Posts Tagged ‘Ozzy Osbourne’

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.

THE FINAL SHOW FROM THE GREATEST METAL BAND OF ALL TIME
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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Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman

Ozzy Osbourne’s documentary, The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne, is a life-spanning tale that delves into the musicians early years growing up in Birmingham and how he came to be the Prince of Darkness.

In promotion for the film, Sharon and Ozzy shared an unbelievable story about the time Ozzy attempted to kill her in a drug-induced haze and was subsequently arrested. Sharon detailed that the pair were living in Buckinghamshire in 1989 with their children — Jack, Kelly and Aimee — when the incident took place. They had just put their children to bed when Ozzy, who was under the influence of drugs, made the decision to kill Sharon.

So it goes, Ozzy was calmly sitting across the room from Sharon, when she realised that something wasn’t right.

“He came into the room,” Sharon revealed. “I had no idea who was sat across from me on the sofa but it wasn’t my husband. He goes to a stage where he gets that look in his eyes, the shutters were down and I just couldn’t get through to him. And he just said, ‘We’ve come to a decision that you’ve got to die.’ She went on to detail that without warning, Ozzy jumped across the room and attempted to strangle her.

“He was calm, very calm,” she continues. “Then suddenly he lunged across at me and just dived on me and started to choke me. He got me down on the ground on top of me and I was feeling for stuff on the table. I felt the panic button and I just pressed it and the next thing I know, the cops were there.”

Due to the (unspecified) drugs he was under, Ozzy has no recollection of the incident ever taking place.

“I felt the calmest I had ever felt in my life,” Ozzy recalled. “I was just peaceful. All I remember is waking up in Amersham jail and I asked the cop, ‘Why am I here?’ And he says, ‘You want me to read your charge?’ So he read, ‘John Michael Osbourne, you have been arrested for attempted murder.’”

Sharon admitted that the incident was almost enough of a catalyst for her to file for divorce. Ultimately, she decided to stay with Ozzy for their children. The judge working the case sentenced Ozzy to six months of medical treatment.

“Thank God the judge put him in treatment for six months,” Sharon mused. “I had time to really think about what he should do. I told him, ‘I don’t want the money but if you do this again, either I am going to kill you or you are going to kill me. And do you want that for the kids?’”

The third expansion of an Ozzy album released this year (after 1991’s No More Tears and 2001’s Down to Earth), the Prince of Darkness’ sophomore album – the last with guitarist Randy Rhoads before his tragic passing – now comes with two bonus tracks from the Blizzard of Ozz tour. (Perplexingly, these were part of a whole live bonus disc when Blizzard of Ozz and Madman were reissued in 2011.

The “Diary Of A Madman” special digital re-issue will be available November 5th via all digital platforms.  The album is Ozzy’s second studio release and the last album to feature 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Famer guitarist Randy Rhoads. The multi-platinum release (with five million albums sold worldwide) included the #2 Mainstream Rock track, “Flying High Again.”

The album was listed at #15 on Rolling Stone’s 2017 list of “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.” Kory Grow noted, “A year after proving he was still a vital musical force on his first post–Black Sabbath solo LP, 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, Ozzy Osbourne demonstrated it wasn’t a one-time fluke with an album of poppy and gothic anthems like ‘Flying High Again’ and the almost classical closing title track. Guitarist Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash while touring for “Diary” in 1982, had already proven himself a virtuoso on “Blizzard”; here, he worked even harder to find the rare nexus between showboat chops and clever song writing…”

also Ozzy Osbourne is set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his landmark debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, with an expanded release.

Set for digital release this Friday, September 18th. The re-release will see the original album in all its glory, with additional bonus tracks ‘You Looking at Me, Looking at You’, the 2010 mix of ‘Goodbye to Romance’, and Randy Rhoads instrumental outtake ‘RR’. It will also feature seven live tracks from the Blizzard of Ozz tour that were previously unavailable digitally.

In addition to the expanded release of the record, Osbourne will finally give his revered concert films Live & Loud and Live at Budokhan the digital treatment. This will be the first time this classic footage will receive an official digital release.

With Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary Of A Madman” celebrating its 40th anniversary this week, a variety of video clips have been released to commemorate the album. These include a new video for “FLYING HIGH AGAIN,” (created from exclusive images from Ross Halfin’s newly released Randy Rhoads book), along with live versions of “Over The Mountain,” “Flying High Again,” and “Believer.”

Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary Of A Madman’ 40th Anniversary Expanded Digital Edition Out Today (November 5)

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.

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Ozzy-Osbourne-Under-The-Graveyard

Earlier this summer, something remarkable happened. In the middle of Post Malone’s blockbuster genre-blurred album Hollywood’s Bleeding, Ozzy Osbourne, iconic metal wailer showed up on what was basically an old-school lighters-up power ballad. And he sounded incredible. This guy was out here looking like shambling death on American television 17 years ago, but that voice still just came ripping out of him. (If studio trickery was involved, then it was some beautifully executed studio trickery.) With that appearance on “Take What You Want,” Osbourne reduced Travis Scott, also on the song, to atoms, he scored his first top-10 hit in 30 years.

Osbourne has been talking about a new LP since “Take What You Want” landed, and he’s been enthusing about how much he loves that song. So it’s not particularly surprising to learn that Osbourne made the album with producer and Posty collaborator Andrew Watt on the new album “Ordinary Man”, which is set to come out early next year. Watt played guitar on the album, and he’s got some ringers with him. The LP also features Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on bass and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums. Longtime Osbourne sideman Zakk Wylde does not appear.

Ordinary Man will be Osbourne’s first studio album in a decade — his big return after 2010’s Scream. Osbourne also sang on the surprisingly robust Black Sabbath reunion album 13 in 2013, but that’s still a long time ago! Ozzy Osbourne is now 70, and he has survived the kind of debauchery that would’ve killed most of us 15 times over. For him to be making music at all is pretty amazing. For him to be sounding good is even crazier.

And “Under The Graveyard,” Osbourne’s new single, is pretty good! It’s some real studio-rock, with echo effects all over Osbourne’s voice and ultra-processed guitar crunch. But if you grew up with this guy, it’s still satisfying to hear him yowling about “we all die alone” over delicate filigrees that turn into big riffage. Osbourne co-wrote the song with Andrew Watt, Chad Smith, and — huh — BTS collaborator Ali Tamposi. Below, listen to the song and read Osbourne’s delightful press-release quote about the new album.

It all started when [my daughter] Kelly comes in and says, “Do you want to work on a Post Malone song?” My first thing was “Who the fuck is Post Malone?!” I went to Andrew [Watt]’s house and he said, “We will work really quick.” After we finished that song, he said, “Would you be interested in starting an album?” I said, “That would be fucking great,” but now I am thinking I don’t want to be working in a basement studio for six months! And in just a short time, we had the album done.

Duff [McKagan] and Chad [Smith] came in, and we would go in and jam during the day, and I would go work out the songs in the evenings. I previously had said to Sharon I should be doing an album, but in the back of my mind I was going, “I haven’t got the fucking strength…” But Andrew pulled it out of me. I really hope people listen to it and enjoy it because I put my heart and soul into this album.”

“Under The Graveyard” is out now on the streaming services. Ordinary Man doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s coming early next year. Also next year, Osbourne will play a character in the animated movie Trolls World Tour,

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.”

Black Sabbath will release a 4-disc deluxe edition of their classic 2nd album Paranoid, featuring alternative mix and live tracks. Black Sabbath have announced a four-disc super deluxe edition of their 1970 second album Paranoid.

It’ll launch on November 11th and is being released to coincide with the band’s final run of live dates on their The End tour, which is scheduled to wrap up in February with two dates in their hometown of Birmingham.

The Paranoid package will include the 2012 remaster of the original album, along with a rare 1974 stereo quad mix. In addition, the set will include two live performances from 1970 in Montreux and Brussels.

It’ll also feature a hardbound book with extensive liner notes, photos, memorabilia, a poster and a replica of the tour book sold during the Paranoid run of shows that year.

It’ll also include new interviews with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Initially released in 1970, Paranoid featured classic Black Sabbath tracks War Pigs, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Fairies Wear Boots and the title track, which reached no.4 in the UK singles charts and no.61 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

The Paranoid Super Deluxe Edition is available for pre-order via Amazon.

It may have been released 46 years ago, but Black Sabbath’s second album has lost none of its unearthly power

Rat Salad

By Sabbath standards, Rat Salad is little more than a throwaway instrumental, but by most other bands’ standards it’s pretty fucking great. 150 seconds of spiralling riffs and muscular oomph, it makes up the numbers on Paranoid to some degree, but still more than justifies its presence on this classic album by demonstrating just how fiery and exhilarating the young Brummies were by this point. Perhaps more interestingly, it has yet to be confirmed whether any of the band have ever actually eaten a rat salad. It doesn’t sound very appetising, but then they were out of their minds on drugs at the time and anything’s possible when the munchies kick in.

Paranoid

Dashed off as a last-minute filler for Sabbath’s second album, Paranoid may not have ever been intended as an immortal anthem for the ages, but that’s what it has indubitably become. As humble as its birth was, it’s a textbook example of a classic heavy rock song: short, to the point, laden with hooks and performed with the kind of urgency and vitality that only young bands with big dreams and tons of confidence can muster. The fact that it’s only the seventh best song on Paranoid is testament to the mind-bending quality of the rest of the album, rather than a criticism of the song itself. Everyone loves Paranoid.

Electric Funeral

It’s an obvious truth that he entire doom metal scene owes its collective arse to Black Sabbath, and to songs like Electric Funeral in particular. Crushing, sinister and wonderfully weird, this is a song that still sounds like the end of the world slithering towards us (and given the state of the planet at this point, we deserve nothing less). Lyrics like ‘Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage’ and ‘Earth lies in death bed/Clouds cry water dead’ ensure that the apocalyptic vibe is virtually chewable throughout, and the way that Sabbath switch from debilitating dirge to bursts of nimble, mutant blues fury still has the power to take the breath away. May all our funerals be this electric.

Planet Caravan

They may have struck fear into the hearts of polite, Christian folk everywhere with their evil riffs and uncontrollable facial hair, but Black Sabbath were hippies at heart and Planet Caravan remains their finest ever attempt to tap into the woozy bliss of psychedelia. Satan only knows how much weed was smoked during the recording, but seldom has the notion of drifting blearily through the cosmos with one’s true love ever been so vividly evoked. And while Sabbath’s biggest and most seminal contribution to metal remains Tony Iommi’s riffs, the fact that Pantera covered this song on 1994’s Far Beyond Driven proves that Sabbath’s subtle side has had an undeniably enduring effect on the evolution of heavy music too.

Hand Of Doom

Another song that has been utterly essential in inspiring the doom metal legions, Hand Of Doom is obscenely heavy in every respect: the riffs, of course, are pulverising but it’s the lyrics that make this such a bruising seven-minute crawl through unimaginable horror. Inspired by the drug-ravaged disintegration of US soldiers returning from the Vietnam war, it’s a sustained litany of nightmarish observations set to one of the band’s most ingenious arrangements: ‘Push the needle in/Face death’s sickly grin/Holes are in your skin/Caused by deadly pin’… come on, it doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Extra points for the phrase ‘deadly pin’, which may well have saved a few people from dying in freak sewing accidents.

Fairies Wear Boots

Fairies don’t exist, so their footwear is hardly a matter for sensible discussion, but when you’re in the midst of Paranoid’s mesmerising closing track, it wouldn’t take much to make you believe and head straight for the nearest branch of Foot Locker to do some research on miniature clogs. That aside, Fairies Wear Boots is still a staple in Sabbath’s live sets, and with good reason: this song swings like a megalodon’s ballbag and deftly combines pounding blues rock vibes with a strong sense of pot-addled euphoria that reaches an almost comical peak when Ozzy sings ‘Smokin’ and trippin’ is all that you do!’, thus summing up Black Sabbath’s recreational itinerary with laudable precision. As an added bonus, this is one of the few heavy metal songs that features a dancing dwarf.

