A year ago, I did an article on some unconventional Black Sabbath covers. The Birmingham Boys are calling it quits in a few months, but their nearly 50 year old career has been highly influential on multiple circles of music. All of metal owes something to Sabbath, but here are some notable covers outside of the metal realm.
Changes… Soul Style
Sabbath’s piano ballad “Changes” was already soulful, but singer Charles Bradley (who was recently featured in Marvel’s Netflix show Luke Cage) injected it with even more soul. Even though he didn’t write it, he brings so much conviction to his delivery. This legitimately sounds like something from the 60s or 70s. Also the minimalistic music video is great.
Black Sabbath/Iron Man/Crazy Train/Paranoid/War Pigs… String Quartet Style
This is a beautiful rendition of a few Sabbath classics as well as Ozzy‘s “Crazy Train”. This string quartet is fronted by Rachel Barton Pine, a world-renowned violinist and a metalhead, who was in the doom metal band Earthen Grave. This performance really shows off the influence of classical music on metal, as these tunes play perfectly on traditional instruments.
Electric Funeral/Fairies Wear Boots/Black Sabbath… Surf Style
The Swank Bastards is a surf rock cover band in Vegas that covers all kind of music in surf rock style. Like classical music, early Sabbath songs just seem to fit naturally, with the right players of course. There are rearrangements of the compositions of course, but they just work flawlessly.
Paranoid… Folk Style
This is an oddball, yet just clicks. Also the production on the music video is excellent. From the Brazilian folk band O Bardo e o Banjo.
Too Late… Piano Style
Here’s a Dio-era cover. Sabbath’s 1992 album Dehumanizer was a hard hitter, but I was never a big fan of “Too Late,” but turning it into an elegant piano ballad made the song better. The monochrome and the smoke are a nice touch. Hats off to Melissa VanFleet! Dio would be proud.
Electric Funeral… Brass style
Here’s another oddball, an “Electric Funeral” cover done all on brass instruments. Kind of makes it both evil and goofy at the same time. This is some of the strangest jazz out there. Done by Jungle by Night and The Gaslight Killer.
War Pigs… Surf Rock Style
Here’s another surf rock cover, but damn this is a cool arrangement. The songs Thee Swank Bastards covered seemed apt for surf rock, but not War Pigs. This makes me what to hang ten. Somewhat of a challenge, and Baleia Mutante (another Brazilian band) nailed it!
N.I.B…. Smooth Jazz Style
I covered the Casualities of Jazz in the previous Sabbath cover article for their live version of “The Wizard”, but this studio rendition is so smooth that I had to share it.
Bonus: Black Sabbath… in 1918
The main riff on Black Sabbath’s title track was actually taken from the orchestral suite “The Planets” by Gustav Holst from nearly 100 years ago. Bassist Geezer Butler starting playing it during a rehearsal, the band liked it, and history was made.