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It was the summer of 1976 and I was 11 years old. Tommy, my neighbor, ran up to me and said "Billy, you got to hear this album I just got." Having nothing better to do I agreed to listen, and my life has never been the same as we arrived at his place and he pulled out We sold our Soul for Rock N' Roll and put it on. Besides having the grammatical flaw in it's title this is a classic piece of doom history. From the opening sounds of the storm I knew this was going to be something different, something daring, something scary as hell. I was a christian kid when I heard this and thought up til that point bands like Kiss and Blue Oyster Cult and the like were heavy. They weren't shit compared to the almighty Black Sabbath. These tracks and their original albums scared the hell out of me and put the fear of god in my heart.
The precursors to today's Black Metal? Maybe. One of the founders of Doom and stoner? Hell yeah. When I first heard Ozzy sing " My name is Lucifer, please take my hand." it gave me nightmares. This put Alice Cooper and his nightmares to shame. Even the insane laughter at the end of Am I going Insane? was new and scary at the time. And I was instantly hooked.
Jump ahead to 1979 and I'm stoned and cutting school when I run into my friend Eric. He's like " Bill I got a bag and tunes at the pad, wanna pop over?" And I replied " Hell yeah, whatcha got?" And he replied " A half and some Black Sabbath." And along we went to his pad. He broke out a bag, his bong, fired up the stereo and proceeded to play songs at random.
We coughed along with the beginning of Sweet Leaf and sang along with the pro-marijuana lyrics. Changes( A decent piano ballad) came on and I remembered how I played the song and sang along when my girlfriend, Kathy, broke up with me. I real good breakup song. Least it was good before Kelly Osbourne killed it.
As we got higher I remembered how I first felt at hearing songs like Paranoid, Iron Man and Children of the Grave. We talked about the songs on this double album set and both agreed this was some of the best shit we ever heard. This was the way doom was meant to be played, fuzzed, distorted, downtuned and desperate. And scary. Doom needs to have that feeling of danger, that fear inducing feeling that steadily gnaws at you because deep down we like to be scared and possibly need it too.
Jump to today and I'm high listening to these tunes and remembering long past daze gone bye. My youngest son is 18 and I am a Grandfather now and my how things have changed. Ozzy is doing commercials and Black Sabbath is basically history at the time of this review (March 8th-2011) and Songs like Paranoid, War Pigs and Iron Man are played daily on the local classic rock station.. I have not seen Tommy or Eric in ages and I owe them both a big thanks for introducing me to these sounds. My youngest is in the Living room playing Warriors of rock on the X-Box. The song Children of the grave is coming at me as he plays it flawlessly. And we are still living in scary times with the same fears and new ones. And these songs still hold up, timeless they shall remain to entertain us and dare I say, still scare.
This is a good greatest hits package and a good starting place for those who want to know what true doom is and for those who like to be scared. "Oh noooooooooooooo, please God help me!" Accept no substitute, this was one of the originals and I would have to say best doom band and deserves to be in any fan of the genre's collection. With every song a classic on this collection you can do no wrong by getting it. Or better yet buy the original albums the songs came from. Either way add these metal gods to your collection if you have not done so already. You will be glad you did.
Keep it Heavy.
I picked up this album when I was fourteen after first hearing "Iron Man", "War Pigs" and "Paranoid". Of course being the idiot fourteen-year old that I was, I didn't know exactly where a good place to start was in Black Sabbath's discography, nor did I have any idea that sites like Encyclopaedia Metallum even existed. Hence my eventual purchase of "We Sold Our Soul for Rock N' Roll".
This is a good place to start if, like I was, you have absolutely zero knowledge of Black Sabbath and you want a good sampler of their best material. This collection is the best place to start.
Although it was released after their first six albums were out, most of the material here is from their first four. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage" have only one song apiece here, which is ridiculous. There is no "A National Acrobat". No "Sabra Cadabra'. No "Symptom of the Universe"...and so on and so forth.
Not to say the selections they did choose aren't good, but half the goddamn album was lifted from "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid"...these songs may be classics, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking those two are the only essential Black Sabbath albums. They did add a few songs from "Master of Reality" and "Volume 4". And unfortunately only "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Am I Going Insane" (a song that, while good, is not quite on the level the omitted "Symptom of the Universe" is on) from their fifth and sixth albums.
I listened to this album for two years before wanting more Sabbath and rushing out and buying their first six albums, which is always going to be the best choice, but if you think you need a Black Sabbath album in your collection, but aren't a huge fan...look no further than "We Sold Our Soul for Rock N' Roll".
The phenomena of the greatest hits compilation has always been an issue for the core metal fan, the reasons for this are many. The primary one is that such compilations are usually devoid of the more musically ambitious material, particularly the long-winded epics and jam sessions that occupied all 6 of the albums represented on here. Therefore I think it is necessary to point out that, contrary to what the pedestrian metal fans says, this album is defined more by what it leaves out rather than what is included in it.
You have some longer songs on here, such as “War Pigs”, “NIB”, and “Black Sabbath”, but for the most part we see that most of the really long ones that occurred on the latter 3 albums have not been included. There are two reasons for this, the first being that the structures of those songs (Megalomania, The Writ, Wheels of Confusion, Into the Void, et cetera) have highly experimental structures, the second being that many of these other songs have lyrical subjects that contradict the dark/occult theme of this compilation.
Most people who listen to music casually can’t stand it when that chorus doesn’t come back right away or when there is a complete change in feel within the same tune. Mainstream bands usually pander to this fear of change and keep their songs a bit too simple as a result, and if one were to go only by this compilation one would be getting a very narrow view of Black Sabbath’s musical career and assume them to be ones to cater to some sort of mainstream. Even in the longer songs there is a general consistency and a similarity between the varying sections.
As to the rather cliché theme of occultism that is present in the title of this compilation, this defines about maybe 1/3 of their music at best. The drug use and other dark themes probably take it up to about perhaps half of their music up to this point, but still not a full picture of all the amazing things going on in their music. Sometimes I wonder if this so-called Satan worship stuff that this band often gets pegged with is a consequence of the widespread success of this compilation.
However, despite this compilation being only about half the story of Sabbath, it does function well as a gateway into their earlier music. The only thing I would suggest is to be prepared to get some music that will not conform to the tone set on here if you choose to purchase their full length albums, particularly “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Sabotage”.
In conclusion, this album is recommended mostly to those who have never heard Sabbath other than what they probably hear on the radio. People who have the money and want a really great listening experience are advised to go straight to the full length studio releases. I bought this album right after purchasing “Paranoid”, and I eventually ended up getting every Sabbath album ever released. Consequently this album does not enjoy any play time in my CD player, which is why I did not give it a higher score. Core fans of metal buy entire albums and listen to them all the way through, only pedestrian metal fans settle for a compilation of a band such as this
Well step on down brother, because here's your chance to be too cheap to buy the real albums, which up to this point are all more than worth owning. So yeah, this really does have all the songs Sabbath would ever be known for by the layman, heavily depending on the romping, stomping early records. Fully fifteen of these seventeen are from the first four, meaning you get a lonely two from Sabbath's very best Ozzy records, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage.
I can't question most of these choices, "Black Sabbath", "Paranoid", "Iron Man", "War Pigs", "Children of the Grave", and "Sweet Leaf" their primary source of income, this collection for the most part too concerned with the bonafide hits (or at least songs with lots of airplay, Sabbath didn't have hits really) for album tracks, and when it tries to cover some it fails miserably. Why the hell is "Laguna Sunrise" on here? And furthermore, why is it on about 80% of the Sabbath compilations? It's nothing! If I asked you to pick "Laguna Sunrise" out of a line-up to the average guy, well, good luck man. Hell, I even understand including total shit like "Am I Going Insane" because it was an advance single, and the album was out prior to Sabotage.
If you're gonna own one Sabbath, be a man and pick one of the records. If you don't have the balls, this is likely the cheapest compilation. However, if you grab the remaster it's two discs, and there are better compilations out there. So, buyer be reasonably aware.
Stand-Outs: Goddamit, I can't pick.
The best of Black Sabbath needs no introduction. These are truly the best songs, the band put out until that point. The sons from the albums, Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. These four excellent albums are summed up into one essential album.
The album is well organized rightfully beginning with the song Black Sabbath. From that point on, the best songs Sabbath has put out captivate the listener. The indispensable tracks, such as "War Pigs," "Paranoid," and "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, " are obviously included on this album, but also, lesser known tracks are put onto the compilation, such as Changes and Sweet Leaf. Also on the remastered, the song Laguna Sunrise is added onto the list, along with Warning and Wicked World. The first two being lesser know than the rest of the tracks.
This album is a crucial piece of the Black Sabbath discography. I suggest that if you are just getting into Black Sabbath that this is the album for you. If you are a die-hard fan, than you should get the first 5 albums first then get the best of, as it sums up the general atmosphere that Black Sabbath is known for, exceptionally well. This album is very well organized and the songs that were chosen are very worthy to be on this album. Some of the weaker songs are “Laguna Sunrise” and “Changes.” They are not as classic as the remainder of the tracks. This is the best of, and surely deserves the praise that it receives.