Iron Man

One of Tony Iommi’s greatest skills is to write riffs that are as easy to sing along with as the songs’ vocal parts. Whenever the band play Iron Man live, everyone goes apeshit, despite the fact that this is one of Sabbath’s heaviest, slowest and most unashamedly lumbering anthems. Geezer Butler’s lyrics were apparently inspired by Ozzy Osbourne’s observation that the song’s main riff sounded like “a big iron bloke walking about”, which is both brilliant and daft. However, there’s nothing daft about the timeless might of the band’s ensemble performance: this is the sound of heavy metal being forged in real time; immense, unstoppable, ageless and devastating.

War Pigs

46 years on, War Pigs is still one of the most ridiculously thrilling songs ever performed by human beings. You don’t have to be aware of all the noted artists and bands that have covered it – ranging from Faith No More’s straight but scintillating version from The Real Thing through to quirky art punks Alice Donut’s trombone-led demolition on 1990’s Revenge Fantasies Of The Impotent – to see how fundamental this epic and grandiose eruption of heavy, heavy thunder is to just about everything we hold dear in the metal world.

War Pigs is simply part of metal’s sonic DNA, from its bewildering succession of colossal riffs to Geezer Butler’s powerful anti-war lyrics, delivered with youthful aplomb by Ozzy Osbourne: it’s a towering template for intelligent, rampaging heaviness that still sends shivers down the spine of most sensible listeners. And yes, Geezer did rhyme ‘masses’ with ‘masses’, but so what? It’s War Pigs. It rules (and those words do rhyme, let’s face it).

Black Sabbath in 1970

So how loud was it inside the Record Plant — then located near the corner of 3rd Street and La Cienega Boulevard as Black Sabbath recorded basic tracks, all in the same room, for “Vol. 4″, the only album the band’s original lineup ever recorded in Los Angeles?

“I think that question might be a little difficult for me because I’m on cans, on headphones, while we’re tracking. But I’m sure we played pretty fucking loud,” says drummer Bill Ward with a laugh. “I would walk into the studio when Tony was doing his [guitar] overdubs and man, it’s just like holy fucking shit, really loud. And that’s just doing overdubs. Or Geezer. The [speaker] cabs are flying, man, there’s no doubt about it.”

After recording their first three brilliant, heavy-metal-pioneering albums in England, in spring 1972 Black Sabbath  Ward, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne  were living in a rented Bel-Air mansion while working on the follow-up to their 1971 disc, “Master of Reality”.

This was the band’s most experimental music yet. The piano balladry of “Changes.” An orchestra on the haunting coke paean “Snowblind.” Cuban rhythmic influences on “Supernaut,” a track with such an infectious, powerful groove it “was one of John Bonham’s favorite songs, actually,” Ward says. And of course Sabbath’s hallmark mix of savage guitars, jazz-gone-wild rhythmic counterpoint and Osbourne’s eerie, melodic vocals.

“We had been working literally non-stop,” says Ward, a total English gentleman who now lives in Seal Beach. “At that point we’d been on the road I think for probably about four years and we hadn’t stopped. We’d visited L.A. when we played concerts here and all of us liked Los Angeles. We felt it was pretty laid-back here, so we probably were attracted to the fact it was a much slower pace here and we could actually relax.”

“Relax” might not be the best word for Sabbath’s activities at the mansion, which Ward recalls as being in a colonial style with a white exterior. The address of the mansion was 773 Stradella Road. The Du Pont family once lived there, and Charlie’s Angels sexpot Jaclyn Smith would call it home several years later.

It’s no secret the band consumed Scarface-like piles of powder and other substances at the time, resulting in the kind of mirth ’70s rock bands specialized in. “There was one point where Ozzy had spray-painted my private parts,” Ward remembers. “And then I read on the spray paint it was poisonous and do not apply to the skin, so in fear of my private parts, I panicked and went kind of crazy.” (Osbourne, in his 2010 memoir I Am Ozzy, wrote that it was Iommi who spray-painted Ward’s junk.)

