Zakk Wylde is on a bit of a promo tour, and during a recent interview with SongFacts, the topic of Ozzy Osbourne's voice came up and somehow this got onto Black Sabbath, at which point Zakk says:
“You listen to Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio in it, and it’s not Black Sabbath. They should have just called it Heaven & Hell right from the beginning. Because you listen to that ”Heaven and Hell” album, that doesn’t sound anything close to Black Sabbath. I mean, that sounds about as much like Black Sabbath as Blizzard of Ozz sounds like Black Sabbath. If you were to play Black Sabbath for me — and I’m a huge Sabbath freako — and then with Father Dio over there, I’d be going, “Oh, cool, what band is this? This is good stuff.” I mean, the songs don’t even sound Black Sabbath-y. I mean, ”Neon Knights,” could you picture Ozzy singing over that song?…It’s weird. It’s a whole different band.”
Obviously, Zakk means no disrespect to Dio, having called him "Father Dio" in the passage above, but was merely stating his opinion on the second iteration of Black Sabbath.
Many bands have replaced their vocalist and kept their name, and Sabbath is no different. Tony Iommi owned the name and figured it would be much harder to convince fans at the time to attend a Heaven & Hell show than a Black Sabbath show. This was before the internet, before news can spread like wildfire in a couple of minutes and Sabbath was the more profitable name.
Plus, what else was interesting was they did not, at the time, ignore their history with Ozzy, having Dio sing Ozzy-era tunes at live gigs, and it sounded kinda awesome:
But the new music they created did have a certain vibe to it, so again, I can see what Zakk is saying.
What do you think? Should Sabbath have renamed themselves? Here's our informal poll that you can vote in: