This album is considered in many circles to be where heavy metal started. Led Zeppelin arguably had a hand in heavy metal's genesis, but Black Sabbath was more metal than Led Zeppelin, I would have to say. Sabbath brought heavy, detuned blues-based rock that used "the devil's interval," and gloom and doom lyrics together to create music that was dismissed at the time. Zeppelin was definitely heavy and they had the same Tolkien, Lovecraft inspired lyrics ad themes, but I'll bet Zeppelin got way more chicks.
Ironically enough, "The Wizard" is actually comes off as kinda positive. It seems to be inspired by Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. "Sun is shining, clouds have gone by / All the people give a happy sigh / He has passed by, giving his sign / Left all the people feeling so fine." Not too gloomy and doomy. Although, it turns out the song is actually about the band's drug dealer at the time.
The song starts with some harmonica that follows along with the main riff. There are a couple of cowbell hits peppered throughout the song at 2:13 and it sounds like it at 3:43. It's hard to discern due to the rocking out going on later in the song.
There are a couple of notable covers. The Rob Halford-led supergroup, Bullring Brummies, did a faithful cover that included cowbell for the first Nativity in Black tribute album. As well they should, because the original Sabbath rhythm section of Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums) were in the group, as was Scott "Wino" Weinrich. The over version of note is Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa with John Tesh doing an impromptu performance on an old episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Check it below...
The Bell Score: 4.04115