The Black Sabbath song Ozzy Osbourne described as “a supernatural experience”

Ozzy Osbourne’s image as Shiba, the bringer of death, doom and bat decapitation, was brilliantly smashed to pieces when he starred in The Osbournes and was revealed to be a hilarious, bumbling, sweetheart with a burrito addiction. While his career was indeed pitted with ant-snorting incidents, personal dwarfs, and near-fatal disappearances worthy of being daubed as debauched, it is, nevertheless, hard to reconcile how some fearsome folks in the 1970s saw him as potentially a literal incarnation of Satan.

When he broke onto the scene with Black Sabbath, they left the 1960s cowering in the corner. Signed to Philips Records in November 1969, by 1970, Sabbath had released a self-titled debut and one of the greatest sophomore records of all time with Paranoid. Their legacy was cemented within a year of emerging from the factories of Birmingham with their fingers barely intact as harbingers of a heavy new chapter in rock.

And Ozzy and his bandmates felt as though fate itself had orchestrated this diegesis in culture. The song, ‘Black Sabbath’, was one of the first that the band ever wrote when they were previously working under the dull moniker of Earth. Fortunately, another band in Germany were using the same name, so they switched to the more befitting band name lifted from a 1963 horror movie directed by Mario Bava and starring Boris Karloff. A mystic experience sealed this name.

As Ozzy explains during Black Sabbath: The Ozzy Osbourne Years, the group had convened for practice one hazy day at the start of their careers. They were short of material for their debut record and had made promises they struggled to keep. So, the group decided to barnstorm ideas simultaneously, with Ozzy standing as judge and jury in the centre.

This usually unflappable character was suddenly spooked when Geezer and Tony rattled off their latest riff idea simultaneously—in an auspicious accident, they somehow ended up playing the same notes at he very same tempo without any prior knowledge of the other’s idea. The synchronised roar blew a wind out of the speakers, and Ozzy stood at the centre of it all, agog and uneasy.

They viewed this strange happenstance as a great omen. Geezer crowned both the song and the band Black Sabbath on the spot. And, in many ways, it also shepherded down the dark path that they would illuminate for others. They simply felt as though the cards had been dealt to them. Ozzy described the ordeal as “terrifying” and he liked it.

And perhaps the cards really had been dealt in advance for the band. Enter a band called Coven. Their debut album was titled Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, and it spawned one of the strangest coincidences in the history of music.

It was recorded in 1969, with the bulk of the material being written in a single night, whereby producer James Vincent claims to have scribbled everything in a haze after reading occult and witchcraft books. This was long before Black Sabbath were more than a mere thought.

But weirdly, Coven’s bassist and songwriter, Michael Gregory Osborne, is credited on the album sleeve by his nickname: Oz Osborne. However, things get truly uncanny when you look at the tracklisting. The first song on the record is titled ‘Black Sabbath’. So, maybe the chords falling into place without prior knowledge were genuinely supernatural after all?

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