Released September 28, 1978 (US), Oct 1, 1978 (UK)
Re-Released February 7, 1996
Re-Released April 27, 2004 (Black Box, US Only)
Re-Released September 16, 2009 (UK Only)

[ Lyrics | Tour Dates ]

 

2009 CD [ Amazon UK | Amazon US ] | MP3 [ Amazon UK ]
1996 CD [ Amazon US | Amazon UK ] | 2004 Black Box [ Amazon US  | Amazon UK ]
Original CD [ Amazon US | Amazon UK ]

Track Listing

  1. Never Say Die
  2. Johnny Blade
  3. Junior’s Eyes
  4. A Hard Road
  5. Shock Wave
  6. Air Dance
  7. Over To You
  8. Breakout
  9. Swinging the Chain

Note: Some early prints of the album have the songs in a different order. I can’t recall at the moment why they’re listed differently – if you know, please email me.  See the image to the right.

In March 2007, I received an email from a Sab fan named Dale who said this:

Regarding why some of the early copies of the “Never Say Die” album had a different running order on the cover.  In the 70’s, Warner Brothers (and some other record companies) was one of the main companies who tended to produce the artwork for an album before the album was finished/released.  So, many times, the artwork would contain a different running order (and sometimes different song titles than on the finished album) than the actual disk contained inside the cover. Some early Van Halen albums were like this, along with some Alice Cooper albums and other artists who I can’t recall at the moment.

Writing Credits

  • All songs by Black Sabbath

Credits

  • Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
  • Tony Iommi – Guitar
  • Geezer Butler – Bass
  • Bill Ward – Drums
  • Don Airey – Keyboards
  • John Elstar – Harmonica
  • Will Malone – Brass Arrangements
  • Produced by Black Sabbath
  • Engineered by Dave Harris
  • Special Assistant – Spock Wall
  • Recorded at Sounds Interchange, Toronto Canada
  • Original Sleeve Design by Hipignosis
  • 1996 Remaster by Ray Staff @ Whitfield St Studios
  • 1996 Design, booklet notes, and sleeves by Hugh Gilmour
  • 2009 Remaster by Andy Pearce @ Wired Masters
  • 2009 Project Management: Jon Richards
  • 2009 Project Consultants: Steve Hammonds & Hugh Gilmour
  • 2009 Design: Hugh Gilmour
  • 2012 Digital Remaster by Andy Pearce & Matt Wortham
  • 2012 Vinyl Mastering by Greg Moore @ Masterpiece

Catalogue Numbers

  • LP Vertigo 9102-751 (UK 1978)
  • CASS Vertigo 7131-002 (NOR 1978)
  • LP Vertigo 9124-101 (EUR 1978)
  • LP Warner Bros BSK-3186 (US 1978)
  • CASS Warner Bros M5-3186 (US 1978)
  • LP Vertigo 910275-1 (UK 1983)
  • CD Warner Bros 3186-2 (US 1988)
  • CD Nippon PHCR-4120 (JPN 1993)
  • CD Spectrum 550-131-2 (GER 1993)
  • CD Essential ESMCD329 (UK 1996)
  • LP Earmark 41033P (ITL 1996 – Picture Disc)
  • CD Castle CMTCD031 (UK 2000)
  • LP Sanctuary CMHLP244 (UK 2001)
  • CD Sanctuary SMRCD038 (UK 2004)
  • CD Universal 2716533 (EUR 2009)
  • LP Sanctuary 2716548 (EUR 2009)
  • CD Vertigo UICY-94471 (JPN 2010)
  • CD Universal UICY-25125 (JPN 2011)
  • LP Sanctuary 3715303 (UK 2012) – “Vinyl Collection”

