Posts Tagged ‘Black Sabbath’

Black Sabbath created “Sabotage” with their backs to the wall, yet it was a masterpiece, fearlessly experimental and adding added yet another dimension to their music. The 1975 Black Sabbath album, “Sabotage”, will be re-issued as vinyl and CD super deluxe edition box sets, in June. The band’s sixth studio album was recorded amidst legal wranglings with their former manager – which is how the title came about.

The both box sets feature a newly remastered version of the album paired with a complete live show recorded during the 1975 tour. 13 of the 16 live tracks included are previously unreleased. The four-CD box set features the studio album and live concert across three CDs with a fourth disc effectively a CD single. It features the single edit for ‘Am I Going Insane (Radio)’ and ‘Hole In The Sky’.

The vinyl box set features the same content across four vinyl records and those two extra tracks feature on a bonus seven-inch single, with artwork replicating the rare Japanese version of the single. All this music is accompanied by sleeve notes in a 60-page book (CD version – the vinyl is a 40-pager) that tell the story of the album through quotes from band members and the music media along with rare photos and press clippings from the era.

Also included in both packages is a 1975 Madison Square Garden replica concert book and Sabotage 1975 tour poster. . The first five records are all classics; “Sabotage“, from 1975, just misses that designation, but this four-disc expansion gives the LP its long-neglected due. In addition to a remastered version of the album, the Super Deluxe Edition includes live tracks pulled from the 1975 North American tour and a radio edit of one of the album’s singles. It took five years and a new singer before Black Sabbath sounded this relevant again.

Sabotage is released on 11th June 2021, via BMG.

Buy Online Black Sabbath - Vol. 4 Super Deluxe 5LP

Black Sabbath unleashed the group’s fourth album in two years in 1972 with Vol 4. Stacked with classic tracks like “Supernaut” “Changes” and “Snowblind” the record harnessed the group’s surging popularity to reach the Top 10 on the Albums Chart in the U.K. and the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., on its path to being certified platinum by the RIAA.

The innovators of heavy metal revisit Vol 4 on a new collection that includes a newly remastered version of the original album along with a trove of 20 unreleased studio and live recordings. VOL 4: Super Deluxe Edition will be available on February 12th as a 4-CD set and a 5-LP set pressed on 180-gram vinyl, Both versions come with extensive booklets featuring liner notes with quotes from the era from all four band members, rare photos, and a poster with previously unpublished early artwork of the album using the working title Snowblind. These bonus material will transport you into the studio with six previously unreleased studio outtakes and eleven additional recordings featuring alternative takes, false starts and snippets of studio dialogue, offering priceless insight into the making of the album.

The collection concludes with a searing collection of live performances from Sabbath’s 1973 U.K. tour for Vol 4., including thrilling live versions of Vol 4. tracks

Bolstered by a fresh remastering, Vol 4’s ambitious arrangements and complex grooves have never sounded more inspired and menacing. Originally released in September 1972, the album marked two major changes for the members of Sabbath: Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward. While their previous albums – Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master of Reality – were produced by Rodger Bain and recorded in England, they instead chose to produce Vol 4 themselves and record it at the Record Plant in Los Angeles.

The generous addition of bonus material on VOL 4: SUPER DELUXE EDITION begins with six previously unreleased studio outtakes from the original sessions for the album. Each one has been newly mixed by Steven Wilson using the analogue multi-tracks. Highlights include outtakes for “Supernaut” and “Changes,” as well an instrumental version of “Under The Sun.”

The set also features 11 additional studio recordings (also newly mixed by Wilson from the analogue multi-tracks) that spotlight alternative takes, false starts and snippets of studio dialogue. These tracks transport listeners into the studio with the band and offer some insight into the making of the album. Along with several alternative takes for “Wheels Of Confusion,” these recordings also include outtakes for “The Straightener” and “Snowblind.” When Vol. 4 was first unleashed in 1972, it marked a turning point for Sabbath as they drew more prog and experimental influences into their heavy-hitting hard rock. 

The collection concludes with a searing collection of live performances that re-create a typical setlist from Black Sabbath’s tour for Vol 4. Recorded in March 1973 at various stops along the band’s U.K. tour. The recordings were originally slated for a live album that was ultimately shelved. Although some of these performances have been previously available in various states, the release marks the first time that a full 1973 live Sabbath show has been recreated. The live audio has been newly mixed by Richard Digby Smith using the original 16-track analogue tapes to achieve a level of fidelity not heard on any previous incarnations. Included here are thrilling live versions of Vol 4 tracks (“Tomorrow’s Dream” and “Cornucopia”) and fan favourites (“Paranoid” and “War Pigs.”).

black sabbath, 1973

Buy Online Black Sabbath - The End - Birmingham Blue

Birmingham. 4th February 2017. The End. After nearly fifty years it was the final show of Black Sabbath’s Farewell Tour back where it all began in their home city of Birmingham, the industrial heart of England. There could be no more appropriate place for the Godfathers of Heavy Metal to take their last bow. Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne delivered a set that focused on Black Sabbath’s classic seventies albums, the albums that defined a genre and inspired future generations. It was an extraordinary, emotional night for both the band and the fans and one that will never be forgotten. In addition to the live concert, both the film and album feature ‘The Angelic Sessions’ – five songs recorded in the days following the band’s final show. The tracks will mark the band’s final studio recordings.

On 4th February, 2017, Black Sabbath stormed the stage in their hometown of Birmingham for their final triumphant gig. This monumental show brought down the curtain on a career that spanned almost half a century, and is featured here in its entirety.

With a hit packed set list that includes Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs and many more, the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history. The End captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, Black Sabbath.

The three 180gm LPs are housed in a gatefold sleeve.

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Black Sabbath are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their seminal 1970 album “Paranoid” with a new vinyl box set.

Paranoid: Super Deluxe Edition will include an array of material spread across five LPs. The first is the influential original album, including such classic songs as “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and the title track; the second LP features a rare 1974 quad mix of the album folded down to stereo. The remaining three LPs are made up of two concerts from 1970, from Montreux and Brussels, both of which are pressed on vinyl for the first time.

Sticking together after the breakup of an earlier band, guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward joined up with bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne to form a group they initially called the Polka Tulk Blues Band. Eventually settling on Black Sabbath after noticing a crowded matinee showing of the Boris Karloff movie of the same name, the group secured a minimal advance from Vertigo Records and recorded its debut album in a single day — then watched its heavy blues-influenced arrangements and dark lyrics strike an immediate chord with audiences around the world. After scoring a platinum hit with 1970’s ‘Black Sabbath’ LP, the band embarked on a decade defined as much by its success as it was by its excess; as their record sales grew, so did the members’ struggles with substance abuse, which eventually made it difficult to write, perform, or get along. But even as their personal problems loomed, Sabbath continued to release a string of bestselling, heavily influential records, including 1971’s ‘Paranoid’ and 1973’s ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.’

The set also comes with a hardbound book featuring interviews with all four band members and rare photos. A classic-era band poster is also included, along with a replica of the tour book sold during the 1970-71 Paranoid tour. The collection is due for release on October. 9th and is available for pre-order now.

“Paranoid: Super Deluxe Edition“, the 5-LP set or 4-CD set will feature the album, a 1974 quadraphonic mix of it folded down to stereo and two 1970 live concerts from Montreux, Switzerland and Brussels, Belgium. A hardbound book with liner notes, interviews, rare photos, memorabilia, a poster and a replica of the tour book originally sold during the band’s touring on the album will also be included. You can pre-order the set here. PARANOID: SUPER DELUXE EDITION includes the original album, in addition to a rare 1974 Quad Mix of the album folded down to stereo, The five-LP set comes with a hardbound book with extensive liner notes featuring interviews with all four band members, rare photos, and memorabilia, a poster, as well as a replica of the tour book sold during the Paranoid tour.

Black Sabbath – whose classic lineup included singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler – are widely accepted as one of the most influential trailblazers of heavy metal. After announcing its arrival with its self-titled debut in early 1970, the band returned later that year with Paranoid. The album topped the U.K. chart and went on to sell more than 4 million copies in the U.S.


Black Sabbath – “Sabotage In Concert”


Released in July 1975, Sabotage was the sixth studio album by Black Sabbath. The supporting concerts are often regarded as the best of Black Sabbath on stage. There is no finer example of the power of Black Sabbath at work in 1975 than this legendary concert from Asbury Park. This is a rather well-known recording in the world of Black Sabbath bootlegs. It’s a prime example of what they sounded like on the Sabotage tour. The setlist is great, and the quality is amazing, yet Ozzy is really struggling vocally on a lot of the songs. It’s a shame, because such a great quality recording had the potential to be one of the best Sabbath shows. Unfortunately, this one falls short. This was probably one of those times when you had to say “It sounded a lot better in-person.”