“We’d play all kinds of stupid pranks and things like that. That’s when the band was great,” Ward continues. “I’m not saying the band’s not great now, but there was truly a lot of camaraderie and a lot of really, really good stuff at that time period.”

The contrast of SUV-squashing riffs and intricate rhythms makes some of Vol. 4’s most enduring cuts, like “Wheels of Confusion” and “Tomorrow’s Dream,” particularly powerful. Ward’s groove on “Snowblind” is strikingly panther-like and patient, particularly on a song about cocaine. For the Vol. 4 sessions, the drummer used a mix-and-match kit made up of specifically selected Slingerland, Ludwig and Hayman drums, including double 26-inch bass drums.

“Tony Iommi once told me that in order to be truly heavy, you also need to lighten it up because when you get heavy again, it makes it all the more impactful,” says That Metal Show and Sirius/XM radio host, author and renowned heavy metal expert Eddie Trunk. “I think with Vol. 4 you start to see some signs of the variety and dynamics. No place further than with a song like ‘Changes,’ which was a tremendous turn for the band and still holds up incredibly well. It’s really a dynamic record that shows a lot more was going on with Black Sabbath than just these brutally heavy riffs.”

Released in September 1972, Vol. 4 also features one of Black Sabbath’s most iconic album covers: a yellow-monochrome image of Ozzy, wearing one of the fringed shirts he favored for years, his arms extended in a peace sign. Says Trunk, “I got to say, it’s always a flag to me when a band that I love more prominently features one member on the cover than anyone else. You’re saying to yourself, ‘Wow is this just one guy’s band?’”

Trunk places Vol. 4 within the top three of the classic lineup Sabbath LPs, up with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and of course Paranoid. Interestingly, he discovered the band through 1981’s Heaven and Hell, the group’s first disc with Ronnie James Dio as singer, and eventually worked his way backward into the Ozzy-era catalog, beginning with the compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Calling from his New Jersey home office, Trunk notes that while Vol. 4 contains songs like “Supernaut” considered classics by connoisseurs, “You don’t really have … that across-the-board smash hit. ‘Snowblind’ may be my favorite track on the record because it’s just got that great groove and slams in with that killer riff, and they’re singing about something that, at the time, was very near and dear to their heart.”

During their Vol. 4 period, when not tracking at the Record Plant or getting debauched at the Stradella Road manse, Ward says Sabbath would “just hang out with some of the heads in the Valley and get high, and we went to Laguna [Beach] to get high as well. Back then, for me there was nothing like dropping some windowpane [LSD] and just letting the surf roll in, you know? Just listening to everybody on the beach.” The influence of those blurry, bucolic beach trips can be heard on Iommi’s string-swathed instrumental “Laguna Sunrise.” “It’s a credit to Tony he was able to write this incredible melody and these incredible guitar parts which actually completely summarized Laguna,” Ward says.”It just couldn’t have fit it any better, man.”

Black Sabbath onstage in 1976.

Ward, who has been sober for years now, says Black Sabbath’s Los Angeles days were super-indulgent for everyone in the band. When it was time to cut tracks, he did so with a clear head, “but when the sessions were winding down, I used to wind up. We used to have a lot of people in the back getting high. A lot of naked people. It was just sex, drugs and rock & roll; that’s what it was like back then, so when I look back at it now it’s like, ‘Wow, fucking hell. Did we really do that?’” He laughs. “All the debauchery that actually brought me to my knees. It took a few more years, but it actually brought me to a place where I had to seriously, seriously look at changing my life.”

Black Sabbath originally wanted to title their fourth album Snowblind. But after the band’s U.S. label, Warner Bros., balked at naming not just a song but an entire LP after cocaine, Sabbath shifted on a whim to Vol. 4, possibly at the suggestion of road manager Spock Wall.

