Paranoid album, and then over the course of the following week, I had purchased all their back catalogue. I’m still into it all these years later, as you can see by this website. :)
So here are the contest winners, and their stories. I had a blast reading through all of these, and I hope you’ll get a kick out of these stories, too.
1) Terri Hurst (won Seventh Star Remaster)
It was 1977, I was 12 years old… I heard paranoid on the local radio station. I had been a rabid KISS fan, but was looking for something heavier and more sinister. Being one of the only girls in my school interested in heavy metal was challenging to say the least, but I managed to find some like minded individuals and invited them to be part of the after school religion class that my mom had decided to teach. I made some money mowing the neighbor’s lawn and got a ride to the record store. The only Sabbath album they had was Master of Reality. I grabbed it up for $5.99 and played it non stop. I would put it on as loud as I could before each of our religion classes (much to my mom’s dismay) and discuss how “After Forever” was actually pro christian!
have a great holiday – take care.
2) Burke Hendrix (won 1996 DEP Sessions)
My first experience with Sabbath was hearing Children of the Sea on the radio when it was briefly a single (I guess). I was 12-13 years old, listening to KZEL out of Eugene OR on my brother’s suggestion. I didn’t know what kind of music I liked yet, but he said he listened to KZEL, so I did the same thing. Then I heard Children of the Sea, and was floored by it. I don’t have any idea what term is strong enough to convey this. Whenever I still hear Children of the Sea, it still feels weird and profound, like some sort of strange revelation. It’s the fundamental Black Sabbath song to me.
I didn’t actually buy Live Evil until years later, because my cousin bought the tape back then and he had a better stereo anyway. The first tape I ever bought was Judas Priest’s British Steel, I think, but the second had to be Dio’s Holy Diver. Rainbow in the Dark had the same effect on me as Children of the Sea at the time, but it’s lost that punch over time. Not so with Children of the Sea, which I still get quiet and strange and listen to intently whenever a version comes on, whether the Live Evil version or something from that stack of great live recordings around that time. Crazy stuff. Makes me feel like an awkward 12-13 year old again writing about it, actually.
My amazement when I realized that Ozzy had been in Sabbath is another story entirely…and then there was my bafflement about Ian Gillan and Deep Purple…perhaps I was a bit slow as a kid…
Hoping fervently that others were also overloaded over the holidays…
And of course, thanks for maintaining the site for so long at such quality!
3) Jonathan Smart (won Fused)
Whilst at Sheffield University in the UK completing my PhD, I regularly listened to the Black Sabbath ‘best of’ album, but for unknown reasons I never checked out any individual albums, despite really enjoying the compilation. After completing my PhD, I got a terrible job working for a huge horrible corporate monster, on a research project to design a next generation hair removal cream, if you can believe that. Everyday was a nightmare of brown-nosing and bullshit, where what you said and how you dress counted for far more than the things you actually achieved. It was a million miles from the fantastic time I’d had studying biochemistry and microbiology at uni. To make things worse I was based in Hull, which if you’re not familiar with England, is a disgusting shit hole. Rapidly plunging into depression, I invested in ‘Volume 4’. It was more or less a shot in the dark, guided by my love for ‘Snowblind’. It is no exaggeration to say that Volume 4 was the most monumental album I’ve ever bought and it lead to the rapid purchase of the first 6 Sabbath albums, all of which blew my mind. The only fond memories I have of my time in Hull is going for a walk along the river front (with a cheaky spliff or two – I’ll say no more) at night, light reflecting off the river, huge passenger ferries and tankers in the distance, listening to those first 6 albums. In the early days it was great, I was not familiar enough with each album to know when each was released, the track listings etc, I could just pick an album at random and know that the next 45-60 minutes would be mind blowing. This really started off a big Sabbath journey for me. I delayed buying any of the later albums because I’d read the unfavourable reviews, what a mistake! I bought technical ecstasy and loved it, literally cannot understand the negative reviews, sure its not as good as the first 6, but in my opinion there’s almost nothing else ever produced which compares to Sabbath at their peak. From then on I’ve been slowly buying each Sabbath album in chronological order, each time I’m worried that the next one is going to be rubbish and it will disappoint me, only to be extremely pleased once I’ve given each new one a good listen. The last album I bought was Seventh Star, borderline ecstatically happy about how good it is.
