|Studio album by|
|Released||25 September 1972|
|Studio||Record Plant, Los Angeles, California|
|Producer||Black Sabbath, Patrick Meehan|
|Black Sabbath chronology|
|Singles from Vol. 4|
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.
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 were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler 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.
Rodger Bain is a former British record producer, known for producing heavy metal albums by bands such as Black Sabbath, Budgie and Judas Priest in the 70s.
In June 1972, Black Sabbath began work on their fourth album at the Record Plant studios in Los Angeles.
The Record Plant is a recording studio first established in New York City and later 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, Eminem's The Marshal Mathers LP, 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.
"It's the first album we've produced ourselves," observed Ozzy Osbourne. "Previously we had Rodger Bain as a producer – and, although he's very good, he didn't really feel what the band was doing. It was a matter of communication. This time, we did it with Patrick, our manager, and I think we're all very happy… It was great to work in an American studio."
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing eleven studio albums, the first seven of which were all awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined the band in 1997 and recorded the group’s final studio album 13 (2013) before they embarked on a farewell tour which culminated in a final performance in their home city Birmingham, England in February 2017. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of "Godfather of Heavy Metal".
The recording was plagued with problems, many due to substance abuse. In the studio, the band regularly had speaker boxes full of cocaine delivered.
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.
A loudspeaker enclosure or loudspeaker cabinet is an enclosure in which speaker drivers and associated electronic hardware, such as crossover circuits and, in some cases, power amplifiers, are mounted. Enclosures may range in design from simple, homemade DIY rectangular particleboard boxes to very complex, expensive computer-designed hi-fi cabinets that incorporate composite materials, internal baffles, horns, bass reflex ports and acoustic insulation. Loudspeaker enclosures range in size from small "bookshelf" speaker cabinets with 4" woofers and small tweeters designed for listening to music with a hi-fi system in a private home to huge, heavy subwoofer enclosures with multiple 18" or even 21" speakers in huge enclosures which are designed for use in stadium concert sound reinforcement systems for rock music concerts.
Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. Cocaine has a small number of accepted medical uses such as numbing and decreasing bleeding during nasal surgery.
Struggling to record "Cornucopia" after "sitting in the middle of the room, just doing drugs",Bill Ward feared that he was to be fired: "I hated the song, there were some patterns that were just horrible. I nailed it in the end, but the reaction I got was the cold shoulder from everybody. It was like 'Well, just go home, you're not being of any use right now.' I felt like I'd blown it, I was about to get fired." According to the book How Black Was Our Sabbath, Ward "was always a drinker, but rarely appeared drunk. Retrospectively, that might have been a danger sign. Now, his self-control was clearly slipping." Iommi claims in his autobiography that Ward almost died after a prank-gone-wrong during recording. The Bel Air mansion the band was renting belonged to John du Pont and the band found several spray cans of gold DuPont paint in a room of the house; finding Ward naked and unconscious after drinking heavily, they proceeded to cover the drummer in gold paint from head to toe. According to Sharon Osbourne's memoirs, a Doberman at the mansion got into part of the band's cocaine supply, laced with the baby laxative mannitol, and became ill from the effects of the drug.
William Thomas Ward is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer of the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He also performed lead vocals on two Black Sabbath songs: "It's Alright" from the album Technical Ecstasy and "Swinging the Chain" from the album Never Say Die!.
Bel Air is a neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Founded in 1923, it is the home of The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden and the American Jewish University.
John Eleuthère du Pont was an heir to the Du Pont family fortune, a convicted murderer, and an American philanthropist. He had been a published ornithologist, philatelist, conchologist, sports enthusiast, and self-styled wrestling coach. He died in prison while serving a sentence of 30 years for the murder of Dave Schultz.
