Which band has had the greater impact and influence, Deep Purple or Black Sabbath?

Written by on August 9, 2021

By Russell Spear:-

Black Sabbath has had a bigger impact and influence than Deep Purple. I’ve come across so many musicians whose biggest influence is Black Sabbath that I couldn’t begin to name them all. It would be hard to overestimate Black Sabbath’s impact. Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever reading something about Black Sabbath having a big influence and thinking: Oh come on, they didn’t have that big of an influence!

That’s pretty impressive now that I really think about: If I’ve ever heard someone overstate Black Sabbath’s influence, I don’t know when it was.

Deep Purple is a legendary band in their own right. I’m a big fan of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar playing. When he had Ronnie James Dio as his lead vocalist in Rainbow, that’s when Ritchie Blackmore was at his best. That’s just my opinion, but I really do think having Ronnie James Dio to work with took Ritchie’s guitar playing to a higher level.

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Deep Purple had the more highly skilled musicians than Black Sabbath did in general. The thing about Black Sabbath that applies so well to what you’re asking about is that Black Sabbath were so innovative.

Black Sabbath’s sound is very, very riff based. Tony Iommi might be the most legendary writers of heavy riffs there has ever been. That their music is so riff based and that the riffs are in the heavy metal style they are was the point where a certain type of music took a departure from hard rock. It came to be known as heavy metal.

Why does 80s music sound so fresh and enthusiastic compared to the music of today?

Black Sabbath are considered the godfathers of heavy metal. Led Zeppelin was an amazing hard rock band. Deep Purple was another. They weren’t heavy metal bands though and neither of them claimed otherwise.

Lyrics are a big part of what helps set heavy metal part from other types of rock and lyrically, I see Black Sabbath as ground breakers and as influencers on a far, far higher level than Deep Purple was lyrically.

I don’t know that I’ve ever once come across a band and thought: their lyrics seem influenced by Deep Purple’s lyrics. I certainly have come across bands whose lyrics were influenced by Sabbath’s lyrics and those lyrics were primarily written by Geezer Butler until Ronnie James Dio joined the band.

Here are some lyrics from Megalomania that show just how different Black Sabbath’s lyrics were from typical rock and roll lyrics:

I hide myself inside the shadows of shame
The silent symphonies were playing their game
My body echoed to the dreams of my soul
This god is something that I could not control

Where can I run to now?
The joke is on me
No sympathizing god is insanity, yeah
Why don’t you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don’t you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone, yeah?

Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mixed reality with pseudo-god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seen
I sold my soul to be the human obscene

How could it poison me?
The dream of my soul
How did my fantasies take complete control, yeah?
Why don’t you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don’t you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn’t everybody leave me alone, yeah?

Black Sabbath is the single most influential, impactful band in the history of heavy metal. They’ve influenced bands from Judas Priest to Slayer to Korn. Deep Purple was certainly impactful and influential, but compared to Black Sabbath? It’s no contest.


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