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WHAT IS THE BLACK SABBATH GAME?
The Black Sabbath game is similar to the "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. Rather than linking people to Kevin Bacon, this game connects bands to Black Sabbath, a band that's been around since about 1970, and is arguably the first real heavy metal band. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Kevin Bacon game, it goes something like this:
SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON
If two actors/actresses starred in the same movie, then we'll say those two are "linked". When playing "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon", you start with a particular actor or actress and try to "link" your way to Kevin Bacon. Just about any actor or actress can, in theory, be linked to Kevin Bacon in 6 names or less. Hence the name of the game.
So for example, lets say I want to link Mae West to Kevin Bacon. Mae West was in the movie "She Done Him Wrong" (1933) with Cary Grant. Grant was in "Charade" (1963) with Walter Matthau. And Matthau starred in "JFK" (1991) with Kevin Bacon. So now I've sucessfully linked Mae West and Kevin Bacon.
There is a whole website dedicated to this game, where you can type in any actor you like and it will calculate and show the shortest path to Kevin Bacon!(go to top of page)
SO HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE BLACK SABBATH GAME?
In the Black Sabbath game, instead of linking actors and actresses via movies they co-starred in, we link bands or solo artists to Black Sabbath via musicians.
So let's start with a band. Say, AC/DC. How do I link AC/DC to Black Sabbath?
Well, a guy by the name of Simon Wright used to be the drummer of AC/DC. Simon Wright also played drums for the band Dio. The singer for Dio is, of course, Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie James Dio sang for Black Sabbath in the early 80's and again around 1992.
In some cases I'll write the whole description out, but other times I might abbreviate an entry like so:
AC/DC Simon Wright (Dio) Ronnie James Dio
So under the name of the band we want to link to Black Sabbath, we indent a line that explains how this connection is done. Band names or solo artist names (e.g. "The Eagles", "Rod Stewart", "Janet Jackson", or anybody who has had a "solo band") are in parentheses. On either side of the parentheses are musicians who were in that band or both performed for that solo artist.(go to top of page)
DETAILS ABOUT PLAYING
Sometimes it's not a band that connects the musicians, but a duet, or guest appearance. For example, Paul McCartney was never an official member of Michael Jackson's group, nor vice versa. But they did a few duets together, so I could link them. This could be abbreviated as
Paul McCartney (Sang "Say Say Say" with...) Michael Jackson.
Here's another abbrevated example:
Fogerty, John Donald "Duck" Dunn (Booker T and the Mgs) Anton Fig (Frehley's Comet) Ace Frehley (Kiss) Eric Singer
A full english translation of this would be "Here is how to connect John Fogerty to Black Sabbath. Donald "Duck" Dunn played bass in Fogerty's solo band. Duck has also played for Booker T and the MGs. Anton Fig has played for both Booker T and the MGs and Frehley's Comet. Ace Frehley natually played in Frehley's Comet. Ace is better known as the guitarist from Kiss. Eric Singer has played for both Kiss and Black Sabbath."
Get it? If not, here's one more example. This time we'll use Van Halen.
David Lee Roth used to sing for Van Halen, but then he had his solo career. Two of Dave's solo albums featured guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. Vai was also once in the band Whitesnake. Neil Murray has played bass guitar for both Whitesnake and Black Sabbath.
Again, I could abbreviate this as
Van Halen David Lee Roth (David Lee Roth, solo) Steve Vai (Whitesnake) Neil Murray
Just as in the Kevin Bacon game, there might be several ways to link a band to Black Sabbath. In these cases, I decided on the shortest path, or which members came to mind first. For example, there have been several people in both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, but I usually choose "Ian Gillan" to connect the 2 bands. And I think it's easier to type "Eric Singer played for both Alice Cooper and Sabbath" than "The Alice Cooper song "Hey Stoopid" features Ozzy Osbourne on backing vocals."(go to top of page)
RULES ON LINKINGConnections between a musician and a band or solo artist can ONLY be made if they actually performed or recorded together. So the following examples, in and of themselves, would NOT count as connections:
On the other hand, links between two different musicians ARE allowed to be made if they never played together, BUT played for the same band. For example, David Lee Roth sang for Van Halen, but was later replaced by Sammy Hagar. Maybe these two people never even met each other, I don't know. But I know both of these guys sang for "the band Van Halen", so I can immediately link these two musicians.
Session musicians are valid connections. For those who don't know, there are musicians that are hired just to perform live or record with an artist, but they're not strictly committed to that band. If a session bass player was once called up by Cher's execs to play a few tracks on her album, and then the same player was hired to tour with Frank Sinatra, then I can link Cher and Sinatra through that bass player, even if he or she wasn't an "offical member" of either band.
There is a chance that some connections aren't valid, because two different musicians may have the same name (for example, the "Chad Smith" who played for Geezer Butler's band wasn't the same Chad Smith who played drums for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers!) This situation is rare, but it can still happen. I have used my best judgement to eliminate these, but if you're absolutely positive you see an invalid connection of this sort, please let me know.
I put a :P after the entry if there really wasn't a "path". In other words, it denotes a "one degree" connection. For example, the entry for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow has a :P because Ronnie James Dio sang for both Rainbow and Sabbath. For you internet newbies, :P is meant to resemble somebody sticking his or her tongue out, similar to how :) can represent a smile.(go to top of page)
BUT WHEN DID (so-and-so) ACTUALLY PLAY WITH THE BAND/SINGER (so-and-so #2)?
Sometimes I have included the reasons or additional information on the connection, becuase sometimes I realize that their link wouldn't be clear to most people. But I didn't have time to do this with EVERY connection. So before you email me asking "But when did this guy play guitar for John Mellancamp? What album? What tour? When?", please do the research yourself. I highly suggest using www.tunes.com. If you want to know when a particular person was in Black Sabbath, read the next section.
WHEN WAS (so-and-so) IN THE BAND BLACK SABBATH?
If somebody only made a guest appearance in Black Sabbath, like Ice-T or Rick Wakemen, then I'll usually list exactly what they did. But if it was an official member, I probably didn't list the details of when they were in Black Sabbath, mainly because I didn't have time to do this with every single entry! Joe Siegler made a detailed list of past and present Black Sabbath members on his web page, www.black-sabbath.com. You can click a name, and it will tell you exactly when that musician was in Black Sabbath! Please go there before you email me questions on this topic.
BUT THIS GAME ONLY WORKS WITH HEAVY METAL BANDS, RIGHT?
Absolutely not! If anything, some pop musicians are easier to link, because of the line-up changes many have had, compared to your average heavy metal band who tends to keep the same musicians. The great thing about this game is that you almost always learn something when you play it. Did you know there was a musician who has played for both Black Sabbath and Hanson? Did you know that the path between Kenny Rogers and Black Sabbath isn't as long as many would think?(go to top of page)
SO WHY BLACK SABBATH?
Black Sabbath is my favorite band. That's the quick answer. It also comes from the fact I noticed Sabbath has had so many line-ups over the years. They brought in people that were famous in other bands, or maybe got more famouse in later bands. The Black Sabbath and Deep Purple "family trees" alone share several branches. I would play the game with my friends: we'd think of a heavy metal band, then we'd try to link it to Sabbath. And I think I was doing this before the Kevin Bacon thing caught on!
So then I started to write down what I had come up with. And I thought "Why limit myself to heavy metal bands? Can I link Black Sabbath to, say, the Police?" So the list grew into the web page you're reading right now. I must give extra special thanks to www.tunes.com for supplying tons of information! (Even if their site takes forever to load) Many won't find this as fun as "The 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon", because most people know their movies, but not their bands. Some, like me, might find it more fun than the KB game. In any case, I hope you enjoy.
WHICH SABBATH MEMBERS TEND TO SHOW UP A LOT?
Granted Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio have worked with a lot of other musicians in their careers outside of Black Sabbath. But surprisingly, these aren't the names that I see the most often. The one which I think I see most frequently is Eric Singer, who didn't even stay in Black Sabbath for too long. His frequent appearences in The Black Sabbath Game are probably due to the fact that he has also played for Alice Cooper and Kiss, who in turn have played with many different musicians over the years. (Looks like Eric has got one hell of a resume, by the way!)
HEY! MY FAVORITE BAND ISN'T LISTED!!
I'm always looking for new bands to add. If you don't see a particular band, it could be because I never thought about them, or I did try finding a connection to Black Sabbath and just couldn't! Keep in mind that brand new bands usually don't have members who have played with other established bands before. Also, you might find your answer with a related band (for example, see the entry for "Journey", even if you really wanted "Steve Perry"). If you find a legit connection to a band I don't have, then by all means email me!(go to top of page)
FOR THIS BAND, YOU COULD HAVE ALSO SAID...
For some of these bands, more than one path to Black Sabbath comes to mind. Sometimes I mentioned these if I thought they were interesting. But if I already list at least one path for a band, PLEASE don't tell me an additional one unless it contains some good info on how to relate to a band which I DON'T have listed, or the connection you give me is much shorter. Just trying to avoid getting excessive emails!
LIKE, YEAH, DUDE. BUT LIKE, THE ONLY TRUE BLACK SABBATH IS WHEN THEY HAD [insert name] IN THE BAND...
*Yawn*...I'm sorry, did you say something? Perhaps you're looking for the alt.music.black-sabbath flame form? I'm not interested in anybody's opinions of bands listed here. That would be like emailing the webmaster of the Kevin Bacon Game site and saying "Hey! 'Footloose' sucked big time! Don't use it on your website!"
WHY IS THIS CALLED A 'GAME'?
You play the game with people. Like the Kevin Bacon Game, you ask people to try to link two different things. OK, so this website isn't really the 'game' as much as it's an archive of answers. What were you expecting, Tomb Raider? :)
Thanks to www.tunes.com, Joe Siegler and all the great work he's done for Black Sabbath on the web, and to the true fans at alt.music.black-sabbath.(go to top of page)