The Vol. 4 sessions could be viewed as the point when the seeds were planted for the demise of Sabbath's classic line-up. Bassist Geezer Butler told Guitar World in 2001: "The cocaine had set in. We went out to L.A. and got into a totally different lifestyle. Half the budget went on the coke and the other half went to seeing how long we could stay in the studio ... We rented a house in Bel Air and the debauchery up there was just unbelievable." In the same interview, Ward said: "Vol. 4 is a great album, but listening to it now, I can see it as a turning point for me, where the alcohol and drugs stopped being fun." To Guitar World in 1992, Iommi admitted, "LA was a real distraction for us, and that album ended up sounding a bit strange. The people who were involved with the record really didn't have a clue. They were all learning with us, and we didn’t know what we were doing either. The experimental stage we began with Master of Reality continued with Vol. 4, and we were trying to widen our sound and break out of the bag everyone had put us into." In the liner notes to 1998's Reunion , Iommi reflected, "By the time we got to Bel Air we were totally gone. It really was a case of wine, women and song, and we were doing more drugs than ever before." In his memoir Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath, the guitarist says, "Like Tony Montana in the movie Scarface : we'd put a big pile (of cocaine) on the table, carve it all up and then we'd all have a bit, well, quite a lot."
Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has also recorded and performed with Heaven & Hell, GZR, and Ozzy Osbourne. He currently serves as bassist of Deadland Ritual.
Guitar World is an American monthly music magazine for guitarists, published since July 1980. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews, and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year. Formerly owned by Harris Publications, Future US bought the magazine in 2003. In 2012, NewBay Media bought the Music division of Future US. The latter company also published a spin-off title, Guitar Legends, each issue of which typically combined past articles from Guitar World under a specific theme. The first Guitar Legends was on Eddie Van Halen. In 2018, Future acquired NewBay Media, returning Guitar World to Future US.
Master of Reality is the third studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 21 July 1971. It is widely regarded as the foundation of doom metal, stoner rock, and sludge metal. It was certified double platinum after having sold over 2 million copies. Master of Reality was Black Sabbath's first and only top 10 album in the US until 13, forty-two years later.
In his autobiography I Am Ozzy, Osbourne speaks at length about the sessions: "In spite of all the arsing around, musically those few weeks in Bel Air were the strongest we'd ever been." But he admits, "Eventually we started to wonder where the fuck all the coke was coming from ... that coke was the whitest, purest, strongest stuff you could ever imagine. One sniff, and you were king of the universe." Osbourne also recounts the band's ongoing anxiety over the possibility of being busted, which worsened after they went to the cinema to see The French Connection (1971), about undercover New York City cops busting an international heroin-smuggling ring. "By the time the credits rolled," Osbourne recalled, "I was hyperventilating." In 2013, Butler admitted to Mojo magazine that heroin, too, had entered the picture: "We sniffed it, we never shot up ... I didn't realize how nuts things had gotten until I went home and the girl I was with didn't recognize me."
Vol. 4 saw Black Sabbath beginning to experiment with the heavy sound they had become known for. In June 2013 Mojo declared, "If booze and dope had helped fuel Sabbath's earlier albums, Vol. 4 is their cocaine ... Despite their spiraling addictions, musically Vol. 4 is another ambitious outing. The band's heavy side remains intact on the likes of 'Tomorrow's Dream', 'Cornucopia' and the seismic 'Supernaut' (a firm favorite of Frank Zappa, featuring Bill Ward's soul-inspired breakdown), but the guitar intro on 'St. Vitus Dance' possesses a jaunty, Led Zeppelin-flavoured quality, while 'Laguna Sunrise' is an evocative neo-classical Iommi instrumental." After being up all night and watching the sunrise at Laguna Beach, Iommi composed the song. In the studio, an orchestra accompanied Iommi's guitar, although they refused to perform until their parts were properly written out. The same orchestra performed on "Snowblind".
"Snowblind" is the band's most obvious reference to cocaine, their drug of choice during this period. Snowblind was also the album's working title, but Vertigo Records executives were reluctant to release an album with such an obvious drug reference.The liner notes thank "the great COKE-cola" and, in his autobiography, Osbourne notes, "Snowblind was one of Black Sabbath's best-ever albums – although the record company wouldn't let us keep the title, 'cos in those days cocaine was a big deal, and they didn't want the hassle of a controversy. We didn't argue."
Although most of the album is in the band's trademark heavy style, some songs demonstrate a more sensitive approach. "Changes", for example, written by Iommi with lyrics by Butler, is a piano ballad with mellotron. Iommi taught himself to play the piano after finding one in the ballroom of the Bel-Air mansion they were renting. It was on this piano that "Changes" was composed."Tony just sat down at the piano and came up with this beautiful riff," Osbourne writes in his memoir. "I hummed a melody over the top, and Geezer wrote these heartbreaking lyrics about the break-up Bill was going through with his wife. I thought that was brilliant from the moment we recorded it."
