Somewhere in every good music fan's basement is a worn-out copy of either the vinyl, eight-track, or cassette of Black Sabbath's We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll. The 1976 compilation captured the darkest and beefiest moments from the Ozzy years and served as a right of passage for millions of aspiring musicians, burnouts, pastor's kids, and closet miscreants. Rhino's 16-track Greatest Hits 1970-1978 anthology only trumps the single-disc We Sold Our Soul CD by two songs, but it offers superior sound and features at least a few cuts from 1976's Technical Ecstasy and 1978's Never Say Die!, the band's last two pre-millennium Ozzy records. All of the faves are here ("Paranoid," "War Pigs," "Iron Man"), as well as fan classics like "Hole in the Sky" and "Supernaut," but there is enough material missing to call it a sampler rather than a "best of." Fans who are unwilling to shell out the extra money for Sanctuary's superior two-disc Sabbath collection from 2005 will find this sparse yet solid overview to be a useful "CliffsNotes" rendering of the birth of heavy metal.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger