The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

Black Sabbath - Biography

Black Sabbath

Gigs at the Marquee club: 10
Period of performances: 1969/1970
Formed in: Birmingham, UK, 1967
Line-up members at the Marquee club:
John "Ozzy" Osbourne (vocals)
Tommy Iommi (guitar)
Terence "Geezer" Butler (drums)
Bill Ward (bass).

Formed originally under the name of Earth in 1967, in Birmingham, UK, Black Sabbath is one of the pioneering hard rock and heavy metal bands from the 70's which defined the guidelines of the genre.

The band was originally formed by a group of schoolmates from a working-class district of the industrial city of Birmingham, starting originally as the rhythm and blues band Polka Tulk Blues Band, which was later called Earth to avoid confusion with another local band with the same name.

The band finally changed it's name to Black Sabbath, which was taken from the title of the song by Geezer Butler who as a fan of occult novelist Dennis Wheatley. The legend says how Geezer got the name when he saw it on the marquee of a film theatre announcing the 1963 terror movie "Black Sabbath", directed by Mario Bava and featuring Boris Karloff. Black Sabbath were one of the very first bands to influence their music by dark themes related with the terror literature and films and occultism.

Black Sabbath's first performance at the Marquee club was on the 3rd of January 1969 under the name of Earth when they decided to try to take their music from Birmingham to the capital. Between January and March they played five shows at the Marquee, the last one on the 13th of March announced as Black Sabbath, which marks the day of the band's change of name. The legend says that the manager of the Marquee club John Gee banned them from playing again at the club unless they bathed first. The band's engineer in the early days Tom Allom confirms this about their reputation: "They were the dirtiest, grubbiest, most intimidating lot I'd ever seen, but I found out they were actually very nice!."

Bathed or not, the band managed to start a new round of gigs at the Marquee in November 1969 after Ten Years After's guitarist Alvin Lee would pushed the club to bill them again. Black Sabbath released their successful debut album "Black Sabbath" in January 1970, which reached the UK Top Ten. By August 1970 the album had broken into the American charts reaching the Top 40 and eventually sold a million copies.

In September 1970 Black Sabbath released their top selling second album "Paranoid" which was presented at the Marquee club on the 15th that same month. This was the last time the band ever played at the Marque club and by that time they were one of the most popular British bands from the rock scene.

During the their career Black Sabbath established itself as one of the top heavy rock bands, releasing more than 20 studio albums during three decades. In 1979 the band suffered it's first lineup change when Ozzy Osbourne quit the band to start a successful solo career, being replaced by Ronnie James Dio. Since them the band went through several changes, including the reunion of the original lineup in 1985, 1992, and 1997.

starMore info on Black Sabbath

Earth gigs at the Marquee Club


Black Sabbath gigs at the Marquee Club


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