Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

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Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath SbS.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 December 1973
RecordedSeptember 1973
Studio Morgan Studios (Studio 4), London, England
Genre Heavy metal
Length42:35
Label Vertigo
Producer Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath chronology
Vol. 4
(1972)
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
(1973)
Sabotage
(1975)

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the fifth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in December 1973. It was produced by the band and recorded at Morgan Studios in London in September 1973.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Morgan Studios, also known as Morgan Sound Studios, were recording studios at 169-171 High Road, Willesden, north west London. The studios were notable for many recordings of the 1960s and 1970s by some of the most important British bands and artists such as Ten Years After, Arrows, Yes, The Kinks, Donovan, Vivian Stanshall, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Greenslade, Joan Armatrading, Cat Stevens, Paul McCartney, Jethro Tull, Rod Stewart, Black Sabbath, UFO and The Cure. The studio was also notable for having the first 24-track tape machine in England made by Ampex.

Contents

Recording

Following Black Sabbath's 1972–1973 world tour in support of their album, Vol. 4 , the group returned to Los Angeles to begin work on its successor. Pleased with Vol. 4, the band sought to recreate the recording atmosphere, and returned to the Record Plant Studios. The band rented a house in Bel Air and began writing in the summer of 1973 but, due in part to substance abuse and fatigue, were unable to complete any songs. "Ideas weren't coming out the way they were on Vol. 4 and we really got discontent," guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi said. "Everybody was sitting there waiting for me to come up with something. I just couldn't think of anything. And if I didn't come up with anything, nobody would do anything." [1] In 2013, bassist Geezer Butler told Mojo magazine that after the tour in support of Vol. 4 the band was "absolutely, completely exhausted" and by the time they played the Hollywood Bowl, "Tony collapsed. It was really touch-and-go at one point whether he'd survive or not because he was totally depleted. So we had to cancel the rest of the tour and we actually took time off for the first time since the band started. We got away from each other and had a social life. Then we came back together to start on the next album, and couldn't come up with anything." In his autobiography I Am Ozzy , singer Ozzy Osbourne states that in the time leading up to the Hollywood Bowl "Tony had been doing coke literally for days – we all had, but Tony had gone over the edge. I mean, that stuff just twists your whole idea of reality. You start seeing things that aren't there. And Tony was gone. Near the end of the gig he walked off stage and collapsed." Regarding his writer's block, Iommi admitted to Phil Alexander in 2013, "I panicked because I didn't have a single idea about what to write. It might have been the drugs, it could have been the pressure, but either way I felt it was my fault." The band were also disappointed to discover that the room they had used previously at the Record Plant had been replaced with a "giant synthesizer" by Stevie Wonder, who had recently recorded there.

<i>Vol. 4</i> (Black Sabbath album) album

Vol. 4 is the fourth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in September 1972. It was the first album by Black Sabbath not produced by Rodger Bain; guitarist Tony Iommi assumed production duties. Patrick Meehan, the band's then-manager, was listed as co-producer, though his actual involvement in the album's production was minimal.

Record Plant series of three famous recording studios

The Record Plant is a famous recording studio operating in Los Angeles, California which hosts top level artists and musicians. It is mainly known for its role in innovating the recording artist’s workspace, as well as being the site of many highly influential recordings over the decades, including notable albums such as The Eagles’ “Hotel California”, Guns N Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” and Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”. More recent albums recorded at Record Plant include Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP”, Justin Bieber's “Purpose” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next”.

Substance abuse substance use leading to significant impairment in functioning

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others, and is a form of substance-related disorder. Widely differing definitions of drug abuse are used in public health, medical and criminal justice contexts. In some cases criminal or anti-social behaviour occurs when the person is under the influence of a drug, and long term personality changes in individuals may occur as well. In addition to possible physical, social, and psychological harm, use of some drugs may also lead to criminal penalties, although these vary widely depending on the local jurisdiction.

After a month in Los Angeles with no results, the band opted to return to the UK, where they rented Clearwell Castle in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England, which the likes of Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople and Deep Purple wrote and recorded in. The medieval surroundings may have revitalised the band musically, but also left a sinister impression; in the liner notes to the 1998 live album Reunion, Iommi recalls, "We rehearsed in the armoury there and one night I was walking down the corridor with Ozzy and we saw this figure in a black cloak ... We followed this figure back into the armoury and there was absolutely no one there. Whoever it was had disappeared into thin air! The people that owned the castle knew all about this ghost and they said, 'Oh yes, that's the ghost of so and so. We were like 'What!?'" Adds Butler: "We rehearsed in the dungeons and it was really creepy but it had some atmosphere, it conjured up things, and stuff started coming out again". [2] While working in the dungeon, Iommi stumbled onto the main riff of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", which set the tone for the new material. [3] In 2001 Butler admitted to Dan Epstein of Guitar World, "We almost thought that we were finished as a band ... Once Tony came out with the initial riff for 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' we went 'We're baaaack!'" The spooky atmosphere at Clearwater Castle perfectly complemented the band's practice of playing practical jokes on one another. In the documentary Black Sabbath, Volume 1: 1970–1978 Iommi recalls, "I've got to be honest, we frightened the life out of each other. We had to leave in the end, everybody terrified of each other because we were playing jokes on each other and nobody knew who was doing it... We used to leave and drive all the way home and drive back the next day. It was really silly." In his autobiography Osbourne cracks, "We weren't so much the Lords of Darkness as the Lords of Chickenshit when it came to that kind of thing ... We wound each other up so much none of us got any sleep. You'd just lie there with your eyes wide open, expecting an empty suit of armour to walk into your bedroom at any second to shove a dagger up your arse." Osbourne also writes that he nearly burned the castle down one night when he fell asleep with his boot in the fire. Osbourne said that when it came to the shenanigans Bill Ward typically "got the worst of it", with the drummer eventually going to bed at night with a dagger.

Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle in Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, is a grade II* listed Gothic Revival mansion.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

Mott the Hoople British rock band

Mott the Hoople are an English rock band with strong R&B roots, popular in the glam rock era of the early to mid-1970s. They are best known for the song "All the Young Dudes", written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.

Although the band's then-manager Patrick Meehan received credit as co-producer, Iommi said years later that Meehan had virtually no actual involvement in the album's production, saying "Meehan's ego got involved, and he stuck his name down as producer". [1] Recording was completed at Morgan Studios in Willesden, North London in 1973. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman of the band Yes (who were recording Tales from Topographic Oceans in the next studio) was brought in as a session player, appearing on "Sabbra Cadabra". [4] Wakeman refused payment from the band and was ultimately compensated with beer for his contribution. [5] Allom used phasing effects at the end of "Sabbra Cadabra" to conceal Osbourne's foul language. [5] The members of Led Zeppelin, close friends of the band from their early days in Birmingham, showed up at the studio during Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's recording. [5] Drummer John Bonham was eager to play on "Sabbra Cadabra" but Sabbath preferred to play material other than their own for the occasion. [5] In the end, the two bands had an improvised jam session which was recorded but never released. [5]

Patrick Anthony Meehan is a record producer who worked with Black Sabbath. He was also their manager until 1975.

Willesden area in North West London, England

Willesden is an area in north west London which forms part of the London Borough of Brent. It is situated 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Charing Cross. It was historically a parish in the county of Middlesex that was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Willesden in 1933, and has formed part of Greater London since 1965. Dollis Hill is also sometimes referred to as being part of Willesden.

Rick Wakeman English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author

Richard Christopher Wakeman is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author. He is best known for being in the progressive rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s. He is a current member of Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman.

