Not many bands are almost universally recognized for inventing an entire genre of music, but Black Sabbath is undeniably the founding fathers of heavy metal. Their use of down-tuned guitars, minor chords, and often occult-tinged lyrics have influenced virtually every metal act since. But it's not just metal bands that have been influenced by Black Sabbath. While these seven covers have plenty of hard rock, there's also soul, funk, and Americana represented.
7. First Aid Kit- War Pigs
Swedish Americana duo First Aid Kit frequently cover acts from a wide range of genres in their live shows, but none quite as far removed from their gentle folk harmonies as “War Pigs.” Rather than retool the anti-war song to fit their acoustic leanings, the sisters let their band stretch with a driving electric rendition that somehow manages to keep their tight harmonies in the mix.
6. Twisted Sister- Heaven and Hell
Before Twisted Sister became MTV darlings in the mid-'80s with songs like “We're Not Gonna Take It”, they were one of the hardest working club bands in New York, often playing two sets a night, six nights a week. With that kind of workload, it makes sense they'd have a wide range of covers to fill out their sets. This live rendition of “Heaven and Hell” was recorded in 1980, the same year the Black Sabbath album of the same name was released. This is the only Ronnie James Dio era song on the list because not many artists aside from Dee Snider have the guts to take on one of metal's greatest voices.
5. Les Claypool- Electric Funeral
Les Claypool is a strange fellow. Whether gigging with Primus or one of his numerous side projects, he is known for delivering odd arrangements to classic songs. So it was at Bonnaroo 2008, when he unveiled a funk-bass cover of Black Sabbath's “Electric Funeral” from 1970's Paranoid album.
4. Faith No More- War Pigs
Alt-rockers Faith No More broke into the mainstream with their 1989 album The Real Thing, spawning hits like “Epic.” But tucked among the funk-metal offerings was an homage to their heroes in “War Pigs.” The band's thrashy take on the song has been a live show favorite since its release.
3. Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath- The Wizard
The funk band Brownout, itself a side project of Grupo Fantasma, love Black Sabbath so much they have formed a side project of the side project, Brown Sabbath, and have released two full albums worth of horn-driven funk covers of Black Sabbath. All of their takes on the band are good but “The Wizard,” with its harmonica intro reproduced by a full horn section, is their best effort.
Related: Interview with Beto Martinez of Brown Sabbath
2. Zakk Sabbath- War Pigs
There's nobody on this list of cover artists who know more about the music of Black Sabbath than Zakk Wylde. For years, Wylde reproduced those songs live every night as a member of Ozzy Osbourne's touring band. So it's no surprise that his dedicated Black Sabbath cover project, Zakk Sabbath, produced one of the best covers. What is surprising is just how well Wylde nails Ozzy Osbourne's unique vocal delivery.
1. Charles Bradley- Changes
Sometimes the best covers come from unlikely places. Soul singer Charles Bradley hardly seems a good fit for Black Sabbath, but then “Changes” was an unusual Black Sabbath song. In Bradley's hands, the breakup ballad becomes a ray of hope in the darkness, with Bradley saying he was drawn to the song's melancholy tone after the death of his mother.