Black Sabbath (the album) turns 40 today!



What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one – Oh no!

Thus starts the first song on the first album in a long line of albums by Black Sabbath. Oh, there were 18 studio albums total, and over 30 people that were in the band over the years and all that. But today is a special day. As I post this, it is February 13, 2010. Fourty years ago today, the first Black Sabbath album was released in the UK.

Recorded on October 12th & 13th, 1969, this album set the stage for an awful lot of stuff that has come since. It’s been analyzed and appreciated a ton, and if it was’t for this release, I wouldn’t be doing this website you’re reading this short story on. The metal world owes a lot to Iommi, Butler, Ward, & Osbourne for this. Or, if you want to go further into the past, the story of Iommi answering the ad “Ozzy Zig needs gig” is a big deal.

Much has been written over the years about how powerful this album was, how it “invented” heavy metal, or whatever other sexy sounding words you want to throw in front of it, but the fact remains. The original Black Sabbath album is a freakin’ masterpiece. And today it turns 40 years old. Lest you forget the power that is the first track, check out this video clip.. Shows it well.

Video Clip no longer on Youtube.

Anyway, the rain at the beginning of the album and the absolute slamming of the initial opening riff of the song Black Sabbath just tells you up front, this is NOT something you were used to, and 40 years later still kicks the everlovin’ crap out of a lot of stuff that passes as “music” these days.

But if you’re reading this message on this site, then you know this already. I’m gonna stop trying to invent ways to say “This album f’in rocks”, you know it. So if you haven’t done it already, get the album out, and give it a listen for it’s birthday today. There was the new version that came out in June 2009 that was a 2 disc version with extras and whatnot. That was released in the UK (not in the US/North America). It is definitely worth it if you haven’t checked those out (or if for some mutant reason you don’t own the album). For the record, it is available as an import in the Amazon US store, but you’re better off buying it from the UK store, and importing it, it’s cheaper that way. Back when it first came out, I did a video review of the album, I’m including that video here. One note about my video. There was an error, I stated the the poem that was included with the original album back int the day is not in the 2 CD Deluxe Edition. That is an error, it is there.

I also thought that since this was a landmark piece of music for those involved too, I’d see if I could get some quotes. Over the years I’ve run this site, I’ve gotten friendly with several of the guys in the band, and I decided to play that card, and contact ’em for a quote. Here’s some short remarks by Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, & Bill Ward on the 40th anniversary of the original Black Sabbath album..
Geezer Butler:

It was 40 years ago today……………..I’d like to thank you the fans for your support over the years. Without you there would be no us.
Peace, happiness,

Tony Iommi:

Dear Joe,
Forty years then, what a journey!
The support from our fans has always been fantastic, that’s what made us successful, having believers. Many thanks to all of them, and you for your help, the spirit of Black Sabbath continues in everything I write and play.
All the best,

Bill Ward:

Today is Sabbath’s 40th Anniversary for the release of the first album, titled “Black Sabbath.”
For those of you who were there ­ thank you, and how’s your health these days?! For those of you who have passed on ­rest in peace. I bow my head to you with the deepest respect. For those of you who have heard Sabbath and have swelled Sabbath¹s listening population – thank you ­ you’re all incredible.
I hope we’ve brought something to you that is positive. For all here today, I wish you strength, laughter, great experiences and peace in hard times, and forever rock-filled days.
Lots of love to everyone.
Thanks again,
Bill Ward

There is also this “professional” article on the Times UK website where they talk to Bill Ward & Ozzy about the album. Check it out.
In researching this article, I had forgotten I had a copy of a radio advertisement from 1970 for the album. It’s just under a minute, so click play to hear an old and fairly amusing to me advert for the original album. I wouldn’t call Aston “funky”. :)

Anyway, this brings to an end my short piece on the 40th anniversary of the original Black Sabbath album. Whether you have it on 8 track, cassette, or any of the numerous CD releases over the years – or are still sticking to old school vinyl, then get it out.

Give it a listen, as today is Black Sabbath’s birthday!