In summary, the awesome-ness of Sabbath got me through the horrible time in Hull (successfully too, the next gen hair removal cream should be out in 2015, not that I’ll see a penny of it of course – rant over) and has accompanied me all the way to Canada, where I have a great job that I love, doing some really interesting science. And I’m still listening to Sabbath, and it still sounds amazing.
All the best mate!
4) Mary Bottorff (won Master of Reality Deluxe CD)
The first Sabbath album I ever bought was “Black Sabbath”. It was purchased for my 12 year old autistic son. He is a high functioning autistic and has what is called Aspergers Syndrome. He didn’t really talk much or show emotion until kindergarten and one day while driving in the car Black Sabbath came on the radio and he just started singing along to Iron Man. That moment was life changing for him and our family. He wanted to play guitar and became a rock and roll junkie. I bought him a kids guitar from Target that year and he was hooked. He is now 12 and has never had a guitar lesson in his life but has taught himself numerous Black Sabbath songs and is on his 6th guitar. He is constantly looking for anything related to Black Sabbath, from books to music. He is a true fan and has made me a fan too.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter for my son.
5) Kevin Morris (won the WhoCares CD)
My Sabbath story starts in the Summer of 1981. I was 13 years old. My brother was in a rock band at the time and they would sometimes practice after school in our basement. They would generally play covers of Judas Priest, AC/DC among other hard rock groups of the time…and of coarse Black Sabbath. So the very first time I hear them blast “Paranoid”, I was enthralled. I was still listening to top 40 at the time which included Donna Summer, Air Supply, light rock stuff. I thought to myself “I have to have this on album”!!
So I scraped enough cash together through my summer job and went out and bought Black Sabbath “Greatest Hits” on vinyl (the NEMS version with the black death cover)…I got that one at K-Mart because I loved the cover art, and it had all the hits….anyways I brought it home and made a tape of it and soon enough, I got the bright idea of strapping my boom box on my bike and would blast Sabbath while I was riding! What a thrill that was, I thought I was the coolest kid on the block. So I went from Donna Summer to Black Sabbath in a few weeks and still love them whatever singer they had. I still have that album over 30 years later…great memories!
6) Steve Havens (won the Tony Iommi autobiography)
The first Sabbath album I bought was Paranoid. The way I was introduced to Sabbath was through my older brother. To be quite frank, we were both kids and quite young to be Sabbath fans (this was in 1996, just before their 1997 revival). Me and my brother did not have a good relationship at the time. One time I was walking up the stairs to go to my room, and in passing his room, I heard the most amazing sound coming from his stereo. I sat there outside his room, mesmerized, listening intently, until our mom told him to turn his music down and to shut his door. I don’t remember how, but I learned the name of the song was Iron Man. I didn’t know the name of the band though. So one day he was out, I sneaked into his room, and went through his CDs, looking for one with Iron Man on it. I finely found it on Paranoid. I had never heard of Black Sabbath before. The music was quite heavy, so I knew it had to be old, since MTV wasn’t playing any kind of heavy music in that era. But I figured it would’ve been around 1990, around the grunge movement! You could imagine my surprise when I looked on the back of the case and saw the copyright date of 1970. I couldn’t imagine something so heavy could’ve come out so long ago. Most 70s bands, a kid could tell they were from the 70s just by hearing them, without knowing anything about them, but Sabbath’s music is timeless, not just in quality but also in heaviness. I looked in the booklet and noticed Ozzy Osbourne was in the band. I just figured this band was probably a footnote in Ozzy’s career (remember, I had never heard of Black Sabbath before). But I had liked this more than any solo Ozzy song I had heard, and I knew I had to have this CD. So I bought it the next time I went CD shopping. Took it home, and I immediately got attached to their other hits on the album, War Pigs, Paranoid, and Fairies Wear Boots (I had no idea they were even hits, I had never heard them on the radio at that point). I also liked most of the other songs. After that, I had to get more Sabbath CDs, and they quickly became my favorite band, probably in 1997. I still knew nothing about them, which was actually a good thing, so I didn’t fall into the trap of “Ozzy era only” fandom. I found the album Live Evil, not expecting a different lineup, but I when I brought it home and Neon Knights started playing, I immediately knew that wasn’t Ozzy, but I didn’t care, I loved this other singer as well, who of course turned out to be Ronnie James Dio. Flash forward to the end of 2012, they are still my favorite band, and I have their whole studio discography of all eras. Black Sabbath, with a little help from Metallica a little bit later, got me out of my alternative rock phase and into heavy metal, and I never looked back.
