About Henry

If you’re a Black Sabbath fan, especially a long time one, you’ve seen Henry a bunch of times.  Thing is, most people didn’t know he’s called Henry.  He’s something akin to Iron Maiden’s “Eddie”, although Henry has never come out on stage live.  :)   Henry is of course the “flying devil” or “flying angel” or whatever you want to refer to it.  It’s a logo that’s been in use for a long time, and that was a point of contention with me.  WHEN was the first time we saw Henry?  The earliest I could remember was on the Never Say Die album.  I saw it used in a tour promo logo as well as on the cover of a single from that album.  Check it out:

  

It’s been used a boatload of times over the years on numerous things, including several bits of  artwork connected to the band.  The most recent I think would be the really horrendous music video for the track “Bible Black in 2009.  If you haven’t seen that carnage, check it out here.  Henry is actually animated there, which was a new wrinkle.  Shame though the video was so bad.  The most visible, I suppose would be Bill Ward’s drums on the 1999 Tour.

Despite all of it’s uses over time, it’s only ever appeared on a few album covers.  That being 2009′s “The Devil You Know“.  Both in the “Matthew 25:41″ circle image shown at the top of this page, and as well as the “Wal-Mart exclusive” cover art, which can be seen here.   Was also on the 2007 compilation, “The Dio Years“.

So, as I continued the work for the Jan 2012 re-launch of this site, I was doing some scanning of back cover art, and discovered this on the 1998 remaster of “We Sold our Soul for Rock & Roll”..

I was a bit perplexed by this, as the original release of this compilation was late in 1975, which if accurate would be the earliest usage.  However, I never remembered it being on the old vinyl and cassette tapes I had back in the day.   As time went on with the site work, I got a hold of Hugh Gilmour, who has done a lot of artwork for Black Sabbath over the years, and he was credited with art design on that remaster series.   His reply is interesting, and seems to pinpoint the earliest true usage.  Here’s our email exchange (posted with permission):

Me: I know it wasn’t issued in the recent Universal series of remasters, but it was at the tail end of the 1996 Castle series in 1998.  Anyway, you’re listed on there.  Question about the art..  The physical discs for that release have the flying demon image that has been seen for bloody ages, that Geezer tells me is called “Henry”.  Anyway, was that symbol involved in the original release, or was that something you chose to put there?  I ask, because I’m trying to track down the first usage of that symbol.  The first place I can remember seeing it was on a single from the Never Say Die album.  Geezer can’t remember where it was first used.  Other people I’ve talked to claim that Geezer came up with it, and technically owns the copyright to it.  Don’t know if that’s bullshit or not.  Anyway, was basically looking to see if Henry’s usage on the 96/98 reissue was your idea, or if it was actually around for the original release.  Tkx.

Hugh: I always liked that as a motif, but didn’t want to use it without permission. When I came to do the remasters artwork, I was designing the first g//z/r record with Gloria at the same time. I asked Gloria if it was OK to use, and she said Terry had done the original design. All of the LP covers were quite different from each other so I was keen to give them some sort of continuity, so it appeared as a logo on all the reissues. It did appear on Never Say Die singles in UK and in a colour version in Japan and on the 78 tour book. I think it’s earliest usage was on 1976/77 tour shirts, but can’t be absolutely certain on that.

Hugh then went on to send me a couple of images from the Technical Ecstasy shirts (here and here).  It’s hard to verify 35 year old tour merchandise as authentic.  I’ve reached out to a few people about it, if I get a concrete answer, I’ll update.  But I think we’ll go with “Never Say Die was first proper usage, 76/77 T-Shirts, maybe”.  If anyone has any factual, concrete proof one way or the other, then please let me know.

Comments

  1. Samppa Mustonen says:

    In 2009 I showed Geezer Butler my tattoo, and jokingly asked if he had designed it. Geezer said Whaat? :) When he realised that I meant the Henry thing on my arm, he told me that it was stolen from a festival poster in the 70s.

  2. Philippe Warda says:

    I love Henry. I got him tattooed on my back in Winter 2001.
    I’ve yet to find anything as important to me I would ever want tattooed as much.

