Black Sabbath is credited with creating heavy metal. The success of their first two albums - Black Sabbath and Paranoid - marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term “heavy metal” enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided. With their riff-based songs, extreme volume, and dark, demonic subject matter, Black Sabbath embodied key aspects of the heavy-metal aesthetic.
The response to Sabbath’s first two albums was instantaneous. Black Sabbath reached #8 in Britain and exhibited staying power in America, hanging on the charts for 65 weeks. Paranoid repeated the feat, peaking at #12 in the U.S. and charting for 70 weeks; while reaching #1 in the U.K. in a 27 week run. Both albums were certified gold within a year of release. Black Sabbath became an indefatigable road band, touring constantly and playing many of the early-70s rock festivals. All of the roadwork improved them as musicians and songwriters, and their next two albums - Master of Reality (1971) and Vol. 4 (1972) - exhibited enhanced range and ambition.
Amazingly, Black Sabbath released four genre-defining albums in a two-year period while touring at a ceaseless pace. The group’s fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), showed further signs of growth and experimentation, and the title track ranks among their finest moments. As a totality, it comes closest to equaling their early masterpiece, Paranoid. However, the demanding pace of the road and various lifestyle excesses began catching up with Black Sabbath by the mid-70s.
Black Sabbath's 1976 compilation album We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll, collects the greatest hits from the original line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, selected from the band's first six albums. While relying heavily on material from their first two full-lengths Black Sabbath ("Black Sabbath," "The Wizard," "N.I.B.," "Warning") and Paranoid ("War Pigs," "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "Fairies Wear Boots"), the release also features tracks from Master Of Reality ("Sweet Leaf"), Vol. 4 ("Tomorrow's Dream," "Snowblind," "Laguna Sunrise"), Sabbath Bloody Sabbath ("Sabbath Bloody Sabbath") and Sabotage ("Am I Going Insane").