Before Black Sabbath was Black Sabbath, they were known as Earth. This was back in 1969, and around this time, they went into the studio to record, but ultimately never release what would become known as the earliest Black Sabbath demos.
The band was only a year away from their self-titled debut album in 1970, so the sound of these demos isn’t too far from what Black Sabbath would become known for (although they are somewhat lighter in tone than the band’s usual style). These recordings surfaced a few years ago and can now be found on YouTube—they’re a necessary listen for Sabbath fan hoping to discover how the metal pioneers sounded in their embryonic stages.
The first song from the embedded playlist below is “The Rebel,” which was written by Norman Haines—a member of the Birmingham band Locomotive—and has a relatively non-hard rock sound. According to the YouTube user who uploaded the videos, the band wasn’t terribly satisfied with the songs, which is why they didn’t end up releasing them, but they thought them good enough to present as demos to prospective record labels (presumably why these recordings still exist today).
Ultimately, the band, and their demos, won out: They played their first show as Black Sabbath in August 1969. By that November, they were signed to Philips Records. Just three months after that in February 1970, their self-titled debut was released, and now the band is super iconic. Listen to the demos below, which clearly illustrate that the band was destined for greatness from the start.
HT: Dangerous Minds
IMAGE: Warner Bros. Records