without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Yet another in a long line of bargain pickups that I’ve happened upon in my lazy days as a farmer’s market cowboy over the past 4 years, Black Sabbath’s “Greatest Hits 1970-1978” is a great way to familiarize yourself with the entirety of the Ozzy Osbourne era of the band. Something from all 8 of said albums is available for mass consumption, as this compilation takes few risks and basically lays out the obligatory songs from each album, including the controversial final 2 albums that are often shelved by most fans of the band.
The obvious problem with this compilation for anyone who follows this band regularly is that the selections are a bit predictable, although not really any more so than “We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll”. Obvious and accessible selections from the first four albums, including simplistic audience fanfare such as “Paranoid”, “N.I.B.” and “Sweet Leaf” ride with the more epic and experimental hits such as “War Pigs” and “Snowblind”. The selection is predictable, but it avoids a lot of the meaningless obligatory choices such as “Laguna Sunrise”, “Tomorrow’s Dream” and “Am I Going Insane”, which are not bad songs but not something worthy of appearing on nearly every compilation to come out between 1976 and now.
Where this album proves to be a bit better of a purchase than a lot of the other Ozzy era best of releases is the inclusions from the last two albums. “Dirty Women” is a personal favorite of mine, as it takes the catchy nature of a lot of the band’s earlier epics and merges it with a somewhat more melodic and less crunchy take on their format. Likewise, the title track of “Never Say Die” is a nice feel good, up tempo rocker that is pretty underrated. “Rock And Roll Doctor” is sort of stuck in late 70s rock land, but doesn’t really diverge too far from Sabbath’s standard formula.
Although most tend to endorse “We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll” as the compilation to get for this era of the band, this offers a more complete picture of what this period had to offer. Granted, “Technical Ecstasy” was a bit experimental and “Never Say Die” was a collective failure as an album, but that does not mean that the good aspects of these albums should be ignored as many have come to do. If you can’t afford the first 8 albums and just want the classics, this is the place to go, otherwise bust your ass at whatever job you have and experience the legend in its unabridged entirety.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 11, 2009.
Black Sabbath’s “Greatest Hits” is one of the many Black Sabbath “best of” compilation albums released, however this is one of the better ones, but not the best.
Of Course it contains well known hits like “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “NIB”, “War Pigs”, etc… which is great if you are a complete stranger to Black Sabbath (where the hell have you been the last 35 years?). Besides the better known songs it contains fan favorites like “Hole in the Sky” and “Supernaut”. Also, the songs have been beautifully re-mastered and sound great! Also it is arranged in chronological order, which is a good way to do “best of” albums.
It is a decent sampler of Black Sabbath, however, there is a better Black Sabbath “best of” album, that came out only a few years earlier. “Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)” has nearly twice as many songs on 2 discs, and is overall a better compilation. So it must be asked; Why did they do this “best of” only a few years later?
Despite being outdone by a better “best of”, Black Sabbaths “Greatest Hits” is a fine way to introduce the band into those who really aren’t familiar with them. Long time fans, unless you are a completist, should pass over this, though.