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Black Sabbath FAQ: All That's Left to Know on the First Name in Metal Paperback – May 1 2011

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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: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #469,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Popoff is one of rock s most prolific writers. This is his 50th book. Previous books have included studies of Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest you get the picture! As a journalist, he has written for a number of diverse magazines including Record Collector, Goldmine, Guitar World, Metal Hammer and a BBC TV programme on metal. He lives in Toronto

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa16f9d5c) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1566348) out of 5 stars Popoff Does It Again (and again and...) June 3 2011
By Eric Bjorgum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa156639c) out of 5 stars Black Sabbath IAQ - Infrequently Asked Questions Nov. 21 2011
By AliGhaemi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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
HASH(0xa15667d4) out of 5 stars Don't buy this expecting it to be something that it never claims to be Feb. 21 2016
By Scott Wilcox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously, the people who are giving this low ratings need to consider reading the description of the book they are buying. It clearly states this is NOT a biography of the band; Mr. Popoff already did a bang up job of that in his Black Sabbath: Doom Let Loose tome. If a biography is what you are looking for, the book exists, it just isn't this one.

What this is is a collection of chapters that are more like articles focusing on particular subjects related to the band. There is the story of the formation of their first record label and how they got signed, the creation of the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath cover artwork, the controversy of the Black and Blue tour, etc. This is a book for Black Sabbath nerds, by a Black Sabbath nerd. It is not for everyone. For me, I enjoyed every page of it.

Martin Popoff is very knowledgeable and very opinionated. I disagree with him strongly on some points (really dude, how can you not LOVE "Dehumanizer"?), but it is the disagreement of true music fans who can argue to death about the production merits of certain albums but in the end both love the band and their music.

The end of the book goes back in to "biography" mode as the Heaven and Hell band is covered extensively (this all happened after Doom Let Loose was written), so the two books together give a complete story of Black Sabbath before their reunion with Ozzy for the "13" album. I advise anyone with a deep love for Black Sabbath to grab this before it goes out of print like Doom Let Loose did. If you are just looking for the basic story, there are 30 other books to choose from, but this isn't it. 5 stars.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15667bc) out of 5 stars Great band.......OK book Aug. 4 2011
By metal1121 - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1566b7c) out of 5 stars Not great! March 4 2012
By Snu Snu - Published on Amazon.com
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!