7) Eric Goldberg (won the Ozzy DVD)
The first Black Sabbath album I bought was Heaven and Hell in 1980. After being raised on the Beatles, loving their guitars, harmonies and song structures and topics, I had grown to like more recent bands like Boston for the same reasons, but there was always something lacking. Then driving home from visiting cousins one day, it was my older sister’s turn to choose the radio station, and the song “Heaven and Hell” came on the radio. She wanted to change it, but she gave in to my request to leave it after I heard the first few notes The power and sensitivity of Ronnie’s voice with the uncompromising music of that song, and its slightly psychedelic solo, and the crescendo to the climactic ending took music to a new level for me.
I begged my parents take me to the record store the next day, and I found the artwork was as exciting, rebellious and powerful as the music. It was the perfect package, and I learned every nuance of every song on the disc, and my eyes were opened wider than they had ever been before. Like many others, I soon bought all of the previous records, Ozzy’s solo record (s), and the early Rainbow records (all on vinyl) within months. And so began my passion with Sabbath, hard rock, heavy rock, and progressive rock. It even rekindled my love with poetry and other forms of art.
8) Kevin Carey (won the Ozzy DVD)
I just saw the Black Friday Give-away info…..chances are I’m too late, but I still thought I’d try because I remember very well which album I bought first; Mob Rules. My friend had the Heaven and Hell album and I thought it was fantastic…although I knew Black Sabbath with Ozzy as a kid, Ronnie’s vocals, to me, took their music to a new level. A gothic, medieval, dungeons and dragons, level. Even heavier in a different sense. I was into those things as a freshman in high school…still trying to find myself. It’s an awkward stage of life for most of us, for sure. So I related to their music very well. I remember when Mob Rules came out in late 1981 (my freshman year of high school), I was in Giant Music in Fairfax, Virginia (where I grew up), saw the cover and was mesmerized. The eeriness and darkness of the album cover was one of a kind…it was very different from other albums coming out during that time. I knew it was going to be heavy and completely up my alley. In fact, I hadn’t even heard a song yet because it was brand new. But when you’re a 15-year old and you see that album cover, it speaks volumes and on so many levels. It’s dark; it’s scary; it’s powerful. I was really excited about buying. Hopped on my bike with album in hand. Took it home, popped it on the turn table, plugged in my headphones, laid on my bed, and just took it all in. To me, their best album…”Turn Up the Night”, by far, my favorite song. I was very fortunate to have seen them the following summer (in August 1982) on the Mob Rules tour. It was phenomenal and something I’ll never forget.
9) Stephen Thomas (won the Ozzy DVD)
The Call of the Seventh Star
By Stephen Thomas
November 25, 2012
I first became aware of Ozzy Osbourne when I borrowed a fellow elementary school classmate’s “Speak of the Devil” cassette shortly after it was released toward the end of 1982. While listening to live renditions of “Iron Man/Children of the Grave” and “Paranoid” towards the end of side 2, my friend pointed out Ozzy’s connection to Black Sabbath. As he continued to talk about the “Paranoid” LP describing the lyrics of each song in detail, I was convinced that I needed to discover more. I hurried home and began working on my Christmas list… number one – “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath; number two – “Speak of the Devil” by Ozzy Osbourne; number three – anything by Def Leppard. I suppose Def Leppard was the safe choice as I discovered “On Through The Night” in my stocking during Christmas morning that year. It would be quite some time before I would add something by Black Sabbath to my music collection.
