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Old 09-12-2019, 04:46 PM   #1
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On the Sinister Majesty of Black Sabbath

With a new box set collecting the original lineup’s first eight albums, we pay tribute to the lords of this world

When Black Sabbath first attempted to tour America in 1970, they had a Hell of a time. “We had to face the mayor of [every] town,” drummer Bill Ward once recalled. “We were banned all the time. They were afraid of us. They thought we were going to put a spell on you.”

Although Mick Jagger and Sammy Davis, Jr. had already publicly flirted with satanism, Black Sabbath — whose members all wore crosses to ward off evil — were much too scary for the United States. Their self-titled debut album sported a witchy woman on its cover, their eponymous song detailed an ill-fated dalliance with a demon (“Please God help me!”), and, in the U.K., their label took things one hooved step further by printing an inverted cross on the inside sleeve with a passage about a dead, black swan floating upside down in a lake as a preamble for what was inside. The group had nicked its name from a 1963 Boris Karloff horror movie, and both its name and fright-flick lyrics sparked confusion and new mythologies nearly everywhere they went.
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