Osbourne has said that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was "the beginning of the end" for Black Sabbath's original line-up. [6] In 2013, the singer elaborated to Mojo, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was really the album after which I should have said goodbye because after that I really started unravelling. Then we ended up falling out of favour with each other." Fuelled by rampant drug and alcohol use within the band, tensions began to mount. Iommi began to resent doing the lion's share of songwriting and studio work, thus having no social life. [6] Bassist Butler also began complaining that vocalist Osbourne had become too reliant on him for lyrics. [6]

Composition

Building on the stylistic changes introduced on Vol. 4, new songs incorporated synthesizers, strings, keyboards and more complex arrangements. Iommi experimented with sitar and bagpipes in the studio but wasn't able to master the instruments to his satisfaction. [5] The lyrics also delved into new areas, with Mojo opining in 2013, "The title track led into an expansive set as Butler's lyrics contemplated the mysteries of birth and DNA in 'A National Acrobat' and "Spiral Architect', respectively." "'A National Acrobat' was just me thinking about who selects what sperm gets through to the egg", Butler explained in the liner notes to Reunion in 1998. "'Spiral Architect' was about life's experiences being added to a person's DNA to create a unique individual. I used to get very contemplative on certain substances. I still do, but without those substances." In his autobiography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath, Iommi reveals that the initial riff for "A National Acrobat" was written by Butler, to which the guitarist "added bits to it. Geezer can write some great stuff." According to the book How Black Was Our Sabbath, the band invited an orchestra to play on 'Spiral Architect' "but couldn't cram all of the musicians and their instruments into Morgan Studios. They ended up at the nearby Pye Studio along the road, with Ozzy trying to explain what he wanted them to play like some sort of mad conductor. He had no written music to give the orchestra, he just hummed the part and they picked it up."

Sitar plucked stringed instrument used in Hindustani classical music

The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument flourished under the Mughals, and it is named after a Persian instrument called the setar. The sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India. It derives its distinctive timbre and resonance from sympathetic strings, bridge design, a long hollow neck and a gourd-shaped resonance chamber. In appearance, the sitar is similar to the tanpura, except that it has frets.

Bagpipes musical instrument

Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known in the Anglophone world; however, bagpipes have been played for a millennium or more throughout large parts of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, including Turkey, the Caucasus, and around the Persian Gulf. The term bagpipe is equally correct in the singular or plural, though pipers usually refer to the bagpipes as "the pipes", "a set of pipes" or "a stand of pipes".

DNA Molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning, and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.

Osbourne purchased a Moog synthesizer; though he "didn't know how to use it" according to Iommi, he was still able to compose the song "Who Are You?" with it. [5] In his memoir Osbourne states, "I'd written it one night at Bulrush Cottage while I was loaded and fiddling around with a Revox tape machine and my ARP 2600." The singer also writes that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was "Our last truly great album, I think... And with the music we'd managed to strike just the right balance between our old heaviness and our new, 'experimental' side." "Killing Yourself to Live" was a Butler composition written while he was in hospital for kidney problems caused by heavy drinking. Ward was also drinking heavily, and the song reflects the problems caused by their "extreme" lifestyles. An early incarnation of the song can be heard on the live albums Live at Last and Past Lives . The instrumental piece "Fluff" was composed by Iommi and named after BBC radio disc jockey Alan "Fluff" Freeman. [5] Freeman was one of the few radio personalities in Britain to play Black Sabbath's music on-air. [5]

Artwork

Drew Struzan (who would later create the iconic cover to Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare LP) was the artist requested to do the cover painting, under the direction of Pacific Eye & Ear's Ernie Cefalu. The idea behind the artwork was to depict a man dying a horrible death on the front cover, and on the back cover the same man dying a "good" death. It depicts a man on a bed, seemingly having a nightmare or a vision of being attacked by demons in human form. At the top of the bed is a large skull with long, outstretched arms and 666 (the Number of the Beast) written below it. The other side of the album features the opposite of the front cover, as shown here. Inside the gatefold sleeve there is a photo of the band members shown over a photo of a bedroom. In his autobiography Osbourne enthuses, "I fucking loved that cover." The Sabbath Bloody Sabbath artwork continued the Sabbath tradition of offering provocative covers; in a 1992 Guitar World interview Metallica singer and guitarist James Hetfield recalled, "I discovered Black Sabbath by digging through my older brother's record collection. Their album covers really drew me in. I immediately thought, 'I gotta put this on.' And when I did, I couldn't believe it. It was like, 'Whoa! Heavy as shit.' Sabbath was everything that the Sixties weren't. Their music was so cool because it was completely anti-hippie. I hated the Beatles, Jethro Tull, Love and all that other happy shit."