"FX" came about unexpectedly in the studio. After smoking hashish, the crucifix hanging from Iommi's neck accidentally struck the strings of his guitar and the band took an interest in the odd sound produced.An echo effect was added and the band proceeded to hit the guitar with various objects to generate odd sound effects. Iommi calls the song "a total joke".
Of "Wheels of Confusion", Henry Rollins said: "It's about alienation and being lost in the wheels of confusion, which is the way I find myself a lot of the time. Sabbath could be my favourite band. It's the ultimate lonely man's rock. There's something about their music that's so painful and yet so powerful."
The album, Tony Iommi told Circus's sister magazine Circus Raves, "was such a complete change – we felt we had jumped an album, really ... We had tried to go too far."
The album cover features a monochrome photograph of Ozzy Osbourne with hands raised throwing the peace sign,taken during a Black Sabbath concert. The album's original release (on Vertigo in the UK, on Warner Bros. in the United States and on Nippon Phonogram in Japan) features a gatefold sleeve with a page glued into the middle. Each band member is given his own photo page, with the band on-stage at the Birmingham Town Hall (and photographed from behind) at the very centre.
The album's original cover art has proved iconic, and has been imitated and parodied on numerous occasions, such as on the 1992 Peaceville Volume 4 compilation album, the 1992 Volume Two EP by the band Sleep, and the 1994 Planet Caravan EP by Pantera.
The U.S. 8 track and cassette releases of the album feature alternate artwork: a yellow background with Ozzy silhouetted in black.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
Vol. 4 was released in September 1972, and while most critics of the era were dismissive of the album, it achieved gold status in less than a month, and was the band's fourth consecutive release to sell one million copies in the United States.It reached number 13 on Billboard's pop album chart and number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. The song "Tomorrow's Dream" was released as a single but failed to chart. Following an extensive tour of the United States, the band toured Australia for the first time in 1973, and later Europe.
Rock critic Lester Bangs, who had derided the band's earlier albums, applauded Vol. 4, writing in Creem, "We have seen the Stooges take on the night ferociously and go tumbling into the maw, and Alice Cooper is currently exploiting it for all it's worth, turning it into a circus. But there's only one band that's dealt with it honestly on terms meaningful to vast portions of the audience, not only grappling with it in a mythic structure that's both personal and powerful but actually managing to prosper as well. And that band is Black Sabbath." Bangs also compared the band's lyrics to those of Bob Dylan and William S. Burroughs. In June 2000, Qplaced Vol. 4 at number 60 in its list of The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever and described the album as "the sound of drug-taking, beer-guzzling hooligans from Britain's oft-pilloried cultural armpit let loose in LA." In his 2013 biography on the band Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe, Mick Wall insists "Under The Sun" would become the "sonic signpost" for bands that would follow Sabbath in years to come, such as Iron Maiden and Metallica. Frank Zappa has identified "Supernaut" as one of his all-time favorites. (In a 1994 interview with Guitar for the Practicing Musician, Butler revealed, "I loved Zappa's lyric approach. That influenced me lyrically, definitely".) "Supernaut" was also one of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's favorite songs.
Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 48 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".Rolling Stone ranked it 14th on their 2017 list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .
Thomas Gabriel Fischer of Triptykon and previously frontman of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost cited Vol.4 as highly influential on his musical formation and stated he "learned to play guitar from that album".
All music written by Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward); all lyrics by Geezer Butler. Some North American pressings have parts of the songs titled as The Straightener and Every Day Comes and Goes; the former is Wheels of Confusion's coda, while the latter is a two-minute segment that serves as Under the Sun's bridge.These parts are not titled on original releases or any European release.
|1.||"Wheels of Confusion" (including The Straightener)||8:02|
|8.||"Laguna Sunrise" (instrumental)||2:56|
|9.||"St. Vitus Dance"||2:30|
|10.||"Under the Sun" (including Every Day Comes and Goes)||5:53|
|6 November 1972||Gold||500,000|
|13 October 1986||Platinum||1,000,000|
Sabotage is the sixth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in July 1975. It was recorded in the midst of litigation with their former manager Patrick Meehan and the stress that resulted from the band's ongoing legal woes infiltrated the recording process, inspiring the album's title. It was co-produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and Mike Butcher.
