Never Say Die!
|Never Say Die!|
|Studio album by Black Sabbath|
|Released||28 September 1978|
|Recorded||January–May 1978 at Sound Interchange, Toronto, Ontario|
Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
|Black Sabbath chronology|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Never Say Die! is the eighth studio album by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in September 1978. It was the final Black Sabbath studio album to feature vocalist Ozzy Osbourne prior to his departure from the band in 1979 until the 2013 album 13 and the last full studio album to feature the band's original lineup. It was certified Gold in the U.S on 7 November 1997 and as of November 2011 sold over 133,000 copies in America since the SoundScan era.
Recording and production
Never Say Die! was the final Black Sabbath album to feature the entire original line-up. At the time of the recording of Never Say Die! the members of Black Sabbath were all heavily involved in drug and alcohol abuse. Prior to recording, vocalist Osbourne briefly quit the band and was temporarily replaced by former Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Dave Walker. "We had a few internal problems," Osbourne admitted to Sounds magazine. "My father was dying, so that put us out for over three months with the funeral and everything. I left the band for three months before we got back together to record it."
The album was recorded at Sounds Interchange Studios in Toronto. "We went to Toronto to record it, and that's when the problems started…" said Tony Iommi. "Why Toronto? Because of the tax, really. The studio was booked through brochures because people thought it might be a good one. We got there and it had a dead sound – totally wrong. We couldn't get a real live sound. So what we had to do was rip the carpet up and try to make it as live as we could. They were okay about it, but it took time to get it exactly right. There were no other studios available."
The band wrote a handful of songs with replacement vocalist Walker, with that short-lived line-up even performing an early version of what would later become "Junior's Eyes" on the BBC programme Look Hear. Osbourne eventually rejoined the band, refusing to sing any of the songs written with Walker. These particular songs were redone, including "Junior's Eyes", which was rewritten to be about the then-recent death of Osbourne's father. Drummer Bill Ward volunteered to sing closing track "Swinging The Chain", another of the songs written with Walker, when Osbourne refused to sing it. Being short on new material, the band were forced to record the song despite Osbourne's objections. While Butler received credit for "Swinging The Chain"'s lyrics, they were actually composed by Ward.
Speaking in October 1978 of the new album, Osbourne said "It's a combination of what we've all been through in the last ten years. It's a very varied album. Like, we started out playing in blues clubs, because British blues – like John Mayall and early Fleetwood Mac – was the thing at the time. We were into a twelve-bar trip and early Ten Years After-style stuff. So it's part of that sort of trip. Then there's the heavy thing and the rock thing. It's not just steamhammer headbanging stuff all the way through… We got rid of all our inner frustrations: what each of us individually wanted to put down over the years but couldn't because of the pressures of work. So we put a lot of painstaking hours into developing this album."
The sleeve was another by Hipgnosis and the US and UK releases differed slightly in the faint images of British military pilots seen in the sky. The inner-bag featured graphics in keeping with the sleeve and credits, but no lyrics. The aeroplane on the cover appears to be a North American T-6 Texan.
The album has received its share of negative reviews. Allmusic has referred to the album as "unfocused", saying it "will hold little interest to the average heavy metal fan." Rolling Stone says it was "not a blaze of glory for the original foursome" but added that it may be "better than people might remember".
Osbourne has criticised the album and the decision to record it in Toronto, telling After Hours in a 1981 interview "The last album I did with Sabbath was Never Say Die and it was the worst piece of work that I've ever had anything to do with. I'm ashamed of that album. I think it's disgusting". He went on to claim that the band flew to Toronto in January during sub-zero temperature "purely because the Rolling Stones had recorded a live album there."
Despite the negative reception, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil cited Never Say Die! as one of his favourite Black Sabbath records. Andy LaRocque, guitarist for King Diamond, was influenced by the album in the making of the melodic guitar part of "Sleepless Nights", from the Conspiracy album.
Chart positions and singles
In the UK the title-track, released well-ahead of the album and the band's first UK picture-sleeve single, reached No. 21 in the chart and gave the band its first Top of the Pops appearances since 1970. The band twice appeared live in the studio, miming to the song. One of these appearances was included on the official The Black Sabbath Story Vol. 1 - 1970-1978 video release.
In the UK "A Hard Road" was released as the second single from the album and reached the UK Top 40, 25,000 copies being pressed in a limited-edition purple-vinyl. There was no picture-sleeve release.
A video from this period, professionally recorded on the UK tour at the Hammersmith Odeon in June 1978, can be seen on the Sanctuary Visual Entertainment DVD, also entitled Never Say Die. A live video for "Hard Road" was made during the Never Say Die! Tour to promote the single.
All music by Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward); all lyrics by Geezer Butler unless otherwise noted.
|1.||"Never Say Die"||3:50|
|4.||"A Hard Road"||6:04|
|7.||"Over to You"||5:22|
|9.||"Swinging the Chain" (lyrics by Ward)||4:06|
- Black Sabbath
- Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals, harmonica on "Swinging The Chain"
- Tony Iommi – guitar, backing vocals on "A Hard Road"
- Geezer Butler – bass guitar, backing vocals on "A Hard Road"
- Bill Ward – drums, lead vocals on "Swinging The Chain", backing vocals on "A Hard Road"
- Additional musicians
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||633,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- "Black Sabbath: Never Say Die! Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "American album certifications – Black Sabbath – Never Say Die". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Sounds, 21 October 1978
- Siegler, Joe. "Never Say Die". black-sabbath.com. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- Saulnier, Jason (30 December 2011). "Dave Walker Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-30681-9551.
- God Bless Ozzy Osbourne documentary film, produced in 2011. Next Entertainment.
- "Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Picks His Favourite Black Sabbath Song". metalhammer.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Andy LaRocque interview". kkdowning.net. May 2008. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- "Black Sabbath: The Black Sabbath Story Volume 1". Sanctuary Records Group. Archived from the original on 29 September 2006.
- "Never Say Die!: Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- "Black Sabbath: Never Say Die". Sanctuary Records Group. Archived from the original on 29 September 2006.
- "American album certifications – Black Sabbath – Never Say Die!". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH