WS 1871 Black Sabbath
Produced by Roger Bain
Released on February 1970
UK CHART POSITION #8 . . . US CHART POSITION #23
Find it at GEMM
WS 1871 cover  

A s the cold church bells intone at the beginning of the record, it’s clear that Black Sabbath is headed down a dark, untrodden path. By album’s end, listeners had seen a vision of things to come -- crunching guitars, supernatural subject matter, images glimpsed in a sulphuric haze -- which would define the genre of heavy metal. Greatness should have been beyond the band’s reach: guitarist Tony Iommi had lost the tips of his fingers in an accident and had to tune the guitar strings lower as a result, Ozzy Osbourne’s voice was far too flat and tuneless to appeal to commercial tastes, Geezer Butler’s lyrics were filled with fantasies of the occult and sociopathic musings. Somehow Black Sabbath managed to turn their weaknesses into strengths, and it’s this sheer defiance that propels their best music. Although the rhythm section would be dropped in the mix on subsequent albums to accommodate the growing talents of Osbourne and Iommi, on their debut Butler and Bill Ward are equal partners in the musical mayhem, giving the music a sinister stride that allows Ozzy and Tony to come and go as they please. Not everything on Black Sabbath is successful: The closing combination of “A Bit of Finger,” “Sleeping Village” and “Warning” wanders too far from the band’s strengths and comes across as a Led Zeppelin outtake. But when it all clicks - and it does on “The Wizard,” “N.I.B.” and “Black Sabbath” - these four musicians sound like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Note that the US release features “Wicked World” in place of “Evil Woman.”

WS 1871 back cover WS 1871 generic picture sleeve
WS 1871 back cover WS 1871 generic picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. BLACK SABBATH    6:20
  2. THE WIZARD    4:22
  3. WASP    9:44
    BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP   
    BASSICALLY   
    N.I.B.   
  4. EVIL WOMAN
  5. *WICKED WORLD    4:30
  6. A BIT OF FINGER    14:32
    SLEEPING VILLAGE   
    WARNING   

    All songs written by Tony Iommi/John Osbourne/Terence Butler/William Ward

CREDITS

GEEZER BUTLER -- bass guitar
TONY IOMMI -- lead guitar
OSSIE OSBOURNE -- vocals, harmonica
BILL WARD -- drums
Tom Allom -- engineer
Barry Sheffield -- engineer

return to BLACK SABBATH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK February 1970 Vertigo LP/CS    
US May 1970 Warner Bros. LP/CS WS 1871 repl. "Evil Woman" w. "Wicked World"
UK November 1985 NEMS LP/CS NEL 6002  
US August 9, 1988 Warner Bros. CD/CS    
FRA July 1992 Castle CD CLACD 196 w. bonus track "Wicked World" (*)
UK/GER February 1996 Essential CD ESMCD 301 digitally remastered

 

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