Fast forward to 1986 – the summer before 9th grade. It was the year after Black Sabbath’s reunion at Live Aid. Ozzy released “The Ultimate Sin” and Tony Iommi was promoting Black Sabbath’s “Seventh Star” album with a brand new lineup featuring Glenn Hughes on vocals. Among my circle of friends, the “metalheads” of the neighborhood, someone always had a copy of “Hit Parader” magazine to share with us all. As I absorbed the magazine articles written about the latest and greatest heavy metal offerings and scanned the advertisements for new albums, I would frequently go home to compare notes with the short descriptions provided on each heavy metal cassette available in the “Columbia House” catalog. When I stumbled upon Black Sabbath and Ozzy’s latest offerings next to Black Sabbath’s back catalog on the same page, I was torn… should I go with something brand new and unknown by Mr. Iommi and company or with one of the proven accomplishments made by Osbourne, Iommi, Butler, and Ward in the prior decade. After taking a chance on one of the selections, I was still nervous as I applied and sealed the appropriate stamp on the catalog card. When the item finally arrived in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. “Seventh Star” became the first Black Sabbath album I bought despite the desire to know more about Ozzy and his time with the band.
The choice of “Seventh Star” began a journey on several heavy metal roads leading to different stops along the way including Glenn Hughes’ solo career, his time with Deep Purple, and eventually to Black Sabbath’s past life with Ozzy Osbourne. Although the “Seventh Star” cassette has been worn out due to frequent usage over the course of many years, the album is now prominently featured on my “iPod Nano” today.
10) Brandon Onisko (won the Ozzy DVD)
Been a fan of your site and Sabbath for a long time. I have had the privilege of attending six of their concerts (I even think I wrote about two of them on your site as a review)
But I wasn’t always a Sabbath fan…or to put it better I didn’t always know about them.
When I was a kid, I was born in the 80s so I grew up in the 90s. Naturally I was into grunge. I remember having cassette tapes of “Dirt” by Alice in Chains and “In Utero” by Nirvana. That sort of thing. Well there was this record store in the area I lived, called Wherehouse Records or Wherehouse Music. Don’t know if it was a chain or not, but its been out of business now for a few good years. Unfortunate really, since it was a nice place. Racks and racks of cassettes and cds.
Well I was in that store one day, browsing through the “heavy metal” section, when I came across a cd with this real cool picture of a robot just ripping the heart of out some guy, who also happened to be a robot. It seemed to be in this spooky cathedral place too. Well I was into star wars and lord of the rings those books (before they were movies) so I was struck by the imagery. “Cool!” I must have thought. Didn’t know the band or anything about it, but because of the artwork I bought it. I know it seems a bit silly, nothing groundbreakingly spiritual or something to that effect, but that’s the Lords honest truth how I got into Sabbath. That first track ‘Computer God” just blew me away – and to this day its one of my favorite tracks by them, thinking about it maybe because it was the first I ever heard. Well I played that record into the ground, and started looking into their back catalog from there – I think “Sabotage” was my second record since I still have an old cassette of that, showing you I went in no particular order. I have been a lifelong fan ever since!
11) Michael Hanna (won the Ozzy DVD)
Back in 2006, I was familiar with Black Sabbath songs such as Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs, NIB, and a few other songs from my brothers copy of “We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll” and from listening to the radio and knew nothing about Black Sabbath other than that Ozzy Osbourne was their singer and that Ozzy had his own band as well. One day my brother bought The Very Beast of Dio and I listened to a few of the songs as I read the liner notes which gave a brief description of Ronnie James Dio’s career. I was surprised to read that Dio was a singer in Black Sabbath and that Black Sabbath had made albums without Ozzy. A few months after that discovery, I found The Dio Years at Wal-Mart. It was the edition that came with the CD and the DVD. I knew I had to get it. Hearing Lady Evil, Heaven and Hell, and Lonely Is The Word for the first time was wonderful experience. On the way back from buying the album and listening to it in the car, my mom commented that with this singer you could actually understand the lyrics. lol
12) Jim Watson (won the Ozzy DVD)
The first Sabbath album I ever bought was Cross Purposes in early 1994. I remember seeing it on the upcoming releases chart at Camelot Music and being under the impression that it was an Ozzy reunion album since there was a ton of reunion talk throughout the previous year and that being pre-Internet times. I remember thinking that it was an odd title for the album and I guess I’m still not sure what “Cross Purposes” means 18 years later! It didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t Ozzy but in fact Tony Martin who I had never heard of. I still really liked the album almost immediately (I Witness, Cross of Thorns, and Hand That Rocks The Cradle were my immediate favorites) and I bought all the prior Martin albums within a few months.
13) Ron Palmer (won the Ozzy DVD)
my first Sabbath album.The reason I bought it is simple.It was Sabbath….anyway……The first Sabbath album I bought was back in ‘75.I was 17 and wandering a local mall with a mate checking out chicks and just generally bumming around.My mate wanders off for a bit and this ‘hari krishna’ girl comes up banging her drum and asking for money.She was so hot I just stood there handing it to her.We were standing outside a record store and as I stood there listening to her my eyes noticed some bid red letters directly behind her.About 20 yards back but when they came into focus they were clear as a bell “SABOTAGE” .I just knew who that had to be.I already had Vol 4,a mate lent it to me.I loved it,he didn’t so he let me keep it.So technically Sabotage is the first album I actually bought.Anyway I wanted it but she had my money.She starts noticing I’m not listening and wanders off.I go in and sure enough it’s the new Sabbath album.I barrelled back out the door listening frantically for the hot drum banging hari krishna chick.I look across the mall to see my buddy talking to the same chick so I run across the mall screaming NNOOOO! All was well,he kept his dough,lent it to me and Sabotage was in my hot little hands.
14) Brett Kartinen (won the Ozzy DVD)
The first Black Sabbath album I have ever purchased was Never Say Die. Easy to remember. I got the album when I was 8 in 2005 because my dad was a fan of Black Sabbath and got me into it. He told me it was probably the worst album they made, so I got it, and listened to it myself. Needless to say, I’ve grown to love every album Black Sabbath, and Heaven and Hell have come to make to this day, and I am anticipating the new album in the works. I am kind of a Bill Ward guy though as I am a drummer as well…
15) Fernando Serani (won the Iron Man Best of CD)
Well, Joe, my first album bought from the Sabs was “Paranoid”. Can’t remember the year exactly, but I was in high school (Im 38 now). I really didn’t buy it, I STOLE IT (BUT PAYED FOR IT). Let me explain… I went to a record store near my home, and since I was always trying to create havoc everyplace I went, I decided to steal my first piece of music. Since I already knew Sabbath from the radio and tape trading, I decided to go for the brummies shelf. I noticed the lunatic on the cover of “Paranoid”, and I already knew all the tunes on it, so that was it. But my strategy was a bit wierd: I decided that I would ACTUALLY BUY an album (it was an Iron Maiden album as I remember), and “conceal” the Sabbath one inside (those were used LPs so they wouldn’t come sealed). That way, I would pay for one and get two. So I did the trick, went to the register, payed for the Maiden album, and fucked off with both albums (the Sab one inside the Maiden one). To my surprise, when I got home I discovered that I HAD FORGOTTEN the Maiden vinyl on the shelf, because I had to take it out first to fit “Paranoid” inside the Maiden fold. So… I ended up with “Paranoid” in full, and a nice cover/fold only of the Iron Maiden album (can’t remember which one)! So, In fact, I actually PAYED FOR THE SABBATH lp. :) By the way, that was the end of my crime career. I was too bad at it…
