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Black Sabbath FAQ: All That's Left to Know on the First Name in Metal [Paperback]

Martin Popoff

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Book Description

May 1 2011 Book
(FAQ). Unlike any Sabbath book thus far, Black Sabbath FAQ digs deep into quirks, obscure anecdotes, and burning questions surrounding the Sabs. In a fast-moving, topical format, this book covers a tremendous amount of information, delectable to any Sabbath fan, but hard to find in a traditional biography. This rich history lives and breathes and shouts right here. And the voice behind it could not be stronger: Martin Popoff is a heavy metal expert who has authored over 30 books on the subject, including Doom Let Loose , which is widely considered the definitive biography of the band. In Black Sabbath FAQ , Popoff is like a rabid detective unearthing (and sometimes debunking) ancient lore, valiantly covering new ground, applying academic rigor, but then wildly sounding off with lurid opinion. The pendulum swings, and, though disoriented, the serious Sabbath studier is better for it come the book's doomy conclusion. Dozens of images of rare memorabilia make this book a must-have for fans.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; 1 edition (May 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879309571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879309572
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Martin Popoff has written 30 books on heavy metal, classic rock, and record collecting, including biographies on Rush, UFO, Rainbow, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, and Black Sabbath. At approximately 9,000 published record reviews, Martin has (unofficially) written more record reviews than anybody living or passed on. Martin is currently working on a 16-episode documentary on heavy metal for VH1 Classic.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Black Sabbath IAQ - Infrequently Asked Questions Nov. 21 2011
By AliGhaemi - Published on
About fifteen years ago something unexpected happened in the music industry. No, it wasn't that the music business began folding unto itself. After all, years of mismanagement, contempt for the customer and artists and short-sighted greed was bound to dinosaurize the obtuse (my sincere and complete apologies to all the regular retards that are bound to justifiably be insulted by this analogy) that infested the 'industry.' What I am referring to is the proliferation of music-related books. These books - biography or reference formatted - always existed, but a dozen years ago they snowballed with a vengeance. From autobiographies by musicians and authorized reference books on bands to encyclopediac titles flossing as far as the rear end of an 'artist' as was possible the shelves were filled.

Martin Popoff has been prolific and has now written a new book on Black Sabbath. You know this is not his first book on the band because he tells you so and even somewhat admits that the other book would be a better starting point for fans of the Sabs. Then again, he would say that given how the reader has presumably already purchased this one, wouldn't he?
So, what about the FAQ?

Well, firstly, it is not a FAQ. After all, how many people out there are frequently posing the question, 'at which position did Cross Purposes chart in Switzerland?' The 400 pages are better described as a compilation of information and trivia of which there is quite a bit. There is so much of it that it has all been mishmashed, mixed and moulded, for the most part, in no chronological order from start to finish. Much of it is interesting, most of it for diehards and all, but personally - yes this is the subjective part - I was never a big Black Sabbath-with-Ozzy fan. Only the Dio period interests me, but that is just me. And speaking of just me, all preconceived notions and prejudice aside, listen to Black Sabbath's debut and tell me those boys weren't listening to Led Zeppelin 1/Yardbirds and Blue Cheer. Not that revolutionary, - a notion even affirmed by the band's first manager early on in the book - never mind assigning them the title of inventors of heavy metal as on page seventeen.

Back to the book and Popoff who has toned his logopathy and run-on sentences down somehow and managed to write something comprehensible. That is a plus for the book, as so much of this information is not easily accessible elsewhere. His - and this criticism applies to all reviewers nowadays - unbridled positivity regarding everything and anything is mostly intact though and made it over for his critic job.
Yet, much is as much a mystery after reading the book as it was before. So whose fault was the clash of Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult? Why did Ozzy/Dio really leave (or were they booted out?) and what about Bill Ward's disappearance? Don't look for answers here. As noted, most reviewers are all cozy with the musicians it seems - or try to be.

400 pages does get one loads of information. For example (who knew?) Geezer is Irish.

*This book was sent to me compliments of the author or publisher
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Popoff Does It Again (and again and...) June 3 2011
By Eric Bjorgum - Published on
If you like heavy metal, you will like Martin Popoff. He writes a ridiculous amount on the subject. He's over 30 books by now, most if not all of them incredibly detailed. And just when you think he is done, he has more. I got his "Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal" in the 1990's, and he was the first guy to take seriously a lot of the records I grew up with. As massive as that was, he then expanded it into three (and now four) volumes, by decade, addings hundreds of reviews. Now comes a second book on Black Sabbath, the first being "Doom Let Loose". This one promises to cover all new ground and sort of reads like a trivia guide, but one written by a true fan.