Notes

  • Bill Ward sings lead vocals on Swinging the Chain.
  • There are music videos for Never Say Die and A Hard Road. However, they’re just staged live footage with overdubbed music; they’re not conceptual. Never Say Die has footage from “Top of the Pops”.
  • Ozzy left and came back between this album and the last. During that time, Dave Walker replaced Ozzy. That version of Black Sabbath played live once, on the BBC Midlands ‘Look Here!’ programme, and did a version of Junior’s Eyes. That version has different lyrics than this version, but the music is pretty much the same.
  • A Hard Road is the only time that Tony Iommi & Geezer Butler actually sing on any Black Sabbath record – they do backup vocals on this song.
  • Here’s a note from Geezer Butler about the bass guitar he plays in the video for “A Hard Road”: “On the Hard Road video I used a Jay Dee custom bass, designed by me. Jay Dee was an apprentice to John Birch who built my basses and Tony’s guitars in the early 70’s. When John Birch died, Jay Dee inherited the company, and still makes custom instruments. He is based in Birmingham, England, which was also the hometown of Sabbath.”
  • Here’s a note from Geezer in October 2005 about the bass he played in the “Never Say Die” video:  yes I still have the Rik from the Never Say Die video. I bought it from Glenn Hughes in the mid 70’s, and only ever used it once, and that was because my regular basses were detained by U.K. customs when we returned from outside the country. I didn’t use it on Junior’s Eyes, and wouldn’t have used a pick anyway, as I never used a pick in the studio on Sabbath albums. I am currently playing Lakland basses, which are very much like old Fender basses in feel and sound.
  • In January 2011, I read online where the accepted cover art for this album (the jet pilot motif) was not the original concept.  That album was designed by the famous Hipignosis cover art people.  However, their first choice was the image to the right.  That was rejected by the band, and we ended up with the cover art we know today.  However, this cover art went on to be the same image for the Rainbow album, “Difficult to Cure” about two and a half years later.  I checked with Geezer Butler about this, and he informed me this was correct, that the Difficult to Cure cover art was the original concept for the “Never Say Die!” album.

Personal Note

  • This is probably my favourite of the Ozzy Sabbath albums, since the music on here is very varied. I wish it would get more attention from the fans, and I’d like to see some of the tracks brought back to the live set. The end guitar bit at the end of Johnny Blade is kick ass, and I love to shock people with Air Dance, several haven’t believed it’s Black Sabbath until I stop the music and pull out the CD. Also the title track would make a great concert opener.

Images

  • Here is a scan of an old album review of Never Say from the Houston Chronicle in 1978

  • Here are the front and back images of the 1996 Picture disc release of the album

  • This is the cover for the Never Say Die single.  It is what I believe to be the first usage of the “flying demon” logo that has appeared throughout the band’s history – even through the “Heaven & Hell” incarnation from 2006-2010.  Geezer Butler tells me the character has a name; it’s “Henry”.

  • This is the cover for the single for “A Hard Road”

  • The following images are the back CD cover images from the 1996 Castle Remaster, as well as the 2009 Universal Remaster

  • Here is the cover for the original US release of the album by Warner Bros.

  • Here’s an odd one.  A Never Say Die 8 Track

  • This is a scan of the artwork used on a popular tour T-Shirt from this album.

NOTE: These lyrics are verified against the lyrics that appear in the “Black Box” booklet. Those lyrics were gone over by Geezer Butler (who wrote most of them anyway) for that set, and for that reason should be considered definitive.

Never Say Die

People going nowhere
Taken for a ride
Looking for the answers that they know inside
Searching for a reason
Looking for a rhyme
Snow white parasite
Partners in crime

Don’t they ever have to worry
Don’t you ever wonder why
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever
Don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die

Sundays satisfaction
Madness on the rise
Truth is on the doorstep
Welcoming the lies
All dressed up in sorrow
Got no place to go
Hold tight do it right
Taking it slow

Don’t they ever have to worry
Don’t you ever wonder why
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever
Don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die again

Don’t you ever say die
Don’t you ever say die
Never say die

Fading silver lining
Writing’s on the wall
Children get together
You can save us all
Future’s on the corner
Showing us our time
Slow down turn around
Everything’s fine

There’s no need to have a reason
There’s no need to wonder why
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever, don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die

 

Johnny Blade

Tortured and twisted
He walks the streets alone
People avoid him
They know the street’s his home

Cold blade of silver
His eyes they burn so wild
Mean as a tiger
Society’s own child

Those that tried to burn him paid
You don’t do that to Johnny Blade
He’s the meanest guy around his town
One look and he will cut you down
Johnny Blade, Johnny Blade

Life has no meaning
And death’s his only friend
Will fate surprise him
Where will he meet his end

He feels so bitter
Yes he’s so full of hate
To die in the gutter
I guess that’s Johnny’s fate

Rivals all across the land
He kills them with his knife in hand
He’s the meanest guy around his town
One look and he will cut you down
Johnny Blade, Johnny Blade
Johnny Blade, Johnny Blade

Well you know that Johnny’s a spider
And his web is the city at night
He’s a victim of modern frustration
That’s the reason he’s so ready to fight

He’s the one that should be afraid
What will happen to you, Johnny Blade

Oh he knows his future’s decided
And he ain’t gonna change it no way
He was born to die in the gutter
He’ll keep fighting till the end of his days

Been alone all through his life
His only friend is a switchblade knife
He’s the one who should be afraid
What will happen to you, Johnny Blade

You fool the people, who’s fooling who
It’s time to listen, the fool is you

 

Junior’s Eyes

Junior’s eyes looked up to the skies in tears
He prayed that his maker
The giver and taker, would hear
Junior sighed as his hands reached out to the sky
Junior cried, the day that his best friend died
Yeah

You’re coming home again tomorrow
I’m sorry it won’t be for long
With all the pain I’ve watched you live within
I’ll try my hardest not to cry
When it is time to say goodbye

Junior’s eyes, they couldn’t disguise the pain
His father was leaving
And Junior’s grieving again
Innocent eyes watched the man who had gave everything
Junior’s sorrow, he knew what tomorrow would bring

They’re coming home again tomorrow
I’m sorry it won’t be for long
With all the pain I’ve watched you live within
I’ll try my hardest not to cry
When it is time to say goodbye

Junior’s eyes looked into the skies once more
Now he knew well, this life was hell for sure
He desperately tried, his fingertips stretched to the stars
Reaching for reason, along with the time and the scars

They’re coming home again tomorrow
I’m sorry it won’t be for long
With all the pain I’ve watched you live within
I’ll try my hardest not to cry
When it is time to say goodbye

NOTE: There was an alternate version of this song performed live by Sabbath in January of 1978 at a point when Ozzy was out of the band and Dave Walker was singing for Sabbath.  That version has totally different (and mostly undecipherable) lyrics.  If anyone finds lyrics to that version of Junior’s Eyes, let me know).

 

A Hard Road

Old men crying, young men dying
World still turns as Father Time looks on
On and on
Children playing, dreamers praying
Laughter turns to tears love has gone
Has it gone

Oh, it’s a hard road
Oh, it’s a hard road

Poets yearning, lovers learning
On this path of life we pass along
Is it wrong
Widows weeping, babies sleeping
Life becomes the singer and the song
Sing along

Oh, it’s a hard road
Carry your own load

Why make the hard road
Why can’t we be friends
No need to hurry
We’ll meet in the end

Why make the hard road
Why can’t we be friends
No need to worry
Let’s sing it again

Brother’s sharing, mother’s caring
Nighttime falling victim to the dawn
Shadows mourn
Days are crawling, time is calling
To the Earth another life is born
Love line drawn

Oh, it’s a hard road
Carry your own load
Oh, it’s a hard road
Oh, it’s a hard road

We’re living in sorrow
Don’t live in the past
And look to the future
Cause life goes too fast, you know

 

Shock Wave

There’s no reason for you to run
You can’t escape the fate of the chosen one
Black moon rising, in a blood red sky
This time you realize that you’re gonna die

Leaving your body is your answer
That’s what you plan to do
No dreaming, time you cheat death’s master
You’re on your own going through

Wind of mist has taken over your mind
And you think you’re on your own
Don’t believe you are the only one here
Look around, you’re not alone

Feel the forces from another world
Ghostly shadows fill your mind
Evil power hanging over you
As you freeze, you’re life in time
Look behind you!

Somebody’s calling
Someone is near
Feel yourself falling
Crawling with fear
You tell yourself you’re dreaming
You realize you’re screaming
You know that this shouldn’t happen to you
You tell yourself that it’s scary too
But there is nothing you can do, oh!

Ghostly shadows from the other world
Evil forces in your mind
Trapped between the worlds of life and death
Frozen in the realms of time
Look behind you!

You feel yourself falling, you’re at the end of the line
Your body is crawling, but your senses are blind
Cold, cold feelings are running through your brain
Ice cold fingers, running through your veins

 

Air Dance

She sits in silence, in her midnight world
With faded pictures, of a dancing girl
A distant dreamer on the seas of time
Her happy memories, dancing through her mind

In days of romance
She was the queen of dance
She’d dance the night away

And as the seasons turn the days to years
She holds her pictures, hears the silent cheers
The days grow lonely for the dancing queen
And now she dances only in her dreams

In days of romance
She was the queen of dance
She’d dance the night away, away, away, away

 

Over to You

Born in the window, nobody’s fool
Raised in a prison you called a school
Taught your religion
Told what to do
I handed my childhood over to you

Traveling endlessly, I’m searching for mind
I’m almost afraid of what I will find
Wandering aimlessly, oh what can I do
I handed my future over to you, to you

Over to you
Future looks blue
What can I do

Watching for freedom
Fighting your wars
Feeding our children
Keeping your laws
Someday you’ll suffer
Then what I’ll do
I’ll hand all your promises
Over to you

Standing inside myself, I’m losing control
You made me believe in the stories you told
Waiting impatiently, what else can I do?
I handed my future over to you, to you

Over to you
Future looks blue
What can I do?

Tears filled of sadness
Sealed in my cell
Whispering secrets
What do they tell
Mad politicians
Can’t tell it true
I handed my children
Over to you

All over, over to you…

 

Breakout

Instrumental

 

Swinging the Chain

It’s against my uniform
To be a civil judge
All the songs are history now
`Bout rock stars and their grudge
Let us cast our minds back
To thirty years or more
You took up all the vandals
Well Hitler beat `em all

And we’re sad and sorry
Really sorry that it happened that way
Yes we’re sad and sorry
But why’d you have to treat us that way

Compare ourselves with others
And cover them in sin
Oh, God what a terrible
A terrible state we’re in
There must be some way out of here
A compromise that’s right
If we cannot work it out
We’re gonna have to fight

Yes we’re sad and sorry
Really sorry that it happened that way
Yes we’re sad and sorry
We cannot go on in those days

I’m talking about my brothers
Yeah, I’m talking `bout sisters as well
I wish you good luck
Good luck!

Oh, but the world’s still on fire
Chain the hope you take on, liar
This fire
We’re on fire, we’re on fire, yeah…

NOTE: This last verse is not on the official lyrics sheet, but it is most definitely there.  This last verse is my interpretation of the lyrics.

NOTE: These lyrics are verified against the lyrics that appear in the “Black Box” booklet. Those lyrics were gone over by Geezer Butler (who wrote most of them anyway) for that set, and for that reason should be considered definitive.

Comments

  1. Chris Tatton says:

    I think that this is also one of my favourite Ozzy era albums, Joe. I wish it would be more popular among the fans.

  2. I can’t choose a favorite Sabbath album, it seems to me that the first ten or so albums were a real adventure through all sorts of music genres and every musician in the band was incredible. Many a eye has lit up when I’ve mentioned that I’m into Sabbath. It’s been the same response every time, that they “love Iron Man” and “War Pigs”, I just think to myself that they’ve missed one of the greatest music storms of all time!

  3. Charlie says:

    This is my favorite Black Sabbath album as well. Each song so is so varied and they really up the music on this. I love the jazzy stuff and it’s too bad this was their last album because to me, they were getting into some amazing music that could’ve sustained them for years.

