Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll know that heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath are back. Having sold in excess of 70 million records worldwide, Black Sabbath have just released their first new studio album with frontman Ozzy Osbourne in more than 33 years, helmed by seven-time Grammy winning producer, Rick Rubin
The album, 13, has soared to the top of the charts in their native Britain, earning the British band often credited with inventing heavy metal their first number one album in more than four decades.
According to NME, Black Sabbath narrowly neat runner up Beady Eye and their album Be which finished up at #2 selling 13,000 copies fewer. The last time Black Sabbath were Number One in the UK was 42 years and eight months ago in October 1970, with their second album Paranoid.
Their chart topper has also earned Black Sabbath, whose members are all now in the 60s, the new record for the longest gap between chart topping records. Coming in at 43 years, Black Sabbath have now beaten Rod Stewart who’s held the record since May after earning his first #1 in 37 years.
“I’m in shock,” said Osbourne today on hearing the news. “The success of this album has blown me off my feet. We’ve never had a record climb the charts so fast.” According to BPI who collate the charts, the album was an extremely popular present for dads around England where Fathers Day was celebrated this weekend.“The success of this album has blown me off my feet. We’ve never had a record climb the charts so fast.”
The success may also have inspired the band to continue to make new music. “There probably will be another album but I don’t want to promise anything to anyone,” Osbourne added. “It took us long enough to do this and we can’t wait another 43 years to have another No 1. If it comes to pass we don’t make another record, I can rest easily knowing that we finished things properly.”
Last November saw the long-awaited reunion of the classic lineup of Black Sabbath – well, three-quarters of the original lineup to be more precise, with the controversy surrounding drummer Bill Ward’s non-inclusion continuing to unravel.
It was just the latest surprise in the Black Sabbath reunion trail, which has seen its fair share of ups and downs since confirming the long-awaited rumours of the reunion of the original lineup in nearly 33 years. By January however, fans were shocked to learn that guitarist Tony Iommi had experienced complications in his ongoing battle with lymphoma.
His intensive treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy forced the newly reunited Sabbath to axe all shows from their world tour, save for their homecoming show in their native Birmingham, as well as their triumphant headline slot at UK’s Download festival last month and an upcoming Lollapalooza appearance.
It wasn’t the first – or even biggest – controversy facing the newly reunited band, with original drummer Bill Ward saying that he would be sitting out until a contract would be written up that was “signable”. The 63-year-old sticksman making his thoughts public with an open letter published on his personal website, saying he couldn’t proceed until a contract that “reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band” is drawn up.
A move that baffled many, particularly former vocalist Tony Martin (who fronted the band from 1987-97 while Iommi was running the show), who remarked in July that the whole reunion saga, including the relationship collapse between Ward and his former bandmates smacked of being a publicity stunt.
Meanwhile, Ward’s spot was filled by Tommy Clufetos, whose previous skin-thumping duties included drumming for Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Sabbath’s own Ozzy Osbourne. The vocalist commenting at the time of Ward’s departure and refusal that “there was no row, there was no argument.”
Though admitting that he had not spoken directly to Ward, communicating only through legal representatives, he added that the group were not averse to having Ward back. “The door ain’t closed, whether we work something out up the road, I don’t know,” said the frontman.
“It’s not a personal thing,” added Iommi. “If he phoned us up tomorrow, which he hasn’t, but if he did…”