The influence of Black Sabbath cannot be overstated. They spread the seeds for the entire genre of metal and a number of its subgenres as well. It is practically a rite of passage for a metal band to perform a Sabbath cover. But the Birmingham band has a wider appeal as well. Even your parents might like Black Sabbath. Their songs are somewhat timeless, and many musicians have taken a stab at the Sabs. Here are a handful of covers by non-metal bands that put their own unique twist on the songs we all know and love.
Iron Man…School Choir Style
Here is a Sabbath standard – Iron Man. Your frickin’ grandmother knows this one. Here we have a group of 5th graders singing the classic tune. Gregg Breinberg (the music teacher) is bringing metal to the children in an awesome way. They do a pretty good rendition of it too. Why couldn’t I have had bad ass music teacher like this in elementary school? I love how he flashes the horns at the end like “this is the most metal thing ever!”
Fairies Wear Boots…Jazz Style
Black Sabbath was inspired by jazz, so this cover makes so much sense. The song was already jazzy to begin with. This is a cover-band known as Brown Sabbath that does funky covers of the metal legends. The sassy horns help make some of the moments really pop. The additional percussion is very interesting and gives it another “umph”. The singer does it justice too. Perfect voice for the style and sounds Ozzy-esque at points. It’s also funny how he randomly starts singing “For Whom the Bell Tolls” towards the end.
Sweet Leaf…String Quartet Style
This was played by the Vitamin String Quartet, who have done countless tribute albums to various bands and artists. This is one of those covers that turns the song completely upside down. “Sweet Leaf” is a love letter to marijuana, simple as that. It was basically the first stoner metal song. This version makes it sound so elegant. Not just because of the classical style, but it turns those drug-induced riffs into melodies that could be played for the Queen. Seriously, I want to play this at a fancy-person dinner party. No one would know it’s Sabbath!
A different arrangement than the original, singer Riley Pinkerton gives a moody performance to “N.I.B.”. Her version has a certain simplicity to it that I really dig and her voice is excellent. I always love different takes on Sabbath classics and this one is gold.
Electric Funeral…8-Bit Style
An oddball one. This is what Mario would listen to if he actually took shrooms. “Electric Funeral” is my Black Sabbath song, and this cover does it right. It still retains that doominess through the simplicity of the 8-bit video game style. By TheMuisckGuy on Youtube.
The Wizard…Smooth Jazz Style
Another jazz version of Sabbath, this time through a Hammond organ by the group Casualties of Jazz,. It’s very effective in changing the feeling of the song. I’m a big fan of the organ and this guy can shred.
Hand of Doom…Banjo Style
This was done by Joseph Winiarski, who has recorded a bunch of covers of doom metal bands all on the banjo. It gives it that back-to-basics bluesy twang. Black Sabbath started as a blues band, so this goes to the roots of the band in a way. Good stuff.
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath…Acoustic Style
Another acoustic, this time from Sabbath’s fifth album. This one is by Jaik Willis, who has a killer falsetto and strums that guitar with strength. There’s a lot of passion in his rendition and that epic beard just makes everything better.
BONUS: Children of the Grave…Before Black Sabbath
Now, we have the opposite. Here is a song that influenced Black Sabbath. Does that riff sound familiar? Sabbath borrowed that riff from the British soul group The Foundations (the band that did “Build Me Up Buttercup”). “I’m Gonna Be a Rich Man” came out a year before Master of Reality. It’s cool they turned this melody from a happy-go-lucky tune into one of a cautionary tale.