  4. Lefebvre says:

    Bonjour cette ALBUM est mon préféré tant par les chansons et la musique et le visuel de l’album.
    Je suis a la recherche du t-shirt avec la tête du pilote , si vous pouvez me renseigner sur ce sujet
    en attente de votre réponse je vous souhaite une bonne continuation.
    VL

  5. vito monteiro says:

    well it is not one of my favourites, ok? but i as big fan of this great band i dont think that they released one single bad album. never say die is different proving that they are great musicians.a bit of jazz in their sound. the album cover is strange but good. a good album for sure. the tracks i like best are never say die that i love. johnny blade, shock waves, juniors eyes. good album ozzys voice is in great shape!

  6. Doom Doom says:

    Never Say Die! is a great album, its always been under rated. Sab should play should play some of these classics live. I’ve also seen Iommi talk down the album due to the conditions it was recorded in. Too bad, they could turn on alot of new fans to it if they would play a couple of songs live.

  7. Juniors Eyes one of my all time favorites has meaning to me from family past Black Label Society does a stunning rendition of this track as well thanks Tony Geezer Ozzy and legendary drummer Bill Ward

  8. Dan Sabbathfan says:

    I think Never Say Die is Black Sabbath’s best album from the Ozzy era and might have even been better if they had completed it with Ozzy. Never Say Die, Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath are musically their most sophistocated and technical albums. Listen to the jazzy parts on Air Dance. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage feature orchestra parts in Spiral Architecht and Super Czar. In my opinion the original lineup of Black Sabbath and the mark 2 and mark 3 lineups of Deep Purple are the greatest hard rock bands in history. The Dio era of Rainbow was good also. Geezer Butler is (in my opinion) one of the greatest lyric writers and bass players in rock history. Who else writes lyrics like Warpigs, Into the void, Johnny Blade, Megalomania, National Acrobat, Junior’s eyes, The Writ, After Forever etc… Deep Purple and Sabbath combined interesting lyrics with great riffs and instrument breaks. Tony Iommi is one of the greatest guitarists for playing catchy riffs. I wish they would play in concert more of the material from Never Say Die, Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath rather than playing the predictable greatest hits songs like Paranoid, Iron Man, Sweet Lefaf etc…

  9. Jose (Brazilian Sabbath Fan) says:

    Everytime I listen to this album, I’m impressed with the strenght of the 4 first songs. Never Say Die, Johnny Blade, Junior’s Eyes and Hard Road form an amazing sequence. It’s incredible that an album like this is considered a “minor piece” in Sabbath’s discography. In my opinion, it would be a super-stellar album if it was launched by any other band that was not colapsing like Sabbath was at that time (if any other band was able to create such great songs…). And the cover art is just great in my opinion. I used to wear a shirt with this cover for many years, until it was absolutely destroyed… Thanks for this good review.

  10. Jeffrey Bell says:

    i love this album as well. great songs!

  11. I just played Never Say Die all the way through. I think it is very listenable and has aged very well.

  12. I always like to convince myself that I don’t like this album. But, then I listen to it and remember that this Black Sabbath We’re talking about. Seriously though, this is my least favorite. There’s a lot of skipping around on this one. The tracks I listen to are Never Say Die, Johnny Blade, Junior’s Eyes, A Hard Road, Air Dance, and Over to You. This album is good, but not as good as the first six or the next 2.

  13. Hey,I was listening to Never Say Die just this morning! My favorites are the title track and Air Dance, quite prog song. Is that the same Will Malone who produced the very first Iron Maiden album back in 1980?

  14. I’ve Always categorize the Ozzy Era in 4 different “sub-eras” when it comes to the Music style and their progression.
    Era 1 (68-70): The early demos.
    Era 2: Black Sabbath. Paranoid & Master of reality
    Era 3: Vol 4, SBS & Sabotage
    Era 4: Technical Ecstasy & NSD

    My heart weeps a bit every time I talk or think about “Never Say Die”. It was the last album with the original line up, and you could actually hear the start of their break up and the loss of the bands originality in their previous album “Technical Ecstasy”. In my opinion, as a diehard Sabbath fan, I think “Never Say Die” is mostly a continuation of the straggly and incoherent Technical Ecstasy, compared to the other six albums. It’s sad… I know.