Popoff's love of his subject matter sets him apart from many metal writers. It's evident off the bat here as he writes in the Foreword about pounding his psyche with "We Sold Our Soul For Rock n Roll" over a weekend doing a junior high school project. How many thousands of kids have that same story? "We Sold Our Soul," with its cheesy coffin photo, was a gateway drug for many. "Iron Man," "Paranoid," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Snowblind" -- all in one package. I forgot about that comp. before reading this, but, if you grew up with metal and lived it, Popoff's opening shot rings profoundly true.

So it is with the remainder of this book. There is plenty of coverage of things you might expect, but there is TON of stuff that a Sabbath fan will read and say "you know, that's a good question -- I never really thought about it, but . . ." He has short chapters on the Van Halen tour (where Van Halen allegedly blew BS off the stage consistently), Sandy Pearlman (think Kim Fowley in metal with a college degree), Geezer Butler's peace loving nature and war weary lyrics, the birth of doom metal, and he treats later albums (i.e., wihtout famous singers) with respect -- though he takes off the gloves where needed. ("Forbidden?" Yikes. I saw that tour, with Motorhead opening. Motorhead just returned to a three piece. Phil Campbell was a dervish, playing all the guitar parts, showing he could handle the new material on "Sacrifice." Sabbath took the stage and stood there. Neil Murray proved it was a good year for qualuudes. Cozy Powell put the "dull" back in "thud." Popoff doesn't pull any punches either.)

Anyway, those are just a few of the gems waiting to be unearthed in this tome. Popoff must have a Yngwie-sized case of carpal tunnel. I don't know how he does it. He must need a transcriber. He definitely needs a publicist because he needs to be widely known. You generally can't go wrong with his stuff. This one is no exception.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great band.......OK book Aug. 4 2011
By metal1121 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't get me wrong, Sabbath is the greatest heavy metal band ever and this book goes nicely into all the important stuff. The best part is that it doesn't give you just the basic stuff that any decent Sabbath fan would already know. The book goes WAY above and beyond that stuff. My problem is in the presentation. The book reads like stereo instructions. If you were doing research and needed to know some obscure fact, this is where you'd go. But to sit and read about your favorite band, this wouldn't be the way to go. After a bit you'd fall asleep. Even a baseball fanatic would become bored reading a list of batting averages. This book reads in that way. Awesome information......OK formatting.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great! March 4 2012
By Snu Snu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was pretty much a snore. I got about 2/3 of the way through and just tossed it. The author's opinions often come off sounding asinine and pompous. His writing style sounds like he just dictated this tripe into a tape recorder while drinking at the local pub and then transcribed it to print with no thought to editing whatsoever. There are a few little pieces of Sabbath trivia here and there for the Sabbath completist, but not enough to warrant spending the money. I want my money and time back!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Band + writer = Best rock book Nov. 17 2011
By S. Mehaffey - Published on
It's ironic that in writing a sort off the cuff book about the Sabs, Popoff has created what might be the most revealing book about rock and roll ever, maybe because it is so casual, many times it's the supposed 'unimportant' details that really tell the story. So grab a brew, put the tunes on and prepare to laugh out loud; the perfect marriage of band and writer come together for a hilarious trip through the trials, tribulations... this band's misfortunes are so funny, Hollywood couldn't make this stuff up!-Ron Keel and Spencer Proffer?? And Popoff is at his absolute best here; letting the details unfold with an analysis that pokes, questions, and ruminates; the great thing about Popoff when he tackles one band-one book, is he leaves no stone unturned; he even puts them through the dishwasher for you. The reviews are absolute gems, especially the Ozzy era (his take on Vol. 4 is priceless, if you don't get it, I don't know what to tell you); I like how he pulls the curtain back to reveal the machinations to which these classic records came from (we got seances, album cover mis-haps, uh..too much stimuli); many times I re-read some very valuable piece of information or insight, Popoff's astute grasp of both the music and business side is a real treat for any long suffering metal fan. And again- the tangents, side tracks, side trips, really illuminate the world of 70s road life, loved the Pearlman and VH sections.

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