The Birth of Heavy Metal

50 years ago today one of the most defining moments of pop culture history happened. Black Sabbath, a band from Birmingham, released their debut album entitled Black Sabbath.

From the moment to the wind breezes in and the bell chimes on the opening track, which is also the title track, you know you’re in for something special. Then over the space of the next 38 minutes and 12 seconds, the listener is treated to something magical, something profound, and something that ultimately changed the shape of music, for the better.

That Black Sabbath were four men from Birmingham who didn’t have any connections and got to where they were through sheer hard work, makes their impact even more impressive. That they recorded their debut album in just a day, adds to that.

Black Sabbath’s debut album inspired a generation of kids to pick up instruments and to start performing, and subsequent generations have come to find something in that album and that band, which has resonated for decades.

But why did the music have such an impact? Well I think there are a multitude of answers for that, but the one that resonates with me, is that the music was so different to anything else that was out there. It was so heavy, so dark and so chaotic, and the lyrics spoke about things that nobody else seemed to be talking about, that you can’t help but be drawn to it. To go into another world and to explore something mystical, magical and a bit twisted, well who doesn’t want that? It seems there are countless others who viewed it similarly.

The genre that Black Sabbath created-for they surely created it, sorry Blue Cheer- has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world. It has given a voice to the voiceless and has allowed those who might be outsiders to find a group, and a sense of belonging. It has brought happiness to so many people and helped so many through difficult times.

For that, I say thank you, and I say happy birthday to the most influential album of the past fifty years.

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