16) Jens Nepper (won the Iron Man Best of CD)
The very first Black Sabbath album I bought was “Dehumanizer”, but the one that I desperately wanted at first was “Forbidden”. I clearly remember reading a not-so-favorable review of “Forbidden” in a Danish music magazine back in 1995. I was 11 years old back then and the words “Black Sabbath” and “Forbidden” as well as the album cover made such an impact on me that I just knew that this was for me. I was meant to get my hands on that album and see what it was all about. A few days after I went to the local record store in order to obtain “Forbidden”, but not surprisingly they didn`t have that album in stock There I was; my grandmother had given me just enough money for one CD and they didn`t have the one that I wanted, but I was determined not to walk away from there empty-handed. I then decided on “Dehumanizer” for 3 simple reasons; I adored the gloomy album artwork, I was 11 years old and didn`t know that much English back then, but “Dehumanizer was something I could actually pronounce, and last but not least I loved the band photo due to the band looking so serious and…well, a little scary, I guess. I wanted “Forbidden” so badly, but I must have reasoned that choosing another Sabbath album depicting the Grim Reaper on the cover was the ideal solution given the circumstances. Needless to say I was blown away by “Dehumanizer”, and I still get the chills when I recall those first Black Sabbath listening-sessions of mine. That concludes my tale.
17) Zack Smith (won the Devil you Know CD)
The first two albums were the ones I first bought on cd. But some time before that, I first heard “Heaven and Hell” on record and I was hooked instantly ever since. The record was my dad’s. (which is in my collection now) He has many 70’s and 80’s classic rock vinyls, and many helped me get into hard rock and heavy metal.
Many days coming home from school I was alone, feeling drained, tired of classmates making fun of my hair or attire, homework was never fun to me, the T.V. had been locked/manipulated to not be seen. I found refuge in music, I had several Metallica cds, but they had run their course on me. I was searching through my dad’s records to find something I wasn’t very familiar with, a black record with a couple of angels smoking and playing cards. I thought it was a beautiful cover art, albeit a little tongue in cheek. I looked at the back of the record to see a sketch of the members, I felt a little confused because I thought that Ozzy was supposed to be the singer on Black Sabbath records, but I later put two and two together after seeing when this and the “Blizzard of Ozz” records were released. Needless to say, after studying the album, which I had a curious habit of doing, I put it on. The first song, Neon Knights bursts into my ears. Dio’s mighty wail atop of a heavy rush of music which I never heard amongst my dad’s records. The second song Children of the Sea, starting more gently and again boasts heavier sections which make it all the more unmissable. The title track affirmed my instant appeal to the album, slow, heavy, but melodic and rollicking towards the end. There really isn’t a weak track on this one, the filler tracks are fun and almost meant for radio play, but having never heard any of these songs before in my life, made it all the more mine and gave me a good idea of what Black Sabbath had been at that point, and fed my desire to discover the earlier recordings with Ozzy, other than just knowing Iron Man and Paranoid. Heaven and Hell was one of the first albums that I can recall which I played over and over, even as the needle finished side two, I’d flip it back over and start with side one again. Still a favorite of mine today…. that and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” or “Sabotage”.
18) Joe Fennell (won the Devil you Know CD)
Well my first Black Sabbath album wasn’t actually a purchase. One day about 13 years ago now I was doing as any 14/15 year old would and digging around the attic while my parents were at work. There I had found a box of records (just shamefully exposed to the elements for around 4 years), at which point I pulled them down and got on the phone with my mother and stated “Just to let you know your’s and dad’s rights to your records have been revoked.” And in it was Never Say Die. Now I did have to purchase the album to listen to it as we didn’t have a turn table at the time (finally acquired as my high school graduation present (and I am pleased to report that was one of the vinyl that still played perfectly)).