This 10-inch double-album collector’s edition is hand-pressed on transparent and purple splatter vinyl. The pattern created on each disc is totally unique. Featuring the very best of Black Sabbaths’s legendary 1975 Asbury Park performance, here is your ultimate personalised and hand-numbered collector’s vinyl.

This deluxe collector’s edition comes with a suite of amazing extras:

  • A2 Fold-Out Record Store Black Sabbath Poster
  • Black Sabbath Interview
  • Black Sabbath Full Length E-Book
  • Black Sabbath Documentary Film


Setlist: 0:00 Supertzar 0:18 Killing Yourself to Live 6:47 Hole in the Sky 11:24 Snowblind 18:06 Symptom of the Universe 22:40 War Pigs 31:08 Megalomania 42:16 Sabbra Cadabra 1:01:36 Supernaut/Bill Ward Drum Solo 1:03:57 Iron Man/Band Jam 1:19:00 Black Sabbath 1:25:47 Spiral Architect 1:31:00 Embryo/Children of the Grave 1:37:02 Paranoid


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Released on this day in 1973..“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is the fifth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath,  the debauchery continued. The band rented a house in Bel Air to write. After a month of no writing and all partying they returned to the UK to Clearwell Castle. The band says the medieval surroundings were inspiring, particularly for Iommi who came up with the riff for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in one of the castles dungeons. Ultimately they left the castle after scaring the hell out of each other too many times and finished the record at Morgan Studios, where Yes were recording next door. So they grabbed Rick Wakeman to lend a hand on Sabbra Cadabra. As well, some of the guys in Zep showed up. John Bonham wanted to play on Sabbra Cadabra but the band preferred to jam on something other than their own. To be a fly on the wall.. I personally love this record.

It’s got all kinds of things happening. Heavy, spacey, funky, experimental.. although it was getting close to the end.

If you told us even as recently as six weeks ago that we’d be working on a Redux version of Black Sabbath’sVolume 4 and, before the end of March, artists including The Obsessed, Whores, Zakk Wylde, and Matt Pike would have all committed to be part of the project, we would’ve probably answered, “Wow.”

And if you’d then said, “Oh yeah, you’ll also assemble a Best of Black Sabbath companion LP featuring Earthless, Elephant Tree, Year of the Cobra, and tons of other great artists including a whole crop of brand-new Magnetic Eye roster bands, who by the way you’ll find time to sign during all the madness of your Vol. 4 Kickstarter,” we’d have most likely said, “piss off.” And yet, here we are, and all of the above has come to pass.

We are indeed reduxing Volume 4 and offering up a Best of Sabbath companion record, we do have some of the greatest heavy artists in the world committed to be part of this project, and we did somehow find time to sign three new bands during all of this, each of whom we’ll have a new record coming from later this year, and all of whom we’re inviting to be part of the project.

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During their peak in the first half of the 1970s, Black Sabbath set about creating a series of albums that would only grow in stature. And it was with their highly accomplished second album, “Paranoid” where their credentials were solidly double-stamped forever into the heaviest ingot of metal yet to be forged.

And yet, Black Sabbath were beyond metal and in a category all their own. These four young, working class guys from ‘rough, unfashionable Aston in Birmingham, England’ together held one unique chemistry that yielded major thrills of no-frills, downer/lumpen bombast that not only thundered all the world ‘round but continues to do so: leaving in its wake a soundtrack of five insanely powerful albums, dozens of sub-genres and legions of gleeful hard rock enthusiasts and heavy metal aficionados. Although stating the obvious, it is a fact that they remain to the present day responsible for some of the most durable, relevant and unique statements ever carved into Rock.

Sabbath were (and are) still one of the most misunderstood groups in all of Rock. More than any other band of their time, they were a paradox filled with inversions: the inverted cross on the gatefold of their first album, guitarist Tony Iommi’s cherry red Gibson SG a southpaw reverse of Clapton’s psychedelicised one; a so-called ‘Satanic Pop group’ who wrote of compassion, love and dreams while the singer was a baleful messenger perched on the edge of doom with both kneecaps self-tattooed with smileys while the other three ‘Black Princes of Downer Rock’ were down to earth Brummies partial to nothing darker than pints of ale, practical jokes, sitting in the rain to watch Aston Villa football matches whilst being burdened with fearsome nicknames of daemonic possession like ‘Stinky.’ But onstage and on record, what they projected were vocals of life-enhancing woe arcing over a relentless and thorough pounding of riffs set to a solidly swinging beat to make faces grimace, fists to rise on high, the heart beat faster, the head throb harder and the lugholes ring louder (What? I can’t hear you) and one of their best moments was the bludgeon-fest they called “War Pigs.” But it was originally called something else…

aka: “Walpurgis”

Originally, ‘War Pigs’ was called ‘Walpurgis’, about Satan’s Christmas thing, but we had to change the lyrics because all the Satan stuff was going on.” –Geezer Butler

Walpurgisnacht is an ancient celebration that falls on the last eve of April, which renders lyricist Geezer Butler’s use of Walpurgis as a title of a song narrating an event confusing — not least of all because Walpurgis was a Christian abbess born in 710. Travelling from Wessex, England to Germany to take charge of a monastery, she was consequently made a saint in 779 with May 1 accorded her saint day. But reaching further back in time reveals earlier roots of Walpurgisnacht. Deriving its name from the similarly-named Teutonic fertility goddess, Walburga who was celebrated and worshipped in Germany and throughout the Baltic region of Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden, once under the domain of Christianity her previous attributes and symbolic significance as a Northern European White Goddess and The Spring Queen were merged with those of St. Walpurgis.

Errant pronoun usage notwithstanding, Geezer was dialed in to something deeper than just Boris Karloff films and chillums for his taste in literature was more than just a smattering of supernatural paperbacks by Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft and Dennis Wheatley. Goethe’s “Faust” certainly hovered about on in on his bookshelf. In fact, it may have been the single strongest influence on his original concept and lyrics for “Walpurgis.” Dig this:

“The witches t’ward the Brocken strain
When the stubble yellow, green the grain.
The rabble rushes – as ’tis meet –
To Sir Urian’s lordly seat.
O’er stick and stone we come, by jinks!
The witches f—, the he-goat s—…”1

Except for the exclamatory “Oh Lord, yeah!” as punctuation, the translation remains remarkably true to the cadence of “War Pigs” aka “Walpurgis.” Which is appropriate, as the above quote from “Faust” is taken from a scene that occurs on Walpurgisnacht when Mephisto escorts Faust on Der Brocken to consort with a coven of witches.

“Witches Gather at Black Masses…”

“War Pigs” is the first of eight powerful, entirely slackless and perfectly programmed tracks that comprise Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album. “War Pigs” doesn’t just open their second album so much as split the silence that precedes it down half with a direct hit from the opening bog blast of guitarist Tony Iommi’s Laney amplification up until its instrumental coda crazily speeds up into a wall of silence (unless you’re listening to the Quadrophonic version, of course.) Although constantly shifting in tempo, vocal tone and texturing, “War Pigs” is resolutely focused in fixed defiance throughout its length and was where Black Sabbath laid bare what would be their simplest and most bloodstained indictment, ever. Electrically-charged with myth and atmosphere, the musical backing hangs relentlessly tight and visceral against four bleating stanzas projected from the gob of Oz that switch from opening soaring supplications as though with raised palms faced inwards into a series of perfectly bellowed rant-on sentences and its cumulative effect was a razing declaration on war.

As one of Sabbath’s most compelling and universally themed songs, “War Pigs” began as a piece they’d been working on sporadically in live performance since late 1968. Although the main structure and arrangement remained unchanged since its earliest “Walpurgis” incarnation, the lyrics were an altogether different matter. The opening line “Witches gather at black masses” would endure despite a jumble of permutations and although the narrative runs through a description of a witches’ convocation (with sinners on a hill awaiting Satan’s arrival as “evil doings” ranging from “carrying banners which denounce the Lord” to “eating dead rat’s inners” abound) its location “on a hill, a church in ruins” is but a hint of Der Brocken: the highest peak of Germany’s Harz region best known as the setting of Walpurgisnacht.

When Black Sabbath’s debut album appeared littered with occult references in the lyrics, sleeve photography and (most obvious of all) their own name, several lesser bands followed suit boasting more direct links to black magic, consequently causing a minor sensation in the British music press during early 1970. But as the supernatural mystique foisted upon Black Sabbath became too large an inverted cross to bear, they decided their load would be lightened sizably by jettisoning some of the more provocative occult references from their lyrics. Concerned with their perceived association with black magic and how it could jeopardise their first American tour later in the year, it was unanimously decided by band, management and record company to altogether overhaul the lyrics to “Walpurgis.” Whether inspired by an infamous lapse of the John Osbourne memory banks, a spur of the moment ad-lib off the top of Ozzy’s head or just the thought of having to contend with two sets of lyrics for the same song was enough to make the Mind of O seize up even more than usual — thereby causing the Jovial One to blurt out in a bout of supreme frustration “For fuckssake: ‘Walpurgis,’ ‘Walpiggus,’ ‘Walpurgis,’ ‘Walpiggus’ let’s call the whole thing off and I’ll just sing it in Latin, I can’t be arsed, y’know fuckin’ ‘ell”) is not recorded. Although in those pre-teleprompter days, Ozzy forgetting, adding, dropping, repeating or mixing up lyrics was hardly an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps it was only Geezer sneakily re-arranging the letters on his talking board late one night. But however it happened, it did and although the music and arrangements remained virtually unchanged, the lyrics and title of “Walpurgis” were transformed into “War Pigs.” But it took several months to stay that way.

“…Just Like Witches at Black Masses” 

“I’d get comfortable with the melody line and Geezer or I would write them [the lyrics] in the studio. But other than that, I don’t know where they’re from.” – Ozzy Osbourne

“Listen to me
While I sing this song
You might just think the words are wrong…”
Black Sabbath: “The Writ” (“Sabotage” LP, 1975)

But the newly re-written “War Pigs” did not keep things resolved for long. As both opening track of their forthcoming second album and projected title of said LP, with an important first tour of the United States looming late in the year their record company expressed concern and refused to release it as “War Pigs.” Although it’s never been clear as to which of Sabbath’s labels (Vertigo in Britain or Warner Brothers in America) were responsible for the veto, several causes for rejection would seem to indicate the latter as anti-war sentiment in America had been escalating in tandem with the Vietnam War and a pervading sense of unease and tension had been causing a divisive split throughout the nation for years. Although Sabbath were for the moment out of the satanic frying pan, no one wanted to see them fall outright into the anti-war fire. For as archaic as it now may seem, ‘pig’ was the strongest derogatory slang used at the time to address persons of authority and especially policemen. As well as people of ugly, selfish or greedy bearing, it was also suffixed onto other slang terms like ‘sexist’ or ‘male chauvinist.’ But one association everyone wished to avoid altogether was how “War Pigs” could be misconstrued as an endorsement of the Manson murders of the previous summer where the epitaphs “POLITICAL PIGGIES,” “DEATH TO PIGS” and “PIGS” had been smeared at the gruesome murder sites in the victims’ own blood. At first, the murders were even rumoured to have been the work of a satanic death cult and the sensational image of a long-haired hippie commune on a murderous rampage frightened both the status quo and longhairs alike.

Substituting the potentially offensive title with the safer and more saleable moniker of their forthcoming “Paranoid” single was telling, as it may have also been chosen to reflect the concerned state of the band and record company over the whole affair. Then again, paranoia was a commodity in no short supply in 1970 and Warner Brothers hedged their bets even further with a promotional advertisement that read with the typical hard-sell, tongue-in-cheek “Loss Leaders”-styled copywriting style so beloved of the label: “Black Sabbath is a lot of things — a couple of things they aren’t though, and we and they insist that no one lump them in with witches, warlocks, werewolves or other black magic by-products” (And to think this was the same record company that three years later would vet the cover painting for “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” — one which broke both elbows throwing in the occult kitchen sink all over the front cover.)

War Pigs (Six Different Ones)

A cross-section of six different versions of “War Pigs” illustrates the alterations made to the original “Walpurgis” lyrics during the period of March to November, 1970. Comparing the final studio “War Pigs” lyrics (recorded June, 1970) with those of five live renditions (recorded March, April, June, October and November 1970) highlights immense differences and show the lyrics for “Walpurgis” in a constant state of flux: most notably in the middle pair of up-tempo stanzas that precede the first instrumental break. Instead of beginning with the now familiar “Politicians hide themselves away” and “Time will tell on their power minds” were instead “Carrying banners which denounce the lord” and “Don’t hold me back ‘cos I just gotta go” while the rest of the lyrics also conjured up a pulse quickening mix of unrelated imagery depicting panicked flights of fear underneath ‘Dies Irae’-styled skies set to a high tempo bash. And these lyrics continued to shift wildly from performance to performance for months prior to the American tour.

Konzerthaus, Köln: March 3, 1970

It is fitting that two of the earliest live recordings of “Walpurgis” extant are from gigs in Germany, where the legend of Walpurgisnacht originated. This earliest known recorded version from Köln contains a middle pair of stanzas that go:

“I don’t care if you don’t wanna go
They are the devil in disguise
Carrying banner which denounce the Lord
They are Lucifer inside
(All right, now!)

Look at me, don’t anoint my head with blood
See me burning down [obscured]
Closer and close to you, and you’re not there
Say, what you gonna do now?
(All right, now!)”

And like all versions of “Walpurgis,” the final verse is always a variation of the following:

“On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ inners
It’s the same where’er you go
Black masses, they’re coming out
(All right, now!)”

BBC, London: April 26th, 1970

Available for a limited time on the second disc of the Ozzy Osbourne compendium “The Ozzman Cometh,” the version of “War Pigs” recorded for the BBC is the highest quality version of “Walpurgis.” The lyrics adhere mainly to the Köln version, except for the ever-changing middle pair of stanzas which are the goriest extant, as well as sharing some of the imagery with the Köln version:

“Carrying banners which denounce the Lord
See me rotting in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me

Don’t hold me back ‘cos I just gotta go
Satan got a hold of my soul now
Look in my brain and there was blood and see
Look in my eyes and there I go

Regent Sound Studio & Island Studios, London: circa June 16; 21-25, 1970

Although the dates vary from source to source, it has been loosely determined that the “Paranoid” album was recorded during the period of June 21-25, 1970. Produced by Rodger Bain, here the re-written, ‘de-Walpurgisnacht-ed’ lyrics from “generals gathered in their masses” to “Satan, laughing, spreads his wings” make their earliest known recorded appearance.

Audimax, Freie Universität, Berlin: June 26th, 1970

This gig was promoted with a red and black poster bearing the appropriate legend “LIVE: The Magic of Black Sabbath.” Sabbath blasts into a lumbering and vicious rendition of “Walpurgis.” Directly after the last up-tempo stanza prior to the guitar solo, Iommi makes the only playing error of his career AND winds up saving it by sustaining a single riff that bleeds across several beats as a howling storm. As a massive fan of Iommi, I love it not because it catches him with his pants down, but that even in a pinch his self-assured monochording still could turn a misstep into a fluid, heavy improvisation.

Of note is the third stanza, which varies wildly from all others:

“See me going like my head is gone
See me running down love now
It’s conceived evil, I want to run
I want to know what you’re gonna do now

“Olympia, Paris: December 20, 1970”

Although the famous “Paris 1970” performance of Black Sabbath broadcast on Yorkshire Television has been circulating for decades in collector’s circles, its identifying date and place are still the stuff of speculation. The 2-CD Sabbath “Past Lives” collection not only incompletely collated the performance, but incorrectly listed the place and date as ‘Paris Olympia, December 20, 1970.’ Now in the film it is plain to see the venue is a far smaller hall than the Olympia while the Olympia’s stage was not composed of rough wooden planks. With the faintest of supporting evidence in the form of the film credits comprised mainly of Belgian surnames, the show may very well date from either a day earlier at Vorst Nationaal, Brussels, Belgium or on October 3rd, 1970 from the same city (Although entirely conjecture on my part, anyone with substantiated proof please clue me in.)

But the location and date of this gig do not matter nearly as much as the performance itself for Black Sabbath were captured at the peak of their powers AND on a night when they were totally on (So exactly WHEN is this amazing artifact going to be released?! Clips surfaced from it in the “Ozzy: Don’t Blame Me” retrospective DVD on Sony, and both visual and audio content are PRISTINE. Sanctuary, Sharon, SOMEBODY: please sort this out and SOON as it’s the best Sabbath concert from 1970…or any year for that matter. Then arrange a release schedule for Cal Jam. And the ’75 Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert performance. Before the original tapes deteriorate. Do it…do it…do it…)

Although introduced by Ozzy to zero audience acknowledgment (“We got a number now called ‘War Pigs’, it’s a number off our new LP, hope you like it, thank you”) by the time of the final stanza the audience is blitzed to Hell and clapping along with Bill Ward’s final hi-hat build up like they’ve been banging head to it for years. The version of “War Pigs” performed here may or may not provide a clue as to this performance’s date by pushing it back to the middle of 1970 for as it is the only known recording where stanzas from “Walpurgis” are aligned cheek by jowl with those from “War Pigs”: The second stanza is a merger of both second and third stanzas of “War Pigs,” the third stanza is entirely different to all other known versions while the fourth (and final) stanza is straight up “Walpurgis.” But of all the different takes of “Walpurgis”, this one has gotta take the Beltane carline cake:

“People running like sheep in fields
People blowing out their minds
They’ve got your dying day and know it’s now
They’re gonna rot in the end

Fillmore West, San Francisco, California: November 21, 1970

Sabbath’s anticipated American tour did not get off to the best start. According to a 1992 interview in The Philadelphia Daily News with Rick Green (the promoter of their first U.S. show at Glassboro State College, New Jersey) the band’s passage through customs at Kennedy Airport in New York proved to be “a day-long trauma that left the group tired and humiliated,” causing them to be three and a half hours late for the gig. Finally appearing onstage at 1:00 in the morning, the power to their sound system cut out during the first song. It was fixed within a few minutes, but once they recommenced they caused a second power outage that not only knocked out their sound system but the power to the gymnasium, the campus and “…most of the power in the neighborhood. The street lights were out and there was darkness.” Appropriately enough, the date was Mischief Night: exactly half a year away from Walpurgisnacht on October 30th.

Three weeks later, they reached the Fillmore West in San Francisco and the lyrics to “War Pigs” were faithfully reproduced by Ozzy as per the album (except for the word ‘man’s’ used in place of ‘death’s’ in “Sorcerers of death’s construction…” but seeing as Ozzy even managed to derail “War Pigs” four years later at Cal Jam by repeating the “In the fields the bodies burning…” couplet in the last stanza, it was probably due more to Osbourne’s lackadaisical temperament than any sort of nervous decorum.)
Luckily, the rest of the tour ran smoothly for the band and helped establish their reputation as a top new export of high volume, energy-driven Rock that would continue to grow throughout the 1970s. And ever since that first American tour, “War Pigs” never once reverted back to “Walpurgis” with its best-known lyrics on the “Paranoid” album striking — and continues to strike — a chord up to the present day.

Oh Lord, yeah!

As a 36 year-old album, the iconic power of the “Paranoid” sleeve generally deflects objective visual judgment and criticism. But when viewed under various circumstances for nearly three decades (as I have) one can switch between how stunning AND how ludicrous it is. It was recently mentioned to me that if “Paranoid” had somehow turned out to be a musically weak dud, the derision poured on its cover sleeve would probably equal or surpass even that of the first Toe Fat album. This is not to lay blame at the doorstep of Keef (the gifted photographer whose work adorned not only “Paranoid” but many of Sabbath’s early albums as well as a wide swath of many other early Vertigo releases) for the sleeve art had already been photographed with the projected “War Pigs” title in mind. But riddle me this: what the fuck does a shot of a bearded man wielding a fluorescent blue plastic samurai sword and shield wearing blue undies over pink tights sporting a crash helmet and sash rushing out from behind a late night copse have ANYTHING to do with “generals gathered in their masses”?! It’s enough to almost make me think “Fairies Wear Boots” may have also been under consideration as a provisional title but promptly abandoned when it was discovered that the American audience would be oblivious of its British meaning and lurking entendre. Almost.

But on other occasions the cover falls completely in place: glimpsing or hallucinating something out of the corner of your eye emerging from the darkness is a pretty solid visual metaphor for paranoia. But at other times, the collective visual dissonance of the title, the photography and the mid-sixties Yardbirds-a-go-go-logo all conspire to make it look a little out of time, definitely odd, completely ridiculous, not a little mysterious and in a paradoxical dum-dum zone all its own.

…A lot like Black Sabbath, come to think of it.

Black Sabbath final tour, appropriately titled The End. After Ozzy went solo in 1979, there was no reason to think that these guys would ever be on stage together again. The 1985 Live Aid set and Ozzy’s 1992 Costa Mesa concert encore whet fans’ appetites for an inevitable reunion that’s lasted fitfully since 1997. Now, following the 2013 release of their career benchmark album,13,

There were heavy bands before Sabbath. Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, and The Who were all on the scene well before Earth changed its name to Black Sabbath in 1969. But none bore the intent and follow-through of the boys from Birmingham. There are not many acts from the Sixties that have avoided the death of at least one of its founding members. People are now calling The Who, Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones didn’t even make it to the 4th of July in ’69. Only two Beatles remain. The last band anyone would have expected to survive is Black Sabbath.

Sabbath had already recorded its first album of horror-inflected doom* on October 16th. By September of 1970, the second album was out, with themes of paranoia, war, and drug abuse trumping any fancies that peace and love would conquer this brave new world. When the eponymous Black Sabbath album came out on Friday the 13th of February 1970, it was genuinely scary. People left the room when they heard the rain, the church bells, and the ultimate riff. No matter what has come since, nothing has ever been this heavy, produced in a world so utterly unprepared.

Led Zeppelin were the players, but Sabbath were no slouches. This was largely based on myth and the ill-considered release Live At Last. Sabbath weren’t bad musicians But listen to the playing even on their debut. It’s on par with any band short of King Crimson. Geezer is the missing link between Paul McCartney and Steve Harris. Tony’s leads come direct from the source. Ozzy sounds like he was gargling hot honey, and Bill Ward’s chops will make you want to cry. They were a devastating unit then, and they still are today. Bands no longer apprentice themselves like they did in the Sixties. Black Sabbath used to play seven 45-minute sets a night during its residency at the Star Club in Hamburg. Sabbath played more gigs at the Star Club than the Beatles,

After Ozzy was given the boot in 1979 for a lot of really bad behavior, general ennui, and epic levels of alcoholism, Ronnie James Dio came into the fold. The Rainbow singer was everything Ozzy wasn’t: professional, pitch-perfect, a lyricist, and American. Dio made four studio albums with Sabbath, the fourth and heaviest being 2009’s The Devil You Know under the band name Heaven & Hell. When Dio first split from Sabbath after Mob Rules, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan was brought in to sing on the 1983 Spinal Tap-esque rave up Born Again. And when Dio refused to sing for Sabbath as an opening act at the aforementioned 1992 Costa Mesa gig, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford stepped in to offer some metal god-level pipes to the party. “I’m not doing that.” Dio said, quoted in Iommi’s Iron Man autobiography.

we all know that Sharon will flog Ozzy back onto the road as soon as she’s able, but this was the last proper tour for Sabbath. Maybe they’ll record again. Maybe there will be a farewell show or three. Maybe we’ll even see them kiss and make up with Bill Ward once and for all. But with the contracts signed, Iommi’s ongoing battle with cancer, and all of the guys pushing 70, this tour is the last chance to see three of the founding members of Black Sabbath on tour together.  If you’ve ever made it to the end of “Dear Father”–the last song on 13—you know that it ends right where the band started.

Альбом 13 получил премию Classic Rock Awards — Roll of Honour в номинации «Альбом года» (Album Of The Year). Помимо этого, группа получила премии в номинациях «Событие года» (Event Of The Year) и «Живая легенда» (Living Legends)[104]. Альбом и песня из него «God Is Dead» были номинированы на получение премии «Грэмми»[105] в номинациях: Лучшее исполнение (Best Metal Performance) Лучшая рок-песня (Best Rock Song) Лучший рок-альбом (Best Rock Album)

Almost five decades ago, the toll of a bell and rolling thunder marked the conception of an ear splittingly monolithic riff. In that moment, Black Sabbath and the sound of Heavy Metal were forged. The band embarked on what Ozzy describes as “the most incredible adventure you could think of”, a journey that would go on to define a genre.

Black Sabbath performing “N.I.B.” live for the very last time.

“The End” is a celebration of Black Sabbath’s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on 4th February, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on 17th November 2017.

“To bring it all back home after all these years was pretty special,” Black Sabbath said in a statement. “It was so hard to say goodbye to the fans, who’ve been incredibly loyal to us through the years. We never dreamed in the early days that we’d be here 49 years later doing our last show on our home turf.”

“We’re definitely finishing in Birmingham,” he said. “We’re not going to re-form after five years and say, “Because of public demand  …” Black Sabbath has been up and down and ’round the mulberry bush so many times.”