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|Studio album by Black Sabbath|
|Released||13 February 1970|
Regent Sound Studios, London
|Black Sabbath chronology|
|Singles from Black Sabbath|
Black Sabbath is the debut studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released on 13 February 1970 in the United Kingdom, and later on 1 June 1970 in the United States, the album reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart and has been categorized as the first major album to be credited with the development of the heavy metal genre.
In August 1969 the band, who were then known as Earth, decided to change their name to Black Sabbath. This was because there was another band also known as Earth, and also as homage to the 1963 classic Mario Bava terror film starring Boris Karloff. Around the same time they recorded and distributed a demo version of their eponymous song. In November 1969 they recorded their debut single, "Evil Woman", released in January 1970, and recorded and mixed the remaining seven songs that would appear on their debut album. According to guitarist Tony Iommi, "We just went in the studio and did it in a day, we played our live set and that was it. We actually thought a whole day was quite a long time, then off we went the next day to play for £20 in Switzerland."
Iommi recalls recording live: "We thought 'We have two days to do it and one of the days is mixing.' So we played live. Ozzy was singing at the same time, we just put him in a separate booth and off we went. We never had a second run of most of the stuff."
Musically and lyrically the album was considered quite "dark" for the time. The first song on the album is based almost entirely on a tritone interval played at slow tempo on the electric guitar. The song's lyrics concern a "figure in black" which bass player Geezer Butler claims to have seen after waking up from a nightmare.
Similarly, the lyrics of the song "N.I.B." are written from the point of view of Lucifer. Contrary to popular belief, the name of that song is not an abbreviation for "Nativity in Black". Osbourne said in his autobiography that it is merely a reference to drummer Bill Ward's pointed goatee at the time, which was shaped as a pen-nib.
Lyrics of two other songs on the album were written about mythical themed stories. "Behind the Wall of Sleep" is a reference to the H. P. Lovecraft short story Beyond the Wall of Sleep, while "The Wizard" was inspired by the character of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. The latter includes harmonica performed by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.
Both the songs "Warning" and "Evil Woman" are covers of blues rock songs, with lyrics regarding relationships. The first was written and performed by Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation, and the second was written and performed by the band Crow.
The album cover features a depiction of Mapledurham Watermill, situated on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Standing in front of the watermill is a figure dressed in black. The silhouette of a raven is visible among the trees on the back cover. On the original release, the inner gate-fold sleeve featured an inverted cross with a poem written inside of it. Allegedly, the band were upset when they discovered this, as it fueled allegations that they were Satanists or Occultists; however, in Osbourne's recent biography, "I Am Ozzy", he says that to the best of his knowledge nobody was upset with the inclusion. The album was not packaged with a gate-fold cover in the U.S.
Released on Friday the 13th February 1970 by Vertigo Records, Black Sabbath reached number eight on the UK Album Chart. Following its US release in June 1970 by Warner Bros. Records, the album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, where it remained for over a year, selling a million copies.
The album has been credited for pioneering heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal, and goth. In 1989, Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 31 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". In 2003, the album was ranked number 241 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
While the album was a commercial success and is now lauded as perhaps the first true heavy metal album, upon its release it was widely panned by critics. In a review for Rolling Stone magazine, rock critic Lester Bangs felt Sabbath was "just like Cream! But worse." Bangs dismissed Black Sabbath as "a shuck—despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Aleister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés". Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice that the album was "the worst of the counterculture on a plastic platter".
With the passage of time, reviews have become more positive. Steve Huey, for example, wrote for Allmusic that "Sabbath's slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness", commenting that the album featured "plenty of metal classics". Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic stated that "both fans of blues influenced hard rock and heavy metal of all sorts should find something they like on the album".
|3.||"Behind the Wall of Sleep"||3:37|
|5.||"Evil Woman" (Crow cover)||3:25|
|8.||"Wicked World" (1996 reissue bonus track)||4:47|
|2009 Deluxe Edition disc two|
|1.||"Wicked World" (single b-side, TF1067)||4:44|
|2.||"Black Sabbath" (studio out-take)||6:22|
|3.||"Black Sabbath" (instrumental)||6:13|
|4.||"The Wizard" (studio out-take)||4:46|
|5.||"Behind the Wall of Sleep" (studio out-take)||3:41|
|7.||"Evil Woman" (alternative version)||3:47|
|8.||"Sleeping Village" (intro)||3:45|
|9.||"The Warning" (part 1)||6:58|
|North American edition|
|3.||"Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B."||9:44|
|5.||"A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning"||14:15|
|6.||"Evil Woman" (2004 reissue bonus track)||3:25|
Original North American Warner Bros. Records pressings of Black Sabbath quote incorrect running times for "Wicked World" and the "Warning" medley (4:30 and 14:32, respectively). These pressings also credit the album's original songs using the band members' given names: Anthony (actually Frank) Iommi, John Osbourne, Terence Butler, and William Ward.
|United Kingdom||13 February 1970||Vertigo||LP||VO 6|
|United States||1 June 1970||Warner Bros.||LP||1871|
|1 July 1988||CD||2-1871|
|Europe remastered||2 July 2009||Sanctuary||double CD||2700819|
|Book: Black Sabbath|
|Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.|