19) Mike Klassen (won the Devil You Know CD)
Like most bands I became a fan of, I came late to the Black Sabbath party, becoming a fan after their “glory years”. I had discovered Tony Martin through Cozy Powell’s Forcefield project as I was a huge fan of Cozy. I loved Tony’s voice and started searching out his other work which led me to Sabbath and The Eternal Idol. After all this time, that album remains my favorite just as the Martin era remains my favorite. Perhaps because I came to the band later in their career, I could appreciate the non-Ozzy or Dio years better as I wasn’t comparing Martin/Gillan/Hughes albums to the albums with those to classic singers. I could simply appreciate them for what they were.
20) Marc Bloeming (won the Devil You Know CD)
The first time I came in contact with Black Sabbath, was thanks to a birthday gift from my older brother in 2002. He knew I was a fan of heavy metal and gave me the album “The Blizzard Of Ozz.’ and “Diary Of A Madman’. I was so overwelmed by the way Ozzy sang and the song “Suicide Solution” became an instant favorite. However, I wanted to know more about Ozzy and began a search on the internet. Through Wikipedia, I found out that Ozzy was the ex vocalist of Black Sabbath, who were the pioneers of heavy metal.
I went to our local record store and bought the “Paranoid” album. I was stunned from the first moment I played that album. This was much better than Ozzy’s solo albums! That voice of impending doom and Tony’s way of playing guitar. I thought: This is it! This is heavy metal in its purest form! For me, Ozzy is the Doomsday prophet! I also liked the dark bass lines of Geezer and that odd way of drumming that Bill did. When I listen to other metal bands of later era’s, they almost sounded like cheap rip offs to me.
When time passed on, I bought the other albums from the Ozzy era and I still listen to them every day. The lyrics that Geezer wrote fitted perfectly with the way that Ozzy’s singing style. However, in some way it’s sad that they didn’t continue after “Never Say Die!” Today, I’m looking forward to hear the new album, albeit it’s a shame that Bill is not going to be on it. I also gave the other albums a chance, but they could not match Ozzy’s singing. For me, like I said before: it is the sound of doom standing on your doorstep. I don’t have a favorite Sabbath album, because I can’t choose between “Paranoid”and “Master Of Reality”. Do I have a favorite Sabbath song? No, that’s impossible! Okay, maybe I would say “Children Of The Grave” or “N.I.B”., perhaps “Iron Man” or “Meglomania”. “After Forver” still stings me every time I hear it and that also counts for “Paranoid”. Where would we be without “Sweet Leaf” or “Solitude”? I can’t choose, because Sabbath has so many great songs written over that short period of time. Do I ever want to see Sabbath live? No, because I want to remember as they were in that golden period, just like Zeppelin. For me, Tony,Geezer,Bill and Ozzy are by far the true godfathers of metal today and they always will be!
21) Dave Puddy (won the Devil You Know CD)
The first Sabbath album I purchased was the Greatest Hits package from 1977, the one with the Hieronymus Bosch painting of the black death ravaging the Middle Ages countryside.
The reason I bought that one was down to the epic ‘War Pigs’. I was in Year 7 (Junior High School) and our Religious Education teacher made us listen to ‘War Pigs’ and follow the lyrics on a specially printed sheet. We then had to write how the song made us feel and what images it conjured up. From the opening guitar crashing through the speakers, to the eerie air-raid sirens – I knew I was hooked. I had to know more about this band. After school, I rode my bike down to the local shopping centre and found the album and lashed out the princely sum of $5.99 for the vinyl.
When I got home, I played the song for my mum. Big mistake. The moment she heard the air raid sirens, she almost freaked. Being a young child during the London Blitz, this brought back terrifying memories for her and she asked me never to play that song again – at least not when she was around. I felt bad that I did not realise what that sound meant to her. Both my folks were between 9 and 12 years old when the Blitz flattened London and neither of them relished those memories. Migrating to Australia helped put those memories behind them, until I got bitten by the Sabbath bug.
Despite all that, I followed that purchase with Sabotage, and that album is still my favourite 35 years later (followed closely by Never Say Die).
Such was the beginning of my lifelong addiction to this band.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and for those who won prizes, I just got back from the post office and dropping everything off for shipment. So if you’re seeing this post, the prize has already gone out. :)