Black Sabbath was the creation of four friends from the Birmingham, England area. Anthony Iommi, William Ward, Terence Butler, and John Osbourne were the founding members of the group and, to this day, are still cited as the four major members of Black Sabbath.
The band's first record contract came in 1969 after their live performances started to gain them notoriety throughout England. Phillips Records gave Black Sabbath their first opportunity to record an album, and they ended up releasing their first LP entitled "Black Sabbath" in 1970. The album made it into the United Kingdom's top-10 list, but when it was later released to the United States under the Warner Bros. label, it was only able to garner a top-40 ranking.
The '70's was a roller coaster trip for the band, as they were ushering in a new era of music that had rarely been heard before. With a sound that was both heavy and edgy, Black Sabbath began to impart its radical guitar rifts and lyrics on people all over the world. As they began to rise to prominence, they were largely panned by critics who found it difficult to accept Black Sabbath's because it was so radically different from anything that was produced in the 1970s.
The band ended up releasing eight albums in all in the '70's. Their second album release, "Paranoid," is now widely considered the band's best LP of the 20 total albums that they ended up selling. A single from the album entitled "Iron Man" is still to this day the band's best selling track in the United States.
It was in 1979 that John "Ozzy" Osbourne left the group to pursue his solo career. Since his departure, there has been several changes in the band's personnel. Upon releasing its final album in 1998, the original four members had found their way back together, which also led to a brief tour in 1999.
Black Sabbath to this is still considered one of the pioneers of the "metal" sound of rock-and-roll. While the band will be best remembered as the starting point to Ozzy Osbourne's successful solo career, Black Sabbath was a band that created a different kind of sound that appealed to people all over the world and sparked some of the best hard rock that the United States had ever seen.