Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
|Sabbath Bloody Sabbath|
|Studio album by Black Sabbath|
|Released||1 December 1973 (Vertigo)
28 December 1973 (WWA)
1 Jan 1974 (US, Warner Bros.)
|Recorded||September 1973 at Morgan Studios (Studio 4), London|
|Label||World Wide Artists
Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
|Black Sabbath chronology|
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the fifth studio album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in December 1973. With this album, the band expanded upon their slow, crunching style of music by adding strings, keyboards and more complex orchestral arrangements.
Following the 1972–1973 world tour in support of their Volume 4 album, Black Sabbath again returned to Los Angeles, California to begin work on its successor. Pleased with Volume 4, the band sought to recreate the recording atmosphere, and returned to the Record Plant Studios with new producer and engineer Tom Allom. Although the album credits the band's manager Patrick Meehan as producer, guitarist Tony Iommi said "Meehan's ego got involved, and he stuck his name down as producer". With musical innovations of the era, the band were surprised to find the room they had used previously at the Record Plant was replaced by a "giant synthesizer". 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 Volume 4 and we really got discontent" 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."
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. "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". While working in the dungeon, Iommi stumbled onto the main riff of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", which set the tone for the new material.
Recording was completed at Morgan Studios in Willesden, North London in 1973. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman of the band Yes (who was recording Tales from Topographic Oceans with Yes in the next studio) was brought in as a session player, appearing on "Sabbra Cadabra". Coincidentally Rick Wakeman's son Adam Wakeman has played keyboards for Ozzy Osbourne's solo band since 2004.
Music and lyrics 
Building off the stylistic changes introduced on Volume 4, new songs incorporated synthesizers, strings, keyboards and more complex arrangements. In particular, "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Who Are You?" utilise a Moog synthesizer, a common instrument in progressive rock at the time. Lyrics of some songs on the album were written about problems within the band at the time.
"Killing Yourself to Live" was written by bassist Geezer Butler while in hospital for kidney problems caused by heavy drinking. Drummer Bill Ward was also suffering from binge drinking, and the song reflects the problems caused by their "extreme" lifestyles. An earlier incarnation of the song can be heard on the records Live at Last and Past Lives.
Drew Struzan (who created 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 Ernie Cefalu. 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.
Release and reception 
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
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". Later reviewers such as All Music'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". The album marked the band's fifth consecutive platinum selling album in the United States. It reached number four on the UK charts, and number eleven in the US.
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 band began a world tour in January 1974, which culminated at the California Jam festival in Ontario, California on 6 April 1974. Attracting over 200,000 fans, Black Sabbath appeared alongside other '70s rock giants, such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Eagles. Portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the US, exposing the band to a wider American audience.
Track listing 
Original LP 
|1.||"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"||5:45|
|2.||"A National Acrobat"||6:16|
|1.||"Killing Yourself to Live *"||5:41|
|2.||"Who Are You"||4:11|
|3.||"Looking for Today"||5:06|
- *"Killing Yourself to Live" comprises a suite of three songs: "Killing Yourself to Live," "You Think That I'm Crazy" and "I Don't Know If I'm Up or Down." While the second and third titles are not referenced on the album, the songs were separately copyrighted by Black Sabbath, and sheet music for them distributed as individual titles.
The Castle Communication edition CD release (1986) also featured a live version of "Cornucopia" as bonus track.
- Bruce Dickinson covered the song with American band, Godspeed on the tribute album Nativity in Black.
- Swedish pop band The Cardigans covered this song on their 1994 album, Emmerdale (album).
- The thrash metal band Anthrax covered the song on their 1987 EP I'm the Man.
- Bluegrass band Iron Horse covered "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" on their album Black & Bluegrass: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne & Black Sabbath.
- Melbourne, Australia-based group bZARK covered "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" on their 1998 EP, "I Don't Know How It Is (But I'm Gonna Tell You Anyway)."
- Covered by Today Is the Day on the Hydra Head seven inch tribute In These Black Days. Included as a hidden bonus track on their album Temple of the Morning Star.
- Horror metal band Ripper has covered the song for their upcoming album 'Third Witness' to be released in 2012 by Black Widow Records
- Sabbra Cadabra
- The heavy metal band Metallica covered this song and "A National Acrobat" on their Garage, Inc. cover album in one condensed song entitled "Sabbra Cadabra".
- American punk rock band Hed PE covered "Sabbra Cadabra" for the tribute album Nativity in Black II.
- Killing Yourself to Live
- It was covered by the band Anal Cunt on Masters of Misery-Black Sabbath: The Earache Tribute and on seven inch vinyl on the Hydra Head tribute In These Black Days.
- Who Are You?
- Covered by Goatsnake on the compilation album, 1 + Dog Days.
- Covered by OLD on the tribute album, Tribute To Black Sabbath: Eternal Masters.
- Spiral Architect
- This song was covered by Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica for a free tribute CD issued by Metal Hammer magazine, as well as the Deluxe Edition of their album 7th Symphony.
- Ozzy Osbourne – vocals, synthesiser
- Tony Iommi – all guitars, piano, synthesiser, organ, flute
- Geezer Butler – bass guitar, synthesiser, mellotron
- Bill Ward – drums, timpani, bongos in "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"
- Produced by Black Sabbath for Excellency Productions
- Engineered by Mike Butcher
- Coordination: Mark Forster Biatch
- Direction: Patrick Meehan
- Tape Operator: George Nicholson
Sales accomplishments 
See also 
- Rosen 1996, p. 76
- Rosen 1996, p. 77
- Rosen 1996, p. 79
- Chris Welch, Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes, pg. 141, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 0-7119-9509-5
- Rivadavia, Eduardo. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath > Review" at Allmusic. Retrieved 25 February 2008.
- Fletcher, Gordon (14 February 1974). "Black Sabbath: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath". Rolling Stone (#154). Retrieved 25 February 2008.
- "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "UK chart history - Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath > Billboard albums" at Allmusic. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- "RIAA Gold & Platinum database". Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "BPI certified awards". Retrieved 7 February 2009.[dead link]
- "CRIA certified awards". Retrieved 8 February 2009.