With our top ten Black Label Society songs we are looking at ten of the best cuts from the band formed by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde. They were first formed in 1998 after the disbandment of Wylde’s previous project Pride and Glory. When they recorded their debut album Sonic Brew Wylde decided to form a full band rather than have a solo career.
Their second album Stronger Than Death was released in 2000 and featured Steve Gibb on bass guitar who is the son of Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees. The third record 1919 Eternal was put out in 2002 and over the next couple of years they had a couple of other bassists including Mike Inez from Alice In Chains and Robert Trujillo who left to join Metallica, as well as several other changes in personnel.
They have continued to be a consistent touring and recording band and have released ten albums in total. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – Room Of Nightmares
Kicking off our top ten Black Label Society songs list is this single taken from their tenth album Grimmest Hits released in 2018. The album was particularly inspired by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin who have both always been a massive influence on Wylde. In regards to the title, Wylde stated that he wanted to confuse people with it. The album was very successful getting to number one on the Billboard Hard Music Chart and the indie charts as well as number two on the Rock Charts.
# 9 – My Dying Time
This next track is a single taken from BLS’s ninth album Catacombs of the Black Vatican released in 2014. It marked the debut of drummer Chad Szeliga who had previously played in Breaking Benjamin. It got to number five on the Billboard 200 and topped the Rock Album Charts. Within its first week it sold around 2,500 copies.
# 8 – Parade of the Dead
Up next we have the debut single to be taken from the band’s eighth album Order of the Black released in 2010. Within the first week of its release, it sold around 33, 000 copies in the US and got into the Billboard album charts at number four. It also got into the top ten in Canada where it reached number nine.
# 7 – Concrete Jungle
Next we have the lead single from the seventh Black Label Society album Shot To Hell released in 2006. It is their only album to be released on Roadrunner Records. Several critics compared the sound of the album to the likes of Alice In Chains, Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity. This track in particular is rather reminiscent of Alice In Chains.
# 6 – In This River
Ending the first half of this list we have the third single to be taken from the band’s sixth album Mafia released in 2005. It got to number thirty-two on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song, which is a ballad, is performed entirely by Wylde himself. The video to it was dedicated to Wylde’s best friend, the former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell who was murdered whilst performing onstage in 2004. This has led many to believe that the song was written about Dimebag when in fact it was written several months before his death. The decision to make the video about Dimebag came about when Wylde felt that the song suited the subject matter. In subsequent live performances Wylde always dedicates the song to Dimebag.
# 5 – Layne
Kicking off the second half of this list we have another tribute song, this time dedicated to the late Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley. It is taken from Black Label’s fifth album Hangover Music Vol Vi released in 2004. The album as a whole has a much more mellow sound than any other BLS album and many have compared it to Wylde’s 1996 solo effort Book Of Shadows.
# 4 – Stillborn
Here we have the lead single to be taken from Black Label Society’s fourth album The Blessed Hellride released in 2003. It features Ozzy Osbourne on the chorus, who’s vocals Wylde’s had started to sound rather similar to at this point. It is about a man who is abused by his girlfriend and feels dead inside as a result. Wylde has stated that it is not autobiographical. It had a video which was directed by Rob Zombie.
# 3 – Demise of Sanity
At number three we have a song taken from Black Label Society’s third album 1919 Eternal released in 2002. Wylde dedicated the album to his father. This track which features Rob Trujillo on bass was one of five tracks that Wylde wrote for Ozzy Osbourne’s Down To Earth album which Osbourne rejected because he felt that they sounded to much like Black Label. As a result of this, Wylde decided to use the songs for this album.
# 2 – Counterfeit God
Just off the top spot we have a single taken from Black Label Society’s second album Stronger Than Death released in 2000. The song is about televangelists and how Wylde, who is himself a man of faith, feels that they are hypocritical for using God to make money by making false claims of being able to heal people of illness and disability. The video notably features actor Mark Wahlberg acting as a stand in for the band’s bassist due to the fact that they did not have one at the time.
# 1 – Born To Lose
Topping this list we have a single from the debut Black Label Society album Sonic Brew released in 1998. This album as a whole has more of a southern rock feel than any of the band’s subsequent albums. It did not see a US release until a year after its recording due to the fact that the bass and drums on some of the tracks were buried in the mix. Because of this Wylde decided to record another track that was exclusive to the American release which was “Lost My Better Half” which was a much more aggressive sounding song than the rest of the album and was actually what inspired the band to start writing heavier material.
A third version of the album was then issued after the Johnnie Walker whisky company issued a cease and desist order to Wylde due to the album’s cover being based off their design for bottles of Black Label whiskey. As a result of this they re-released the album with a different cover. As a way to get fans to buy this new version of the album they recorded a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “No More Tears” which was included as a bonus track.
Top 10 Black Label Society Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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