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. (August 2013)
"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is the opening title track of British heavy metal band Black Sabbath's fifth album, released in 1973.
Its main riff has been cited as "the riff that saved Black Sabbath" because Tony Iommi, who wrote most of the band's music, had been suffering from writer's block. They resorted to drastic measures (including renting out the supposedly haunted Clearwell Castle to live in) to inspire him.
The song has been singled out for praise by hard rock and heavy metal guitar players, with Slash from Guns N' Roses stating to Guitar World in 2008, "The outro to 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' is the heaviest shit I have ever heard in my life. To this day, I haven't heard anything as heavy that has as much soul." Brent Hinds of Mastodon agrees, telling Nick Bowcott in 2008, "The 'dreams turn to nightmares, Heaven turns to Hell' riff at the end of that song is unbeatable."
The song was rarely played live in the 1970s. During the Heaven & Hell Tour, it was brought back for a number of shows, then dropped. On the Cross Purposes tour, it usually closed shows, while on the Forbidden tour, it was in the middle of the setlist and featured additional guitar by Geoff Nicholls.
During Sabbath's late-1990s Reunion tour, the song was played but shortened, dropping the final vocal section. During the 13 Tour and The End Tour, the opening riff was played as an intro to "Paranoid".