I've been listening to Sabbath since high school. As I am now 36 (almost 37) years old, that means I have been a fan for around 20 years.
What got me listening to them was those "Nice Price" cassette tapes they used to sell at the local Fred Meyer. Back then, at the ripe old age of 15 or 16, I really didn't have a lot of money to throw around, and I was naturally drawn to the half-price cassettes. This is also how I was introduced to Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and many other classic hard rock bands of the 70s.
Since that time, I have owned nearly all of Sabbath's back catalog, with the exception of that album they made with Glenn Hughes. As high school gave way to college, my cassettes were slowly replaced by CDs, and eventually these CDs were replaced by the MP3 files that now populate my hard drive.
I bought/downloaded my Sabbath albums in roughly chronological order. I started off with Sabbath's "Paranoid," quickly snapped up the rest of the stuff with Ozzy, and about the time college rolled around I worked my way into the post-80s stuff. I like every album I've heard, with the exception of the unspeakably bad "Born Again."
And this brings to mind another point: there are really three kinds of Awesome Rock Albums. They are:
- The Awesome Rock Albums you've heard so many times you can't even register them anymore.
- The rock albums that everyone else thinks are Awesome Rock Albums, but you fail to understand the popularity of, and...
- The Awesome Rock Albums that you never get tired of listening to.
Examples of the second category would be most anything by the Rolling Stones or the Velvet Underground. I like both of those bands, but I don't think they ever recorded an album that was really, truly epic.
And in the third category, I submit Black Sabbath's "Vol. 4." This album is so consistently, indisputably awesome that I simply fail to comprehend people who don't like it. Other albums in this category would be most of Free's early releases, as well as Leafhound's "Growers of Mushrooms."
"Vol. 4" is one of those albums that simply wouldn't exist without the assistance of mind-altering chemicals. The song "Snowblind" is evidence enough of this fact. Apparently the band was renting a house in California, and half of their advance went towards their rapidly expanding cocaine fixation. They were probably out of their minds most of the time. They were probably doing some very, very ill-advised things, but if the result of all that was "Vol. 4," well, I can't imagine that they regret any of it that much.
Check out this album if you haven't already. It is well worth owning.