50 Years Ago Today, 2 Big Moments in Music

Jimi Hendrix died, and Black Sabbath helped launch heavy metal
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 2:43 PM CDT
50 Years Ago Today, 2 Big Moments in Music
Jimi Hendrix in an undated file photo.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Two notable 50-year musical anniversaries were being marked on Friday, one good and one tragic:

  • Iconic album: On Sept. 18, 1970, Black Sabbath released Paranoid, which played a "genre-defining" role in launching heavy metal worldwide, reports NPR. The group's second album was informed by band members' hometown of Birmingham, England. All four, including frontman Ozzy Osbourne, grew up in a bleak city decimated by German bombs in World War II, and it's reflected in the songs. "While the shock value of listening to Sabbath has largely worn off, Paranoid still resonates," Joe Sweeney writes in an appreciation at the Guardian.

  • Big loss: On the same day Sabbath's album came out, Jimi Hendrix died at age 27. At USA Today, Patrick Ryan writes that his "seething, scorching and cacophonous rendition" of the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969 is "still as haunting as ever." The Guardian collects tributes, including this from Michael Hampton of Parliament-Funkadelic. "I don’t think I can say I understand him—I’m not sure if you can ever get someone like Hendrix. I’m not sure if I even want to. When he gets really heavy or deep, maybe a little dark in some places, it makes me back up. I try and take whatever I can and get outta there. I don’t wanna be that good."
(Read more Black Sabbath stories.)

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