    To my, it’s the perfect representation of this great band. Thanks for the article, I didn’t know it was called Henry until just now.

    So, Sabbath has Henry, Maiden has Eddie and Dio had Murray.

    • Also, Megadeth had Vic Rattlehead and Motorhead had Snaggletooth! and Deathklok has Facebones and Hammerfall has Hector and Overkill has Chaly and…

  3. i got a tat of henry too…i wish we could post pics…i luv my ink n will have to till the day i die. i missed Sir Tony’s book signing in my hometown some weeks back…that’s gonna keep burning me…
    Sabbath Rules

  4. not sure but i seem to remember henry on either the 76/77 silk scarfs or on the warners promo comic book from the 70′s…I may be wrong but its possible

  5. I have a tat of Henry on the inside of my left bicep. Really, really hurt getting the black filled in right. Anyway, during the Heaven and Hell meet and greets, I showed Tony my tat. He asked had I shown it to Geezer. The he called “Geez, Geez…look at this” When Geezer took a look, Tony asked Geezer if Gloria would sue me for using the logo. Thought that was hilarious. A memory I will NEVER forget particularly becasue I met RJD there as well. Does Geezer own the logo? Is that why the question from Tony?

  6. Got henry tattooed on my back, he´s been with me for 18 years now

  7. Why are the links to the mentioned tour shirt images broken?

  8. I have “Henry” on my forearm and then used the Bible Black clip to provide a design to have my sleeve finished giving the effect of Henry flying.

  9. Mr.Furious says:

    Like a lot of others, I never knew that to be his name. My first exposure to Henry was on the 1978 “Never Say Die” tourbook. I was a youngster back then as well as a big Sabbath fan, and I have to admit I was blown away by Henry. Great job on the research of “Henry”.

  10. Here is an audio clip of someone describing their Henry tatoo from Home of MEtal dot com
    http://www.homeofmetal.com/the-archive/items/black-sabbath-tattoo/

  11. Southern Lord says:

    I just found this on ebay:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/RARE-VINTAGE-BLACK-SABBATH-EURO-TOUR-T-SHIRT-1975-M-/260923351664?pt=Vintage_Unisex_T_Shirts&hash=item3cc03e6270

    A 1975 Tour shirt with Henry on it. Does not seem like a fake to me. What do You think?

  12. I was planning on getting that one for a while… I never had a good looking picture that was big enough though. Someone got some jpegs for me?

  13. I can confirm that Henry was on the tour t-shirts of 1977 World tour since I have one myself! I put a pic up from the print yesterday on FB Black Sabbath fans. I’ve also made my tattoo from that very T-shirt.

  14. Joe, I can provide a picture of the whole t-shirt in question if you need more proof. Where do I send the pic?

  15. I’ve saw it a lot on geezers basses too, on the classic album: paranoid dvd you can see it on the bass too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqUidIQ9j8w

  16. Christian Nielsen says:

    Hey. I love Henry, and Black Sabbath, enough to have Henry tattooed on my shoulder.

  17. Graham Wright says:

    Henry first appeared on the corner of Bills drum riser on the technical ecstasy tour.

  18. adam phillips says:

    Got him tattoo’d on my right calf few weeks ago… Will always be a reminder of my love for Sabbath!

  19. I’ve got Sold Our Soul on vinyl and the layout on the back is totally different. It does look like that on the Castle remaster of Born Again, though, with the Henries surrounding the UPC.

  20. Harry Graner says:

    Ich habe Henry auf meinem T-Shirt der 1975 Tour in Mannheim gekauft

  21. luis arocha says:

    hola a todos. soy de venezuela y soy fan de BB desde niño…. tengo tatuado a henry en mi brazo izquierdo…

  22. The mascot is interesting and a creative creation by Geezer.In Sabbath,he wrote the majority of the lyrics,played awesome bass riffs,and created the mascot.Let us not forget that Geezer came up with the name of the band.For those who don’t know the history of the band,Geezer got the name from the horror film “Black Sabbath” directed by Mario Bava.This film is a collection of stories similar to movies like-Tales From The Crypt,Vault Of Horror,Creepshow,Tales From The Darkside(tv series),and Tales From The Hood.The movie was released in 1963.Coincedentally,Coven did a song of the same name and Dennis Wheatly wrote a book of the same name.