Ward says Wall also played a key role in getting drum and guitar sounds on the record, Sabbath’s first without producer Rodger Bain. Although the band’s then-manager Patrick Meehan was credited as co-producer on Vol. 4, Ward recalls the band self-producing and that “I felt a lot of detachment from Patrick.”

Black Sabbath’s 1970 self-titled debut remains Ward’s favorite of the band’s LPs. But he listened to spiraling Vol. 4 track “Cornucopia” less than 24 hours before this interview, and frequently plays the track on his monthly Internet radio show, Rock 50.

Alas, Ward is not behind the drum kit for the group’s (allegedly) final “The End Tour.” The band previously embarked on a farewell tour in 1999. Ward has said the split goes back to an unfavorable contract he was presented with before sessions for Sabbath’s 13 album, recorded in late 2012 and 2013. Osbourne has said Ward was out of shape. Tommy Clufetos, from Osbourne’s solo band, will be on drums when Sabbath performs at the Forum on Feb. 11th.

Some accounts say Sabbath made a stab at also recording their next album, 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, in Los Angeles, but Ward says no such recording sessions ever happened. “I’m sure we had plenty of riffs and ideas; that certainly wasn’t uncommon. But it was time for a change and that’s when we went and did Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in a castle in England. I think it might have been time to shake out the party that we’d been in and come back and really get into some focused, damp weather music.”

One of the most venerated guitarists ever to grace hard rock music, the late, great Randy Rhoads, will be celebrated in the truest of fashions with the release of IMMORTAL RANDY RHOADS – THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE. A collection of 11 classic Rhoads co-written songs, IMMORTAL RANDY RHOADS – THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE  is performed by twenty top contemporary artists, including old friends and performing partners Rudy Sarzo and Frankie Banali, and was produced & compiled by the Grammy-award winning guitarist and producer Bob Kulick at his own studio.

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A lover of classical music, Rhoads had taken initial steps into rock’n’roll as a 16 year old when he formed a band, that soon became Quiet Riot. Rhoads was vaulted to the limelight in 1979 when Ozzy Osbourne chose the relatively unknown guitarist to help shape a new future for him via his band, Blizzard of Oz. The result saw Rhoads co-script two of the most famous albums in hard rock history, Blizzard Of Oz and Diary of A Madman, and rapidly ascended the stairway of fame and recognition for his virtuoso playing and writing. Famed for the way he fused classical flavors with technically-excellent hard rock, Rhoads became one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock. When he tragically died on March 19th 1982 in a plane accident, Rhoads was only 25 years old, but thankfully, the legend of his work, ethos and their continuing influence on a whole new generation of guitarists, has never dimmed.

Along with the CD, IMMORTAL RANDY RHOADS – THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE, will also contain a bonus DVD, including a feature on the Musonia School of Music, a teaching school on North Hollywood, California, set up by Randy’s mother and run by his brother Kelle Rhoads.

TRACK LISTING:

01    Crazy Train (feat. Serj Tankian, Tom Morello, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice)
02    Over the Mountain (feat. Ripper Owens, Jon Donais, Rudy Sarzo, Frankie Banali)
03    Mr Crowley (feat. Kelle Rhoads, Chuck Billy, Alexi Laiho, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice)
04    Suicide Solution (feat. Ripper Owens, Brad Gillis, Rudy Sarzo, Brett Chassen)
05    I Don’t Know (feat. Ripper Owens, George Lynch, Rudy Sarzo, Brett Chassen)
06    Flying High Again (feat. Ripper Owens, Bernie Torme, Rudy Sarzo, Brett Chassen)
07    Goodbye to Romance (feat. Ripper Owens, Gus G, Rudy Sarzo, Brett Chassen)
08    Back To The Coast (feat. Kelle Rhoads, Bruce Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, Frankie Banali)
09    Killer Girls (feat. Ripper Owens, Joel Hoekstra, Rudy Sarzo, Brett Chassen)
10    Believer (feat. Ripper Owens, Doug Aldrich, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice)
11    S A T 0 (feat. Ripper Owens, Bob Kulick, Dweezil Zappa, Rudy Sarzo, Vinny Appice)