Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Five Most Underrated Black Sabbath Songs (Ozzy Era)

During the original incarnation of Black Sabbath during the Ozzy days, the band put out eight albums in eight years from 1970-1978. Casual fans will know many of Sabbath's more well known songs like "Paranoid", "War Pigs", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and others. But as prolific as the band was, many of their "lesser known" tracks might be even better than the "hits". So here is our look at the five most underrated Black Sabbath songs from their original lineup.

Hand of Doom (Paranoid, 1970)

You won't find "Hand of Doom" on many Sabbath greatest hit collections, but the song about strung-out heroin addicts returning from Vietnam is one the band's best, period. With a slow, dark bass intro, "Hand of Doom" builds into the heavier second verse, then the band kicks it in for the third verse with a mighty Tony Iommi riff carrying the song to another level. Ozzy's vocals are perfect, while drummer Bill Ward carries the groove with Geezer Butler and Iommi. The song's structure kind of mimics that of a junky from being super low, then getting super high, and crashing back down again, ending with death as the bass notes play out the song.

Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes (Vol. IV, 1972)

The last song on the epic Vol. IV album, "Under the Sun" has a typical Sabbath groove at the start, but it's the frantic middle part of the song that really takes it to soaring heights. Ozzy finds a great vocal harmony to accompany Iommi's powered riff. Then the "Every Day Comes and Goes" section features another stellar Iommi riff starting at 3:56, which carries the song into the outro solo/instrumental.

Looking For Today (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

Sabbath's song about the music industry always looking for the next overnight success acts, which then quickly fade into obscurity, is a fairly accessible track that's more catchy-groovy than heavy. One of the only Sabbath songs to feature a flute, played by Iommi, "Looking For Today" isn't your typical Sabbath song, but that's what makes it so good. One Sabbath staple are plenty of "YEAHS" from Ozzy. And Iommi's outro guitar solo features some stellar fretwork as the song fades out.

The Thrill of It All (Sabotage, 1975)

A track that often goes unnoticed, "The Thrill of It All" opens side 2 of the amazing Sabotage record. It's five minutes of Sabbath at their best in a song that's broken down into three parts starting with the intro riff/solo. The second part comes in with a trademark "Yeah" from Ozzy as the verses get underway, backed by a killer Iommi riff. The last half is like a totally different song with synthesizer underlying Iommi's fretwork as the song soars to a crescendo with Ozzy laying down some powerful vocals. Despite the legal difficulties the band was going through recording Sabotage, the ending of the song conveys a sort of freedom and release that belies the stress they were feeling in the studio.

Junior's Eyes (Never Say Die, 1978)

Looking at the last album from the Ozzy years in the 1970s, "Junior's Eyes" is one of the most poignant tracks Black Sabbath ever wrote. Lyrically, it deals with the death of Ozzy's father, who died shortly before recording the album. The song was actually written by the band after Ozzy temporarily quit for three months. Sabbath hired Dave Walker as his replacement and "Junior's Eyes" was one of the tracks they wrote. The band rewrote it when Ozzy joined the fold again because he refused to sing any of the Walker material. "Junior's Eyes" is made that much better knowing the lyrics come from the heart as Ozzy belts out the chorus: "You're coming home again tomorrow. I'm sorry it won't be for long." Definitely one of Sabbath's most underrated songs from the Ozzy era.

Check out how a mighty Tony Iommi riff helped save Black Sabbath as they struggled to record Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

1 comment:

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