    It appears to me Henry might be a devil or a fallen angel(in Christian description).To some he may be a pagan deity.At first,I thought it may be an image portrait of Satan himself(may G-d curse him).I find it interesting that- Matthew 24:19 (of the Gospel)is used.It is a scripture where Jesus(peace be upon him)is cursing Satan.I like the fact Sabbath talked about religions in their songs.Henry is apparently a villian or something used to humor people with.

    Either way,it is just a mascot and it is open to how one would interpret it.I won’t criticize Geezer for it.It is probably an image used to upset the critics against them.I get the joke with the devil imagery on album covers.It is probably because they were accused falsely of being a devil band.I don’t care either way since freedom of speech and expression is allowed in the USA.Henry has been with the band since 1978 and will probably stay with the band until the end of Sabbath as a band.

  23. Dennis Price says:

    I saw Black Sabbath at Hammersmith Odeon on their Technical Ecstasy tour in March 1977. I clearly remember this wonderful design being above the stage, spotlit, when Supertzar was playing as an intro, before the band came on and played Symptom of the Universe.

  24. The links to the Technical Ecstasy tour shirts are both dead. I would like to see them.

  25. It looks a little like LZ’s swan song figure.

  26. Barry Gray says:

    l Believe that Henry is based on Lucifer who was a fallen angel, He was known as the angel of light-Father of lies. If you look closely in Henry’s hand you will see a star. I believe that this represents Light. Lucifer Angel of Light. I hope this helps. I Allso have a tatoo of Henry. There seams to be a lot of us!

  27. Graham Willis says:

    Was sooooo happy to finally see black sabbath at donnington this year I am only 28 but been a fan since my teenage years. I have the 1996 remaster of sabboth bloody sabboth one of my favourite albums and henry is printed on the disk and framing the barcode on back of cd case. Its a ace logo.

  28. AllegraMeadow says:

    I drew Henry on my school bag, it’s an awesome logo :)

  29. Eddie, Swansong, Henry, man can’t believe you guys have forgotten about Vic Rattlehead! He has his own song and everything!

  30. I love Black Sabbath! I knew the band with Ronnie James Dio at the volcals and I loved them at the first bite. Then Tony Iommi for me, is the best riffs makes on the heavy metal history: great sound that feel fear on your back.
    I’ve got Henry’s tattoo on my right calf and “my” tattooer made a little shinig ball for rappresented the flying devil bringing the light.
    Awesome logo for an immortal band.

  31. 1975? Does anyone remember the tour shirts from 1975? Did they really feature Henry or is this just the shirt company making up this tour design?

  32. Hi The First tinme I really took in Henry (Strange devil angel with light and blade of pink in his face )
    was the 78 tour which i saw in Glasgow when as legend now has it the support band was a little new band called van Halen. I still have the badge and programme from that date the latter signed in silver by Geeze and Tony.

    Ally

  33. Sabbath also had a dog called Herman – An ugly bulldog that used to wear a studded leather half cut. – does anyone remember that?

  34. Tom Harvey says:

    I first saw Henry In 1976 ,i bought a tour book from the “Technical Ecstasy”Tour 1976 in Lincoln,Nebraska.Boston was the opening band-I went for my 14th birthday.to quote the great and powerful Ozzy-”are you high ! so was i ‘!

  35. mikesline says:

    i remember seeing Henry first on technical ecstasy tour he was etched on right side of drum riser.

  36. ralph bocchino says:

    It’s in my December 3, 1975 MSG Concert program. Happy to send a picture if you like

  37. Henry outclasses Eddie,Vic Rattlehead and Snaggletooth, not that they are not great in their own right,but 25;41 should say it all Black Sabbath 4ever-

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