We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll is a compilation album by Black Sabbath, originally released on 1 December 1975 in the UK and then on 3 February 1976 in the U.S.
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.
Heaven and Hell is the ninth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 25 April 1980. It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who replaced original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in 1979.
Technical Ecstasy is the seventh studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and released in September 1976. The album was certified Gold on 19 June 1997 and peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 200 Album chart.
Reunion is a live album by heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It features the original line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward: the four musicians' first recording together since the firing of Osbourne in 1979.
"Black Sabbath" is a song by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, written in 1969 and released on their self titled debut album. In 1970, it was released as a four-track 12-inch single, with "The Wizard" also on the A-side and "Evil Woman" and "Sleeping Village" on B-side, on the Philips Records label Vertigo.
"The Wizard" is a song by the British hard rock band Black Sabbath, taken from their 1970 album Black Sabbath. It is the second track on the record. The song was composed by all four members of the group and was produced by Rodger Bain. "The Wizard" was the B-side to the title track of the band's second album Paranoid.
"Fairies Wear Boots" is a song by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their 1970 album Paranoid. It was released in 1971 as the B-side to "After Forever".
The Best of Black Sabbath is a double CD compilation album by Black Sabbath released in 2000 on the Sanctuary Records label. Its 32 songs are presented chronologically from the band's first 11 albums, spanning the years 1970 to 1983. Black Sabbath's classic six-album run, from 1970s debut Black Sabbath through 1975's Sabotage is celebrated with three to six songs from each album. Original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's subsequent final two albums with the band, 1976's Technical Ecstasy and 1978's Never Say Die!, are represented by one and two songs, respectively. Replacement Ronnie James Dio's early 80's stint fronting the band on two albums is acknowledged with the title track of 1980's Heaven and Hell and a track from 1981's The Mob Rules. The compilation closes with a song from 1983's attempted rebirth, Born Again, former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan's sole album with the band. The Best of Black Sabbath does not include any later material with vocalists Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin (1986–96) or the returning Dio.
Nativity in Black are two Black Sabbath tribute albums that came out in the 1990s and 2000s. The albums were recorded with various heavy metal bands paying tribute to Black Sabbath for their influence on the heavy metal genre of rock music.
This box set includes all songs from Black Sabbath's first six albums, excluding the songs without vocals.
"Symptom of the Universe" is a song by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their 1975 album Sabotage. The song was an early influence on the development of thrash metal.
The Sabbath Collection is a compilation album released in 1985 by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. The album was released without the consent of the band, and is therefore considered "unofficial". There are some mistakes with the track listing; "Sleeping Village" and "Warning"'s track length listings were inverted, giving Sleeping Village a length of 10:47 and Warning a length of 3:30.
"Children of the Sea" is a song by heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their ninth studio album, Heaven and Hell (1980).
"After Forever" is a song by English rock band Black Sabbath. The song was released on their third studio album Master of Reality in 1971, and later the same year it had been released as the first single from the album, but failed to chart anywhere. The lyrics were written by Geezer Butler while the music was written by Tony Iommi.
The Collection is a compilation album released by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath in 1992. The album was released on the label Castle, who released two CD versions of this album in the UK, both with the same cover art and songs. The album includes greatest songs of Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne prior to his dismissal in 1979, from the eponymous album to Never Say Die!. The album has 15 tracks, two from Black Sabbath, two from Paranoid, one from Master of Reality, two from Black Sabbath Vol. 4, two from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, two from Sabotage, two from Technical Ecstasy and two from Never Say Die!.
"Hand of Doom" is a song by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, originally appearing as the sixth song on their second album Paranoid, released in 1970. It has been performed in many of Black Sabbath's live concerts. The lyrics were written by Geezer Butler while the music was written by the four members. "Hand of Doom" is accepted as one of the best songs on the album by many fans of Black Sabbath. It is the second longest song on the album behind "War Pigs". The song was conceived after the band had observed a growing number of US soldiers arriving in England in the late 1960s from the Vietnam War with severe drug addictions. It is about them taking drugs to forget the atrocities of war, only to see it catch up on them and slowly destroy them from the inside.