    But it’s STILL an original Black Sabbath album, and I love them all. No matter what!
    If I compare their last two records with most bands from the same time, they really kicks *ss. That’s for sure!
    And it is absolutely a step in the right direction from the previous one, if you ask me.

    As I’ve mentioned in posts for their other albums on this site, I feel that Sabbath fell more and more into the trends of the time, and that started a little bit on Vol 4 and continued throughout their career during the later Ozzy years. The biggest “fall into the trends of the time” was definitely “Technical Ecstasy”, and in that case I think that “Never Say Die” was a step in the right direction and their originality partly got better. Bear in mind that it was because of that Sabbath was originally “a band who wasn’t like any other band” who made them the best band in the world.

    The opener “Never Say Die” is sort of a sing-along hit song. In my ears a try to achieve another “Paranoid”, but in some way I think they kind of tried too hard. The song turns out pretty good anyway, even if it’s maybe not one of my favorites in the BS catalogue. I think that’s because of the lack of Black Sabbaths originality in my ears.

    “Johnny Blade” is really awesome. Maybe actually one of my all-time top ten tracks with this band, and that’s not bad! The part 2 heavy riff (“Well you know that Johnny’s a spider”-part) in this song is really great, and takes me back to the core and root of Black Sabbath. A real great heavy stoner riff! I love it.

    “Junior’s Eyes” is also a great song. I like the serious vibe in it, and I know it was mostly a song for Ozzy, because of his father’s passing at the time, and it means a lot to me even in that way.

    “A hard road” was a song that I liked very much in the earlier days, but now I kind of think of it as a bit uninteresting. Typical sing-along song, with too little variation. Strangely enough, they didn’t perform it live in that extent I think it was meant to.

    The B-side opens up with “Shock wave”, and I really love the first part of it. Kind of a continuation of the “Sweet Leaf”-riff, but a little more complex. But somehow I feel that the song isn’t finished. It ends with a heavy riff and girls singing “ooh-ooh” and then fades out? If I’m allowed to say my opinion, I would have liked a more “simple” arrangement and that they had built the whole song through the opening riff, like in the good old days. It would have been a stronger track. But it’s turns out pretty good anyway!

    “Air Dance” is absolutely the most interesting piece on this album. Either you love it, or you hate it. I am definitely one who likes it, just because of its originality and quality. Serious vibe in this song and in my ears the soft verses with the piano and Geezers wonderful bass-lines makes it very haunting and deep. The jazzy solo-outro is not my favorite, and sadly downgrades the song a bit.

    “Over to you”, the last track with Ozzys voice is not bad either. It’s a decent song, actually partly pretty good, but I lack variation even here.

    The two last songs, with Bill on vocals on “Swinging the chain” is also decent, but really nothing more to me. First of all, Bill and Ozzy is like yin and yang when it comes to voices, and even in the track “It’s Alright” on the previous album, I have a hard time finding the “red line” with him singing in BS. No offense Bill, he sings great and I love his contribution to the band and I always will. But really… it doesn’t sound like Black Sabbath without Ozzy, no matter who else sings. Bill sings a little more “rocky” here than on the previous record, and that is really great though.

    It’s two bluesy “exit songs”; with a lot of brass that I also don’t see fit Black Sabbath. Trumpets, saxophones and all in Black Sabbath feels to me like milk in a beer. But brass was also something that was a bit “trendy” in the later seventies that Sabbath obviously felt they needed to try. However, the two last songs on this album seem to me as “fillers”.

    Hope I don’t offend anyone who sees this album as one of their favorites, because we all have our favorites and lesser favorites. This is strictly my view of it, and as a matter of fact; I Love all eight, no matter what!

    God bless Black Sabbath!

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