The paranormal encounter that led to a Black Sabbath song

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath and the sounds of darkness have long been inseparable. Although Tony Iommi is responsible for some of the most gloriously diabolical riffs in human history, the most important aspect of the band’s sound is when every band member rides on those terrifying riffs to create the sound of melodic doom. Although Iommi took the basis of ‘Black Sabbath’ with his primary riff, the song’s twisted lyrics were far closer to home than anybody realized.

Before they had even started working on their first few tracks, Black Sabbath was exploring blues and jazz-rock. When it comes to the band’s musical sections, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward provide a characteristic swing to the songs beneath Iommi’s riffs. All while working their way through the typical blues scales that everyone liked to hear from English rockers like Led Zeppelin at the time.

Butler’s interests outside of music included reading about the paranormal. Butler told Classic Albums that he was more interested in the astrological aspects of religion than anything else. He said, “I was heavily into the occult.” Not Satan or anything, but astral realms and such.”

When the band was recording their debut album, they were attempting to play a version of the classical song. The song ‘Mars: Bringer of War‘ when Iommi came up with the now-iconic tritone riff.  The initial concept sent shivers down every band member’s spine. The lyrics wouldn’t be finalized until Butler worked his way through some trauma while sleeping a few nights later.

He had been reading various portions of his mysterious literature before going to bed when he was visited by a spirit. Butler awoke in the middle of the night to see a mystery-shrouded person standing at the foot of his bed. The creature vanished into thin air after a few minutes, leaving Butler traumatized by what he had just witnessed.

Butler told Guitar World magazine that the song ‘Black Sabbath’ originated from talking to Ozzy Osbourne about the concept. He said, “I told Ozzy about it. It remained with him, and when we started playing ‘Black Sabbath,’ he simply started singing those lyrics. It had to come out, and it did in that song. Then there was just one possible name for the band!”

Butler escaped acquittal for the time being. However, the band could not evade further paranormal activity throughout the recording process. During the recording of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the band visited an abandoned convent to conclude the writing sessions. The spirit that roamed the premises visited many members, as reported.

Although spiritual creatures have followed Sabbath about their entire lives, they have been able to channel that energy into their music, creating compositions that felt as if infernal ghouls were playing Cream. Fear and Black Sabbath may no longer go hand in hand in rock. But when you’re in a rock band, it’s often reassuring to know that the bad spirits are on your side.

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