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [7]
Rolling Stone favourable [8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [9]

Black Sabbath released Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on 1 December 1973. For the first time in their career, the band began to receive favourable reviews in the mainstream press, with Rolling Stone calling the album "an extraordinarily gripping affair", and "nothing less than a complete success". [8] Later reviewers such as AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia cite the album as "a masterpiece, essential to any heavy metal collection", while also displaying "a newfound sense of finesse and maturity". [7] The album marked the band's fifth consecutive platinum selling album in the United States. It reached number four on the UK charts, [10] and number eleven in the US. [11] In the UK, it was the first Black Sabbath album to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in February 1975. The album would go on to be regarded in high esteem by the band members themselves; when asked by Guitar for the Practicing Musician in 1994 which songs he would like to see on the upcoming Black Sabbath box set, Butler replied, "Probably anything off of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The song "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" itself. It was a whole new era for us. We felt really open on that album. It was a great atmosphere, good time, great coke! Just like a new birth for me. We had done the first four albums and done it that way. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was like Part Two of your life. It was a weird feeling; a good feeling." In his memoir, Iommi calls the album "the pinnacle."

The song "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" has been singled out for praise by many hard rock and heavy metal guitar players, with Slash from Guns N' Roses stating to Guitar World in 2008, "The outro to 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' is the heaviest shit I have ever heard in my life. To this day, I haven't heard anything as heavy that has as much soul." Brent Hinds of Mastodon agrees, telling Nick Bowcott in 2008, "The 'dreams turn to nightmares, Heaven turns to Hell' riff at the end of that song is unbeatable." Kirk Hammett of Metallica cites "Killing Yourself to Live" as his favourite Black Sabbath song, revealing in the Holiday 2008 issue of Guitar World that "A lot of people gravitate toward the album's title track, 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath', but for me this is the stand out cut on the album."

Track listing

All songs by Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"5:45
2."A National Acrobat"6:16
3."Fluff" (instrumental)4:11
4."Sabbra Cadabra"5:59
Side two
No.TitleLength
5."Killing Yourself to Live"5:41
6."Who Are You?"4:11
7."Looking for Today"5:06
8."Spiral Architect"5:29

The initial Castle Communications CD release from 1986 (NELCD 6017) also featured a live version of "Cornucopia" from Live at Last as a bonus track. The subsequent Castle CD release (CLACD 201) returned to the original track list.

Cover versions

"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"

"Sabbra Cadabra"

"Killing Yourself to Live"

"Who Are You?"

"Spiral Architect"

Personnel

Black Sabbath

Additional personnel

Production

Certifications

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Rosen 1996 , p. 76
  2. Rosen 1996 , p. 77
  3. Rosen 1996 , p. 79
  4. Chris Welch, Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes, pg. 141, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN   0-7119-9509-5
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN   978-0-30681-9551.
  6. 1 2 3 Osbourne, Ozzy (2011). I Am Ozzy. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN   978-0446569903.
  7. 1 2 Rivadavia, Eduardo. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath > Review" at AllMusic . Retrieved 25 February 2008.
  8. 1 2 Fletcher, Gordon (14 February 1974). "Black Sabbath: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath". Rolling Stone (#154). Retrieved 25 February 2008.
  9. "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  10. "UK chart history – Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  11. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath > Billboard albums" at AllMusic . Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  12. "RIAA Gold & Platinum database". Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  13. "BPI certified awards". Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2009.
  14. "CRIA certified awards". Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2009.