Tony Iommi recently sat down with The Telegraph for an interview, reflecting on the criticism Black Sabbath received in the United States due to their musical style.
Although Black Sabbath is now highly regarded, this wasn’t always the case according to the guitarist, as he said:
“Birmingham didn’t want to know us. We got slammed by the press. In America, they called us satanists. Nobody understood what we were doing because it was so different.”
Detailing the backlash they faced and their musical influences, he continued:
“When we started, there was no template for heavy metal. We didn’t even call it that. We liked blues, jazz, dramatic horror movie scores, even a bit of classical, Holst’s Mars, when it gets really dum-diddly-dum, I love all of that.”
Back in 2018, speaking to BBC, Iommi went back to that period again and shared the type of music they would like to create at the time, explaining:
“We wanted to create a vibe like you get off horror films — try and create a tension within the music. We thought it would be really good to get this sort of vibe, this fear and excitement. It was a struggle. There was nothing like what we were doing. We’d taken on something because we believed in it and loved what we were doing.”
Black Sabbath took some time to make it big in America. It was 1970 during the Vietnam War, and songs like ‘War Pigs’ resonated with a crowd disillusioned by the war’s horrors. They started to gain a wider following with the single, ‘Paranoid.’
Nowadays, Iommi is excited about the upcoming production ‘Black Sabbath: The Ballet’ at the Birmingham Hippodrome, which will premiere on September 23. Inspired by the music and legacy of Black Sabbath, the show received the band’s support from the beginning.